Monday, December 14, 2009

Are our kids pouring on the pounds ?

I can clearly state that the disproportionate availability of sugary beverages in schools is not in the best interest of children. After attending the recent California Senate Hearing on Sugar Beverages and Childhood Obesity, and, as an individual concerned about increases in childhood obesity, I was disheartened to hear that 1) free drinking fountain water is not widely available in most schools and 2) bottled water is often more expensive than sugary drinks in cafeterias leaving many thirsty students with few options other than sugary beverages.

As a means of reducing childhood obesity, the NYC Health Department is funding a new billboard ad and television commercial to help curtail consumption of sugary beverages. The ads, intended to steer our kids away from drinking these sugary beverages in a shocking manner, portray a boy opening a can of soda which then appears as a glassful of fat that he drinks.

Yes, the ad is shocking and disgusting. The ad's effectiveness can be debated and measured. The message of reducing childhood obesity is of critical importance. However, to this nutritionist, food researcher and new product developer the analogy is most concerning.

If you look at the label of most sugary beverages, you will not see fat as an ingredient because there is no fat in the beverage - it's our bodies that efficiently convert the sugar to fat in our bodies. You may say, well, all that matters is that we scare our children into not drinking these beverages since the bottom line is that obesity may result. To that, I respond that we spend more money than one would likely imagine to label products accurately for what they are. Further, although few would consider drinking a glass of fat, we should not want to convey the image that all fat consumption is bad. Truth in labeling is important as is truth in advertising. So, I repeat my communication mantra to those who are trying to reach consumers - if consumers seem confused, it's often because they receive confusing information. There has to be a better way to make this point and educate our children truthfully. Perhaps after drinking the soda, showing fat oozing from the boy or removing a five pound chunk or two from him would be offensive enough and not undermine what has been well communicated by nutrition educators.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Food allergies can effect your brain and behavior

Remember that food is a drug.  Food affects hormonal reactions which signal your brain to react. So you are not only are what you eat, but you behave according to how you eat.  Beware of  food allergies. Food allergens shut down your brain since the body sees the allergen as a substance that is bad for you and wants to protect your brain. In deactivating your brain, it deactivates your better sense! .Listen to Daniel Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life at to learn more on the issue.


About Me

My photo
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!