Would you stop your kids from eating wood? Why? It’s full of natural fiber isn’t it?
I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s just some things that are not meant to be eaten.
Before you pat yourself on the back for keeping your kids from munching on wood, they’re probably ingesting it on a daily basis. Even if you regularly read the nutrition label, you may miss this one. That’s because “wood pulp” can be listed as cellulose or even dietary fiber.
Unbelievably, wood pulp is an approved FDA ingredient. Cellulose is a common filler added to crackers, puddings, baked goods and even ice cream and shredded cheese. You’ll see it in various forms on the nutrition label: cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcry stalline cellulose, etc.
Kaylie wouldn’t think of eating wood. However, pumpkins are another matter altogether.
Why is Cellulose Added to Food?
Now, humans are unable to digest cellulose. Although we need plant fiber to keep our digestive track healthy, we lack the appropriate enzymes to break it down.
So why is it added to our food? Cellulose is an inexpensive filler. The most important feature of cellulose is that it’s cheap. Its main purpose is to extend the food product.
As food continues to rise in price, we will see more fillers in processed foods. Food producers save as much as 30 percent in ingredient costs by opting for cellulose as a filler or binder in processed foods.
Carefully Read Labels
Cellulose is in hundreds of popular foods. Are you purchasing items, which are low-fat or high-fiber, in order to be healthy? Cellulose is common in processed foods, often labeled as reduced-fat or high-fiber. It’s in products like breads, pancakes, crackers, pizza crusts, muffins, scrambled eggs, mashed potato mixes, and even cheesecake. It’s found in products from General Mills, Kellogg, McDonalds and Kraft Foods.
Wood pulp isn’t a food, even if it’s approved by the FDA. You can get all the natural fiber you need when you eat vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains.
The only place I want to see wood in my food is on the end of a Popsicle.
For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.