Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

Sugar kills

August 19, 2014

After an X-ray, dental surgeon, that will be six teeth I will be taking out.

Was it six, to be honest, I lost count?

He reassured me he had taken out thousands of teeth (or was it tens of thousands) all around the world (and he was was a Lt Col), but I am not sure that was reassurance or not.

Why, I look after my teeth?


But I avoid sugar,

The damage was done years ago, in your teens.

Sadly all too true, my grandmother used to stuff us full of sweets.

As the dental surgeon said, people did not know what we know now, for my grandmother, it was an act of kindness.

But what is the excuse today? There is no excuse today for parents giving their children sweets, taking them to McDonald’s, giving them Coke and other sweetened fizzy drinks. Any parent that does, is engaging in child abuse.

A can of Coke, I cannot remember the figures, but at least ten spoons of sugar, maybe more. Would anyone put ten spoons of sugar in a drink? Can you imagine heaping ten spoons of sugar in a cup of tea.

Diet Coke does not let you off the hook either. it is fizzed with CO2, a carbonated drink (in essence Coke is nothing more than syrupy fizzy water). The CO2 makes it acidic, and that eats into your teeth.

So nothing for it, grin and bear it, half a dozen teeth to be extracted, except I will longer be able to grin.

How will I be able to eat?

Don’t worry, you will manage.

Sugar kills teeth.

It is not only teeth, we are in an obesity epidemic, type 2 diabetes hitting kids in their late teens, early twenties. It used to be known as late onset middle age diabetes.

Why no sugar tax, why no government action?

Because we have an extremely powerful food lobby, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Cadbury’s, and he who pays the piper calls the tune

In the entrance to the hospital, a little café, junk food, sugary cakes. In the corridor, a widescreen TV, information on healthy eating, avoid sugar, excess alcohol, only too fast to read. Opposite the information display, a vending machine dispensing Coke.

Compulsory competive games

August 16, 2012
Martha Payne baking

Martha Payne baking

What legacy the London 2012 Olympic Games?

David Cameron, The Sun and The Telegraph want to see compulsive competitive games, at least two hours each and every day.

Sorry David, but you are wrong. It goes without saying The Sun is wrong. The Telegraph can go and sulk in the quad.

I can think of nothing more guaranteed to turn kids off any form of physical activity than compulsive competitive sport.

I remember Cross Country Running, and I am not talking of a few laps around the school playing field. I am speaking of the full Public School works, twice around a common that was on a hillside on a slope of a limestone escarpment. Come rain or shine, out we went, we got soaked, we got cold, we ploughed through bogs, and came back cold, wet and miserable. I do not remember a single boy, and it was only boys, who enjoyed it. I do not recall it turning out a generation of long distance or marathon runners.

The emphasis should not be on competitive sport but on getting kids active, enjoying being active.

What is wrong with salsa, yoga?

David Cameron denigrated Indian dancing. What he meant by that I do not know, but if it is what one sees in Indian films, I would have thought that would be quite active and very enjoyable.

I am not against competitive sports per se. If kids wish to participate in such sports then they should be given every encouragement, the facilities and the coaching. But that is not what we are doing.

How are we encouraging sport when we are selling off school playing fields and public parks, building on our green spaces, making it easier not harder for schools to sell off their playing fields?

One such school is Elliot School in Wandsworth where it is proposed to sell off a large part of the site to developers.

As children we played in the field behind our house, went for walks, cycle rides. In the field we created our own cricket and football pitch, we mowed the grass, levelled the pitch. I am not sure our activities went down too well with the farmer. The field is now one huge, ghastly housing estate.

Little kids are bundles of energy. They bounce around. The main problem is getting them to keep still. What then goes wrong when they become fat slobs?

It is vital we get kids active. We have a generation of fat kids who will die before their parents. It was an obscenity that Coca-Cola and McDonald’s were allowed to sponsor the London 2012 Games when we have an epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes (a disease normally associated with late middle age).

Activity itself is a necessary, but not sufficient condition, children have to learn how to eat, how to cook. Basic survival skills.

It is a pleasure when we see children like Martha Payne aka Veg (who runs the blog NeverSeconds) and my young friend Alice (who has the blog alicemck) not only taking a pleasure in cooking, but also in food.

Tending little minds is important too. Music, arts, culture.

Children have inquiring minds, again it begs the question what goes wrong to churn out brain-dead morons whose idea of food is KFC and McDonald’s, drink sports drinks, Coca-Cola, or heavily advertised lager?

Parents are to blame, though not entirely, the food industry too.

Children are having to have operations to reduce their stomach size. Children aged five and six waddling from side to side as they walk because they are too fat to walk. A child of six weighing 11 stone!

The state intervenes when children are beaten, starved. The state should intervene when children are grossly overweight.

This afternoon in a window of McDonald’s overlooking the street. One very fat woman, one very fat child, both stuffing their faces with Big Macs.

London 2012 sponsors fuel obesity epidemic

July 26, 2012
McDonald's Official Olympic Restaurant promo Coca-Cola

McDonald’s Official Olympic Restaurant promo Coca-Cola

Obesity Games Infographic

Obesity Games Infographic

Yesterday the Zil Lanes in London came into force. The result the predicted gridlock.

Tomorrow the Games officially open.

The UK is facing an epidemic of childhood obesity.

  • Seven-year-olds are eating on average half a kilo of sugary food a day
  • one in three children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school

What message does it send out when two of the main sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics are Coca-Cola and McDonald’s?

Independent caterers at Olympic venues are forced to have their stands look like fast food outlets, have Coca-Cola plastered everywhere and McDonald’s dictates what may and may not be on the menu!

Today I noticed bus shelters plastered with posters informing those waiting for a bus or passing by that McDonald’s is the Official Restaurant for the London 2012 Olympics.

Is this some kind of sick joke? What message does it send on quality food in London?

Stuff yourself with junk food, slurp a Coke and you will be given an official Coca-Cola glass and an official Coca-Cola wristband.

Is this meant to make some fat kid stuffing his face with a Big Mac and slurping on a Coke athletic?

The government claims the London 2012 Olympics will leave a sporting legacy.

The closest we will see to that sporting legacy is fat kids sporting a Coca-Cola wristband.

Does Heathrow have big signs saying Welcome to Airstrip One, with Big Bother looking down?

The sponsorship from these companies amounts to less than 10% of the cost of mounting the London 2012 Games, and yet it has given them a global platform from which to promote their junk food and sweetened syrup.

McDonald’s has been allowed to build what they claim is the world’s biggest fast food restaurant within the Olympic Park, Coca-Cola expects to sell 23 million drinks.

It is the public who are providing the majority of the £1.4 billion cost of the Games not the sponsors, and yet is is the public who are being screwed, it is the public who are picking up the bill for an epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. Such is the obscenity of corporate sponsorship of the London 2012 Games.

The Children’s Food Campaign has issued a damning report titled The Obesity Games.

Checkout the Obesity Games Infographic.

The Men Who Made Us Fat (3 of 3)

July 17, 2012

Jacques Peretti examines assumptions about what is and is not healthy. He also looks at how product marketing can seduce consumers into buying supposed ‘healthy foods’ such as muesli and juices, both of which can be high in sugar.

He speaks with Simon Wright, an ‘organic consultant’ for Sainsbury’s in the 1990s, who explains how the food industry cashed in on the public’s concerns around salmonella, BSE and GM crops. By 1999 the organic industry was worth over £605M, a rise of 232% within two years.

How did the mainstream food producers compete? Peretti speaks with Kath Dalmeny, former policy director at the Food Commission, who explains some of the marketing strategies used by mainstream food producers to keep our custom.

The programme also explores the impact of successive government initiatives and health campaigns, such as the proposal of ‘traffic light labelling’, the introduction of which the food industry lobbied hard against.

But in 2012, when we have an Olympic Games sponsored by McDonalds and Coca Cola, has anything changed?

Third part of three-part series on BBC 2, The Men Who Made Us Fat (July 2012).

When people became concerned at the food they were eating, to the food industry saw it as a new market opening up, the opportunity to market us yet more junk food, only this time labelled as ‘healthy’ and so could be sold at a premium.

Consumers are being mislead into buying food labelled healthy which is not healthy.

Sunny Delight was marketed as a healthy drink for kids. It was sugary water full of colouring and additives.

Supermarkets were keen to promote organic, not because they cared about our health or the health of the planet but because they could get away with a bigger mark up.

By 2001, obesity in the UK had doubled in men and trebled in women. And it was rising

Two years later WHO published a ground-breaking report that said the food industry marketing to children high calorie foods and the increased consumption of sugary drinks was having a major impact on obesity.

Cadbury’s introduced a marketing scheme where kids would gorge themselves on chocolate and get vouchers for sports equipment for their schools. They would need to spend many times what the sports equipment would cost if bought direct and in the meantime get very fat.

Cadbury’s are one of the sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics. As are McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

The food industry has spent an estimated in excess of one billion euros lobbying the European Parliament to stop effective food labelling that would advise consumers they were eating junk food bad for their health.

A traffic light system makes it very clear to shoppers what food is good, what food is bad. The very last system the food industry wants to see in place.

A Harvard Business School study showed that people would eat a foot long sandwch from Subway thinking they had made a healthy choice (it contained 50% more calories than a Big Mac!). Worse still they would then indulge in a fattening desert thinking it ok because thinking they had just made a healthy eating choice they thought they had some leeway to indulge themselves.

People are getting fatter because they believe they are eating healthier foods.

Health Secretary Andrew Landsley was an executive director of marketing company Profero whose clients include Pizza Hut, Pepsi and Mars. He drew up a policy on obesity with the major players of the food industry. This would be like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank.

Landsley is in bed with the food industry when it comes to health in much the same way as he is in bed with the private health sector when it comes to destroying the NHS.

The Men Who Made Us Fat (2 of 3)

July 1, 2012

Jacques Peretti investigates how the concept of ‘supersizing’ changed our eating habits forever. How did we – once a nation of moderate eaters – start to want more?

Speaking to Mike Donahue, former McDonalds Vice President, Peretti explores the history behind the idea of supersizing. 40 years ago, McDonalds hired David Wallerstein, a former cinema manager who had introduced the idea of selling larger popcorn servings in his Chicago cinema. Wallerstein realised that people would eat more but they didn’t like the idea of appearing gluttonous by going back for seconds. By increasing the portion sizes and the cost, he could sell more food. In 1972, he introduced the idea to McDonalds and their first large fries went on sale.

By the 1980s, we were eating more – and eating more often. Perretti speaks with industry professionals to examine the story behind the introduction of value meals, king-size snacks and multi-buy promotions. How did the advertising industry encourage us to eat more often?

The programme also explores the developments in dietary advice – by 2003, the Chief Medical Officer was warning of an ‘obesity time bomb.’ Peretti speaks to obesity expert Professor Philip James, who made recommendations in his 1996 report that the food industry should cease targeting children in their advertisements. He also speaks with Professor Terry Wilkin, who led a pioneering study into childhood weight gain; and former Labour MP David Hinchliffe, who chaired the 2003 Parliamentary Select Committee on Health.

Second part of three-part series on BBC 2, The Men Who Made Us Fat (June 2012).

Disgraceful behaviour of Tessa Jowell who shelved a report on obesity.

Contrary to myth, children do not exercise less. They are not getting fat because they exercise less, they exercise less because they are getting fat. Funding for this study blocked.

Richard Doll exposed the link btween smoking and lung cancer. There was then a long battle with the tobacco cindustry who denied there was any link, but as we learnt when class action was taken, they were well aware.

That is the position we are now in with the food industry. An industry that is as damaging to health as was the tobacco industry, an industry that is spending vast sums on lobbying.

Note: Due to the extended Wimbledon coverage, the third and final episode of The Men Who Made Us Fat has been rescheduled for 9pm Thursday 12 July 2012 on BBC 2.

The Men Who Made Us Fat (1 of 3)

June 27, 2012

Around the world, obesity levels are rising. More people are now overweight than undernourished. Two thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four of us is classified as obese. In the first of this three-part series, Jacques Peretti traces those responsible for revolutionising our eating habits, to find out how decisions made in America 40 years ago influence the way we eat now.

Peretti travels to America to investigate the story of high-fructose corn syrup. The sweetener was championed in the US in the 1970s by Richard Nixon’s agriculture secretary Earl Butz to make use of the excess corn grown by farmers. Cheaper and sweeter than sugar, it soon found its way into almost all processed foods and soft drinks. HFCS is not only sweeter than sugar, it also interferes with leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, so once you start eating or drinking it, you don’t know when to stop.

Endocrinologist Robert Lustig was one of the first to recognise the dangers of HFCS but his findings were discredited at the time. Meanwhile a US Congress report blamed fat, not sugar, for the disturbing rise in cardio-vascular disease and the food industry responded with ranges of ‘low fat’, ‘heart healthy’ products in which the fat was removed – but the substitute was yet more sugar.

Meanwhile, in 1970s Britain, food manufacturers used advertising campaigns to promote the idea of snacking between meals. Outside the home, fast food chains offered clean, bright premises with tempting burgers cooked and served with a very un-British zeal and efficiency. Twenty years after the arrival of McDonalds, the number of fast food outlets in Britain had quadrupled.

First part of three-part series on BBC 2, The Men Who Made Us Fat (June 2012).

The salads looked tasty and delicious, and of course are healthy, the junk food made me feel sick.

Chilling was the amount of internal fat being accumulated.

How to safeguard your investment in saturated fat

June 26, 2012


McD's press button to open the door, less exercise

McD’s press button to open the door, less exercise

It is the parents who have to take responsibility for what their children eat. — McDonald’s

As a company over many years, we have promoted a healthy active lifestyle. — McDonald’s

Why needlessly expend energy on opening a door?

Why waste that investment in saturated fat?

McDonald’s is here to help you,

McDonald’s is here to help safeguard your careful investment in saturated fat.

McDonald’s has installed a button to open the door. No longer do you need to needlessly expend energy. No longer do you need to worry about that careful investment in saturated fat.

You can always rely on McDonald’s to help safeguard your investment in saturated fat.

In the 1970s, less than 2% of adults in UK were obese.

Obesity has trebled in the UK since the 1980s.

By the mid-90s, more than one in ten children in the UK were obese.

Children are developing type-2 diabetes, a disease of late middle age (it used to be known as maturity onset diabetes).

60% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.

Obesity is costing the NHS over £4 billion a year.

Annual health bill in the US for obesity approaching $150 billion.

In the US, one-third of the population is clinically obese.

It is not only saturated fat that is the problem, sugar is too.

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