Archive for October, 2007
Given that just this week, Newsweek’s cover is Kids and Food Allergies: The Growing Food Allergy Threat and the Today Show told Emily’s Story, we wanted to highlight, as we did in our April 2007 newsletter, the role that soy plays in the development of peanut allergy and the danger that soy’s cross reactivity presents to people with peanut allergy and asthma.
As many of you know, soy is one of the top eight allergens. What you may not know is that a child with a peanut allergy can have an allergic reaction after eating a food that contains soy, according to the Mayo Clinic and the Asthma and Allergy Resource Center.
Soy’s Role in the Food Allergy Epidemic
In 1996, soy was engineered to contain new proteins, chemicals and toxins so that soy crops could withstand the spraying of industrial weed killer. 90% of soy is now engineered with these new proteins and chemicals, which created new allergens . These new allergens are similar in their amino acid structure to known shellfish and peanut allergens.
How could soy cause an allergic reaction in my child with peanut allergy?
In scientific terms, soybean allergens are “homologous” to known peanut allergens and are recognized by 44% of peanut-allergic patients.
What that means is that a child with a peanut allergy can have an allergic reaction and even go into anaphylaxis after eating soy. Because this cross-reactivity is rarely mentioned in the press, many parents are unaware of the potential health risks that soy may present to children with peanut allergies.
What are the Signs of a Cross-Reaction to Soy and How Can I Protect My Child with Peanut Allergy?
According to Dr. Yman, PhD of the Swedish National Food Administration, these deaths initially appear as an asthma attack, with no or very mild symptoms for the first 30-90 minutes after consumption of foods containing soy (much like Emily’s Story). Then, the children suffer fatal asthma attacks. “If your child is allergic to peanuts, you should consider eliminating soy as well as peanut from your child’s diet, even if your child has never reacted to soy poorly in the past (as Emily never had). Some sensitive children have “hidden” soy allergies that manifest for the first time with a severe – even fatal – reaction to even the low levels of “hidden” soy commonly found in processed food products. Those at the highest risk suffer from asthma as well as peanut allergy”.
What products contain soy?
In Europe and other developed countries around the world, soy is rarely used since it contains chemicals, toxins and new proteins whose safety has never been tested in human trials. In the United States, soy can be found in soy milk, soy formula, conventional formula, tofu, soy sauce and other soy products. Soy is also used in many processed foods, as soy lecithin, soy lectin, soybean oil and other soy derivatives by the United States food industry, despite being banned in foods around the world (in Europe, where consumers have not embraced genetically engineered soy, lupine is often used in place of soy, given that 90% of soy has now been engineered to contain these new chemicals. However, please note that a child with a peanut allergy can have a severe reaction to lupine, given the similarities in protein structures, so consult with your child’s doctor when traveling abroad).
Soy is also commonly used as animal-feed in livestock in order to expedite the weight gain in livestock, ensuring a faster time to market and heavier fish, pork, cattle, etc.
It is only within the last ten years, since soy was engineered with new proteins, chemicals and toxins in an effort to make it a more profitable agricultural crop and commodity, that soy has become one of the top eight allergens.
Are there other facts that I may not know about soy?
According to Daniel Sheehan, PhD and director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) National Center for Toxicological Research, soy-fed babies are taking part in “a large, uncontrolled and basically unmonitored human infant experiment.”
The British Dietetic Association now warns parents to avoid soy formula given a the results of a 2003 study conducted by Dr. Gideon Lack from St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College, London, UK. The French Food Agency will soon require warning labels on all soy foods, soy formulas and soy milk so that consumers will be aware of the risks that soy poses to children under the age of three, as well as people with hypothyroidism, and women with a family history of breast cancer.
In January 2006, the American Heart Association reversed its endorsement and position on soy.
What’s an American Mother to Do?
It looks like what you don’t know, CAN actually hurt you…and your babies! So until the federal government decides to bestow the same value on the lives of the American children that government agencies around the world have bestowed on the lives of their children, American mothers might want to take a cue from mothers in the UK, Europe, Asia, Japan and even Russia and consider avoiding exposing their little ones to soy.
If the system is failing our children, moms can’t!
Did you know?? In 2005, the average American consumed 25.7 pounds of candy, per capita, much of it around Halloween?! From belly aches to allergic reactions, parents can help kids avoid Halloween hazards.
There is growing evidence that many allergies are caused by the ingredients in our diet. About 40% of the population suffers from allergies, and annual medical costs exceed $4 billion. According to Kenneth Bock, MD, allergies now affect 20% of children. Maybe it’s time to think about what we’re slinging into those jack o lanterns!
Chemicals in your candy? Ever read the side of a candy box? Artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, pesticides and chemical toxins! According to Pure Fun Candy, the FDA does not monitor these flavorings nor require that they be tested. Rather, (and this is scary!) the concept of “threshold of toxicological concern” has been proposed to set acceptable daily intake for chemicals of unknown toxicity, apparently on the theory that a little bit can’t hurt! Ever seen a kid eat a ‘little bit’ of candy!?
Research out of the UK suggests that these chemicals do affect the brain chemistry of children, causing hyperactivity and ADHD like behavior. The research is so strong that Wal-Mart in the UK agreed to ban these ingredients in children’s foods and government agencies around the world have banned these chemical additives in children’s foods.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the Today Show points out that you may also want to avoid high fructose corn syrup, another chemically engineered ingredient found in our kids’ foods and treats (but not found in children’s foods in Canada!), given the controversial role that it appears to play in diabetes! And on Oprah, Dr. Oz warns us that our brains and our bodies get mixed signals when consuming high fructose corn syrup, causing us to EAT MORE!!
Not to mention that the corn that we’re feeding our children (and ourselves!) has now been engineered to contain and produce a toxin designed to kill the little creatures that try to eat it out in the fields. In an effort to make corn a more profitable crop for ethanol production, the toxins now being engineered into our corn cause “gut paralysis” in the little creatures that eat it! Not what any of us need!!
According to Yummy Earth, organic candy matters partially because it has no pesticides, chemicals or genetically modified ingredients, but mostly because manufacturers must adhere to the very strict USDA organic rules which assure families that manufacturers truly use no artificial ingredients and are not playing “label claim games”, such as calling high fructose corn syrup “all natural” as some food companies do!
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every three children now has obesity, one out of every three children now has diabetes, and one out of every three kids now has allergies, asthma, ADHD or autism. Given recent reports by CNN addressing toxicity in children and the fact that none of these chemical additives now found in our kids’ Halloween candy have been tested by the FDA, are we gambling with the health of your kiddos?
Perhaps here in the US, we should take a cue from mothers in Europe, Canada and Australia and try to avoid the ingredients that their government agencies have banned in children’s foods: high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, MSG and genetically engineered ingredients.
Hopefully, the FDA will soon acknowledge that American children deserve the same rights as the little kids around the world. But until then, we should do our kids a favor…engage them in a candy swap! For every 2-3 pieces of conventional candy that they collect, let them “buy” an organic treat, a sticker or some small toy!
It might just be the savviest thing you could do this Halloween!
I was honored to be included on a bloggers only call last night for LUNA BARS. On the call, remarkable women, working to protect the health and well being of all women (and our daughters), addressed the risks that environmental toxins present to our health.
As we work to empower mothers and inspire them in ways that they can protect the health and well being of their children, LUNA is doing the same thing: advising women of simple steps that they can take to help minimize their chances of developing breast cancer, so here are the tips!
- Create a Healthy Home (Learn How!)
- Eat Smart (just like AllergyKids, LUNA understands the importance of avoiding chemical toxins in our diets in an effort to prevent breast cancer)
- Choose Safe Cosmetics (our make-up is loaded with chemicals)
- Get Outside (grab the stroller and go!)
A few more ideas, for those that are taking this seriously (remember only 1 out of every 10 cases of breast cancer can be attributed to a genetic link. So does that mean that 9 out of 10 cases could be prevented? We can always hope!)
- Reduce your consumption of red meat and conventional milk due to the hormones and chemicals that these contain.
- Eat organic whenever possible (to avoid consuming pesticides and other toxins linked to breast cancer risk)
- Exercise (get out the stroller and take a walk!)
- Avoid drinking liquids out of plastic containers (these containers ‘leach’ dangerous chemicals into your liquids)
- Try to avoid eating canned foods (the chemical lining of cans, bisphenol A, has also been linked to breast cancer)
Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., did a phenomenal job of fielding questions about diet’s role in the development of diseases. AllergyKids can not begin to express our gratitude for Jeanne and LUNA BARS.
To learn more about ways to protect your health (and your daughters), please visit www.pureprevention.org
It is now estimated that farmers across the midwest receive approximately $8-10 billion a year in federal corn subsidies. Not only does this insure a prolific corn crop to meet the growing demand for ethanol, but it also appears to insure political loyalty, as it provides an economic boon to farmers across the heartland.
But at what cost?
According to the Wall Street Journal, “American families, which spend 9.9% of disposable income on food, are facing the fastest-rising food prices in 17 years.”
Rising prices for this year alone that can be attributed to the increase in the cost of corn include:
40% increase in the price of corn
75% increase in the price of soy
70% increase in the price of wheat
15% increase in the price of 3-pound chickens
26% increase in the price of a gallon of milk
24% increase in the price of a loaf of bread
50% increase in retail pork prices
“The consumer’s cost of everything from yogurt and popcorn to breakfast cereal and fast-food french fries is climbing. And a growing number of economists and agribusiness executives think the run-ups could last as long as a decade, raising the cost of all kinds of food.”
And you wonder why your credit card bill has grown?
On top of all of this (or under it?) is the fact that corn has recently been engineered to produce its own insecticidal toxins to achieve greater crop yields for these federally funded crops. To achieve this profitability, toxins have been engineered into corn that are designed to cause gut paralysis and kill the insects that consume it.
It obviously works, as we’ve already lost the bees. But you have to wonder what it is doing to our health and the digestive tracts of our children?
Eight months ago, warning bells sounded: “Politicians will see that, first of all, corn ethanol is not helping our oil independence. It is increasing the price of food for people in the U.S., it is costing an enormous sum of money for everyone, and it is contributing to environmental problems.”
Is corn ethanol really the elixir promised to deliver us from our foreign dependency on oil? Or have we thrown our country into the largest food price shock in decades while at the same time subjecting our children to a deadly toxin designed to cause gut paralysis and death in those that consume it?