BABY Nutrition, Allergen and Score Guide
The Must-Have Book for Families Concerned With Controversial and Addicting Ingredients in Processed Foods
Ever notice how eating cheesy processed snacks like Cheetos or Doritos leave your fingers and mouth a different color and create intense cravings for bag after bag of the salty, addictive crunchy contents? That’s exactly the experience that gave Stanley Rak, an Edison, New Jersey businessman, the impetus to look at the ingredient list on the bag and scratch his head over several unpronounceable names. Rak noticed his grandson’s demeanor, temperament and behavior change within 10 minutes of consuming the snack – and not for the better. Taking the ingredient list to task, Rak began what would become an all-consuming obsession with identifying what exactly is in our food. Within a matter of months he founded www.Foodfacts.com, a comprehensive online resource that has cultivated a huge following amongst consumers, nutritionists, pediatricians, health professionals and others who want to find out what’s really in our food.
Foodfacts Books, a division of Foodfacts.com, has released its first book, BABY Nutrition, Allergen & Score Guide 2013 Edition (ISBN: 978-0-9887670-0-3). Written by Stanley Rak and edited by Sarah Butterfield, the 90-page paperback is available for $14.95 through Foodfacts.com and on Amazon.com in digital format for Kindle users at $9.99; an increasing number of booksellers are carrying the book as well. A one-of-a-kind guide with over one thousand commercially produced baby food and infant formulas each rated by calories, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar and protein contents, broken down by allergens, animal derived and controversial ingredients , BABY Nutrition, Allergen & Score Guide makes it simple to identify which products are best for baby and family. The book includes:
- Pregnancy nutritional information spotlighting super-foods and foods to avoid.
- Nutritional information for infants and toddlers including bottle-feeding health tips, age-appropriate foods, how to choose a formula, and tips for homemade baby food.
- A helpful “Recommended Daily Intakes” guide broken down by age, featuring how much of each nutrient infants and toddlers should have each day.
- “Allergies 101” breaks down the differences between food allergies, food intolerance, and food aversion, as well as provides tips on how to manage allergies.
- A list of the most common allergies, dubbed “Class One Allergens,” explains symptoms and explanations behind the eight most popular allergens (i.e., peanuts, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, dairy and wheat). Other allergens such as sulfites, nitrates, nightshades, corn and gluten are also explored.
- Controversial ingredients such as carrageenans, trans fats, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial food dyes, caramel color, high fructose corn syrup, flavoring, acesulfame potassium, corn syrup solids and palm olein oil are explained and their side effects like hyperactivity examined.
- A 42-page product listing separates foods into four categories: baby formula, baby and toddler food, baby treats and snacks, beverages and supplements, creating an at-a-glance cross reference of hundreds of popular baby and toddler meals, baby treats and snacks and beverages and supplements, from formulas to juice.
“BABY Nutrition, Allergen & Score Guide is designed to help parents make better informed decision about what they are feeding their children, from infancy on,” said Stanley Rak, author and founder of Foodfacts.com. “When we use sugar-laden formulas in infancy and artificially flavored baby foods in later months, we are setting the stage for a host of behavioral and health problems that will impact them and their families socially, academically and financially. The United States is far behind countries in Europe and other parts of the world in terms of transparency in the food industry and providing a full accounting of ingredients on labels. What’s more, we have no rules about the use of chemicals that are known to be highly dangerous at worse and extremely addicting at best in our foods, snacks and beverages. Our excessive use of food dyes, allergens, artificial flavors and sugars, whether in the guise of high fructose corn syrup or other forms, has created a nation of kids that are inclined towards obesity, hyperactivity, sugar addiction and unhealthy adult years.”
Designed to be updated annually, BABY Nutrition, Allergen & Score Guide provides an overview of the Foodfacts.com Health Score, a patent-pending formula that looks at aspects of the nutrition label and assigns a grade based on Foodfacts.com’s nutrition department’s recommendations for that food group. That grade is then given a bonus for vitamins and loses points for controversial ingredients. The website says manufacturers have no input on the score, taste is not considered and scores are not compared between products, creating a simple, easy-to-understand tool to help consumers navigate the often confusing world of ingredient lists and nutritional labels. Brands, food products and ingredients are easily searched through the website’s A-Z filters, providing at-a-glance letter ratings (A and B are best) and breaking down the ratings as well into nutrients, class 1 allergens, other allergens and controversial items.
While kids and adults are equally craving and addicted to foods and beverages, from formula, snacks, candies, juices and sodas, there’s hope for those who want to eat smarter and healthier. Removing processed, mass-produced foods from the pantry and fridge need not be costly or traumatic. Within three weeks of eliminating unhealthy foods from a child or adult diet, multiple health benefits are evident. The reason? Addictions are believed to subside in this time frame, cleansing the body of chemicals which trigger mood, behavior, cravings and other downsides of unhealthy eating.
Foodfacts, the largest and most comprehensive internet source for nutritional facts, is based in Edison, NJ. For more information or to order BABY Nutrition, Allergen and Score Guide, priced at $14.95, visit http://www.foodfacts.com/. The book can also be found in digital form for kindle users on Amazon.com for $9.99.
Heidi Raker Goldstein is our Bergen county regional editor. A locavore, cooking enthusiast, publicist and mother of three junior gourmands. Heidi is equally comfy in greasy spoons and high-end restaurants. When not visiting local farmers markets and farm stands in Bergen and Rockland counties, this New England native, former Manhattanite and Bergen county resident is busy running her PR and green marketing agency, Raker Goldstein & Co., buying food, planning menus, cooking food, writing about food or simply eating. Heidi also writes at Redhead With A Fork, a life|style blog. To reach Heidi, email her at email@example.com.