I am all about keeping this blog positive but today I am not feeling so positive. Today I am angry and you should be too. I am angry that we have to fight and work so hard to keep our kids nourished and safe from the constant and borderline criminal bombardment of unsafe food. It shouldn’t be this hard. And this isn’t just about constant advertising (which is relentless) – this is about actually changing our kids palettes for good. Many readers email me and say – my kids are addicted to sugar or to pasta – this isn’t a coincidence. A recent study quoted in an article on Huff Post Food today by Kristin Wartman suggests that highly processed foods are addictive. The researchers reported that the rats would not stop eating the M&Ms until the candies were taken away:
But that’s not all — the food industry is actively shaping the palates of our children. While the food industry insists that it only advertises to children “to influence brand preference,” a study published in the journal Appetite found that the industry works to “fundamentally change children’s taste palates to increase their liking of highly processed and less nutritious foods.” This study dovetails with Dr. Bruce’s findings since researchers found that the awareness of fast food brands was a significant predictor of what they call the “Sugar-Fat-Salty” palate preference in children.
Data is also surfacing that obese children are less sensitive to taste. Researchers in Germany found that on the intensity scale, obese children rated all flavor concentrations lower than did those in the normal-weight group. They believe this may be due to the fact that leptin, the hormone that regulates appetite and makes us feel full, might also affect the sensitivity of taste buds. It is suspected that people who are obese or overweight are resistant to leptin, making them feel hungrier and driving them to eat more.
Let that soak in folks. This isn’t right. It means that even an 80/20 rule of moderation is not enough and might even fuel a losing battle with our kids. It means now more than ever we need to expose our children to real food flavors. We need them to expand their palates and learn to enjoy not only sweet and salty foods but also sour and fermented foods!
Right now people are voting in California to label GMOs. Not to ban GMOs but to label them. Just to get some information about our food we have to get on a ballot in California. Food companies really do not want this and are fighting it tooth and nail. I highly recommend you get educated on this ‘debate‘ but for me – I see no debate. This is critical. We should all feel that we are fighting for our lives and our children’s lives here. Again quoting from Kristin Wartman’s article because she says it so well:
A startling USDA report from 2006 states that since the percentage of children who are overweight has doubled and the percentage of adolescents who are overweight has more than tripled, “If we do not stem this tide, many children in this generation of children will not outlive their parents.” To put that another way: If trends don’t change, the surge in diet related disease among children means that many parents will watch their children die. That was the prediction from experts six years ago and we have yet to see any substantive action from Washington.
How many people do you know with cancer? How many people fighting weight issues? This isn’t a battle about money to me – I spend a lot on unprocessed real food to feed my family because I know down the line it will be less expensive to feed my family well than to deal with health issues. For me this is a battle about whether my daughter will get cancer or whether she will be able to have children. In a recent post about how I talk to me daughter about food, I told you all that I give her a choice. She needs to be empowered about her own body. She will soon be old enough and alone with other friends enough to make her own choices about food. I can only give her information, I can’t force her. But with so much junk out there it is truly is a losing battle.
All we can do is move forward and fight for our right and access to real foods. I see this as a political act not just something I do for my family. If you live in California – get out and vote Yes on Prop 37 and if you don’t, share something each day with your family and friends about the virtues of real food and how to get access to it and how to cook it. It saddens me that I even have to write posts about not going to the grocery store and how to’s on sourcing real food. It shouldn’t be this hard. I just need to vent. Does anyone else feel this way? Today we need each other to feel a part of something so if you feel alone in this fight please comment and vent away!