Junk Food Kids

I was heartbroken to watch a four year old girl having 8 rotten teeth surgically removed on Channel 4’s Junk Food Kids – Who’s to Blame?  Also featured were a boy with fatty liver disease and an obese 13y old girl whose parents wanted her to have gastric band surgery in preference to improving the family’s diet.   For all of these, typical fare at home was ready meals, takeaways, jacket potatoes with baked beans, piles of pasta, pizza, crisps, chocolate and sweet drinks – all guaranteed to pile weight on and rot teeth. The social media backlash accused parents of child abuse for letting their kids eat so badly but the parents were at their wits end. To them processed, sugary diets were normal and they didn’t know what to do to make them better.

Nutrition experts have campaigned many times for governmental control on sugar use by food and drink manufacturers. The government declined arguing that consumers can choose. Can they really? Manufacturers spend huge sums on advertising – and it works. Junk food is cheap, easy, quick and everyone eats it don’t they? Parents are left with a battle on their hands, parental discipline isn’t fashionable and a third of our children are overweight, many with bad teeth, both of which are entirely preventable.

What can we do? It seems the government isn’t going to help us and the manufacturers won’t so we need to support each other in raising awareness so that drinking water and eating real food become normal again.  A dentist near where I live has created a Sugar Shock poster showing the amount of sugar in different drinks. It’s brilliant! I had no idea that flavoured milk is worst of all. A local cafe has a lovely Michael Pollen quote on their wall ‘don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food’.  What can you do to help spread the message?

Top tip – for the sake of the children, lets help get each other back into real food

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Weight Gain Puzzle – The Answer

Last month I confidently declared that the reason Im slim now is the way I eat, not just luck, because twice I have been overweight. At the time, I had no idea why I was needing to stitch denim pieces into the top of my jeans to let the waist out. Like most overweight people in our media dominated world with its images of the body beautiful, I was deeply unhappy with my fat stomach. Later, knowing more about nutrition, I realised that the causes of my increased girth the first time were sandwiches and biscuits. The second time, the culprits were bread, potatoes, pasta and too little fat; the result of advice from a sports nutritionist.

If you know your food types you’ll have spotted that both times my problem was too much starchy carbohydrate. The second time this was exacerbated by having cut my saturated fat intake, never expecting that would be a bad thing. You might also recognise that the way I was eating was the way we’re all told to eat. Remember the food pyramid? Now we have the eat well plate. Both place great emphasis on starchy carbohydrate.

Tot up the portions of starchy carbohydrate you eat in a day starting with breakfast (breakfast cereal, croissants, toast), then lunch (sandwiches, wraps, jacket potatoes), dinner (potatoes, pasta, rice, peas, carrots) and snacks (crisps, crackers).

I can’t begin to fathom why we’re advised to eat in a way that has resulted in over half our population being overweight and miserable. I can test to find out your individual ideal mix of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and discover how much starch you can handle. It’s probably less than you’d expect. For weight loss and energy gain, it’s well worth knowing and some simple changes could give you a boost.

Top tip: Go easy on the starch.