A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday: Sugar Consumption > Obesity?

How conscious are you of the sugar content in your food? Are you aware of the growing epidemic of diabetes in children and adults? Many of us are quick to point a finger at obesity (myself include), but a new paper from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have labeled sugar consumption as the culprit. This is an interesting article to read, and I thank Heather, a friend of ours, who shared an article on this topic with me yesterday.

The Fooducate Blog posted on this article today and helped summarize the main points. Here is the body of their post:

"Our daily sugar consumption today stands at 22 teaspoons. At 4 grams per teaspoon, 4 calories per gram, that works out to 352 calories! The most shocking fact is that just 30 years ago the average consumption was only a third of what it is today.
Instead of silly educational campaigns that are no match for corporate advertising budgets, the scientists suggest a set of drastic measures, mimicking the regulatory governance of alcohol and tobacco. 
- Heavy taxation on sugary foods and beverages
- Removing sugar from the FDA’s “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) list of ingredients
- Removing all sugary foods and drink from schools and nearby
- Prohibiting the advertising of sugary foods and drinks to kids and teens
- Banning the sale of sugary drinks to children"

Basically, the researches who published the paper say the government needs to step in to “help” consumers. While I don’t agree with the amounts of sugar in packaged foods, consumers can and should still make their own choices. Playing the ignorance card is just ridiculous in today’s world; you hear about obesity, diabetes, and unhealthy food consumption everywhere. Although taxing sugary food and drink may keep some consumers from buying the products, this is still not a good fix to me.

Education and awareness are the best options without controlling too much of our “freedom” in America. I understand this is an uphill battle and many parents are reluctant to learn anything on food and nutrition to teach their children. Thus, it’s a continuing cycle as these kids are raised without considering what is going on inside their bodies from the food they eat.

The majority of us complains about government intervention, but then look to them to solve many of our ongoing problems through regulation. There are more levels to how the government works than I can comment on, but I am sure their views on food and nutrition are skewed with the big money business that produce packaged foods. I say stick to educating yourselves, family, and friends; if others don’t catch on, then their loss. It’s harsh, but Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” comes to mind here.

I found this video ad against childhood obesity that aired in Australia and wanted to share it here.

I hate to see that children, whose capacity to learn most of life’s lessons from their parents, are unable seek knowledge on something they don’t know to look for. I agree with proper nutrition education and the ban on junk food in schools, but as I said before, the big money companies will fight against this.

A great start would be to eliminate nationwide sales of things like Girl Scout Cookies (hydrogenated fats included!); instead, have the Girl Scouts help support locally farmed food or minimally processed whole grain products. I’ll have a giant smile on my face when I actually want to stop and look at what foods the little scouts have to offer as I am walking into a store.

What are your thoughts on sugar consumption? If you haven’t already, is there anything you plan on changing to help better your health? Please post to comments and let me know your thoughts.

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