Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Providing healthier alternatives

This week, County supervisors approved several initiatives to promote healthy living in Los Angeles including community gardens, bike paths and the introduction of healthier food alternatives in county facilities. Adopting these initiatives qualifies the county to receive Federal Stimulus funds.

What is notable is that supervisors did not approve an initiative banning sugar-sweetened beverages from county facilities on the grounds that adults should be allowed to make their own beverages choices. Their intention was to differentiate this decision from a decision they made earlier this year banning sugar sweetened beverages from school vending machines.  Beverages in school vending machines are purchased principally by children.

While the role sugar-sweetened beverages plays in the both adult and childhood obesity epidemic remains controversial, what is important is that healthier options are provided and are easy to adopt. This is a step in the right direction. If we all just move in the direction of healthier choices, we will be well on our way to more significant consumption changes in the future.

Do you think that manufacturers should self police to limit availability of products that are less nutritionally dense to the relative proportion they should likely represent in our diet?

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About Me

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First trained as a food chemist and nutritionist, my career began enriching a Twinkie, comparing the nutrition of a Twinkie to an apple and studying the role of sugar in the diet. With an M.B.A. and years in food and pharma understanding consumers and manufacturers, I'm back to where I started - food should taste great and serve to keep us healthy. To do so, there needs to be consumer awareness. Consumers need to vote for what they want by buying what they really want. If they buy impulsively, that's what they will see more of. They need to practice balance and responsible choices. That's when change will come. Please engage me with your conversation so that I can help you make and stick to better food choices that you enjoy. You'll gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions for healthful food and food practices you can happily embody and embrace!