On the weekend my daughter brought in something she found in her cupboard. It was from a party she went to around 6 months ago .It was a bright orange sweet which looked a bit like a snowman in three layers with faces and decoration. Pretty as a picture.
The reverse side listing the ingredients was not so pretty.
The ingredient panel showed it to be sugar, glucose syrup and six “numbers”. These are artificial additives colourings and preservatives. Included in this were two colourings that are banned in the UK but not Australia. The use by date was 18 months down the track.
This is basically chemically coloured sugar in suspended animation. There is not only no goodness in it but chemicals that the livers of these young bodies will have to work to remove.
Now you are right in thinking that there is no use putting a stick of celery or carrot in a party bag for children. It is a treat and doesn’t happen that often. However there are two issues to think about.
First is the overall message we send to our children about foods and nutrition. By making something, which is artificially coloured sugar into a reward, we are training children to see this sort of thing as special.
Secondly what does it say about us as adults that we are prepared to do this?
We all like sweet treats and there is no reason why children can’t have them at times.
However there is no reason why these treats can’t be sweet and fun for children and not have just sugar and artificial colour.
There are an increasing number of “treats” which do not have artificial colourings and preservatives. There are also sweet treats that you can make at home with natural ingredients Yes it might take a bit longer and require a bit more effort. This is our children we are talking about though
It is counterproductive to be zealous about what we fed our children .Being too strict with “healthy” food may push them the other way. Collectively though we can do more than offer artificially coloured sugar. There is a happy middle way. It does require a bit of effort. It is worth every bit of that effort.
Here is something you can do today.
Have a look in your pantry and read the labels on three boxes or packages. Then make decisions about what you do and don’t want inside your body.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.
Through all this he continues to see patients as a GP each week.