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Analysis of the content, colourants, fats, nitrate and nitrite in advertised foods and biological fluids of Egyptian children

Aly R. Abdel-Moemin (Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Home Economics, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 7 November 2016

417

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the content and some synthetic food colourants, total fats, nitrate and nitrite in both advertised foods (AF) and serum and urine samples of children (8 to 12 years) and their impact on childrens’ diet and health.

Design/methodology/approach

Analysis of the content of the AF was done by watching the three Egyptian children’s channels (ECC) for 38 hours. Amaranth, Indigo Carmine, Tartrazine, nitrate and nitrite were analysed in all AF and in serum and urine specimens of children. However, total fats were only analysed in the advertised processed meats and in the restaurant dishes. Lipid profile was also estimated in children.

Findings

The AF accounted for 46-54 per cent of the total advertisements presented. The advertised restaurant dishes were predominantly high in fats, 63 and 55 per cent in restaurant dishes and processed meats, respectively. Tartrazine was the only food colourant found in soft drinks and jelly powders measuring 0.2-15 µg/ml and 25-125 µg/g, respectively. The average levels of total nitrate and nitrite were higher than the acceptable daily intake of the Egyptian and WHO limits (125 mg/kg). Urinary Tartrazine and serum and urinary total nitrate and nitrite were significantly higher in the viewers’ children for the ECC and at borderline for lipid profile compared to non-viewers’ children.

Research limitations/implications

The most harmful effect of these advertisements is the cumulative effect of AF that undermines progress towards a healthy diet for children. AF may expose children to non-communicable disease in the future.

Practical implications

The local policy context requires action to set clear rules for children’s food advertising and monitor processed meat products to tackle exceeded levels of nitrate and nitrite.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to analyse colourants, fats, nitrate and nitrite in AF and in the serum and urine of children. This research shows a large number of AF (1,112) in the ECC for 38 hours with statistically significant increase of Tartrazine, nitrate and nitrite in AF (p<0.0001) and in biological fluids (p<0.05).

Keywords

Citation

Abdel-Moemin, A.R. (2016), "Analysis of the content, colourants, fats, nitrate and nitrite in advertised foods and biological fluids of Egyptian children", British Food Journal, Vol. 118 No. 11, pp. 2692-2709. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-03-2016-0125

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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