Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cancer


Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cancer

As most of people in this planet sometimes living without enough information in reference to health and the consequences, we usually go with the existing product in trend and look for what people is consuming and what society is accepting. New studies reveal that all artificial sweeteners are harmful for our health, below the information revealed about those artificial products.

Story at-a-glance

  • A significant increase in cancerous tumors was seen among male mice fed sucralose (Splenda)
  • The cancer risk increased along with the dose
  • The risk of leukemia in male mice also significantly increased, especially at higher doses

If you’ve added the artificial sweetener sucralose (brand name Splenda) to your diet because you think it’s a healthy alternative to sugar, you’re being dangerously misled. Research from the Ramazzini Institute has linked the popular sugar alternative to cancer, specifically leukemia.

The findings were first presented at a London cancer conference in 2012 and prompted The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to downgrade Splenda from its “safe” category to one of “caution.”

Now that the study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, CSPI has again downgraded Splenda, this time from “caution” to “avoid.”

Splenda May Increase Risk of Cancer in Mice

The researchers fed mice Splenda beginning prenatally and continuing for their entire lifespan. The mice were fed varying concentrations of the artificial sweetener: 0 ppm (parts per million), 500 ppm, 2,000 ppm, 8,000 ppm or 16,000 ppm.

A significant increase in cancerous tumors was seen among male mice, and the risk increased along with the dose. The risk of leukemia in male mice also significantly increased, especially at Splenda doses of 2,000 to 16,000 ppm.

“These findings do not support previous data that sucralose is biologically inert. More studies are necessary to show the safety of sucralose, including new and more adequate carcinogenic bioassay on rats.

Considering that millions of people are likely exposed, follow-up studies are urgent.”

CSPI explained that the only other long-term feeding studies conducted on Splenda were conducted by its manufacturer. After more than a decade, CSPI has finally gotten it right about Splenda in recommending that consumers avoid it. For the record, however, CSPI is generally an organization whose guidelines need to be taken with a grain of salt.

For instance, while recommending that people avoid artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame and saccharin, they still consider drinking diet soda to be safer than drinking regular soda.

Splenda Is Found in 4,500 Products

If you’d like to heed the warnings and cut Splenda from your diet, be aware that it’s found in more than 4,500 products. Splenda has been smartly marketed, and it’s most known for its tag line “made from sugar so it tastes like sugar.”

It’s earned a reputation for being somehow safer than other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is why PepsiCo ditched aspartame in its Diet Pepsi in 2015 and replaced it with none other than Splenda.

Splenda became one of the top-selling artificial sweeteners in the U.S. in a very short period of time. Between 2000 and 2004, the percentage of U.S. households using Splenda products jumped from 3 percent to 20 percent. By 2012, Splenda produced sales of nearly $288 million. But make no mistake; Splenda is far from natural, even though it technically does start off as a sugar molecule. In the five-step patented process of making sucralose, three chlorine molecules are added to a sucrose or sugar molecule.

A sucrose molecule is a disaccharide that contains two single sugars bound together: glucose and fructose. The chemical process to make sucralose alters the chemical composition of the sugar so much that it is somehow converted to a fructose-galactose molecule.

This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this “unique” biochemical make-up, the manufacturers claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by your body, making it have zero calories.

Splenda is supposed to pass right through you. However, the research (which is primarily extrapolated from animal studies) indicates that about 15 percent of sucralose is, in fact, absorbed into your digestive system and ultimately stored in your body.
An animal study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health; for instance, found that Splenda reduces the amount of beneficial bacteria in rat intestines by 50 percent while also increasing the pH level.If the potential cancer finding isn’t enough to sway you away from this toxic artificial sweetener, be aware that Splenda may wreak havoc on your gut bacteria, which could have an untold number of consequences on your health.

It also affected a glycoprotein that may affect the way certain drugs are metabolized:

“At the end of the 12-wk treatment period, the numbers of total anaerobes, bifid bacteria, lactobacilli, Bacteroides, clostridia, and total aerobic bacteria were significantly decreased … Splenda also increased fecal pH

These changes occurred at Splenda dosages that contained sucralose at 1.1 to 11 mg/kg (the U.S. FDA Acceptable Daily Intake for sucralose is 5 mg/kg).

Evidence indicates that a 12-wk administration of Splenda exerted numerous adverse effects, including (1) reduction in beneficial fecal microflora, (2) increased fecal pH, and (3) enhanced expression levels of P-gp, CYP3A4, and CYP2D1, which are known to limit the bioavailability of orally administered drugs.”

Splenda May Have Neurotoxic Effects and Is Found in Water

Research published in 2014 detailed Splenda’s oxidative effects and suggested the sweetener may have neurotoxic properties.

The researchers, who assessed the effects of sucralose on water fleas, concluded that: “exposure to sucralose may induce neurological and oxidative mechanisms with potentially important consequences for animal behavior and physiology.”

The enzyme acetylcholinesterase is found in all animals, and for researchers looking for possible effects that artificial sweeteners like Splenda might have on animals and humans, this new information was disturbing.

If for no other reason, that’s why it’s so important to find out the consequences of Splenda exposure sooner rather than later, as the chemicals have already been detected in municipal effluents and surface waters in both the U.S. and Europe.

Splenda Raises Your Insulin Levels

Far from being an inert substance, research also shows that Splenda affects your body’s insulin response. When study participants drank a Splenda-sweetened beverage, their insulin levels rose about 20 percent higher than when they consumed only water prior to taking a glucose-challenge test.

Blood sugar levels also peaked at a higher level, “So the artificial sweetener was related to an enhanced blood insulin and glucose response,” researchers noted, adding:

“Although we found that sucralose affects the glucose and insulin response to glucose ingestion, we don’t know the mechanism responsible. We have shown that sucralose is having an effect. In obese people without diabetes, we have shown sucralose is more than just something sweet that you put into your mouth with no other consequences.

What these all mean for daily life scenarios is still unknown, but our findings are stressing the need for more studies. Whether these acute effects of sucralose will influence how our bodies handle sugar in the long-term is something we need to know.”

Artificial Sweeteners Confuse Your Metabolism

When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain’s reward center. The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are “full” once a certain amount of calories have been ingested.

However, when you consume something that tastes sweet but doesn’t contain any calories, like an artificial sweetener, your brain’s pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweet taste. However, there’s nothing to deactivate it since the calories never arrive.

Artificial sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it’s going to receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar doesn’t come your body continues to signal that it needs more, which results in carb cravings.

Contrary to industry claims, research over the last 30 years — including several large-scale prospective cohort studies — has shown that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and produce a variety of metabolic dysfunctions that promote fat storage and weight gain — often to the researchers’ great surprise.

For instance, a 2010 review published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine revealed the correlation between increased usage of artificial sweeteners in food and drinks and the corresponding rise in obesity. More than 11,650 children aged 9 to 14 were included in this study. Each daily serving of diet beverage was associated with a body mass index (BMI) increase of 0.16 kg/m2.

You can see the trends for yourself in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine graphic below, which clearly refutes the beverage industry’s claims that artificially sweetened diet soda aids weight loss.

Are There Safer Artificial Sweeteners?

I recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners of any kind, as each is linked with its own risks. Aspartame is perhaps the most dangerous of the bunch. At least it’s one of the most widely used and has the most reports of adverse effects. There are also hundreds of scientific studies demonstrating its harmful effects.

Sugar alcohols are another option on the market. They can be identified by the commonality of “ol” at the end of their name, such as xylitol glucitol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, glycerol, and lactitol. They’re not as sweet as sugar, and they do contain fewer calories, but they’re not calorie-free. So don’t get confused by the “sugar-free” label on foods containing these sweeteners.

One reason that sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar is because they’re not completely absorbed into your body. Because of this, eating too many foods containing sugar alcohols can lead to abdominal gas and diarrhea. It’s also worth noting that maltitol, a commonly used sugar alcohol, spikes blood sugar almost as much as a starchy new potato.

Xylitol, in comparison, does not have a great effect on your blood sugar, so from that perspective it may be a better choice. In moderation, some sugar alcohols can be a better choice than artificial sweeteners like Splenda and aspartame. Of the various sugar alcohols, xylitol is one of the best. When it is pure, the potential side effects are minimal, and it actually comes with some benefits such as fighting tooth decay.

All in all, I would say that xylitol is reasonably safe, and potentially even a mildly beneficial sweetener. As a side note, xylitol is toxic to dogs and some other animals, so be sure to keep it out of reach of your family pets.)

That being said, two of the best natural sugar substitutes are from the plant kingdom: Stevia and Luo Han Guo (also spelled Luo Han Kuo). Stevia, a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, is sold as a supplement. It’s completely safe in its natural form and can be used to sweeten most dishes and drinks.

Luo Han Kuo is similar to Stevia, but it’s a bit more expensive and harder to find. In China, the Luo Han fruit has been used as a sweetener for centuries, and it’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar.

How to Break Free From Artificial Sweeteners

The best option of all is to break free from the grip of artificial sweeteners, which starts by eliminating your sugar cravings. If you aren’t craving something sweet, you probably won’t have a desire to reach for an artificial sweetener.

First, I highly recommend trying an energy psychology technique called Turbo Tapping, which has helped many “soda addicts” kick their habit, and it should work for any type of sweet craving (or diet soda craving) you may have. A few other tricks to try to kick your sugar cravings:

  • Exercise:Anyone who exercises intensely on a regular basis will know that significant amounts of cardiovascular exercise is one of the best “cures” for food cravings. It always amazes me how my appetite, especially for sweets, dramatically decreases after a good workout.

I believe the mechanism is related to the dramatic reduction in insulin levels that occurs after exercise. Additionally, if you do eat sugars or fruits around the time of the exercise, your sugar levels will not rise as it will metabolized for fuel

  • Organic, black coffee:Coffee is a potent opioid receptor antagonist, and contains compounds such as cafestrol — found plentifully in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee — which can bind to your opioid receptors, occupy them and essentially block your addiction to other opioid-releasing food. This may profoundly reduce the addictive power of other substances, such as sugar.
  • Sour taste, such as that from cultured vegetables, helps to reduce sweet cravings, too. This is doubly beneficial, as fermented vegetablesalso promote gut health. You can also try adding lemonor lime juice to your water.

10 Things I Wish People Would Stop Doing Around My Kids

There are a few things I wish other parents would stop doing when it comes to my kids—or at the very least in front of them. With some things, when I clearly know the intent, it’s much easier to let it go, but other times I find myself digging deep to extend grace (if I’m honest there have been times when I’ve dug deep and come up with nothing).

Still, I’m not here to judge. I’m just here to encourage us to look within and to be mindful of the things we are doing and saying, not just when it comes to our own kids. I’m sure I’ve done something to result in an eye-roll from another mom. So while I’m asking you to please stop talking like a sailor in front of my children who happen to be right behind you in the grocery store checkout line, I’m also doing my best to teach my children about our own family values and expectations and that we don’t necessarily have to like or agree with everything someone does to respect them or be kind.

1. Let their kids use social media

Apparently my tween is the only one who doesn’t have Instagram or Snapchat (hey, I don’t even have Snapchat)—which means I’m being totally unreasonable here. I’m OK with that, but is there anyone out there who can give me a (virtual) high-five?

2. (Well-meaning strangers) offer my kids snacks

You thought the tears were bad, now just wait until I say, “No thank you.”

My little one is crying and you wanted to help so you waved your magic wand, I mean lollipop. Actually, you did ask me if she could have it but she was right there listening and watching that gleaming piece of candy move through the air. You thought the tears were bad, now just wait until I say, “No thank you.”

3. Ask me for a favor related to your kid

Perhaps the only thing worse than my child putting me on the spot is another parent putting me on the spot—in front of both our kids.

4. Drop F-bombs

Given I’ve got a 3-year-old who occasionally moonlights as a parrot, I try to be more careful about what I say around her. While I can control what I say, I can’t control what you say (Note: I’m not just talking about the occasional drop but rather a continuous stream of profanity as a part of your regular dialogue.). And there are some words that I don’t want to become a part of her increasingly expansive vocabulary.

5. Be mean

Making cruel, harsh and/or judgmental comments about parents or children or people in general just isn’t cool nor is it funny. When you pick apart the traits (physical or personality) of another person (even if they’re on TV), support negative stereotypes and engage in other forms of word vomit, I’m forced to question the value of our relationship when it comes to my family. Or maybe I question why I came to this restaurant and ask to be seated somewhere else. In our world kindness rules. You can totally, “sit with us.” Just be nice, OK?

6. Tell me how to discipline them

Lucky for you they’re my kids, which means you don’t need to worry yourself with how they should be disciplined.

If you’re coming from a good place and you’d like to share your thoughts in private, then please go right ahead. But I’d rather you not tell me that all parenting dilemmas would be solved if I would spank my kids or ground them or do whatever it is you do. Lucky for you they’re my kids, which means you don’t need to worry yourself with how they should be disciplined. Have you watched the news lately? There are greater fights for you to fight.

7. Make a negative or snarky comment about their appearance

I’m trying to raise girls that are comfortable in their own skin (and hair), and listening to you go on and on about how their hair is so coarse and how it must take forever and be so difficult to comb isn’t helping. We don’t need you to pity us or belittle us. We’re learning to work what God gave us and love it too. You don’t have to love it, but as the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say … “

8. Disrespect boundaries

Nope. If my kid doesn’t want to hug you they don’t have to. It doesn’t matter whether you are a relative or a friend; if you ask and they decline, that’s it. And please refrain from the manipulative fake cries or declarations that you aren’t going to give them a treat anymore. Keep your treat. They have a right to speak up when it comes to their bodies.

9. Gossip

How is gossiping about someone’s marriage woes or troubled teen over coffee actually helping them? Moreover how is it helping my kids, who are indirectly being invited into an (inappropriate) adult conversation? Children are children, not miniature grown-ups. So please, let them be little. Once again “If you don’t have anything nice to say … “

10. Insist that (insert magical childhood character) doesn’t exist.

Just because you’ve stopped believing doesn’t mean my children have to. In my house we’re holding on to the magic of childhood for as long as we can, and for us that includes penning letters to Santa and putting that lost tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy. (Also: Unlike our fictitious favorites, our God is real. We don’t attack your faith and ask that you please refrain from attacking ours.).

Is there anything you wish other parents would stop doing around your kids or you’re making more of an effort to stop doing?


I Smashed the Legos Today, And Now I’m Filled With Regret

Pete Wilgoren

I warned her.

I really did. I warned her.

And she just stood there. We needed to get ready. We were late. She knew we were late. So I warned her again. I did.

Still, she just stood there.

And I started counting to 30. I gave her 30 seconds to get it together. Time to get ready. Now. We’re late. 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8…. You need to get ready to go. Shoes and socks. Now. 9… 10… 11… 12… 13… 14… 15…. And she stood there. And I counted. And she just stood there staring me down defiantly.

And I counted more. 16… 17… 18… 19… 20. Don’t make me get to 30. She just stood there. Don’t do it. Stood there.

Don’t… 21… 22… 23… 24.

We’ve been here before. The morning battles. The not listening. The stare downs.

Stood there. Not this time. 25…

I took one of her small Lego sets, and I smashed it. Just like I threatened. One of the Lego sets she built piece by piece and proudly displayed. Destroyed. And she ran to her room in tears as Lego pieces scattered across the floor. I didn’t wait ’til 30.

I warned her I was going to punish her by getting rid of a Lego set. I warned her. I wanted to send a message. It was the culmination of all the not listenings. All the morning battles. All the frustration. So I sent a message. I did it. It was done. And immediately I thought, “What did I do?!”

She got ready for school in silence as I picked up all the Lego pieces I could find on the floor, from under the table, from behind the piano. I never found them all. We were so late that there wasn’t even time for breakfast anymore. We’d lost so much time on a useless battle over being late, the endless parenting battling over morning routines, I had to bag up some fruit and cereal for her and we headed out the door. In silence.

I dropped her off and headed to work, and I couldn’t shake it. In one instant, I created a memory she will never forget. Never.

I called my wife, and we talked it out as I drove. She listened. She’s always a good listener. And at some point, she said, “They’re little. We only have them for such a short time.” And she was right. I wanted to punish my kid, and I wanted to send a message. And I did. Unfortunately.

When I got off work, it was already dark. I battled the freeway home, and as I approached the exit for home, I passed right by it. I went to a local toy store and scanned the store shelves and spotted the same Lego set — the one with the little rocket ship amusement rides that spin around. I bought it.

I brought it home and walked up to the house. My little gal was already in her pajamas for the night. She saw the Lego set and smiled. I gave it to her and I said, “I didn’t handle the situation this morning properly. I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” And she gave me a big hug. She took the Lego box and dumped out the pieces on the floor and immediately started to rebuild. We started to rebuild.

Still, I know I created a memory she’ll never forget — the day Dad shattered her little Lego set — like little scratches on the surface of their childhood. This scratch was all mine. And I can’t take it back but I can do better. And I will.

By Pete Wilgoren

Irregular Bedtimes Could Be Damaging Children’s Health

What happens in the early years of a person’s life has a profound effect on how they fare later on. Thousands of research papers – many of them using the rich data in the British Birth Cohort studies – have shown that children who get a poor start in life are much more likely to experience difficulties as adults; whether that’s to do with poor health, or their ability to enjoy work and family life.

Ensuring that children get enough sleep is one of a number of ways to get them off to the best possible start in life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that toddlers should get roughly 11 to 14 hours of sleep every day. For children aged three to five years, the recommendation is ten to 13 hours, or nine to 11 hours for children once they’re at primary school.

But the latest research carried out by our team at UCL’s International Centre for Lifecourse Studies, shows that it’s not just the amount of sleep a child gets which matters. After digging into the data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) – which has followed the lives of some 20,000 children since the turn of the century – we found that having a regular bedtime also affects how they get on at home and at school, throughout the first decade of their lives.

The ‘jet lag’ effect:

To begin with, we looked at the relationship between regular and irregular bedtimes, and how the children got on in a range of cognitive tests. Parents who took part in the MCS were asked whether their children went to bed at a regular time on weekdays. Those who answered “always” or “usually” were put in the regular bedtime group, while those who answered “sometimes” or “never” were put in the irregular bedtime group.

The results were striking. Children with irregular bedtimes had lower scores on maths, reading and spatial awareness tests. In fact, the time that children went to bed had little or no effect on their basic number skills, or their ability to work with shapes. But having no set bedtime was linked to lower scores, especially for three-year-olds. The greatest dip in test results was seen in girls who had no set bedtime at their early life.

At the heart of this phenomenon is the circadian rhythm – the internal body clock, which tells you when it’s time to sleep and wake up.

If I travel from London to New York, I’m likely to be slightly ragged when I arrive, because jet lag is going to affect my cognitive abilities, appetite and emotions. If I bring one of my children with me, and I want them to do well at a maths test having just jumped across time zones, they will struggle even more than I will. If we think of the body is an instrument, then a child’s body is more prone to getting out of tune.

The same thing happens when children go to bed at 8pm one night, 10pm the next and 7pm another . Scientists sometimes call this the “social jet lag effect”. Without ever getting on a plane, a child’s bodily systems get shuffled through different time zones, and their circadian rhythms and hormonal systems take a hit as a result.

Best behavior:

As well as enhancing a child’s intellectual development, we found that regular bedtimes can also improve their behaviour.

At age seven, according to parents and teachers, children in the MCS who had irregular bedtimes were considerably more likely to have behavioural problems than their peers who had a regular bedtime. The more frequently a child had been able to go to bed at different times each night, the worse his or her behavioural problems were. In other words, the effects appeared to accumulate throughout childhood.

But we did find an important piece of good news,too: those negative effects on behaviour appeared to be reversible. Children who switched to having a regular bedtime showed improvements in their behaviour. This shows that it’s never too late to help children back onto a positive path, and a small change could make a big difference to how well they get on.

But of course, the reverse was also true: the behaviour of children who switched from a regular to an irregular bedtime got worse.

A weighty problem:

In a follow-up study, which looked at the impact of routines (including bedtimes) on obesity, we reported that children with irregular bedtimes were more likely to be overweight, and have lower self-esteem and satisfaction with their bodies.

In fact, of all the routines we studied, an inconsistent bedtime was most strongly associated with the risk of obesity. This supports other recent findings, which show that young children who skipped breakfast and went to bed at irregular times were more likely to be obese at age 11. Even children who “usually” had a regular bedtime were 20% more likely to be obese than those who “always” went to bed at around the same time.

Clearly, the evidence shows that a regular bedtime really matters when it comes to children’s health and development, throughout that crucial first decade of their lives. Including these findings alongside recommended hours of sleep in advice for all those caring for young children could make a real difference, by helping protect children from “social jet lag” and getting them off to a flying start instead.

More information Here

15 Reasons Why Toodlers Are Such Angry Little People

Toddlers get a bad rap. Their lives are tumultuous and filled with people who just don’t understand that they need their sandwiches cut into perfect triangles that don’t touch each other under any circumstances. And the juice should be in the blue cup…I mean the red cup…no, it’s actually the blue. Life is hard for these little dictators because sometimes they need to feel the satisfying crunch of a thousand Cheerios under their feet and most people are trying to take this away from them.

Of course, they feel angry. Who wouldn’t?

Here are some other reasons why toddlers are probably so angry all of the time:

1. They fall down a lot.

Have you ever seen how often those little shorties bite the big one? I don’t know any official numbers, but it’s often. I’d be pissed too if I was falling down all day long on legs that just weren’t working properly.

2. Moms don’t get shit right.

It’s not that hard, really. Moms should be able to figure out that clothes are painful to toddlers extremities, and that if your toddler wants to get into the car all by themselves, well then, the world will just need to wait.

3. There is literal crap in their pants.

And potty training is for losers.

4. Nobody understands what they are saying.

Words are hard, and sometimes screaming just feels right.

5. Everybody is trying to ‘change’ them.

If they have made a self-commitment to cry hysterically each time they don’t get to push the door button at the library, who are you to try and take this from them?

6. Nobody takes their problems seriously.

They don’t want your “help” while putting on their shoes; they just want one thousand years to get it right. Chill out.

7. Pants are the true oppressor of our great nation, and nobody seems to get this.

Toddlers get it. Legs are meant to feel all the changes of the seasons.

8. Time-outs are like jail for innocent people.

Toddlers are ruled by instinct, and their instincts tell them to say, “No!”  in a very loud voice when asked most things.

9. Everyone is always suggesting a nap.

They don’t need a nap; they just need someone to let them paint their body with syrup like God intended.

10. It’s like nobody has ever seen someone want to be naked in Target before.

Toddlers are innovators, and they predict that nudity is going to be the next trending topic.

11. It’s always, ‘hold my hand,’ ‘don’t run in the street,’ ‘don’t eat batteries,’ ‘don’t lick the cat.’

These things bring them joy. You don’t know that toddler’s life, lady.

12. They understand that the choices you are offering

them are complete bullshit.

Oh, really. They get to choose between taking a nap now or taking a nap in five minutes? They know a con when they see one.

13. There’s a never-ending list of things they need to do, and people keep jacking their shit up.

Jacking shit up — every toddler’s mom should wear a shirt that says this.

14. They haven’t known you for very long, so they need to see how long it takes for you to blow.

It’s like a long scientific experiment titled, “How fast can I make these people taking care of me lose their minds?” Their hypothesis is “very soon.”

15. Tantrums are great stress relievers.

It’s better than meditation and/or exercise according to some toddler experts.

So, next time you see a toddler losing his behavior at the grocery store, the playground, the pool, the library, the restaurant, or your own home, remember that they are just trying to live their most authentic life. Instead of trying to escape their wailing, you should really stay and watch and applaud their efforts. And give them candy.

Via Scary Mommy

5 Things You Need To Stop Giving My Kid


Clint Edwards

People are always giving my kids crap. Sometimes it’s my neighbors. Other times its friends, or doctors, or family. And, you know what, I get it. You are a generous person. You like to see children smile, and that’s awesome. But the fact is there are a few things that you just need to stop giving my kids. Things like…

  1. Stickers

Hey, doctor’s office, you give a child a sticker and they smile. Good for you. But do you ever stop to think about where all those Dora and Batman stickers end up? Let me tell you: my van. They stick them on my van window, and then in the heat of the sun, those suckers get permanently welded on there. Well…not the whole sticker. Just part of it. The part I can’t scratch off, leaving me with a white and pink blotch that looks like separating continents. Or they end up on my dining room table. Or on my kid’s shirt, and I forget to check the shirt for stickers because the damn thing was inside out when I did the laundry, and something happens in the wash that is similar to what happens during arc welding, and the sticker never fully comes off my daughter’s favorite shirt. So what am I saying? Every time you give a sticker to my child, you ruin my shit. Stop ruining my shit.

  1. Party Bags with Cheap Crappy Toys

Oh, you are so cute with your little themed goody bag for each kid who attends your child’s birthday party. Help me understand your logic. You have a child. You surely have had your child come home with one of those damn parachuting army men that works once and then gets tangled, so you spend the rest of the day untangling the stupid thing while your child cries, only for it to get tangled again a minute later. You’ve heard the shrill squeal of a cheap plastic kazoo. You know what stickers do to your van windows. So why do you hand that shit out? Stop perpetuating a problem that you know makes everyone hate you.

  1. Cheetos

I love Cheetos, but when given to my children their little hands look like they’ve been into Donald Trump’s sunscreen. Orange fingerprints line my van, their shirts, and my sofa. One small bag and suddenly it looks like my house has been dusted for prints. Unless they lick their fingers. Then everything is coated in a cheese-scented paste that is almost impossible to get out of furniture without good upholstery cleaner and Xanax.

  1. Your Broken Toys

I can’t count how many times I’ve been at a friend’s home and one of my children has fallen in love with some worn-out, crappy, broken-up princess tea set or Pikachu missing an ear, and suddenly I hear the words, “Oh…you can have it, sweetie.” Then I get the wink—that look from another parent that seems to say, “It’s your problem now.” Kiss my ass, it’s my problem! I have enough broken toys at my house. You don’t need to be passing your garbage into my house. I don’t need more. And I will admit, I have done this same thing before. Half the time it’s some broken toy my kids were given. Honestly, it feels like passing around broken toys is some sort of parental hot potato, each person trying to get rid of some silly piece of shit, when in fact we all just need to unify and start throwing this crap in the garbage. Can we do that? Together…please.

  1. Stuffed Animals

I’m not sure if stuffed animals can have sex. I try not to think about stuff like that, but what I do know is that they multiply. So I understand. You’ve got these stupid, button-eyed, hairy things growing in numbers. You want to thin the herd. Awesome. Throw them away. Give them to Goodwill. I don’t give a shit what you do with them, but don’t give them to my children because they are taking over my home, same as yours. Some of them smell bad. Real bad. Like whatever your kids did to them bad. Or they are sticky. I don’t need any more sticky crap, and neither do you. That’s why you gave it away. Sneaking stuffed animals from your house to mine is not being crafty, or spreading joy, it’s just you dumping your shit into my home. Stop it. You’re being an asshole.

I doubt many parents will disagree with this list. In fact, many will probably add to it. And if you do have a love for stickers on your van window or smelly stuffed animals or any of the other garbage I’ve listed, please comment below with your mailing address. I have a package to send you.


This Popular Sleep Aid May Be Harmful to Kids

There’s no quick fix that gets kids to sleep sooner, better, deeper. But melatonin comes pretty close.While medical experts don’t have much bad to say to adults about using melatonin, which isn’t a pharmaceutical rather a health supplement, some are concerned when it comes to regular use in children.

A recent New York Times Well blog post reported that while a lot of parents have given melatonin for their kids because it works—doctors don’t actually know whether it’s doing harm in the long run. Children’s brains are still growing and developing, and melatonin is a synthetic form of a hormone the pineal gland produces, and which signals to the brain it’s time for sleep.

“I think we just don’t know what the potential long-term effects are, particularly when you’re talking about young children,” said Dr. Judith Owens, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Parents really need to understand that there are potential risks.”

Research isn’t conclusive but some suggests that it could have effects not just on the brain but on other systems developing in children: reproductive, cardiovascular, immune and metabolic.

Melatonin has known possible side effects for adults, including “headaches, dizziness and daytime grogginess,” the Times reports. That last one is what makes it a sleep aid and also dangerous for drivers who might use it. The hormone-like substance, which is also found in foods like barley and walnuts, can also interfere with medications for blood pressure and diabetes.

When researchers looked into consistency across melatonin products, they found that 71 percent of their samples were at least 10 percent off from the written dose.

Doctors who treat sleep disorders in children have long known parents turn frequently turn to melatonin to help their kids with sleep issues, often picking up the pills at a health food store and not telling their own doctors—a mistake.

“I rarely see a family come in with a child with insomnia who hasn’t tried melatonin,” Owns said. “I would say at least 75 percent of the time when they come in to see us” at the sleep clinic, “they’re either on melatonin or they’ve tried it in the past.”

For those who give it to their children, Owens recommends letting their child’s doctor know. She also said the pills should be picked up from a reputable source. Because they’re not regulated by the Food and Drug Adminstration, there’s no way of know how much of the useful ingredient is in each pill. Buy “pharmaceutical grade,” which tend to have “more precise dosing levels.”

When researchers looked into consistency across melatonin products, they found that 71 percent of their samples were at least 10 percent off from the written dose. In fact—and this is where parents, particularly, should be cautious—some contained nearly 5 times the dosage written on the label.

So while there’s still no silver bullet for kids and sleep—except for lots of exercise, predictable nighttime routines and early (yes, early!) bedtimes—the melatonin temptation should be met with caution and some medical support.

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9 Things a Pediatrician Wishes You’d Stop Doing

One pediatrician tells us the truth about the things doctors wish parents would stop doing, now.
Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook, so unsuspecting moms and dads are left to figure out a lot on their own. Our go-to sources of advice—friends, the internet, our own parents—might not have the most reliable, up-to-date info. Then when we get to the pediatrician’s office, we’re either too stressed, rushed, or embarrassed to ask our questions. Doctors are great at telling you what to do, but even they might be hesitant to be upfront with parents about what not to do. So we asked Bill Bush, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to give us the truth about the things parents should stop doing, now.

1. Stop looking to the internet for medical advice

When you’re freaked out about your child’s symptoms, the first place to turn is usually Dr. Google. And while trusted sites like the American Academy of Pediatrics can have useful info, it’s still impossible to diagnose your kid over the internet. Instead, take your concerns to your doctor. “I’ve been given websites to look up because a parent is pretty sure their child has X, Y, or Z disease,” Dr. Bush says. “I’m always happy to look and get back to them, but a diagnosis is based on our medical evaluation.

2. Stop going to the ER for everything

I’m guilty of this one. Recently my 3-year-old ran head-first into the fridge, and after blood started coming out of his nose and mouth, I rushed him to the ER without waiting for a call back from his doctor. Four hours and a $900 bill later, he was pronounced totally fine. “Except for extreme emergencies, getting a phone call in to your physician’s office gives time for the child to calm and the family to make assessments, and for us to determine if there’s an alternative place we can have you seen,” Dr. Bush says. An urgent care facility or the pediatrician’s office the next day may be better options.

3. Stop requesting antibiotics.

It’s natural to want our kids to get better as soon as possible, but Dr. Bush says antibiotics aren’t always the answer. “There are times when it’s absolutely appropriate to give the antibiotic when they have a bacterial infection, but for the majority of the patients we see with viral illnesses, it’s not,” he says. “Colds and coughs don’t need an antibiotic, they just need time to heal.” Plus, giving antibiotics too often can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are then harder to fight off.

4. Stop refusing vaccinations and demanding alternative vaccine schedules.

Ironically, just as some parents rush to medicine, others are scared by vaccines. Even if parents agree vaccines are a good thing, they’re concerned about giving many at the same time. “Very solid evidence exists that immunizations prevent many deadly and debilitating childhood diseases,” Dr. Bush says. “The FDA requires any new combination of vaccines to prove equal effectiveness as if they were given on separate dates so we’re not overwhelming the immune system.” The problem with delaying vaccines, especially with babies, is children then go unprotected for longer. “When you start spreading them out, you put more kids at risk,” he says.

5. Stop allowing unlimited screen time.

Let’s face it: Screens are a part of our lives now, which the AAP recognized when they relaxed their rules around screen time. But even so, Dr. Bush says to make sure your kids have outdoor play for exercise, and face-to-face interaction for social development. “Life’s about interacting with other people, so encourage children to play with their friends in person instead of texting or playing video games online,” he says.

6. Stop blaming your child’s cold on being outside.

This is one myth that just won’t die. But your kid is not going to catch a cold by going jacket-less for the 10-second walk to the car, so it’s probably not worth fighting that battle. “Viral illnesses such as colds come from the spread of germs—kids touching everything and then they touch their eyes, nose, and mouth,” Dr. Bush says. “We see much more spread of illnesses in the wintertime when kids are all condensed into one small area for the entire school day.”

7. Stop skipping well-child visits.

We all lead busy lives, and when it comes time for what we consider “non-essential” appointments, it’s easy to let them pass by. But Dr. Bush says that’s a mistake. “If we switch from providing sick care to well care, we can do a better job of preventing or managing certain diseases,” he says. This includes hearing and vision problems, heart murmurs, blood pressure elevations, kids who are failing to grow and spines that may be developing scoliosis. Plus, the visits give you and your child a chance to feel more comfortable with your doctor, so you’ll be more likely to discuss any concerns in the future.

8. Stop using Q-tips to clean your child’s ears.

You may think you’re helping your child’s hygiene, but you’re really just pushing wax further into the ears. “Kids will come in sometimes with ear pain or decreased hearing because their ears are just so packed with wax from the Q-tip not bringing it out, but pushing it back,” Dr. Bush says. Instead, allow some water to get into your child’s ears at bath time, because the moisture should help wax naturally work itself out.

9. Stop freaking out about your child’s temperature.

It can be alarming when your child develops a fever, but once they are out of the newborn stage when it may be dangerous, it’s just something else to report to your doctor. “It’s a symptom like a runny nose, cough, or pain, part of the collection of information that helps us make decisions on what’s the appropriate diagnosis and treatment,” Dr. Bush says. “It’s very rare that a fever alarms us.”

Via Parents

11 Words That Have A Different Meaning After You Have Kids


You think you have mastered the English language. You’re sure you know the meaning of these commonly used words, right? But then you have kids. And you realize that these words you thought you knew take on a whole new definition once you become a parent. Here are 11 words that you’ve had to relearn since having kids, with brand-spanking-new definitions.

  1. Tired

Pre-Kid Definition: Feeling sleepy

Post-Kid Definition: EXHAUUUUSTED. Frickin’ BEAT! A condition usually brought on by severe lack of sleep which happens night after night with no recovery. Every muscle in your body aches. You feel like you just competed in two Iron Mans back to back. Your eyeballs burn. SO, SHUT UP, PRE-KID DEFINITION!

  1. All-Nighter

Pre-Kid Definition: An entire nighttime period spent partying and having fun. No sleep is experienced because one is too busy drinking, dancing and being free. Being so free and alive. So free …

Post-Kid Definition: An entire nighttime period spent up with your baby or toddler who is crying incessantly and won’t go back down in her mother-‘effing crib. Like, she won’t stop crying and it’s making your face melt. And this goes on all night long.

  1. Quickly

Pre-Kid Definition: Doing something with swiftness, efficiency, in a short amount of time.

Post-Kid Definiton: Leaving the house before noon. Or getting out of the grocery store in less than 2 hours.

Pre-Kid Definition: Trousers or nicely ironed slacks or skinny jeans
Post-Kid Definition: As in, yoga

  1. Eating Out

Pre-Kid Definition: Going to a restaurant and enjoying a leisurely meal wherein you eat and possibly have a glass or two of wine while you talk about world issues and/or the latest episode of RHOBH.

Post-Kid Definition: Going to a restaurant with the hopes of getting food in your belly before you a) either leave voluntarily with ranch dressing across your shirt and tears in your eyes, or b) are kindly asked to leave by the restaurant manager after more than 3 surrounding tables complain about the croutons flying from the circus happening at your table.

  1. Nap

Pre-Kid Definition: A brief episode of sleep, usually taken mid-day to rejuvenate and reenergize. Perhaps taken in a hammock after just a few beers or a delicious, slowly eaten meal.

Post-Kid Definition: Something that is a daily struggle to get your baby or toddler to do; something that doesn’t exist for you anymore, honey.

  1. Pants

Pre-Kid Definition: Trousers or nicely ironed slacks or skinny jeans

Post-Kid Definition: As in, yoga

  1. Sex

Pre-Kid Definition: Hot, torrid and potentially spur-of-the-moment boot-knocking that happens often and anywhere

Post-Kid Definition: A major event. Likely put on the calendar. To occur in your bedroom, done quietly as to not disturb young housemates, in an amount of time usually cut short by said housemates with a “MAAAAAHHHMMMM!” Or just crying, either of which pretty much kills the mood.

  1. Gross

Pre-Kid Definition: Very unpleasant, foul, even repulsive


  1. Chillin’

Pre-Kid Definition: Relaxing. Taking time to do absolutely nothing. Kicking it.

Post-Kid Definition: This word does not exist.

  1. Acceptable

Pre-Kid Definition: Able to be agreed upon. Suitable.

Post-Kid Definition: Whatever you can do — be it begging, bribing or surrendering — to get your small child to just put on her stupid pants.

  1. Love

Pre-Kid Definition: A feeling of deep affection or attachment

Post-Kid Definition: You never knew how your heart could burst with such happiness and intense affection for a tiny little human that looks sort of like you. Your soul lights up when you see him. Your heart aches when you are away from her. And you can’t even begin to imagine your life before they were in it. Even if you actually got sleep back then.

Once you have children, everything changes  even the definitions of words.


When It’s OK to Use Home Remedies on Kids and When It’s Not


A traditional pediatrician and a naturopathic physician weigh in on when you should—and shouldn’t—use home remedies on your kids.

Chances are you’ve probably used at least one home remedy on your child, whether it’s a “magic potion” cold remedy concoction of essential oils or a simple bee sting cure-all made out of baking soda and vinegar.

Whether you’re a believer in home remedies or not, the plethora of websites, books, and online courses available on the subject—from the not-so-natural medicine cabinet miracles to 100 percent organic homeopathic cures—suggests that many parents are not only believers but proactive embracers of treating their children with alternative methods.

But recent horror stories and warnings such as the Canadian parents who were convicted for their toddler’s death from meningitis because they used home remedies instead of taking him to the hospital; the infant who suffocated from a plastic bag home like remedy; and the Tennessee poison control center’s warning that more children are being accidentally poisoned by “essential oils”—have sparked a rather heated debate among parents online about the safety of treating kids without a doctor’s supervision.

Amid this sometimes angry dialogue, the crux of the conversation seems to hinge on this question: How do you know when it’s okay to use home remedies on your kids, and more importantly, how do you know when it’s not okay?

In hopes of empowering parents with information on the dos and don’ts of home remedy treatment, we spoke to two pediatric professionals to get their advice. Here are their thoughts:

The Traditional Doctor

Dr. Joseph Gig ante is a professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University and Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

When it comes to parents treating their children’s common ailments at home using either a “home remedy” or a homeopathic treatment option, what’s your overall philosophy?

“My philosophy regarding home remedies and homeopathic treatments is “first do no harm,” which echoes the Hippocratic Oath. There are many home remedies that might have minimal if any benefit to the child. However, if the parents feel like they want to try something and the treatment will not harm the child, then I don’t have a problem with the treatment. A second situation is one that is more worrisome and dangerous. This is when parents choose not to use a traditional medicine therapy that is known to be effective and instead opt for a homeopathic treatment that is ineffective, resulting in a delay in treatment and harm, and possibly death, of their child, as we have seen in a few cases recently.”

What symptoms or ailments do you think are safe for parents to treat at home—at least in the beginning?

“There are many symptoms and illnesses that are safe for parents to treat at home. The most common of these is the cold. Parents can support their child and make them feel more comfortable if their child has the common cold symptoms: cough, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat. Fever can also be managed at home. Parents often get very worried about fever, but fever is a response to an infection and helps fight the infection. Giving your child Tylenol or Ibuprofen helps bring the fever down and makes the child feel better. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common symptoms children get, which parents can treat at home by being sure their child stays well hydrated by encouraging fluid intake. Children will often also complain of headaches and stomachaches. In most instances, these symptoms are not serious and can be managed at home.”

Are there ailments and symptoms that you think parents should never treat at home?

“Yes. A fever that’s equal to or greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit in an infant less than 3 months of age should not be treated at home. The fever may be a sign of a serious bacterial infection. Fever associated with a severe headache and a stiff neck should also not be treated at home as these may be signs of meningitis. A parent should have their child evaluated if a fever lasts more than 5 days. A child who is having difficulty breathing, which may result in a blue color to their lips/mouth, should also be seen immediately. Children, who have had vomiting and diarrhea and now are not drinking at all, have decreased urination or are not acting like they may be severely dehydrated and need IV fluids.”

What are the most common errors that parents make when treating their kids at home?

“The most common error I see that parents make when treating their children at home is not giving their child enough Tylenol or Ibuprofen to treat a fever. The doses of these medicines are based on the child’s weight. As infants gain weight, their dose of Tylenol or Ibuprofen should increase; however, parents often dose based on a previous weight and as a result under dose their child. The other error I often see is parents using the wrong kind of thermometer. The most accurate way to measure an infant’s fever is using a rectal digital thermometer. Another common mistake is using over the counter cold/cough medicines. These medicines don’t work in children and can cause serious side effects.”

A couple of recent headlines have showcased tragic endings for parents who treated their kids at home, what can parents learn from these two tragic stories?

“Thankfully, tragic stories of children dying at home instead of seeking medical care are not common, but they are avoidable. They are probably due to a combination of lack of common sense, false beliefs by parents and false claims made by naturopathic practitioners. Parents should always be leery of practitioners who shun traditional medicine completely, are anti-science and make false claims about childhood immunizations. Medicines work; immunizations prevent disease and have saved millions of children’s lives. These practitioners may recommend treatments that are not effective and may result in a delay in seeking medical attention, as was the case in the Stephan meningitis case. If parents are using home remedies, they should seek medical attention if their child is not improving or getting worse within 1-2 days.”

The Naturopathic Physician

Dr. Jamie Oskin is a naturopathic doctor at Arizona Natural Health Center with expertise in homeopathy and natural pediatrics.

As a naturopathic doctor specializing in pediatrics, what is your overall philosophy as it relates to helping parents make the best choices for treating their kids at home?

“[I believe] lifestyle is very important for children to be healthy. For example, I work with parents to [not only cure ailments but also to] improve their child’s nutritional status—i.e., exercise more and get better quality sleep. These lifestyle components of health are essential for a child to live up to their fullest potential. Lifestyle medicine and homeopathy work hand in hand. The homeopathic remedies stimulate the body’s innate capacity to heal.  In other words, homeopathy stimulates the “nature” side of the equation to help make the child healthier. Lifestyle medicine promotes an environment (i.e. “nurture”) for the child to achieve optimal health. The “nature” + “nurture” is a perfect combination to help most children with most health concerns.”

What symptoms or ailments do you think are safe for parents to treat at home—at least in the beginning?

“Minor bumps and bruises can safely be treated at home without a doctor’s help with over the counter, Arnica. Self-limiting coughs and colds can be treated with over-the-counter products. Self-limiting allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can be treated at home with over-the-counter homeopathic products. Basic earaches can also be treated with over-the-counter products since most ear infections are viral, self-limiting and will resolve on their own within 48-72 hours.”

Are there symptoms or ailments that you encourage parents to not treat without calling you first?

“Any condition that is acute and intense, such as a high fever, delirium, unresponsiveness, neck stiffness, strep throat, excessive vomiting or diarrhea, dehydration, difficulty breathing as in pneumonia or asthma, should be treated with the help of a physician. Any condition which is chronic and ongoing that does not resolve with simple over-the-counter treatments should be treated with the help of a physician, example, recurrent ear infections, chronic eczema or psoriasis, ADHD, autism, PANS, tic disorders, asthma, autoimmune disease, etc.

If a patient has an acute life-threatening condition, such as meningitis, appendicitis, etc., then they must be treated in the emergency department or at a hospital. Safety and “first do no harm” always come first.”

A couple of recent headlines have showcased tragic endings for parents who treated their kids at home, what can parents learn from these two tragic stories?

“These two tragic stories are heart wrenching. In both cases, there seemed to be some misguided parents and/or even negligence. Home remedy or not, it is never a good idea to put a plastic bag over a child’s head, and it is downright dangerous to do so and then leave the child unattended. The other family’s child showed clear signs of meningitis—high fever, severe neck stiffness—and should have been seen immediately in an emergency department. Both cases highlight the importance for parents to yield to common sense when trying home remedies and also to always put their child’s safety first. Because these stories were tragic, they received a lot of media attention and shine alternative medicine in a poor light. But in both cases, alternative medicine was not the problem, but rather misguided parent decisions.”