Every parenting book, veteran mom, and pediatrician today will tell new moms that "breastfeeding is best", discouraging her to even think briefly about formula feeding. Research has shown the wonders breastfeeding can do for the mom and the baby, especially health wise. Babies fed breastmilk have a slimmer chance of developing cancer and diabetes later in life for example, and so do moms who breastfeed too. There's the higher IQ thing to consider, and the immune system built to fight off infections. Breastfed babies are less likely to be hospitalized and have a lower risk of succumbing to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The benefits of breastfeeding are just too many to begin to count; we aren't arguing that breastmilk isn't a wonderful source of nutrition for babies that contains everything they need to thrive, and then some. However, some disturbing new findings show that breastmilk may contain minuscule amounts of harmful substances along with its many glorious ingredients.
In fact, a 2015 Harvard study revealed that for every month they are breastfed, babies have an increase of up to 20-30% of toxins building up in their bodies. The amounts of harmful substances found in breastmilk are often so small they are almost undetectable, but recent findings have also shown that if the breast milk of most women today was sold at a local grocery store, it wouldn't pass FDA regulations due to the dangerous amounts of toxins contained therein.
Findings are still inconclusive, but we were shocked to find the 21 foods listed below mentioned as culprits. However, do not panic if you find your favorite food on this list (and you will), the truth is that the world has always been a beautiful yet dangerous place, and as long as babies are fed, whether it's with formula or breastmilk, they will do just fine, despite the toxins and chemicals and such lurking seemingly around every corner.
21 Bacon - The Sodium Overload
OK, bacon is super delicious! Everyone knows that, but what everyone doesn't know is that bacon is also one of the most toxic foods you can eat! Just one serving of bacon has 435 mg of sodium. That's in 3 slices alone! This means that if you have hypertension, bacon is a flat out no-no. It’s loaded with nitrates, smoke flavoring, and artificial colors.
Some bacon meat is first cleaned with ammonia to kill pathogens, and then they add those artificial colors to make it look clean and fresh. If you see the words “processing agents” on the package, then you know they used ammonia or bleach to clean the meat (major yuck factor). In fact, if you ate just one serving of bacon six days a week, you would increase your risk of stroke or heart disease by as much as 41 percent! So although no one thinks bacon is a good thing, it’s much worse than they imagined. Just imagine how many toxins get passed to the baby courtesy of bacon.
The next time you go to that County Fair and they offer you a deep fried bacon wrapped ice cream, you really need to pass.
20 Potato Chips Are The Worst
Okay, so nobody needs to tell you that potato chips don't have the same properties as black tea or even a baked potato. In fact, we would bet you knew that all that frying was essentially bad. That hasn't prevented you from eating them once in a while, however, has it?
Frying at such high temperatures, you transform potatoes into cancer-causing supermen loaded with the hazardous substance called acrylamide. Studies done with animals show that acrylamide in the diet increases the risk of developing several different types of cancer, including stomach and colon cancer and don't get me started on the salt levels. You certainly do not want to pass those along to your breastfeeding baby, do you?
So, ignore that midnight craving for cheese fries. Think of your child!
19 Chocolate - You Knew Caffeine Was Bad
You just didn't know that chocolate contained loads of it. It's the reason why your three-year-old turns into Ben10 after eating them.
Previously, break time would have meant chocolate time. But not anymore. Chocolate is rich in the substance called theobromine, which has an effect similar to that of caffeine. If you feel that your little one’s crankiness is due to your chocolate consumption, you are onto something.
The only way to know if you are taking too much caffeine is to observe your baby’s behavior. If a mother consumes more than 750mg of caffeine or theobromine a day, the baby might exhibit erratic and fussy behavior, besides suffering from sleep issues. And it doesn't simply stop there, the toxins may, after a long period of building up, cause disorders in the baby.
18 Limes, Grapefruits, And Oranges, Oh My!
Those fruits along with others having a sweet-sour taste belong to the family 'citrusciella' (you bet I made that up). Citrus fruits are a source of vitamin C, but their acidic components can irritate little tummies. You may have noticed already that your little one becomes real fussy after breastfeeding if you've had a few oranges. Their immature gastrointestinal tract will not be able to deal with these components, thus resulting in diaper rash, fussiness, spitting up and more.
Although the toxicity of citrus fruits is much kinder on your breastfed baby than that of many of the other foods on this list, you may decide to cut down on citrus fruits for the sake of your baby's comfort. If you do decide to do so, replace them with other vitamin C-rich foods like papayas, pineapples, strawberries, leafy greens or mangoes.
17 Tuna Can Hurt The Baby's Neuro Development
Mercury appears in your breast milk if you eat high-mercury fish and other foods that are high in that element. Higher levels of mercury in the breast milk can affect the baby’s neurological development.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “If a breastfeeding woman consumes a high amount of mercury-rich foods, it could harm the development of baby by transferring into the breast milk and then onto the baby.”
FDA recommends that “breastfeeding women should avoid eating swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico as they contain high amounts of mercury.” Eat fish (including canned tuna) in moderation, not exceeding two servings a week.
Craving fish? Just have a type with a lower level of mercury, like salmon, tilapia, cod or catfish. Craving tuna, in particular? Try to look out for the "light" canned versions.
16 Cherry Pits - Cyanide Poison
While you shouldn't freak out if you accidentally swallow a cherry pit — they're rarely poisonous when eaten whole — but whatever you do, don't eat a broken pit. Because aside from tasting really bitter and generally being impossible to chew, the stones of certain stone fruits, like cherries, apricots, plums, and peaches, contain cyanogenic compounds —science talk for "stuff that your body can turn into cyanide."
So, how many cherry pits is a lethal amount of cherry pits? After some quick Googling, we found that hydrogen cyanide is lethal at about 1.52 milligrams per kilogram, meaning that it takes little more than 0.1 grams (a dime weighs about one gram) of the toxin to dispatch a 150 pound human. A single cherry yields roughly 0.17 grams of lethal cyanide per gram of seed, so depending on the size of the kernel, ingesting just one or two freshly crushed pits can lead to death for you and your baby.
15 Canola Oil... Because There Isn't A Canola Plant
I hate to burst your bubble with this one but your favorite 'organic' oil is toxic. There, now be done with the tears and read on to learn how you and I both have been deceived.
What exactly is canola oil? Have you ever seen a canola plant? No? That’s because there isn’t one! Canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant and there is one thing everyone can agree on: rapeseed plants stink. In order to make “canola” oil, the rapeseed plant goes through a chemical process with a compound called hexane (who knew gasoline was tasty) to lose its odor.
When this oil is being made, any healthy nutritional value gets processed right out of it, which is why you should never use this to cook with, and you should never consume any foods that contain this. Brace yourself for this one - about 25 years ago, the FDA outlawed canola oil in infant formula because it retards growth!
14 Store-Bought Dairy Is Dripping With Growth Hormones
Although milk, and many milk products, have calcium, vitamin B, and protein, they also have high levels of fat, hormones, and antibiotics. As many as 6 out of every 10 Americans have some type of milk intolerance, which makes you wonder if, biologically anyway, we really have a need for milk at all. The dairy industry will try to tell you that milk is “Mother Nature’s Perfect Food,” and for cows, it is!
For humans, though, perhaps not so much. At least not the commercially-processed homogenized, pasteurized milk and milk products we buy at the supermarket. Milk cows have a constant source of a growth hormone given to them through a time released tablet which is put under the skin of the cow, near the ear. After slaughter, the ears are cut off, but these hormones have leeched into the milk by then. Also, because factory farmed cows are kept in such tight, dirty conditions, they are regularly fed antibiotics to avoid infections. Antibiotics that pass into the milk of dairy cows. Yuck.
13 Corn - Making You Big Agra’s Guinea Pig
It is one of the most well-known GMO crops around. Avoiding corn is certainly a no-brainer, but remember to think about all the foods you eat that are made with GMO corn, including cereal, tortillas, corn oil, corn meal and corn flour, and tamales, for example. More than 90 percent of all corn grown in the USA is GM corn.
Unless you are buying your corn from a small, private farmer, such as one you might meet at a farmers’ market, you are most likely eating GM corn. In studies done with mice and rats, GM corn showed accelerated growth in mammary tumors and tumors in the reproductive systems. Even though Big Agra, such as Monsanto, will try to tell you that these food products are safe, there have been almost no studies to show that, but plenty of studies to show that these foods have been linked to premature death, gastric lesions, and kidney damage. What's more, you could be exposing your little one to unnecessary toxins!
Why risk it? Don’t be Big Agra’s guinea pig; avoid GM corn.
12 Margarine - Filled With Trans Fats
Almost all margarines are made with highly processed vegetable oils, and although that might sound healthy, it’s not. This means that margarine contains large amounts of very unhealthy trans fats.
Butter is a natural substance, as is coconut oil, but vegetable oils cannot be obtained by any way other than through a chemical process which, while removing oil from these vegetables, removes any healthy attributes that these veggies had to begin with.
Don’t forget, also, that canola, corn, and soy are almost exclusively GM products. When changing these vegetable oils into margarine, they must undergo another process called hydrogenation, which makes these oils solid at room temperature. This process is when those dangerous trans fats are created. Yum, nothing like chemically-processed, overheated, deodorized margarine on your toast in the morning! Again, this is passed to the baby.
11 Mac & Cheese - Harmful Chemicals
Boxed mac and cheese is often a means of survival for tots and poor moms, but new research shows that there may be harmful chemicals in that powdered cheese.
Lab tests revealed that toxic industrial chemicals, called phthalates, are found in 10 varieties of macaroni and cheese, including eight out of nine Kraft products. These phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that could cause reproductive and thyroid issues, as well as neurological problems in kids and unborn babies.
Out of all 30 cheese products tested — 10 cheese powder, 5 sliced cheese and 15 natural cheese samples — 29 of them had phthalates. Powdered mac and cheese products had the highest amount of phthalates of all the types of cheese tested. Need a quick cheese fix? Buy good-quality cheese from the grocery store and portion it out into snacks!
10 Garlic - Beware Of Sulfur
Garlic may lower cholesterol and reduce your risk for certain cancers. People have used garlic medicinally for thousands of years, it’s a folk superstar. The bulb appears to have a positive effect on the blood vessels and may even act as a blood thinner, thus acting as a remedy for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
These healing properties primarily stem from the sulfur compound allicin which is the main active compound in garlic. But, you know that too much of a good thing could be bad and it isn't any different with garlic. This sulfur compound can literally burn your internal organs if taken in excess and the smell alone is enough to make your baby hate milk. If you find your baby at discomfort while nursing, check if garlic is the reason. Some babies may grimace or fuss at the breast if they encounter garlic’s strong aroma. A toxin is something you can't eat after all.
9 Be Careful With Honey
Raw honey has high chances of containing spores of Clostridium botulinum. Just writing the word spores sends shivers down my spine.
Even though the digestive tract of an adult has healthy gut flora with the ability to kill the botulism spores, so that they will not enter the bloodstream or make their way into the breastmilk, they can still get into the baby's mouth. The spores may be too big to pass into the mother’s milk and even the botulinum toxin may not pass into breast milk but if you forget to wash your hands thoroughly after eating raw honey while breastfeeding, you could very well pass them on to the baby.
To avoid this, eat with moderation, choose good quality honey that is well-processed and pasteurized, and avoid honey extracted from plants belonging to the Rhododendron genus due to potential toxicity.
8 Chili - Don't Eat It For A Challenge
Red, green, long, sleek. Chilies are those beauties that take a dish from 'umm' to 'whoa!'. Chilies are renowned for their heat, which is what makes them so popular. And while the extremely hot effect is enough to make anyone back off from eating them excessively, it is actually the chemical capsaicin that causes this spiciness.
The toxic effects that have been reported with eating chilies include stomach pains, itchy skin and, in extreme cases, death. For most people, eating chilies will do little harm, but babies' bodies still have a lot to learn about digesting food and dumping toxins. All the same, it is best to eat capsaicin sparingly so make sure to take it easy and avoid any chilli eating challenges! It's tempting, I know, but wouldn't you rather eat something easier on your taste buds?
7 Sodas - Contain Brominated Veg Oil
This is one sounds like a no-brainer right? Then why is it that in spite of knowing that it's unhealthy, it hasn't stopped many a person from having one with their lunch every day. Be honest, you probably had one this week! Well, you should know that sodas are very toxic and have been linked to cavities and tooth decay.
Many sodas also contain something called brominated vegetable oil. You might wonder what vegetable oil is doing in a soda. I did too. This is used to keep the artificial flavors they add from separating and coming to the top of the soda. If that isn’t disgusting enough, this ingredient is linked to skin problems, nerve disorders, and memory loss. Definitely not a toxin you want to pass on to your little one through breastmilk.
6 Food Enhancers - 'Good Forever' For A Reason
There is no denying that those little “good forever” condiments such as ketchup, salad dressings, relishes, hot sauce, even those prepackaged creamers (you know, the ones that never need refrigeration) are super convenient. But at what price? Have you ever wondered why these foods don’t need to be refrigerated?
You might have thought that it was because they lacked eggs or milk, but that’s only part of it. Why would they last forever sitting out on a shelf at room temperature? These condiments are not naturally dried or fermented as foods used to be; condiments are now made with food additives and preservatives, sweeteners (such as HFCS), trans fats, and chemicals such as dimethylpolysiloxane, which is an anti-foaming compound!
Should naturally-made ketchup ever have a reason to foam? Think twice before you eat these harmless looking food enhancers. Make your own at home- they are easy to make, much cheaper, and taste better than anything at the store.
5 Nutmeg Might Be The Most Dangerous
I know you are surprised, I was too. In fact, I could hardly contain my surprise. Nutmeg is easily my favorite spice but it doesn't change the fact that it is also one of the most immediately dangerous foods on this list, what's even more alarming is how readily available it is in the common store without any explanations about the dangers involved.
Although like many of the foods on the list, nutmeg does have reported health benefits, it can also be extremely dangerous when taken in large doses. Containing a toxic substance called myristicin, moderate proportions of nutmeg can cause hallucinations, while larger doses can cause convulsions, palpitations, nausea, dehydration, and even death. Some of these things on closer inspection may prove to be related to incidences of SIDS.
4 Fish Liver Oil - Because The Liver Serves As A Sieve
Fish liver oil can provide many benefits for the breastfeeding mom and her baby, but there are concerns about whether supplementation is safe. The biggest risk from cod liver oil is an overdose of vitamin A. While this is more of a concern during pregnancy, since high levels of vitamin A can lead to birth defects, a breastfeeding mother may also be concerned about consuming too much vitamin A and passing it to the baby through her breast milk.
Also, because cod liver oil comes from the liver (in lay man terms liver means the sieve) of the fish, it may be more likely to carry contaminants such as PCBs compared to fish oil derived from other fish parts, even despite extensive purification. These PCBs, whatever they may mean, are highly toxic and can be passed on from mother to child via breastmilk. Now a good reason to ditch them smelly things.
3 Almonds - Cyanides Again
This one almost made me pull out all my hair. I love these things, I would literally kill for these things any day, and I'm not certain that news of the potential poisoning effects of almonds will make me stop eating them.
For many years, almonds have been touted as the holy grail of healthy nuts and a lot of people were happy to have something that's both healthy and delicious. We've made milk of it, included it in every meal and if you were pregnant, you were told to eat at least ten a day during the last month to help quicken labor. I did, and my labor was super fast.
But the bubble has burst in recent years, during which findings have proven that the seeds of almonds, especially bitter almonds, contain lethal amounts of cyanide. This should be a 'don't eat seeds' rather than 'don't eat almonds' warning if you ask me.
2 Put Down The Mommy Juice
Alcohol can pass from the mom to her baby through breast milk and affect his neurological development. But after nine full months without a drink, it is fine to have an occasional glass of wine or beer.
Studies have shown that a couple of units once or twice a week do not harm your baby. Levels higher than these may inhibit mother’s “let down” reflex (i.e. the release of milk to the nipple area).
A nursing mom can drink some alcohol and continue to nurse her baby. Quitting alcohol makes life unessentially restrictive for breastfeeding moms. Just pump and dump or if you plan to have more than one drink at a time, wait for two hours before you breastfeed your baby.
So, you don't have to give up weekly margaritas with the girls, just limit your drinks to one or two, at a maximum.
Why is coffee topping the list? Isn't it the only thing keeping new moms sane? It is because of the caffeine content in it. Some amount of caffeine in the coffee (or tea, soda, energy drink or over-the-counter medicine) ends up in your breast milk. So what? Well, unlike adults, babies cannot excrete caffeine efficiently. So the accumulated caffeine in their bodies causes irritation, sleeplessness, and crankiness. High amounts of caffeine can lower iron levels in breast milk and decrease hemoglobin levels in the baby. Hence the best solution is to cut down on coffee.
“But, how do I begin my day, especially after a long sleepless night?” Have coffee moderately (not more than 2 to 3 cups a day) because smaller amounts of caffeine should be absolutely fine for the baby.