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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pediasure and the Illusion of Healthy Nutrition for Our Children


Recently I observed some kids having a snack drinking a bottle of Pediasure which brought back memories of when I used to work in the hospital and patients were given the adult version of Pediasure (Ensure) to assist in their recovery.  One would think that this stuff must be good for you if they exclusively serve it to hospital patients, right?  I call major stinking bullshit on this.  Anyone can read the ingredients of these products and quickly get an idea that 1) there’s a lot of sugar (which is listed as the second ingredient) and 2) what are all these big and fancy words?  These products contain synthetic isolates of nutrients made in a lab and nowhere in Nature.  This means that Man tried to be like God and make a new and improved version of food.  This might work if we were simply robots and a mechanical approach to our function was the answer but obviously we as Humans are much more than machines that require isolates of nutrition.  The food we eat, the whole foods as they come from Nature, are complexes of nutrients that work synergistically to sustain our life experience.  For example, Vitamin C is not one nutrient called ascorbic acid; it’s actually a complex called a fruit such as an orange.  It was thought that it was a single ingredient that was responsible for a particular effect; but it is now known that each ingredient works with the greater whole.  Our bodies will do what they can with synthetic isolates but over time there’s just so much it can withstand and when physical and mental symptoms manifest, it’s the body crying out for help.
With children, their bodies are growing and very resilient to consuming poor quality food.  Of course it won’t kill them right away and yes, their bodies will do its best with the poor quality nutrition but the point is if more parents were aware of how they can help their kids by simply making more conscious choices in their children’s diets, most would change.  But then again, this may force them to rethink about their own beliefs on what is healthy and many may not have the health reserves to do so.  In fact, most parents who feed Pediasure to their kids already think they are doing their kids a service by giving them this stuff because it’s “recommended by pediatricians”.  This is where conditioning from advertisements, marketing, and corporate alliances and sponsorships educate the public and influence their choices with regards to health.  From the evidence of the rise in childhood obesity, food allergies, autism, juvenile diabetes, and ADHD, there may be a link to the processed food that is marketed to our kids and these conditions.
Below is the actual ingredient list for their chocolate flavor drink:
ingredients:
WATER, SUGAR (SUCROSE), CORN MALTODEXTRIN, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER OIL, SOY OIL, COCOA POWDER (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, MEDIUM-CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES; LESS THAN 0.5% OF: SHORT-CHAIN FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, CELLULOSE GEL, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SALT (SODIUM CHLORIDE), CHOLINE CHLORIDE, SOY LECITHIN, MONOGLYCERIDES, C. COHNII OIL, ASCORBIC ACID, CELLULOSE GUM, CARRAGEENAN, m-INOSITOL, TURMERIC, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, TAURINE, FERROUS SULFATE, dl-ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, L-CARNITINE, ZINC SULFATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, NIACINAMIDE, FD&C RED#3, MANGANESE SULFATE, THIAMINE CHLORIDE HYDROCHLORIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, CUPRIC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FOLIC ACID, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, BIOTIN, SODIUM SELENATE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, PHYLLOQUINONE, CYANOCOBALAMIN, AND VITAMIN D3.

CONTAINS SOY AND MILK INGREDIENTS.

Pediasure contains milk concentrates and soy protein isolates which are cheap forms of protein.  It also contains synthetic vitamins and minerals along with other preservatives and food colorings. And let us not forget the cheap fats such as soy oil and safflower oil which by the way tend to go rancid which would explain the preservatives.  What ever happened to giving our kids whole foods?  Most kids are already desensitized to the natural sweetness of ripe produce and the wholesomeness of a home-made, prepared meal because 1) growing up with processed food and 2) that’s what the mother ate while pregnant and that’s what the parents still eat, and 3) from the billions of dollars spent on advertising targeting children – the minds are held captive as slaves to society’s beliefs.  For most of us in these modern times we grew up eating processed food and fast food and we seem to be okay, right?  But the truth is that for many of us we didn’t start to change our diet and nutrition habits until we started to feel unhealthy, overweight, sick, or depressed.
So why should we have our kids repeat the cycle?  If we start being more aware and challenge rather than passively accept our beliefs on health, don’t you think our kids wouldn’t be too far behind following us?  Just because you grew up believing something to be true does not mean it is true for you as an adult.  And the same goes for your children.  We always have a choice when it comes to matters of our life experience and thus our health.

16 comments:

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Dani said...

I'm so glad I found this post. My toddler is in her non-eating phase and I was really like "Maybe I should try PediaSure." But we severely limit her processed foods so I wanted to do some research first... No way is this bottle of chemicals getting ingested by my kid!

Anonymous said...

I know it's been a long time, but I was researching to see if I wanted to buy ensure/pediasure. I'm about get my bachelor's in Biochemistry and go to grad school. My advice...don't jump to conclusions about ingredients with long names, BIOTIN, m-INOSITOL, etc, etc. Most if not all of those you listed are naturally found in the body and necessary for proper nutrition.

Anonymous said...

My brother is 5, and has not eaten any foods.He is dependent on pediasure and has had no complications. He is a healthy 5 year old child.

Unknown said...

Hi, I had given pediasure to my daughter bet age 2 and 5.during that time every other day she used to have stomach upsets. Unfortunately I didn't associate with pediasure.The weight gain also was alarming. I stopped when I realised that. She is 9 now and even today her tummy and chest fat hasn't gone inspite of her heavy sports activities. She eats healthy and avoids junk food. Still controlling her weight is a challenge. I really regret giving pediasure.

Anonymous said...

My daughter has a rare muscle disease. She has poor feeding and therefore has a feeding tube. Pediasure is her only source of nutrition. Without it she would starve. She is on the growth chart now and otherwise healthy because of it. Thank goodness for pediasure.

Anonymous said...

Are you people serious!, thank god for pediasure..how about thank god for raw milk...poor feeding, she probably has gut issues and candida from all the sugar. Eat what your ancestors ate, not what scientists design for a warehouse. Those parents whose kids have eating problems, simply are taking a "shortcut" by feeding them canned nutrition...what!?! That is beyond lazy. Pick up a book (nourishing traditions), google epigenetics and get educated. The fact is..your kid won't show the effects till much later. I'm 30, I have autoimmune disease, heavy metal poisoning, systematic candida, and multiple food allergies. I was a "healthy" child to today's standards. Processed foods are crap for kids. Parents know better but just dont want to take the time to prepare something nutritious. If she can do pediasure, then she could easily do a raw milk shake, kefir, or rejuvelac. Quit making excuses and listening to these drs who know nothing about nutrition. Do your own research. My favorite site is thehealthyhomeeconomist.com

Robyn said...

I'm here because I have a 2-year-old who barely eats a thing. Some days he'll have a little yogurt and that's about it -- along with milk. I WANT to feed him good quality food, but he refuses to eat. I was hoping PediaSure would be an alternative to get some nutrition in him, but it doesn't sound like the way to go. I try to eat clean, myself, so I doubted it would be a good choice.

Anonymous said...

How about the organic pediasmart?

Anonymous said...

WOW the author sure knows his nutrition info - Douche!

Speak of facts of which you are sure of. You claim that parent take short cuts. Sure some do... Most others give them a balanced diet with proper wholesome foods yet the kid still refuses to eat.

YES! Pediasure works as a suppliment for kids with poor eating habits. Its not be all of foods.

So before you the AUTHOR go around making such irresponsible claims, as this has worked for countless kids who have dietary probs and parents going the extra mile.

Yes, many things out there are bad for kids, but parents do not intentionally feed kids crap. If you are that well versed on foods.. pls, do tell what alternatives are there for kids who REFUSE to eat?

FYI - not all natural wholesome foods are meant for kids as their bodies are not capable of digesting it.

I can go on and on... bottom line. This stuff WORKS as a SUPPLEMENT in a controlled manner. Not as a cheap ticket out.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
What about going to Trader Joe's or a similar place and getting some pure fluids like carrot juice, cranberry juice, pineapple etc? Why not give them real peanut butter (only peanuts in there and maybe salt optional) like Kroger's brand which is NOT expensive and is NOT crap like Skippy or Jiff? There's Smuckers/Laura Scudders peanut butter too but much more costly then Krogers (sold by Ralph's, Smith, Kroger). Put it on celery if they'll eat it or on a whole grain cracker. Add OJ to their diet that is NOT from concentrate like Tropicana (I use to drink Simply but heard they add flavors to the oranges BEFORE squeezing). Trader Joe's has an organic drinkable yogurt in a 4 pack this isn't too bad too if they prefer to drink, not eat. Feel free to contact me if you want more nutrition suggestions anais.nia@msn.com. Good luck to all! Anais

Linette Whiteman said...

If you don't mind me asking is your brother dependent on a g-tube/NG etc?

Anonymous said...

My son has been on a feeding tube for 7 years now and he was on the processed can formulas and now we blend his food he gets Whole Foods and he is much healthier.
is there a reason why your daughter Has to be on Pediasure is it possible that you can blend real food or is it that she is allergic to so much or just cannot process food?
I hope you don't mind me asking

Anonymous said...

thank you somebody that agrees with what I agree with this process junk is crap and the nutritionist push it on you

Anonymous said...

if you google homemade pedia sure there's hundreds of recipes
maybe that can help

Evafrombrea said...

good post...thank you for sharing.