The Sour of the Sweet.

Last night I went to bed a little angry. After watching Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush on Network Ten, it left a little sour taste in my mouth. As a Nutritionist, I am quite aware of the harmful effects that excess sugar has on our bodies. I see “sugar addiction” in many of my clients and I work to minimise refined and processed sugars in their daily diets. But seeing it, really seeing it. I was appalled. Seeing little babies fed coke in bottles… I had seen it before, in the flesh. I try hard not to judge choices of others but some things are very hard to accept.

I am appalled that food industry has been allowed to get away with fooling consumers into thinking they are eating healthy foods. I am annoyed that foods are being marketed as ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’ but are nothing more than sugar laden products that are causing health issues in the masses.

Although the documentary was based in the UK, the situation really is similar here. In fact it is a WORLDWIDE issue. Kids are undergoing major dental surgery at such tender ages. Having teeth extracted because they have literally rotted out from excess sugars. Just last week there was an article published about about a 3 year old toddler being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes! 3!! How does that happen?

Here is how. There is something fundamentally wrong with our health industry and approaches to combat these diet related issues. There is a problem with the amount of processed foods containing hidden sugars, additives, preservatives and other chemicals taking up most of the aisle space in supermarkets. There is a problem with advertising being aimed at our children. Convincing them that junk foods, soft drinks and juices will make them happy. Well they are full of sugar…the sugar rush will. There is a real issue that supermarkets continue to stock their checkout sections with lollies and chocolates – which just so happen to be at heights that little people can reach. I have experienced this myself. You are unpacking the trolley and the next thing you hear is “mum, can I have this chocolate”, “Oh look, a lollypop”, “oh MUM, this one has a Cars toy inside, can I have it can I have it?”

As parents it is our responsibility to offer healthy and nutritious foods but really when our kids are being bombarded with advertising and temptation at their nose heights, it makes our jobs pretty damn hard.

And sugar is not the only culprit. We live in a life of abundance and excess in every damn facet of life. There is an excess of sugar, processed foods, advertising, takeaway options, “JUNK” foods. There is also an excess of the denial that our current nutritional status is declining in a rapid downhill slope. Governments, food industry and population in general are living in massive state of denial. And we are denying ourselves TRUE HEALTH as a result.

Nutrition really is based on some pretty basic principles. Nourish our body with good quality foods and limit sugars, saturated fats, and processed food in general. But the real issue here is the access to good quality foods. Fresh foods cost more and for families who are surviving on a pretty tight food budget, they can far easily fill their trolleys with processed foods.

There needs to be a real shift. Governments need to stand up and take some responsibility to health prevention. Fresh and wholesome foods need to be accessible to the masses. They need to ensure that these are affordable to every living person. They need to do something about advertising foods at our children and protect consumers against the misleading labels of food items stocked on shelves. But ultimately it is up to us.

It starts with us! It is up to us to make a difference. To teach our kids about nutritious foods and how to nurture and care for ourselves. It starts with us to stand up to food industry practices by refusing to buy their products. It is up to us to get back to basics and provide our children with the opportunities to be a part of the process. Grow your own food! If you have the space to build a garden, do it. There is nothing more satisfying then growing something that you get to eat! Make your own food! Control how much of something you eat. Guaranteed you won’t be using the same amount of sugar that is in a packaged variety. Get in the kitchen with the kids and allow them to make a mess with the ingredients. Let them share in the cooking experience. They will love it! GIVE THEM LIFE SKILLS! Because if you don’t, no one else will. It starts with us as parents, as consumers. We need to stand up and make some changes, educate ourselves about these hidden ingredients and the effects they have on our health. It starts with us to ensure our children are given the opportunity to live healthy lives free from these diet related illnesses and diseases that can be so easily avoided.

There is a beautiful shift happening right now! People are becoming more aware and that, THAT, is the beginning of change!

If you missed it, You can view ‘Sugar Rush’ here:

http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/jamie-oliver

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