The blog today sprang from some advertisements for a new TV programme which began last week and the first piece of news I heard this morning which was that children are not eating 5 a-day.
The television programme was about sugar. Yes that is it, just sugar. I didn't watch it. My mother told me about sugar when I was young, that too much can make you fat, that it wasn't good for your teeth and then there was the old wive's tale - it gives you worms!
Okay so that's about it - why do we need an hour's TV on the substance? Well its all about obesity and the amount of sugar put in processed foods.
A friend of mine was telling me of a Peruvian girl who thought that baked beans should be a pudding. She was correct in saying that it was sweet, there's loads of sugar in the food which is why children, and me, like baked beans. But as a pudding!!!!!
In fact from a health point of view its not just too much sugar but also too much salt and in fact anything that is unnatural. Processing food is the problem following hot on the heels of profit. If food companies produced food in its natural state without enhancements people wouldn't buy it and kids wouldn't eat the stuff. So how do they ensure sales? They add sugar and make extravagant health benefit claims, and at times, even produce a 'lite' version which is usually high in something else equally unhealthy.
The news item about children not eating enough fruit and vegetables was on the TV this morning. It included the interviewing of a health education teacher at a breakfast club in a primary school and two children having their packed lunches inspected by a doctor. It made me smile. The idea of breakfast clubs to help towards childminding the children of working parents was introduced about ten years ago. I used to help supervise a couple of mornings each week and the children had the option of cereal and toast with a drink. It was a social benefit to some as they were often turfed out of the house without breakfast. The school made a nominal charge and we even tried pieces of fruit however, the take up of fruit wasn't good enough to balance costs and waste when it wasn't eaten.
I did feel for one of the children, about eight or nine years old, who had a tray of fresh pineapple, an apple and a milk shake as a drink. She was told that there was too much pineapple and the milk shake was bad - too much sugar. The child was told by the doctor not to eat too much fruit as it was full of sugar! Yes fructose, unrefined natural sugar. I'm sure that child's mum thought she was sending her child to school with something quite healthy and foods that the child would consume readily.
I'm sure these people would have us grazing on our lawns rather than eating proper food.
Once again I feel the need to leap on my soapbox. If we spent time producing natural foods and not trying to engineer profit from absolutely everything our children would have fewer unhealthy choices. Oh its true that we may have fewer multi billionaires but somehow I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.