CDC Says Processed Food Is Bad For Kids, Upsetting Parents In Denial Everywhere

kid-choose-healthy-foodThe results of a government study on toddler snack foods are being released, confirming what pretty much everyone already knows: processed food is shitty for humans. According to Fox News, researchers didn’t release the brand names of the items they studied, but they analyzed labels and package information for over 1,000 kinds of packaged dinners, instant macaroni and cheese, mini rice cakes, crackers, dried fruit, fruit snacks, pastries, and cereal bars marketed to toddlers and found that the majority of them contain either too much salt or too much sugar:

The study notes that almost one in four U.S. children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese — and that almost 80 percent of kids ages 1 to 3 exceed the recommended maximum level of daily salt, which is 1,500 milligrams…

We also know that about one in nine children have blood pressure above the normal range for their age, and that sodium, excess sodium, is related to increased blood pressure,” said the CDC’s Mary Cogswell, the study’s lead author. “Blood pressure tracks from when children are young up through adolescence into when they’re adults. Eating foods which are high in sodium can set a child up for high blood pressure and later on for cardiovascular disease.

Are you giving your Goldfish crackers the side eye yet?

To me, it seems like common sense that processed foods contain high amounts of salt and sugar, but I guess it isn’t if 80 PERCENT of kids ages 1 to 3 are knocking their sodium intake out of the park every day. What the hell, America?

I was prepared to get mad at this study for once again picking on parents who don’t have a choice. I think a lot of people are forced into buying less than healthy food, even if they don’t want to, due either to a lack of options, lack of time, lack of money, or some combination of all three, but 80 percent is a huge number of toddlers. It’s definitely indicative of a widespread problem, and I think marketing has a lot to do with it.

Everyone freaked out last year when Annie’s sold out to General Mills, even though Annie’s is basically just processed crap with the word organic written on it. To this day, you can go to any of Annie’s social media accounts and see anti-GMO people lamenting that they can no longer buy Annie’s “wholesome” fruit snacks and macaroni, even though a side by side package comparison shows that Annie’s contains, and has always contained, as much sugar, sodium, etc. as their competitors. Could it be that parents are feeding their kids a steady diet of boxed garbage, but thinking it’s somehow better because those boxes are labeled organic and all-natural?

I think so.

Frankly, I’m pretty tired of studies like this coming out and pushing the same recommendations on parents: “read food labels carefully and select healthier choices.” Processed food is still processed food and still isn’t as good as an apple. I wish they would do something about false advertising and predatory labeling practices on processed foods. I wish they would put limits on the amounts of salt and sugar that can be contained in those foods, especially when they’re intended for babies. Unfortunately, they won’t, so just be aware: 90% of stuff that comes in a box is bad for you, even if the box tells you it isn’t.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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