The sticky truth about the white stuff
In 2016 20% of all 10 year olds in the UK were classed as obese and 15% classed as overweight. Up to 50% of parents questioned about their children’s weight thought that it was the right weight.
A report in the American Journal of Epidemiology published in 2015 investigated a large prospective cohort study in 2011 on 85,759 participants and concluded that those participants who had been obese in early adulthood had a 40-90% increased risk of higher mortality than non-obese. (1)
The short-term risks associated with childhood obesity include orthopaedic, neurological, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and social and behavioural (e.g., low self-esteem and altered body image) problems, any of which could have lasting consequences in adult-hood. Additionally, obese children are likely to become obese adults and midlife obesity has been linked to a host of adverse conditions, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and several cancers. Midlife obesity has also consistently been shown to hasten death with stronger associations suggested for whites than for other races.
Statistics from the US are very worrying and if current trends continue, this could become the first generation in U.S. history whose children have a shorter life span than their parents. And what happens in the US usually trends in the UK and in Europe.
Furthermore, scientists believe that in just 10 years time that up to 50% of the world’s population could be classed as obese.
So what is driving obesity?
The World Health Organisation, WHO identifies unhealthy nutrition patterns, along with increasing physical inactivity, as the main drivers of rising body weight around the world.
But there are biological, cultural and socio-economic factors too. How educated a person is, where they live and the access they have to food, especially fast-food outlets is an important factor. Research published in the Journal of Public Health concluded that there is a correlation between weight gain in mid-childhood and proximity to fast food establishments, particularly in areas of greater deprivation.
Regular consumption of takeaways has been associated with weight gain, due to the food containing high amounts of fat, sugar, salt and low in fibre, all contributing to poor nutrition and poor health. (2) Furthermore, fast food menus are less healthy than they were 50 years ago and the portions are much larger.
We live in an age of food 24/7. Our environment is saturated with advertising and accessibility, but to the wrong kind of foods.
Personal responsibility is being taken away by the fast food companies and food manufacturers telling us that it is OK to treat ourselves, to have a snack, to supersize. But these companies do have a responsibility to their consumers and they need to be taken to task, especially now with obesity killing twice as many people as cigarette smoke.
But perhaps, one of the most notorious factors driving obesity is sugar consumption.
Here in the UK is recommended that:
Children aged 11 and over and adults consume no more than 30g a day, the equivalent of 7 teaspoons a day from FREE SUGAR, or sugar that is not found naturally occurring in whole foods.
Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day or 6 teaspoons.
Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day or 5 teaspoons.
But, just one can of coke has 11g! That is 2.75 teaspoons of sugar.
Four Jelly babies have the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of sugar.
Despite these recommendations most people in the UK are consuming much more than the RDA, up to 20 teaspoons of sugar.
Think of 4g as 1 teaspoon.
Let’s see how this can add up over the day for children.
Take one of the most popular breakfast cereals for children, Chocolate Shreddies. A 40g serving has 11g of sugar which is 12% of the RDA. But this is not filling enough so you have 2 slices of white toast with Nutella. Each slice of bread is 40g with 1.4g of sugar and a teaspoon of Nutella has 8.4g of sugar. So our breakfast total is 22.2g of sugar.
A ham sandwich on brown bread has 3.4g of sugar.
A 2 finger Kit Kat has 10.6 g of sugar, an apple 15.7g, a pack of Walker’s Crisps 0.1g, a Capri Sun Pouch 16g. Lunch total 45.8g of sugar
Snack after school
Smarties Ice Cream cone has 11.6g of sugar
Breaded chicken nuggets, a serving of 5 nuggets 0.6g. Serve with a 15g serving of tomato ketchup, that is 1 tablespoon, 3.4 g of sugar. An 80g portion of carrots has 5.6g of sugar and for dessert a couple of Petit Filou have 2.9 g of sugar. So the dinner total is 12.5g of sugar
Daily Total 92.1g of sugar with just 21.3g from naturally occurring fruit and veg.
This way of eating is
CONVENIENCE, AT A COST
EMPTY CALORIES THAT FUEL DISEASE
AND A FAST TRACK TO AN EARLY AND POSSIBLY PAINFUL DEATH.
We need to make changes:
1.Do Not assume that ‘natural’ or ‘light’ or ‘healthy’ IS actually healthy. Read the labels. If there is a lot of sugar, put it back on the shelf.
2.Educate yourself on the different names for sugar…you will see it as Sucrose, Corn Syrup, Agave nectar, Rice Syrup, Glucose, Lactose, Maltose, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Barley Malt and so on.
3.Don’t Buy it…if it isn’t in the house then you can’t eat it.
4. Eat foods in as close to their natural state as possible. Our bodies are designed to eat REAL FOOD.
Thank you for reading,
In good health,