Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Food Rules #9: Avoid foods w/the terms "lite", "low-fat" or "nonfat" in their names

Pollan makes an interesting point: We've gotten fat on low-fat products over the last 40 years. I've long thought it was odd that if you compared people in pictures, movies, etc. from 40, 50 or more years ago to those in today's culture, movies, etc. we are so much bigger & taller than we used to be! Does anyone else find it strange that some middle schoolers are nearing 6'? Or the rate of obesity has risen as much as it has in the last 20-30 years? Call me crazy, but it's GOT to have something to do with our food supply and the way food is produced, doesn't it? All these "lite" and "diet" foods seem to have more carbs, are more processed and contain more chemicals (& we are eating MORE of them).

A friend of mine runs a non-profit called Purple Asparagus, which works to bring families together through food, but also does a lot of work with childhood nutrition and getting into schools to teach kids how to cook, the value of eating fresh, local foods and avoiding 'junk' foods. This is a terrific and probably the best way to work towards getting us as a nation healthier and to decrease our rate of obesity, diabetes and other diseases. It may sound cliche, but start them young...by teaching kids the importance of cooking and eating well (not to mention how fun it is to cook & eat with your family or a group of friends!) we're instilling in them good nutrition, and we'll no longer reach for the 'lite' versions of foods. This may also start forcing the large food producers to start offering healthy alternatives for our kids, for the vending machines and for ourselves.

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