Are Your Kids Depressed Or Aggressive?

As a parent or teacher, you'll be the first one to notice health and behavioral changes in your children or students. I feel one of the main causes for "childhood behavioral disorders" such as depression or aggression is due to toxic food chemicals. Children are reacting to artificial sweeteners and various food chemicals in harmful ways. The social impact of these chemical additives to mental disorders is devastating, and children are eating more and more chemicals at earlier and earlier ages. And, at what cost to their health? The corporations that create these chemicals say "at no cost." The growing number of mental and physical diseases illustrate "at great cost."

What do I feed my child - sugar or sugar-free, you ask? It's best not to give a child carbonated drinks or any sugary-processed foods at all - I can't stress this strongly enough - but if you insist on allowing your child to drink sodas or chew gum, it's actually better to drink or chew sugar-sweetened as opposed to diet ones. Just limit the amount and portion sizes they consume. The sugar content of most powdered drink mixes is about the same as carbonated beverages (nine teaspoons of sugar per 12-ounce beverage). I understand that the social pressure on children today makes it close to inevitable that a child will drink a sugar-containing beverage at some point, such as during a sleepover or at school, so this is something important to keep in mind. It is certainly critical to "seek balance in all things," as the saying goes.

Research shows that taste preference is present at birth and is a behavioral response learned from infancy through the age of six. If sweet foods are offered frequently, a child will be more likely to develop a preference for sweets in their later years. Don't give into pressure from your kids to buy cola beverages and other processed junk foods or to eat fast foods regularly. And don't fall into the trap of giving them sugar-free food products because you believe the advertising: "it's better for them." When you feed your children sugar-free products, you are compounding the issue of bad behavior and undernourishment by robbing your kids of basic nutrients while at the same time feeding them harmful food chemicals. The best solution: feed children whole foods and avoid chemical foods at all costs.

So, how DO artificial sweeteners affect your child's behavior? According to research as early as 1970, scientists were already showing the negative effects of diet sweeteners containing aspartame on mental behavior - specifically aggression and depression. Dr. Louis Elsas, MD. at Emory University stated in his aspartame testimony before the U.S. Senate on November 3, 1987 that high levels of phenylalanine (from aspartame) found in the blood become concentrated in the brain. This affects normal serotonin levels, which in turn, affects behavior and mood.

Scientists have repeatedly proven that excess phenylalanine in the brain blocks the normal production of serotonin, which leads to emotional disorders such as depression, PMS, insomnia and sexual dysfunction--all modern behavioral epidemics.

"This proves especially dangerous for fetuses and infants," Elsas testified.

It's bad enough for adults to endure these maladies, but inflicting these difficulties on our children who are trying to grow and develop is tragic beyond words.

More than 51 million Americans have a mental disorder, creating severe illnesses more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease. Twenty percent of families will be affected by severe mental illness in their lifetime, and twenty-one percent of hospital beds are currently filled with patients of all ages with mental illness, the leading reason for hospital admissions.

The sweetener corporations and "Big Pharma" market to children by placing soft drink machines in public elementary schools, and by influencing doctors that diet sweeteners don't cause abnormal behavior or emotional stress in children. When you have exhausted all the other reasons for your child's poor health or mental/emotional problems, then diet chemicals could be the culprits.

Depression can hide behind a smiling face, a temper tantrum or hyperactivity. But don't ignore the warning signs! At the first sign of behavioral changes and depression, especially for a child, remove all artificial sweeteners and food chemicals from the diet. Even if your primary doctor doesn't recognize the influences of diet sweeteners on depression or aggression, it does no harm to remove these toxic food chemicals and return to a natural, whole foods diet. Overall physical fitness and a balanced diet are crucial ways to avoid illnesses that can bring on depression, hyperactivity or anxiety symptoms.

Chemical diets are spawning hyperactivity, anxiety and impulsiveness among children. Juvenile violence is increasing at more than twice the rate of adult violence. This violence is not limited to the urban population. As many as twenty-five percent of white, middle-class suburban youth are now involved in delinquent behavior.

We cannot afford to abandon our children. Feeding them more and more artificial chemicals isn't the solution by any means. Programs for violence prevention and nutritional support in schools, homes, neighborhoods and communities must include education on the truth about artificial sweeteners and toxic food chemicals.

Posted November 2005 | Permanent Link

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