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Fat, sugar, salt and your children

(27 Posts)
whowherewhen Thu 13-Mar-14 16:32:24

Are you worried that you or your children are affecting their health by eating too much of the wrong fats, sugar and salt?

I would like to see choices for we Mums made a lot easier when shopping for food. We don’t want to spend all day in the supermarket checking labels. The governments of past years have advised manufacturers as to what they would like to see done but have left them to ‘self regulate’ -- end result - nothing much happens!

Ready meals and manufactured foods are affecting the health of the nation. This problem will not be sorted unless the manufacturers are forced to follow strict guidelines. It’s the only way that a difference can be made.

Please look at my e petition and sign it. If I can get 100,000 signatures it will be debated in Parliament.

lougle Thu 13-Mar-14 16:34:44

Every manufactured food stuff has to have nutritional breakdowns - what more do you want?

If you're concerned about hidden fat, sugar and salt, cook from scratch - you're in control of it all then.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 14-Mar-14 06:32:38

Agree with the PP. Our family manage very well on simple, cheap, healthy food like vegetables, grains and meat and don't 'spend all day in the supermarket reading labels'. Maybe learn to cook?

eyestightshut Fri 14-Mar-14 06:40:28

If the fat,sugar and salt intake of your child is of such concern would you be feeding them ready meals? confused

Shimmyshimmy Fri 14-Mar-14 07:02:56

I do agree that food manufacturers need to be heavily regulated. Whilest I advocate a cook from scratch approach too, many do not and regulation of the food industry is about the health of the nation not the health of your own dc - it's an issue that affects us all regardless of what you decide to do personally.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 14-Mar-14 07:52:14

If we 'personally' reject processed food we don't necessarily suffer from other people's poor choices. The NHS bill might go up admittedly but it's not like smoking in public areas, public drunkenness, water pollution or something else that affects those not immediately participating & against their wishes. The UK food industry is covered by safety regulation & labels its products accurately. We all have a choice what to buy and the answer is education, not penalising manufacturers.

Shimmyshimmy Fri 14-Mar-14 08:33:35

I don't agree, I think suggesting that the way forward is to reject processed food is being totally unrealistic. I'd like to get the ball rolling and see trans fats banned.

Joules68 Fri 14-Mar-14 08:38:58

The change4life stuff was sent out via schools and was appalling advice..... That was a worry

Breakfast cereals..... They are pretty crap yet people believe them to be a healthy start to our day. Bread.... What's in our bread? I don't have the time to make my own!

There's lots that can be improved on. Lots!

whowherewhen Fri 14-Mar-14 10:27:55

I thank you Shimmyshimmy for your support. We are rather naive to think that people will make sensible choices. I would think that over 50% of the population don't care what they eat and what's in it. Yes, I agree, in an ideal world we would all be cooking from scratch if we want to know the content of what we eat. As Shimmyshimmy says - a good start would be to ban trans fats. I also don't think it would be difficult to restrict quantities of sugar and salt. I am sorry CogitoErgoSometimes but you are underestimating the problem. Wrong diet is putting huge costs and pressure on the NHS and why should the rest of us pick up the tab?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 14-Mar-14 10:41:58

And you are over-simplifying the problem. It is entirely possible for people to become unhealthy and obese if they have a diet that has zero processed foods in it, eat too much and do too little exercise. Processed products have been reformulated many times down the years to reflect the latest food phobia... first everything had to be 'low fat', then it was 'high fibre', now the evil foodstuff is sugar so cue a barrage of 'low sugar' foods that are choc full of artificial sweeteners. Makes no difference whatsoever to the outcome.

Education, not more legislation. Not naïve in the slightest.

Shimmyshimmy Fri 14-Mar-14 11:08:19

Education, not more legislation why can't we have both?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 14-Mar-14 11:28:51

But what exactly would you legislate? Let's say a ban on any foodstuff with more than 30g sugar per 100g.... that lets out all confectionery and preserves. Or a ban on any foodstuff with more than 20g fat per 100g.... bye bye all kinds of ordinary foods Get shot of the salt and there entire cheese fixture would have to be reformulated. Manufacturers would either seek to recategorise their products or find replacement ingredients. The danger is that, like transfats which were originally a 'healthy alternative' to hard animal fats, the solution would be worse than the original. BTW Transfats are almost gone from products because consumers won't buy them any more.

And the population would still get fatter because it wouldn't be improving anyone's choices, just tinkering with definitions.

whowherewhen Sat 15-Mar-14 16:43:10

I think you're exaggerating what legislation would mean. Obviously with sweets and jams this would not work. I am talking about regular foodstuffs which come into our daily diet. Am not saying that the proportion of fats in food should be regulated but that fats which have already proved to be harmful i.e. hydrogenated and trans fats are banned. A better solution would be to stipulate what fats are permitted so that new fats aren't generated to replace banned ones. As you say, there is alot of salt in cheese. The amounts of salt in manufactured food are acting as a preservative and enabling longer life - not necessary in my book.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 15-Mar-14 18:09:11

You say 'obviously' but again, you're over-simplifying. Transfats and hydrogenated fats are already on their way out. The salt & preservatives that you say are unnecessary in your book clearly are necessary or a lot of traditional packaged, canned and bottled foods will end up in the chill cabinet with a short shelf-life and then you've got the whole moral/ethical problem of food waste.

Another drawback of determining certain ingredients, like salt, as intrinsically unhealthy is that manufacturers will reformulate and then slap a big health claim on the packet. Look at the savoury snack industry as an example. Huge claims of 'lower in salt', 'cooked in sunflower oil' and so on.... giving the (misleading) impression that crisps are now akin to health-food and doing nothing to stop someone (or their children) eating three packs a day if they're idiotic enough to do so.

Remove the downright dangerous by all means. Test & regulate ingredients, factories, retailers, supply chain integrity etc No more horse dressed up as beef. Label products clearly so we can see what we're buying. But beware of dumbing down the problem to a silly petition and thinking parliament can wave some magic wand that will save children. We are responsible.

whowherewhen Sun 16-Mar-14 14:21:43


Shimmyshimmy Sun 16-Mar-14 20:33:12

I want to know how we educate the masses - what do we change? People who are overweight know the calorific value of everything and yet they are still overweight, they can't stop eating too much - what would you do cogito? What would you tell them to change their minds without using legislation just education?

Nocomet Sun 16-Mar-14 20:37:48

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

In fact I promise to vote for the party that makes a manifesto pledge not to tell me what to eat or what to drink and gets on with mending our roads and sorting out the countries flood defences.

Shimmyshimmy Sun 16-Mar-14 21:03:29

I suppose it might matter more when you or your loved ones can't get access to the services you need through the NHS because their resources are hugely depleted due to the massive rise in obesity related illness - the state of the roads might not seem so important then.

Nocomet Sun 16-Mar-14 23:47:11

I'm an inteligent adult, I can work out what to ear/not eat and what to put in my DCs lunch without the government and school going on and on and on.

I think people are so sick of it they reach for the doughnuts and the larger to stick two fingers up at the nanny state.

Shimmyshimmy Mon 17-Mar-14 00:02:43

Are we then saying overweight people aren't intelligent, they don't need education?
The cost of treating the obesity related deceases is costing too much, should nothing be done, let them die? Or should the obese have all the NHS resources because we shouldn't try to stop them becoming so overweight.
Let's not talk about it, let's not try and figure out a solution, let's just all continue on as we are....get fatter and fatter and that's ok isn't it!?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Mar-14 07:37:41

Education on food nutrition and cooking skills is already being provided at school level. I think the five-a-day and daily exercise messages are out there already. We have acres of diet/exercise/lifestyle related TV programmes, blogs and YouTube videos. GPs routinely advise people to be a healthy weight etc. However, we live in a free society & ultimately, what someone chooses to consume and how much they choose to move around is a private matter.

Some solutions that might actually work would be to introduce food rationing and compulsory exercise. We could have fines and penalties for treating obesity-related conditions a disincentive. Monthly state-supervised weigh-ins maybe. There could be incentives for healthy lifestyles... discounts perhaps on Council Tax. In short, unless we're comfortable with extremely intrusive Maoist-style measures, what a government can do is very limited.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Mar-14 07:56:15

BTW.... when talking about government inability/ability to change behavioural choices, smoking is always a good one to look at. Smoking, as everyone knows, definitely leads to premature death. Tobacco is taxed and legislated extremely heavily, the packets say 'THESE WILL KILL YOU', the places where it is permitted to smoke are shrinking daily, there's no advertising or sponsorship and cigarettes are even hidden from display in shops. Government intervention is punitive & universal for tobacco and yet thousands continue to take up and enjoy smoking... Why?

Whatever the solution to obesity is, dumbed-down ideas of prohibition, taxation or reformulation it ain't.

whowherewhen Mon 17-Mar-14 11:40:03

After reading an article in The Observer yesterday by Aseem Malhotra I decided to 'Google' him. I was delighted to find that there is already a campaign up and running to regulate the content of manufactured food. Well known folks have signed up to supporting it and representations have already been made to the 'powers that be' So, if my silly little e petition doesn't work CogitoErgoSometimes then hopefully this much bigger effort will. It's no good getting upset and saying that people should be left to make their own choices and not be 'nannied' It has already been proved that the majority don't make the right choices. Yes the consequences will be their fault but why should we pick up the cost.

whowherewhen Mon 17-Mar-14 11:42:06

PS.*Shimmyshimmy*keep up the good work - it's nice to have some support.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Mar-14 12:21:31

If it's only the cost that's bothering you then why not simply demand the NHS is abolished? Be gone collectively funded healthcare! 'Let them eat cake' and pay for the consequences at their own expense and maybe they'd take more care of their health? smile

BTW... I'm not the one getting upset

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