Find out how the head of the NHS got it badly wrong

Friday 5th June , 2015    


  • The food companies continue to hold too much power...

  • ...and they persist in their cons and lies

  • Join the beginnings of a new food revolution


In my view, the good life isn't about depriving yourself of absolutely everything that the newspapers suddenly decide is 'bad for you'.

And the idea of healthy living isn't to spend the entire time panicking about what goes into your mouth.

Because that's the way to make yourself ill with 'food worry'.

Every time your body craves a snack, one side of your brain becomes Mrs Doyle from Father Ted, saying 'Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on'.

And the other side of your brain becomes the Churchill Car Insurance dog saying, 'Oh, no, no no no no'.

This is not a pleasant way to live.

When you should give yourself the green light...

So if a bar of chocolate makes you happy, then by all means eat one as a treat.

Just make sure it's the best kind of chocolate you can afford, and that you understand that the sugar inside may be bad for you. Then ENJOY it and don't feel guilty about it.

If you fancy an occasional steak with creamy pepper sauce and chips, that's okay, too. Just make sure your diet is also packed with fresh vegetables and other sources of nutrition.

If you occasionally turn to a tub of ice cream in your hour of need go on, indulge. Sometimes your good mood and happiness may be more important than the calories.

At least you KNOW ice cream is not good for your health. At least you KNOW in your heart of hearts that it's a naughty treat...

The big problem is when you're naively eating something that ISN'T what you think it is...

When food companies trick us

I get very annoyed when food manufacturers disguise unhealthy food as a healthy, nutritional product.

Especially when then they heavily advertise it so that it becomes not a devilish treat, but a DAILY staple of the nation's diet.

But I really think that these profit-hungry corporations hit an all time low when they target children with these deceits.

Parents are constantly being lambasted by governments, schools and pious dieticians because they are feeding their kids on sugar-laden rubbish.

Just last week NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens appeared on the Andrew Marr Show telling Britain’s parents that they were ‘poisoning their children with sugar’.

He went on to say “We have responsibilities. When your children come home after school, it’s water or milk, not fizzy drinks and juice.

“It’s cut up apples, not sugary bars. We are going to need reformulation to take sugar out of foods in the same way that has happened with salt over the past years.”

Many of you may be nodding in agreement with this.

But I say he has once again missed the point and is aiming his criticism at completely the wrong target.

Why isn’t he screaming obscenities at the food companies who trick well meaning parents into believing they are giving their children healthy food?

So many products hide huge amounts of sugar behind a pretence of fruity goodness – companies like Tesco’s, Waitrose and Asda market ‘yoghurt rich fruit bars’ as a healthy option when in fact studies show that you’d be better off giving your little ones a bag of Haribo sweets.

Action on Sugar campaign director Katharine Jenner said: "Parents find it hard enough to know what is 'healthy' without food manufacturers confusing matters with misleading claims."

In these cases, people simply don't realise the consequences of the snack they're eating or giving in all good faith.

Take a bowl of cereal for instance...

Did you know that in certain circumstances, your daily breakfast meal could contain more refined sugar than a bowl of ice cream?

No, well then you'll be mortified by what the consumer magazine Which? has discovered.

They looked into 100 big brand breakfast cereals that commonly appear in supermarkets. Their research team analysed these foods for sugar, salt and fat content.

Twenty two of the cereals aimed at children had more sugar in a suggested 40 gram serving (roughly what they deem a 'bowl') than a jam donut!

Morrisons Choco Crackles, Kellogg's Coco Pops Moons & Stars, Kellogg's Frosties and Kellogg's Ricicles, all had between 14 and 16grams per 40g serving.

That is four teaspoons worth - which is more sugar than in a bowl of ice cream.

They found that a total of 31 cereals had more than four teaspoons of sugar per portion.

Even Special K, advertised as a weight-loss cereal, has 5.16g of sugar in a 40g serving. So that's still a teaspoon of sugar for breakfast as part of your 'health kick'.

And by the way, we're not talking about sugar that comes from fruit here. This is added, refined sugar mostly in the form of the dreaded and addictive High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Other high sugar cereals that are commonly known as healthy breakfasts include All-Bran and Bran Flakes,
No wonder so many British people, and children in particular, are struggling to lose weight!

By the way, the reason I name all these companies without fear of the Big Corporation Heavies coming round with lawyers is that all this information is public and listed in the published Which? report.

So, why can’t the head honcho from the NHS or the Minister of Health do the same?

Why do they consistently put the blame back on parents or patients themselves, as if they have the information to make the right decision?

Instead here is what a Department of Health spokesman said: "Sugar can be very damaging for health and parents are advised to check packaging carefully so they can monitor their children's intake. We are the first European country to introduce a voluntary front-of-pack labelling scheme to help families see at a glance what is in the food they buy.

"Tackling obesity and reducing sugar intake is a major priority. We have already taken billions of calories out of the food and drink market over the past few years by working with industry and we continue to consider our next steps."

And that is just worthless rhetoric.

What's the alternative then?

As I said at the beginning of today's letter, if you fancy a sugary treat and LOVE eating cereal, then this is absolutely fine. I've been partial to the occasional bowl myself.

But when you eat that cereal, understand that it's a very sugary treat, high in refined carbs. Eating this every day will play havoc with your blood sugar levels, and make you fatter, more prone to food cravings, and other side-effects.

I have never subscribed to the 'reduced fat spreads' and reduced sugar jam and low fat yoghurt approach.

I tend to avoid anything that has been modified and treated to seem healthier, which means margarines and products with sweeteners inside them are NOT the way to go.

Instead we need to have control over our food again and that means being told the truth, offered unadulterated and locally produced produce and having the big food companies and retailers held to account.

Yours, as always








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