The next time you consider buying pop tarts for your kids read the label carefully. Pop tarts contain over 66 ingredients including chemicals, food preservatives, oils and food colorings. And these are just the ingredients in amounts that must be listed by law. As a rule of thumb, never eat anything you have trouble pronouncing. Here are some of the ingredients you can expect to find in pop tarts. Judge for yourself!
Soybean, palm, cottonseed and or Hydrogenated cotton seed oil
Palm oil is high in saturated fat and low in polyunsaturated fats, it does not contain trans fats. It isn’t as unhealthy as hydrogenated vegetable oil, but the World Health Organization has called for a reduction on its use. Manufactures are now using palm oil as an alternative to hydrogenated vegetable because of new government food labeling laws. For this reason palm oil is predicted to become the world’s largest produced processed food oil. The production of palm oil causes deforestation and the destruction of precious ecosystems in South East Asia. Cotton seed is said to be high in saturated fats and there are many concerns about the health risks of cotton seed oil. Mainly because cotton is not a food crop and so doesn’t face the same regulations for the use of pesticide. Although hydrogenated cotton seed oil does contain more monounsaturated fats, the percentages of each oil are not given. By the way, pop tarts do contain trans fats which are listed under ingredients at the bottom of the food label.
TBHQ and Citric Acid
These are food preservatives which cause allergies in children and are believed to be carcinogenic.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Can cause neurological disorders, obesity and weight gain.
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamin hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Reduced Iron.
These are synthetic water soluble supplements of vitamin B6, B1 and B2. These drugs are recommended by doctors for those with vitamin deficiencies in the developing world. These supplements in excessive amounts can cause side effects. A diet with foods rich in B vitamin is preferred. Many processed foods are also fortified with reduced iron, but unlike the aforementioned reduced iron is not water soluble. If a diet contains many fortified, processed foods and is also supplemented with vitamins and minerals, high levels of iron could be toxic. Research has found that Iron toxicity is known to cause certain cancers such as leukemia in children. In adults it also been linked to degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s. Niacinamide is part of the B vitamin group and may be toxic to the liver in high doses.
Soy Lecithin and Xanthan Gum
Lecithin is an ingredient which binds fats and water to emulsify. It is found in the byproducts of soy processing and could contain agricultural waste. Some children are allergic to soy products. Egg whites are the traditional source of lecithin and would be a better alternative. Xanthan is also an emulsifier and acts as a powerful laxative. The production of xanthan has been linked to respiratory illnesses in workers.
Food coloring or dyes
Because people expect to see foods as a certain color regardless of how they were produced, food colorings are still being added to processed foods despite protests from scientific and nutritional bodies. Food colorings have long been associated with disruptive behavior in children and are being phased out in many European countries. The colors in pop tarts are blue #1 and blue # 2 which are on the list of the six most hazardous dyes.