• Is this the worst ever breakfast cereal?
• The 2 ingredients that make sugar more addictive
• The food type that causes chronic disease
I hate to do the ‘when I were a lad’ stuff.
My kids cringe whenever I started talking about the old days.
And fair enough!
I’m not a fan of phoney nostalgia, and I try not to see the past with rose tinted glasses.
Take food, for instance.
There are so many delicious, exciting foods around today that I had no idea existed when I was a kid in the 1970s.
Pesto, sweet potatoes, kimchi, green curry, rocket – these are just a few things I never tasted until I was an adult.
So, it’s not like “it was easier to be healthy back then.”
You cannot deny, there were also far fewer processed foods and unhealthy temptations.
Particularly at breakfast time…
I remember cereals like Sugar Puffs and Ricicles being the ‘naughty’ ones that had sugar coatings on them – which was why my mum never let me have them.
Nowadays, a walk down the cereal aisle of a supermarket is an eye-boggling affair.
So many insanely sugary, chocolatey, fatty options!
(If you’ve ever been to a supermarket in the USA then it’s even more crazy).
These cereals are no longer marketed directly at kids (though, of course, kids still pester their parents for them) – but instead they’re designed to tempt adults.
The manufacturers pretend that adults who buy them only eat them occasionally – like you might do a dessert, perhaps in front of a film on a Friday night.
But for most customers, this isn’t likely to be the case.
Many people eat this stuff for breakfast more than once or twice a week.
Because, when it comes down to it, adults have little more ability to regulate their cravings than kids.
This is why food corporations need to take responsibility for the dire social and economic consequences of their products.
To give you an example…
Is this the worst ever breakfast cereal?
This month a new cereal monstrosity hit the shelves.
Nestle launched their new ‘KitKat’ breakfast cereal, with 7.4g of sugar per 30g serving – higher than the recommended average refined sugar intake per meal for adults.
To launch a new cereal in this day and age, that has more than the recommended sugar content per meal for an adult is shocking.
Nestle say that it’s fine because it’s for an occasional indulgence only.
Does it say ‘only eat once a month’ across the packaging?
Do we honestly think someone will buy this box and occasionally scoop a handful of this, or having it on one indulgent Friday night?
It’s the same old story, over and over again.
Food companies pay only ‘lip service’ to public health
The World Obesity Federation predicts that more than half of the world’s popular will be overweight or obese by 2035 unless “serious and immediate” action is taken.
However, it doesn’t look like anything significant or immediate is going to happen.
Instead, big companies pay lip service to the public health issues they cause. They create a few diet products to make themselves look good, then push addictive new products and to heck with the consequences.
Bear in mind, Nestle is the same company who want to create and sell diet pills that expand in your stomach.
Yet the investment charity ShareAction has said that 40% of Nestle’s sales of everyday foods in the UK are high in salt, sugar or fat.
So, Nestle want to make a profit form the problem AND the cure!
Just to make it clear…
There is nothing wrong with sugar.
The ‘intrinsic sugars’ found in milk, fruit and vegetables are naturally incorporated within the cellular structure. After you eat them, they are released slowly into the bloodstream.
However, ‘free’ sugars which are added to food are a problem.
Particularly when they are combined with fat and salt.
This makes the food ‘hyperpalatable’, which means that you’re likely to gobble down more, even if you feel full.
This is common in what is known as ‘ultra-processed food’.
It’s worth me clarifying precisely what that term means…
The food that causes chronic disease
‘Unprocessed’ and minimally processed foods include fruit and veg, nuts, seeds, grains, pulses, beans, and natural animal products like eggs, fish, or milk.
They don’t have any added nasties like fats, salt, sugar, or other additives.
What you might call ‘processed foods’ include:
· canned goodies like tomatoes, lentils, beans, tuna, and chickpeas
· brine-preserved foods, like olives
· salted nuts
These are also okay for regular consumption, with much of the nutritional content and fibre retained, without too many chemicals added.
Then we have ‘Ultra-processed foods’, otherwise known as ‘industrially produced edible substances’.
These are made using industrial equipment that break down and reassemble the original food, with added artificial preservatives you won’t find in your home kitchen.
· pre-packaged meals
· industrially-produced bread
· sweets, biscuits, and cakes
· sausages, chicken nuggets, veggie burgers
· soft drinks (cola, fruit drinks)
· sweetened yogurt
Studies show that diets high in these ultra-processed foods tend to be linked with a higher risk of chronic disease and even increased cancer risk.
They tend to have fewer nutrients (like vitamins and minerals) than their less processed cousins. They also have less fibre (thanks to the industrial processes that break down the food’s structure) along with more sugar and salt.
Our KitKat cereal falls very firmly into this category.
Now, if KitKat cereal was the only ultra-processed meal you ever ate, it would be fine.
Treats are a good thing!
But that’s not the reality…
In 2018, research showed that the average person in the UK gets more than 50% of their calories from ultra-processed food.
Far from an occasional indulgence, they are now an integral part of most people’s diets.
And that’s what’s going to cost us, further down the line.