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Entries in meat (1)

Monday
Dec102012

Practical Parenting: Decoding Food Labels

In follow up to Dr. Barry’s recent post about organic foods, I thought I’d share some helpful information about decoding the various labels used to classify foods as “organic” and “natural” and “hormone free” etc.  As Dr. Barry said, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement in October 2012 stating that organic foods were not found to have any nutritional value above conventionally grown foods.  However, one caveat of their statement did concede that conventional foods typically do contain more pesticide residues than organic foods. 

While studies haven't shown a direct cause and effect relationship between pesticide exposure and specific health problems in children, there are concerns that chronic exposure to pesticides may be linked to various adult health problems and one study showed an increased risk of ADHD in children whose urine had higher levels of pesticide byproducts.  And research has shown that the primary form of exposure to pesticides in children is through dietary intake.  Interestingly, several studies have clearly demonstrated that an organic diet reduces children’s exposure to pesticides significantly (interestingly, one study showed that urinary pesticide residues were reduced to undetectable levels when kids were switched to an organic produce diet for just 5 days). 

While the research remains inconclusive, most experts agree that limiting pesticide exposure, especially in children, is ideal.  So do you find yourself, like I do, standing in the produce aisle and scratching your head as to what each label actually means?  You may be surprised to learn, that not all claims made on food labels are regulated. Here’s an overview of the most common “healthy sounding” label terms and what you should look for the next time you’re at the grocery store:

“Natural” and “All Natural” – There is absolutely no formal definition or any criteria for the designation “natural” on food labels.   There are no certifications or inspections required for these foods, so while they

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