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Mike Fleetham Mike's Thinking Classroom Blog


On Teenagers and Sugar

My teenage children are food savvy; thanks mainly to their food tech teacher. I'm constantly nudged and nagged about portion size, nutritional balance and sugar/salt content. I don't mind. At least they talk to me. My daughter cooks a fine meal and although my son still side-steps most veg. he knows he's doing it and knows why he shouldn't. 

Is it just my kids though? Do all teens know food like they know Facebook and Tumblr? I hope so 'cause there are some slippery folks out there in the world of nutrition.

Take this recent OMG! 'revelation'. Cereal bars aren't as healthy as their image makes out. Well now, there's a thing. Apparently they're full of fat and sugar and not the god-food they claim to be.

What annoyed me more than the sycophantic, patronising response from Nutri-Kellogs, was the fact that we needed Which? magazine to point it out in the first place. Look at the nutritional label for goodness sake, process the colours yourself, 'do the math', blank the packaging and the Wormtongue product names. Engage with what you're choosing to eat. Just because there's a picture of some wheat and a smiling farmer on the box (of 6 - why is it always 6?) doesn't mean one bite will transform you into Michael Phelps.

"We're confused as to why anyone would call a Nutri-Grain Elevenses snack a cereal bar." whines a Kellogs spinperson. I'm confused as to why any company with more than an atom of ethics would use the prefixes "Nutri-" and "Grain" to announce 4 teaspoons of sugar. 

My hope is that our kids are trained to see through all this and to take control of their diets. If they can think about cereal bars vs plain fruit, do the comparison, make their own choice then we should be satisfied we've prepared them well. If not, we'll find the 2040s full of neurotic adults cramming themselves full of Neuro-DNA Elevensies being berated by a 70 year old me telling them to drink sugar directly from the bag and eat lard with a knife and fork like we did in the 10s.

Posted in: Curious Cabinet
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