Tuesday, 2 October 2012

ADHD Nutrition: Label Reading

Nutritional tips by Kate Leinweber, an ADHD/ADD nutrionist at ADDvance Treatment Centres -- A specialized treatment centre and clinic for adults, teens and adolescents with ADHD/ADD

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Label Reading

All foods that are in a box, bag, can, or any kind of packaging have been processed and often have food additives that can negatively affect our brain.

How to read a food label?

Food labels have 2 parts
  • Nutritional Facts
  • Ingredient List

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts look at the content of only a few nutrients per serving size. It does not look at the overall quality of the product. I never read this part of the label. I care that whole natural ingredients are in the foods I buy.
Important questions to ask that are left unanswered by the Nutritional Facts:
      • Are the calories devoid of vitamins and minerals? i.e. Empty Calories?
      • Are there any other minerals besides Sodium?
(there are at least 19 others our bodies need!)
    • Are the carbohydrates simple or complex?
    • Are the vitamins listed from the natural source or synthetically derived in a laboratory?
    • Is there anything toxic added to the product?

Ingredient List

It is in the ingredient list that we can answer the questions above as well as tell us if there is anything added as preservatives that can cause damage to our brain. In general the shorter the ingredients list the better, and if we cannot pronounce any of the words, it probably should not be going into our body.
Food additives to watch out for
  • Carcinogens
  • Digestion disrupters
  • Neurotoxins
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (canola, corn, sunflower, safflower), Trans Fat, Red AC, Sunset Yellow FCF, Orange Yellow S, Tartrazine, Stannous chloride, MSG, Saccharin, Sugar, -ose, Aspartame, Benzoic acid, BHA, BHT, Calcium or Potassium benzoate, Sulfate/ite, Nitrate/ite, Propyl p-hydroxybenzoate, paraben, Sulfur dioxide
Granola bar Ingredient Comparison: Granola bars are one of the most difficult foods to buy with high nutritional qualities.

Granola* (rolled oats*, evaporated cane juice*, soy oil*), tapioca syrup*, brown rice flour*, invert cane syrup*, raisins* (coated with sunflower oil*), sunflower seeds*, flaxseeds*, hemp seeds*, acacia gum*, evaporated cane juice*, sea salt, natural flavor, molasses*. *Organic.

Sea salt provides all minerals (not just sodium) Molasses provides a big hit of vitamins & minerals

      • Granola: whole grain rolled oats, whole grain rolled wheat, brown sugar, sunflower oil, high fructose corn syrup, dried unsweetened coconut, honey, sodium bicarbonate, natural flavor, whey protein concentrate
      • Sugar, partially hydrogenated palm kernel and palm oil*
      • Crisp rice: rice flour, sugar, barley malt, salt
      • Non-fat milk
      • Corn syrup
      • Semisweet chocolate chips :sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract
      • High fructose corn syrup
      • Brown sugar
      • Corn syrup solids
      • Glycerine
      • Dried whole milk
      • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil*
      • Cocoa processed with alkali
      • Cocoa
      • Sorbitol
      • Soy lecithin
      • Salt
      • Natural and artificial flavour
      • Glyceryl lacto esters of fatty acids
      • BHT (preservative)
      • Citric acid


High fructose corn syrup (corn derivatives show up 4 times): genetically modified, wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels Natural Flavor: often includes ingredients like MSG or other hidden toxic products BHT: Has been shown to increase hyperactivity and involved in cancer risk

Best Option: Make Your Own!

Super Simple Nut/Seed Bar
  • Nut or Seed Butter (use seed if schools aren't allowing nuts)
  • Rolled Oats
  • Pumpkin Seeds (high in Zinc)
  • Sesame Seeds (higher in calcium than Milk)
  • Honey (local, natural, unfiltered)
Mix all together until it reaches the consistency where you can roll it into a ball or press it in to a baking sheet. Form into whatever shape desired and put in the fridge. No baking required! This is a lot of fun to make especially for kids who get to lick their hands clean after!

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