Category Archives: Child

Donuts Make You Go Nuts

Who doesn’t love to indulge in the occasional doughnut…or two? Many times, we find ourselves craving the sweet, fried, satisfying taste we get with each bite of a freshly made Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ doughnut. While we’re delighting in the taste of the deep-fried food, do we stop and consider how much we’re hurting our body? Chances are, no. When we fulfill that craving and consume the sugary dessert, it could contribute to a number of health risks like weight gain and diabetes. Instead, we should try to find other tasty, healthier treats to eat.

Reader’s Digest Editors (2017) listed doughnuts as one of the worst foods you can eat because they contain the “unholy trinity of unhealthy ingredients…trans-fat, sugar, and refined flour.” In order to make us a little more conscientious of the possible health risks of eating doughnuts, here are a few reasons why we should resist the cravings:

 

  • LOADED WITH SUGAR. This sugary food can be quite addictive like many other sweet treats because it contains a lot refined sugar in it. Oddly enough, whenever we eat sugary foods like doughnuts, neurotransmitters excite the brain just like it would if you were to have cocaine. Dopamine receptors spike and over time of constant doughnut consumption, tolerance levels rise, and you crave even more sugar in order to reach satisfaction. Some people have classified sugar as a drug because, like a drug addiction, may people will have cravings, binges and even withdrawals.  
  • LOADED WITH FAT. Along with lots of sugar, doughnuts contain a large amount of trans-fat, which is an unhealthy fat. Doughnuts can contain up to “10 to 20 grams of fat each and between 250 to 300 empty calories” (The Worst Foods You Can Eat, 2017). This can raise your cholesterol levels and can increase your risk of having heart disease or a stroke.
  • DOES NOT FILL YOU UP. Some people love having a doughnut with their morning coffee. They are comfort food for some, but they are also empty calories that should be avoided. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so consuming that much sugar, carbohydrates that turn into sugar, and fat so early in the morning is not the best choice of a meal. No matter how many doughnuts you eat, they will not fill you up, but instead cause you to have an unnerving stomachache, which no one wants at the start of their day. 
  • IT’S HARD TO EAT JUST ONE. As previously stated, doughnuts contain loads of sugar, so it is very hard to only have one at a time when there are many different flavors and fillings to choose from. Just ask your local police officer! If having just one doughnut were so easy, then they probably wouldn’t have the option for you to buy a dozen at a time and mix-n-match what kinds of doughnuts are in that dozen.
  • COULD CONTRIBUTE TO MULTIPLE HEALTH ISSUES. Due to the high amounts of sugar (carbohydrates) and trans fats, eating doughnuts on a consistent basis could contribute to a number of health risks like weight gain, Type II Diabetes, heart disease and stroke. When blood sugar levels are spiked and bad cholesterol levels are increased multiple times throughout the week, over time, these levels could contribute to multiple health issues (Picincu, 2018). 

 

Many of us enjoy a tasty, satisfying doughnut but we should always be mindful of what

we are putting in our bodies and asking ourselves, is it worth the risk? I’m not saying that having a doughnut once or twice every so often will contribute to health issues but too much sugar and trans fat consumption can eventually hurt the body. Instead, turn to more natural sugars or healthier dessert options to fulfill your sugary cravings, and try not to go nuts for doughnuts!

 

References

Editors, R. D. (Ed.). (2017, November 17). The Worst Foods You Can Eat. Retrieved 

November 1, 2019, from https://www.thehealthy.com/food/the-worst-foods-you-can-eat/.

Picincu, A. (2018, December 18). Health Effects of Doughnuts. Retrieved November 1, 

2019, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/471877-health-effects-of-doughnuts/.

Trick-or-Treating Tips

Halloween is coming up this week, and we all want to make sure that we are prepared for the adorable trick-or-treaters. Of course, no two children are the same, but you want to make sure that the candy that you are giving them is suitable for most, if not all, children. With that being said, you have to take food allergies into consideration and know what to look for when a child has an allergic reaction to something they’ve eaten. It is good to know what kinds of candies are more versatile or both tasty and allergy-free. There are also two movements that take place this holiday that help ensure an enjoyable Halloween for all parents and trick-or-treaters.

Some of the most common foods that children are allergic to are peanuts and other nuts, gluten, certain fruits like citrus fruits, soy, eggs and dairy. When a child has an allergic reaction to a food that they have eaten, a number of things could occur. They could experience anaphylactic shock, tingling or itching of the mouth, body and/or face swelling, hives, itching or eczema, wheezing or trouble breathing, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017). Some parents keep an epinephrine auto injector, or EpiPen, with them at all times in case of a serious allergic reaction, but you also want to see a doctor or allergist if there is a chance that your child has had an allergic reaction. 

In order to avoid a child experiencing any of these dreadful allergy symptoms, it’s best to purchase treats that are allergy-free or having some non-food trinkets that some of the trick-or-treaters can have instead. To help better prepare you, here’s a list of a few non-allergy candies that are also quite tasty (Jackson, 2019):

  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Swedish Fish
  • Skittles
  • Jelly Belly beans
  • Peeps Marshmallow Ghosts
  • Mike and Ike
  • Lifesavers
  • Starburst, and
  • Fruit flavored lollipops or suckers that do not contain corn syrup

Another way to prepare for this holiday is to be aware of two projects that take place during Halloween. During Halloween, the Teal Pumpkin Project and the children with a blue bucket may be seen. “The Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign initiated by the non-profit organization Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)” (O’Kane, 2019). A home will have the teal, or aqua hue painted pumpkin on their porch with an informative sign on a treat bucket letting parents and trick-or-treaters know that there are non-food treats and trinkets in that bucket. So parents, feels free to take a non-food treat for your little one. If you see someone with a blue bucket, they are trick-or-treaters that have autism. These blue buckets help raise awareness for children with autism as well as lets the homeowners know that the child may be nonverbal, but they should still treat them just the same as other children. These two movements give both parents and trick-or-treaters a little peace of mind and avoids any potential added stress that could occur (O’Kane, 2019).

I think that Halloween is a holiday that many parents and children look forward to! So you want to ensure that it is as enjoyable as possible by making sure that you are prepared as you can be. So be sure that you are stocked with allergy-free treats or non-food items, and be mindful of any blue buckets or teal pumpkins this holiday. Have a fun and Happy Halloween!

 

References

Jackson, K. (2019, October 1). 7 allergen-free candies to keep on hand for Halloween. Retrieved 

October 23, 2019, from https://www.today.com/shop/best-allergy-free-candy-halloween-

t162776.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017, May 2). Food allergy. Retrieved October 23, 2019, from 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20355095.

O’Kane, C. (2019, October 16). Mom urges use of blue Halloween buckets to raise autism 

awareness. Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mom-urges-blue-halloween-buckets-to-raise-autism-awareness/.

Blue Green Algae- To swim or Not to Swim?

Many of us love to be outdoors and find a sense of peace when we take walks with our pets near water, like our local lakes and ponds, but what kind of water are we exposing our pets to? In the United States and all over the world there has been an increasingly alarming environmental issue with our water containing blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. There has even been scientific research done that indicated the prevalence of blue-green algae around the world.

Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, is a group of photosynthetic bacteria that live in a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater environments. Sunlight, stagnant, warm water temperatures and excess nutrients cause these species to “bloom”. Some species of blue-green algae contain cyanotoxins and can produce large and harmful algal blooms (HABs). They contain hepatotoxin, a toxic chemical that damages the liver. Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) and nodularin-R (Nod-R) are the more common toxins found in our freshwater and saltwater environments. These HABs can become so toxic that “even when a bloom has dissipated, toxins can still remain in the body of water” (Walker, 2019). 

In the United States, there have been blue-green algae incident reports made in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Carolina, to name a few. These toxins have been attributed to gastroenteritis, allergic reactions and may cause serious damage to the liver. There has also been a numerous amount of pet deaths caused by exposure to blue green algae. Some predeath symptoms three dogs in Wilmington, North Carolina experienced were seizures and foaming at the mouth. Dogs can also experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as severe liver damage. Because of these increasingly occurring deaths, it has caused national news, researchers and organizations to look more into our lakes and ponds to show that our local freshwater and saltwater are harmful to both swim in and consume.

In Turku, Finland, researchers have conducted several studies that test their surface water to show the presence of the widespread hepatotoxins. They used highly sensitive immunoassays that detected the existence of the harmful chemicals in the environmental surface water samples (Akter, Vehniainen, Spoof, Nybom, Meriluoto, & Lamminmaki, 2016). “The Environmental Working Group…found nearly 300 blooms recorded in lakes and rivers in 48 states since 2010” (Marohn, 2018). They also found that in 2017, “169 blooms were reported in 40 states, compared to three in 2010” (Marohn, 2018). So, there is no doubt that these toxins are becoming more and more of an issue in the world.

Fortunately, there is a way that our surface water can be tested!  5Strands® Affordable Testing now has a Blue Green Algae Test that allows consumers to test their local lakes and ponds. The kit is simple and easy to use and after 15 minutes of use, it will indicate if there are blue-green algae in the water. 

With global warming and climate change, these toxins will spread even more and become more prevalent in our environment. Unfortunately, it is difficult to rid our waters of these toxins. However, you can allow yourself to be at ease for your pets and livestock that are exposed to and consume our surface water by testing your local lakes and ponds with 5Strands Blue Green Algae Test. I know my dog, Max, loves the water and loves drinking water wherever he goes and the last thing I want to happen is Max becoming seriously ill or worse after simply trying to hydrate himself. So please, do your research and be sure to test your local lakes and ponds. We may not be able to rid them of these harmful toxins, but we can at least minimize the number of illnesses and deaths after exposure.

References

Akter, S., Vehniainen, M., Spoof, L., Nybom, S., Meriluoto, J., & Lamminmaki, U. (2016, 

September 22). Broad-Spectrum Noncompetitive Immunocomplex Immunoassay for Cyanobacterial Peptide Hepatotoxins (Microcystins and Nodularins). Retrieved from https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.analchem.6b02470

Marohn, K. (2018, May 15). Report: Toxic algae are growing threat to water, human health. 

Retrieved from https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/05/15/toxic-algal-blooms-increasing-threat-to-water-human-health

Walker, M. (2019, August 14). Dogs are dying from blue green algae: What pet owners need to 

know. Retrieved from https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/08/13/

blue-green-algae-killing-dog-poisoning/1996204001/[wdi_feed id=”1″]