Let me preface this with – I hate preaching! I love health fitness and nutrition now, simply because for many years I have done so many things wrong and wanted to put them right. I’ve fallen prey to many fads, and believed the hype on numerous occasions. As an educated Personal Trainer, I know now a lot about food and nutrition, as most of you will know, it has now become a passion of mine. Hence this blog.
So yesterday I saw an advert for a cereal by a big cereal company (beginning with K… ). The ad was for a new cereal they have brought to the market. It was an animated box of small happy crispy squares filled with a joyous splodge some sort of chocolate concoction. I was truly shocked. Sugar is bad enough at any time of the day, but first thing in the morning and in these proportions?!
What part of this is responsible manufacturing? From the guy or gal who sat at their desk and got paid to come up with the latest eye-catching bite-sized delights, to the repercussions these little sugar-laden bullets will eventually have.
Why am I so annoyed about this?
1. It is clearly aimed at children. Children who beg Mummy and Daddy to buy this new box of rubbish because it’s chocolaty and looks like so much fun – without ever knowing it’s full devastation until it’s too late.
2. It’s 2016. A day and age where we are so clued up about sugar and it’s dangers. We read on a daily basis the bad news about the white powdery substance that it is…
a) Addictive, causes toxic reactions in your system, causing disease, and b) Spikes blood sugar levels especially if taken first thing in the morning – it will affect your mood and behaviour all day. It is setting you and your children up for a fall. Literally.
3. Not only does it spike blood sugar levels, but for children (and adults) eating food like this in the morning is a recipe for future diabetes and obesity. (“Type 1 diabetes, one of the most devastating diseases that can befall a child, is convincingly linked to infant feeding practices” – T Colin Campbell author of “The China Study“)
4. Quantities. The label states that there is 10g of sugar in every three quarters of a small serving. If any of you are measurement-savvy you will know this is less than a handful. So I imagine you would get maybe seven bits of cereal in your bowl?
Let’s be real here kids… When is the last time you (or your child) had a small handful of any cereal in a bowl?! You would have two to three times that. So you’re looking at 20-30 grams of the white stuff circling around your system spiking your blood sugar levels, getting your insulin levels working overtime ultimately turning it into fat- and that’s before you or your child leaves the house. You might as well give your kid a full fat latte with several spoonfuls of sugar.
5. Let’s not forget if your child is sensitive to sugar and goes a little hyper/stir crazy…this is going to do nothing to help them. God love the poor school teachers!
6. Not to mention its affects on your and your child’s teeth!
I am, and some of you are, already savvy to this stuff – but some people are not, and children certainly are not, so to put this temptation in front of them is just wrong. You may say, “But I’m an adult and I would choose to buy this for myself” Or “ Well I would never buy this for my child” – but some parents are not fully aware of the dangers of these kinds of products. They may not be lucky enough to have access to this knowledge, so therefore doesn’t the responsibility lie in the hands of the manufacturers, or dare I say in the government?
When I grew up we had limited knowledge about sugar and it’s dangers. We drank coca cola and ate sweets all day long as kids. Who knows the effect that has had on me over the years, and if I had continued to eat that way, which diseases it could have caused. But we are savvy to this stuff now, so there is no need to create products like this given the plethora of amazing alternatives we have now.
So, given our knowledge on sugar addiction why would a massive million pound company feel the need to create something like this aimed at children? More money less morals perhaps, but at whose expense? I can almost guarantee you the big boss at these companies eats his homemade granola and protein rich eggs for breakfast instead.
I will leave you with this thought. We are officially the most educated species in the world when it comes to food and nutrition. Yet somehow we are the sickest and we have the highest rate of disease and obesity of any other species on this planet. Figure that one out. To those companies making these cereals, shame on you.
I always maintain, that you and you alone are responsible for your and your family’s health. But at some point, someone has to become accountable for this kind of product, and lack of knowledge is becoming less and less of an excuse.