Young Children and Toxins in Foods

What doctors Don’t Tell You e-news has published some research showing how toxins in common foods may be negatively affecting the health of young children.
Toxins and pesticides are at dangerous levels in many of the foods we eat, and could be responsible for cancer and learning problems in the very young, a new study has found.
Many of the food samples tested by researchers had levels of cancer-causing toxins that were way above safe levels.  Although pesticides were one obvious source, carcinogenic toxins were created in some of the foods during the cooking and processing stages.
The toxins are staying in the body, say researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, after they tested 364 children, 207 of whom were of pre-school age.  All the children had such high levels of arsenic, dieldrin, DDe and dioxins in their bodies that each could cause cancer.  And 95 per cent of the children had high levels of acrylamide, a cooking by-product found in processed foods such as potato and tortilla chips and crisps.
And researchers found that pesticide levels were especially high in foods such as tomatoes, peaches, apples, peppers, grapes, lettuce, broccoli and strawberries.

(Source: Environmental Health, 2012; 11: 83).

In providing dietary recommendations for clients the number of toxins will be reduced, so this is another reason why getting the whole family onto a nutritious eating plan may be helpful. Where possible do swap to organic foods, especially for those listed at the end of the article. I have previously listed broccoli as being in the ‘Clean Fifteen’ , therefore not highly affected by pesticide residue, but the information here may indicate that it is worth using organic broccoli when available.




When organic vegetables are not an option, make sure you thoroughly wash them using a home-made cleaning liquid. Mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle and squirt onto fruit and vegetables over the kitchen sink. Wash the produce thoroughly in cold water, using a scrubbing brush on tougher fruit and vegetables. Don’t forget to wash your organic produce too, to remove bacteria and dirt. lists some helpful Acrylamide Reduction Advice


As a general rule, acrylamide forms mainly in high starch foods that are heated to produce a fairly dry and brown or yellow surface. Acrylamide can be found in many common foods prepared by frying, baking, grilling, toasting or roasting, including:


The potential for acrylamide formation in food is related to how much amino acid – namely asparagine – and reducing sugars are naturally present in the food. These levels may vary significantly between different plant varieties and their conditions during growth.


Frying: This causes the highest acrylamide formation. In order to reduce acrylamide when frying, fry at lower temperatures and avoid heavy crisping or burning


Grilling: Consumers are advised to frequently turn food during grilling in order to avoid charring.  If charring does occur, remove charred portions before eating.


Boiling/microwaving: Potatoes that have been boiled or microwaved whole potatoes with the skin on (“microwaved baked potatoes”) do not contain high levels of acrylamide.

Generally, more acrylamide accumulates when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures.


Toasting bread to a light brown colour, rather than a dark brown colour, lowers the amount of acrylamide. Very brown areas should be avoided, since they typically contain the most acrylamide.


Cooking cut potato products, such as frozen french fries or potato slices, to a golden yellow colour rather than a brown colour helps reduce acrylamide formation. Brown areas tend to contain more acrylamide