Imagine that your job is to help a food company make money. Imagine, at your disposable is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. How would you make sure your product sells the most units? You would try to have the highest amount of sugar possible. Or at least that is the strategy that most food companies have chosen. What if the world started realizing sugar causes a myriad of health problems? How could you keep them hooked? Well, let me tell you about some of the sinister strategies that were put in place to decrease informed choices. You tell your kids to limit sugar but DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH SUGAR IS IN EVERY DAY PRODUCTS? Do you know how much sugar is recommended by Health Canada and the World Health Organization? Let’s explore how the food industries are working together to hurt your children. And how our government has allowed their sinister covert strategies to hide this addictive ingredient …
I have been practicing naturopathic medicine for 11 years. I, my sister (also an ND) and one of our food coaches went to see the movie Fed Up a few weeks ago. I didn’t anticipate learning much. I know sugar is bad for us and that the food industries care little for producing quality food. Profit over public health seems to be the motes operandi of the food industries. I was shocked to discover how effective their strategies have been in reducing informed choices with respect to healthy food.
Here are a few brilliant and extremely harmful strategies that hurt our children every day:
- Marketing to children – remember sugar is more addictive than cocaine
- No daily percentage information about sugar on nutrition labels
- Marketing products to distract from sugar content – low sodium, low calorie, “natural”, great source of fibre, real fruit….blah blah blah… all carefully crafted lies to make sure your child gets hooked and in turn, promote sales of their products. It doesn’t seem to matter that their products cause serious and deadly health concerns. Money talks.
I HAD NO IDEA HOW COMMITTED THE FOOD INDUSTRY IS TO HARMING OUR CHILDREN. Fed Up is an absolutely must see movie for all parents. Based in the US, I wasn’t sure how much cross over there was in terms of food industry misleading information. After all, pizza is considered a vegetable in American cafeterias because of the tomato sauce (WHAT?). As soon as I left the theatre, I discovered a few home grown tidbits that confirmed that Canadian regulations are disappointingly lax when it comes to protecting our children. We also omit key information on labelling to help hide sugar content from consumers. Our schools also buy into marketing propaganda like TWIZZLERS for fibre content and juice as a healthy fruit choice.
How many grams of sugar should we be eating a day?
- Less than 6 tsp
Let’s explore how difficult this is with a few examples…
Notice that we have helped correct what the sugar and food industries have lobbied hard to keep off the label. The percentage daily intake is one of the most important parts of a food label. It would be easy to tell a child that one pop is more than the daily allowed intake of sugar according to Health Canada and the WHO. Wouldn’t it be great if with our busy lives, we could see that one small cup of yogurt was all the sugar we should be ingesting in a day? Informed consent is crucial when it comes to educating families on how to keep children healthy.
Recently, I had the privilege to speak to a group of high school students. I had all kinds of funny and interesting material ready in the hopes to hold their attention and get them interested in the food war. I was delighted to discover that many of these students were already very knowledgeable about food and food choices. Many were gluten free. A few had protein smoothies to start every day. Don’t the food industry, our schools and our government owe it to them to help them be healthy? According to a recent study out of the UK, these kids will have a shorter lifespan because of lifestyle choices. At the end of our lively discussion, I discovered that TWIZZLERS were considered a good source of fiber and thus were allowed to be sold in the cafeteria. Really? I am still disgusted by this deceptive food industry approach. If your company makes crap, please call it crap and own up. Spinning your junk food as healthy, natural, low sodium, low calorie, low sodium or as a “vegetable” is hurting our children.
Sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity, heart disease, arthritis and cancer. One teaspoon of sugar disrupts immune function for up to 5 hours. According to Dr. Mate in his wonderful book, When The Body Says No, a stronger immune system can and will prevent one of the scariest diseases ever faced by humankind.
So here are some take home thoughts and I apologize for my impassioned blog. As a parent, I feel betrayed. I am terrified that my children are already hooked on this terrible drug. Forget about alcohol and marijuana, my kids are given a more addictive substance as a reward after a hockey game, good practice, at school fundraisers, on their birthday, to celebrate holidays…. It is a sugar apocalypse.
- Juice isn’t healthy
- Yes, one treat a day is harmful for the body
- Most condiments are just sugar mixed with other ingredients
- Your child is very likely a sugar / simple carb junkie
- Cereal for breakfast is sugar in a bowl
- Chocolate milk has absolutely no health benefit (if you don’t believe me, ask a dietician)
- Yogurt and granola bars are not good snacks
- Fishy crackers and Mum mums are gateway foods to sugar addiction
Lots of love, thanks for reading. Join me in aiming for less than 6 tsp a day. For your kids and for yourself. The sugar revolution has begun. Let’s work together to educate our children, our schools and our communities.
Dr. Sonya Doherty, ND FMAPS (candidate), Natural Care Clinic