The Stuff We Feed Our Kids

I was visiting some friends a while ago and this relatively normal scenario played out in front of me. I say normal, because most of us recognise the situation and probably have been an active participant in it on either side. So, a little boy, aged 5, was given some sweets by his mother. The little boy, being a loving and caring little fellow, proceeded to offer some to the family dog. At this point the mother intercepted and said ‘oh no! Stop! Don’t give those to the dog. He will get very sick and we will have to take him to the vet. They are all for you’. At the time the full impact of her words did not register in my consciousness, as like I said before, the situation is quite normal. But let’s examine it in a bit more detail.

Dogs shouldn’t eat sweets. They will probably make his sick. If not that, at least they are not good for the dogs’ digestion or health in general. That much is pretty obvious. Your average sweets contain all sorts of stuff; not least of all they are full of sugar, artificial sweeteners, E-numbers and various industrial bulking agents. So quite right, the mother didn’t want the dog to have the sweets. Now for the hair rising bit of the story. “They are all for you”. For some obscure reason it is ok for a young child to eat this concoction of poison that is not even fit the dogs’ consumption. And we, as the general society find no fault in this logic. WHAT?!?

Unfortunately the food industry is driven by money. The corporations are out to make a profit. That is very easy to understand and makes perfect sense. However; there is a major flaw in how this all plays out. It is the advertising. Most people take their cues for advertisements and their nutritional ‘knowledge’ comes from the same source, which unfortunately has nothing to do with health or health promoting foods. One of the most glaring examples of this is Nutella. I confess, I used to eat a lot of the stuff – until one day, when I decided to turn the jar around and look at the list of ingredients. Now, in a “Hazelnut spread with chocolate” one might expect a relatively high quantity of hazelnuts. In Nutella this is a grand proportion of 13%. Seriously!?!? The total percentage of ingredients quantified is 32. What is the rest of it? The 68% that is unquantified. Apparently it is sugar, palm oil and additives. And this stuff is supposed to “get your day started right”. That is why a 1Kg jar of the stuff cost the same as a bag of raw Hazelnuts. It barely has any good ingredients in it. The high content of chemical additives and preservatives puts it right on par with McDonalds ‘food’. They never go off. You can leave a ‘happy meal’ or a dollop of Nutella out on a plate and it will be exactly the same a year later – no mould will grow on it, no fly will touch it. The list of these non-foods marketed as the healthy option really is very long, but I will leave it at that.

So I guess the big question here is not why healthy food is difficult to find and maybe even expensive, but rather why is bad food so plentiful and cheap? How is it that giant corporations are able to purvey unmitigated crap to the general public under false promises – and everyone is ok with it? Why is it more desirable and sexy to gobble down the ‘Healthy option Breakfast bars’ by the dozen instead of getting a good hit filling and nutritious food in the form of good old bacon and eggs?

Which brings us back to the real message of this blog post. People, THINK! Please! Stop listening to advertisements and taking claims on food packaging at a face value. It is all carefully worded to sound appealing and to gloss over the less than desirable bits. So please, check the food labels. If there are ingredients that you cannot pronounce the name of, chances are that they shouldn’t go into your body, let alone your kids. If a ‘hazelnut spread with chocolate’ only has 13% hazelnuts in it, I feel some alarm bells should start tolling heavily in your head.

Yours in Health,


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Blog Keywords: #Nutrition #Food #Diet #Children #Kids #FoodLabels #Ingredients #Health #Healthy

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