Healthy kids? Fat chance

Schools across the country continue to deal one way or the other with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Smart Snack” rules — the latest portion of the Michelle Obama-backed Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Some are dealing with it by ditching the plan altogether — and forgoing federal dollars in the process — and going back to serving old and more popular menu items. Others are attempting to comply. But the rules are ridiculous and arbitrary and are doing little to help make kids “healthy.”

One such rule requires schools to ditch bottled teas and replace them Gatorade G2 (GG2). And while ditching bottled teas containing sugar or sugar substitutes and other additives is laudable, replacing tea with GG2 indicates there is something afoot besides kids’ health.

GG2 is the last drink children — or anyone else, for that matter — should be drinking. First, GG2 contains Splenda. Splenda is a synthetic sweetener containing sucralose and is found in thousands of processed food products. Splenda is made by combining three chlorine molecules with one sucrose molecule in a covalent bond. The human body has no enzymes to break down the covalently bound chloride. Consumer complaints about Splenda consumption include gastrointestinal problems, seizures and dizziness, blurred vision, allergic reactions, blood sugar increases, and weight gain.

Research shows sucralose destroys beneficial gut bacteria. One study on animals indicates it kills as much as 50 percent of the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. It also alters glucose, insulin and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) levels, making it a real danger to diabetics.

GG2 also contains acesulfame potassium, a zero-calorie sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Acesulfame potassium works in the body by stimulating the secretion of insulin in a way that may lead to hypoglycemia. In lab animals, it has produced lung, breast and organ tumors, leukemia and chronic respiratory diseases. Long-term use in humans has resulted in headaches, visual disturbances, mental confusion, nausea, depression and liver and kidney damage.

Among other additives, GG2 contains monopotassium phosphate and FD&C Blue No. 1. Monopotassium phosphate creates an imbalance of phosphorus and calcium in the body. Too much phosphorus spurs the body to draw calcium out of the bones, causing osteoporosis.

FD&C No. 1, a blue dye, has been linked to allergic reactions and carries a warning label “Caution: Do not consume if sensitive to aspirin.” In 2003, the FDA sent out a safety warning concerning its use in medical procedures following reports of discoloration of the skin, urine and feces in patients given a feeding solution containing the dye.

In short, GG2 will make kids fat and susceptible to a host of health problems. Smart snacks? Hardly. Healthy kids? Fat chance.

Bob Livingston

By Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston has been writing most of his adult life on matters of health, nutritional supplements, natural alternatives and social importance.