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mindful minute

We are freed and imprisoned by our thoughts


Mark Fontaine

Unhealthy eating concept : Stock Photo

The world is becoming addicted to unhealthy food. Childhood obesity is rampant. We have become slaves to the insidious practices of big food companies. There is a lack of political will to address the problems.

 North Americans have doubled their sugar intake since 1977. There has been an explosion of Type 2 diabetes in the past 30 years. Weight-loss industries are worth billions.

 14-year-olds are getting lap band surgery. The prognosis isn’t good: This is the first generation of kids in two centuries expected to live shorter lives than their parents.

Why isn’t anything being done about it?  Is there collusion between government and big food? Processed food remains cheap and accessible. School nutrition budgets have been slashed. Fast food is served in most schools. Companies dump so much sugar (in so many different forms) into food labeled non-fat or low fat that “healthier” options are often anything but. Attempts to crack down on practices that are clearly harmful to kids are met with accusations of a nanny state.

Exercise campaigns will continue to be massive failures for only addressing half the problem. Few politician have the will to risk of taking on the big money food companies.

Research suggests that sugar may be linked to deadly diseases, but current food labelling regulations make it tough for people to get an easy picture of how much they are consuming. Don’t look for that to change any time soon. Researchers have linked sugar to diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer and Alzheimer’s.

 We have become used to warnings about the dangers of consuming too much fat or salt, nutrition labels on food but labels have never included recommended daily limits for sugar. Sugar industry spokespeople say they see “no need” for a recommended daily limit on sugar intake.

 According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian consumes 26 teaspoons of sugar per day. That works out to 40 kilograms per year, or roughly 100 pounds.

The American Heart Association is suggesting men consume no more than nine teaspoons a day. For women, the recommendation is a maximum of six teaspoons.

 Current food labelling regulation can make it difficult for consumers who want to avoid sugar. Many labels list multiple kinds of sweeteners with different names. For example, honey, barley malt syrup and evaporated cane juice could all be listed separately, even though the human body treats them all as sugar.

 Also, sugar is measured in grams on labels, instead of more consumer friendly teaspoons. For someone trying to keep track of intake, four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon.

 In a can of Coke, there are more than 10 teaspoons of sugar. “Healthy Choice” microwave chicken dinner has 5½ teaspoons.

 Because of the epidemic of obesity in our society today, it has created a new industry of over-sized caskets for people when they die. A company called Goliath Caskets boast widths as much as 52 inches.  No word on how many pallbearers are required.

 You may want to familiarize yourself with food labels and ingredients that are masquerading sugars, or instead, check out Goliath Caskets and make a reservation. I have a feeling their business will be booming.





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