How To Take The Happy Out Of A Happy Camper

I thought it was time for a summer P.S.A.  Your little camper might not have a happy tummy with these Happy Camper Cakes. And while the taste of pure sugar may momentarily make your child smile, his or her mood will soon turn sour from the effects of disregulated blood sugar levels and the hormonal shifts it creates. Not to mention the artificial ingredients seem to outnumber the real ingredients.  Actually, I was hard pressed to find any real ingredients.  And as a parent, I like to steer clear from items which represent food but are, in fact, not actually food.  Maybe it’s just me but I want my food to rot.  But I will leave it up to you to decide what you find to be acceptable. For now, read along.

The first ingredient is sugar. Good start- I can pronounce that but I don’t want anything I buy to have the first ingredient labeled as sugar unless it is a bag of sugar.  Second ingredient is corn syrup.  Great. I can pronounce that too but it is just another form of sugar.  So far we have sugar and sugar.  We go on to find flour that has been bleached and enriched, which means they strip all the nutrients from the flour and then enrich it with synthetic nutrients.  When they are done with that they bleach your flour because I guess some people want their flour to glisten with a certain hue.  Think tooth whitening toothpaste except not for your teeth.

Then we go on to find TBHQ.  Used in food products as a preservative, as well as, varnish and biodiesel products, TBHQ falls into the category of “I’m not sure what it is and that makes it a little bit scary.”  In lab rats, high amounts of TBHQ have been shown to create cancerous tumors of the stomach but “don’t worry,” they say.  No studies have come out yet saying this could occur in our children.  Yep…I don’t think I am going to wait for the confirming study.  If you are using a product in biodiesel and varnish, call me crazy; I don’t want my children to eat it!  Little Debbie, what are you doing?

If you did decide to eat TBHQ the following information may be useful.  “Various symptoms which can occur due to consuming high doses (1-4 g) of TBHQ include nausea and vomiting, collapse, delirium, and ringing sound in ears. It can also cause asthma, dermatitis, and rhinitis. It can also worsen the symptoms of ADHD and restlessness.”

Now I see dextrose listed.  Umm….just another way of saying sugar.  As I make my way through the table of ingredients green sugar crystals stand out because the first three types of sugar I guess just weren’t enough for Little Debbie.  What good is food if it isn’t soaked in a rainbow of colors?  After I read the box I am reminded yellow and blue do make green.  Thanks, Debbie! You can see the list of colors in the ingredient picture but let’s just focus on one.

Yellow 5:  “In their summary of studies on food dyes, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reports earlier studies that failed to show cancer causing or toxic effects of Yellow 5, were flawed.  They failed to account for the higher consumption of Yellow 5 by children who are more sensitive to cancer-causing agents.  CSPI recommends all carcinogens be removed from food dyes.”  How about we go a step further and remove all carcinogens from all food?  I don’t think there is a parent alive who would say, “Oh yeah, leave in the carcinogens for my kiddos.  No problem.”  One more thing:  The F.S.A. is to the United Kingdom what the F.D.A is to the United States – only difference? The F.S.A. recognizes Yellow 5 is detrimental to children’s brain health.  Stating, “Food coloring such as Yellow 5 can cause behavioral changes in children that included loss of concentration and impulsive, hard-to-control activity. The recommendation is to avoid or limit consumption of products that contain yellow 5.”  Thank you, F.S.A!  I am waiting, F.D.A.  Oh, yes – they had this to say, “FD&C Yellow No. 5 is approved as a food-coloring additive in the U.S.”

I recognize egg whites, soy flour and whey.  The remaining ingredients are primarily a list of emulsifiers (thickening agents), factory-produced flavorings, and preservatives.  I wonder how O.D. and Ruth McKee would now feel about their food company, McKee Foods, and its contribution to children’s health in America.  With their granddaughter’s image proudly displayed throughout stores as a reminder of simpler times, McKee Foods promotes their innocent treats for our youth.  Don’t be fooled.  There is nothing innocent about corporate greed that leads to ill health.  I know some may be thinking, “Geez, Danielle. It’s a treat. Lighten up.”  And I would agree if it weren’t for the fact that companies are getting away with behavior I find to be unethical and immoral.  We are actually paying these companies to make our children sick.  So I will pass Little Debbie.  And I will be a Happy Camper about that decision.