Clean eating may be the buzziest health term on the Internet. But what does it mean? Unfortunately, that’s not always clear.
At the core of this credo is the advice author Michael Pollan famously gave a decade ago in his best-selling book In Defense of Food: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
And research shows that this kind of eating pattern can indeed improve health and help maintain a healthy weight. In 2014 David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Public Health, published a study that compared some of the most popular diets. Katz says that there’s not enough evidence to determine the best specific diet — and there likely never will be.
But Katz was able to determine which general eating pattern is best for health. That would be a “diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants.” And this pattern turns out to be compatible with any evidence-based diet plan, from paleo to Mediterranean to vegan.
Choosing fresh foods over packaged and processed foods improves your health because processed foods are more likely to have added sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, as well as fewer quality nutrients. And eating mostly plant-based foods ensures a rich assortment of nutrients while reducing those harmful ones.
So why not fully embrace clean eating?
For one, there are a growing number of unsubstantiated fad diets touting the benefits of eating clean. “Most fad diets are untested,” says Traci Mann, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and the author of Secrets from the Eating Lab. “They’re just things people think up and put in books. They should probably go in the fiction section.”
“The term has been co-opted to mean things like cleanses and detoxes and a whole potpourri of dietary restrictions that are unfounded, unsubstantiated, and unlikely to do anyone any good,” Katz says. “As it’s currently used, the term means next to nothing.”
“But I think it could mean something,” adds Katz. It could be used to describe a diet of “minimally processed foods without added chemicals. Food close to nature, from sources that are raised well.” This concept of clean eating would be a helpful one, he says.
How to Make Clean Eating Work for You
Choose more fresh whole foods, especially plant-based. Plan your meals around lots of fresh fruits and vegetables; legumes (like beans and lentils); nuts; seeds; and whole grains. If you eat meat, choose high-quality lean meat, poultry, or fish. “I recommend strategies to eat more healthy food, rather than trying to focus on resisting unhealthy food,” says Mann. “Eat a vegetable before you have any other food on your plate. Once you put a vegetable in head-to-head competition with any other food, it tends to lose that contest.”
You’ll probably eat less of the other stuff if you start by eating more vegetables. Mann also recommends reducing barriers to healthy foods and adding barriers to unhealthy ones. For example, have a snack of carrot sticks peeled and ready to eat, and keep cookies or candy out of sight and out of mind.
Trade up your packaged foods. Try to avoid packaged and processed foods and meats, as much as possible. However, most of us do rely on at least some convenience foods, like cereal or a frozen meal now and then. So try to select versions with as little processing as you can, made with healthier ingredients.
“Start by trading up individual foods,” Katz says. “There’s a massive spectrum of quality in every aisle of the supermarket.” Look for those that use whole grains. Try to avoid items with ingredients that you can’t pronounce or that you haven’t heard of. Look for options with lower sugar, salt, and fat. And if you choose to eat meat, pick foods closer to their natural state, such as a heat-and-eat chicken breast, instead of frozen chicken nuggets. Likewise, bread made by your local baker is likely healthier than industrially packaged bread.
Cook at home. Restaurants aim to please and load their foods with sugar, fat, and salt. But when people cook for themselves, they often use fresh, wholesome ingredients and keep it simple. Research shows that people who cook most of their meals at home consume less fat and sugar and fewer total calories than those who don’t. They also make better choices when they do go out.
Enjoy your food and eat mindfully. Think about the food you eat and prepare for yourself. Consider where it comes from and how it makes you feel. Notice the color, texture, taste, and smell of your food. These mindfulness strategies can help you slow down your meal and eat less, while enjoying healthful food more. Mann’s lab found that drinking coffee mindfully helped subjects enjoy the natural flavors more, which in turn helped them cut way back on sugar.
Skip These Unhelpful Clean Eating Fads
Avoid overly restrictive diets. Some of the most popular “clean eating” diets you’ll find online are extremely exclusive. The 30 Clean diet starts by banning all sweeteners, soy, dairy, grains, gluten, and corn, along with all processed foods. (It does allow for three small squares of dark chocolate and two alcoholic beverages a week — unless you opt for the Super Clean.) The Whole 30 allows you corn but eliminates the rest of those foods along with legumes. In practice, that means no fat-free yogurt, no brown rice, no sugar substitutes, no tofu — nary even a lentil. “The foods that are excluded are some of the most nutritious there are,” Katz says.
Research tells us that strict diets like this are difficult to keep. “They make your body think you’re starving to death,” says Mann. “And that leads to all these changes that make it hard to keep the weight off. Your metabolism changes. Suddenly you have to eat fewer calories to continue losing weight. Your hormones change, so you’re hungrier all the time,” she says. “And then there are the neurological effects where your attention becomes very focused on food.” This is why most people who do restrictive diets gain the weight back, and often more.
Stay clear of cleanses and detox diets. Clean Eating Magazine, 30 Clean, and The Eat Clean Diet’s author Tosca Reno all give tips for juice detoxes or cleanses, though there is no scientific evidence suggesting juice diets have any benefit. “Almost every claim I’ve ever seen about a cleanse or a detox is just confabulated nonsense,” says Katz. “The body is marvelously endowed with detox organs. They will take care of detoxing you better than you could hope to do out of a book by whoever the self-proclaimed guru du jour happens to be.”
Don’t do a diet that makes you feel guilty. Obsessing over the purest, cleanest foods, can make all other foods seem dirty. And that can be unhelpful. “Once you dichotomize your food into good/bad, virtuous/non-virtuous, that is problematic because that leads people to feel guilt or shame when they eat the bad category,” says Mann. That, she says, “can make you feel bad about yourself as a whole.” Clean eating diets tend to push for purity. The Whole 30 diet, for example, makes you start your 30-day challenge over if you cheat once.
We all want to eat better, but complicated fad diets may do more harm than good. Look for ways to make lasting improvements to your lifestyle, rather than temporary fixes. When it comes to clean eating, it might pay to remember Pollan’s words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
D.L. Katz and S. Meller, “Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?”, Annual Review of Public Health, March, 2014.
Julia A. Wolfson and Sara N. Bleich, “Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?,” Public Health Nutrition, June, 2015.
By Kevin McCarthy | March 13, 2017
90% use too much of a flavouring that can cause inflammation of blood vessels in the brain.
A high-salt diet is linked to dementia, new research finds.
Salt causes the delicate lining of the brain’s blood vessels to inflame, because of signals sent from the gut.
Fully 90% of Americans consume above the recommended dietary maximum of 2,300 mg per day.
Dr Costantino Iadecola, study co-author, said:
“We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise.
This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.”
The effect was quickly reversed by lowering salt intake.
The conclusions come from a study in which mice were fed a high-salt diet that is equivalent to a high-salt diet in humans.
Subsequently, the mice had much worse cognitive function.
Their brains showed 28% less activity in the cortex and 25% less in the hippocampus.
They had problems getting around a maze and did not show the usual interest in new objects placed in their cage.
They also had poorer blood flow in their brains and the integrity of the blood vessels there was worse.
However, these changes were reversed once the mice were returned to a normal diet.
The scientists found that these changes had nothing to do with higher blood pressure.
Worse cognitive functioning in the mice was seen even when the mice had normal blood pressure.
They were the result of signals sent from the gut to the brain.
These activated an immune response in the brain which increased levels of interleukin-17.
This eventually resulted in the inflammation of the delicate lining of the brain’s blood vessels.
(CNN) There’s no magic pill that will cure you of your cravings. But there is something that may help the effort, and it’s all-natural.
Research has shown that simply spicing up your diet may help you consume less salt and possibly less sugar, while potentially improving your health even beyond the reduction of salt and sugar.
There is more consistent evidence that spicy food helps curb salt cravings than sugar.
In a study involving more than 600 people from China whose brains were analyzed with PET/CT scans, researchers found that regions stimulated by intake of both salty and spicy foods overlapped. Because of similar activities taking place in this shared space (think of the overlapping parts of a Venn diagram), consuming spicy foods effectively enhanced one’s sensitivity to salt, thereby helping people crave and consume less salt.
“We think that spicy food can trick our brain when tasting salty food. It makes us taste the same (level of) saltiness even when a reduced amount of salt is actually consumed,” said study author Dr. Zhiming Zhu, professor and director of the Department of Hypertension and Endocrinology at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China.
In fact, researchers found that people who regularly enjoy spicy foods consumed 2.5 grams less salt in a day (that’s 1,000 fewer milligrams of sodium) compared with those who typically steer clear of spice. They also had lower blood pressure.
It remains to be seen whether the findings can be replicated in other populations outside China, said Richard David Wainford, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the Boston University School of Medicine, in an accompanying editorial. Still, “a lifestyle intervention that adds taste to the diet, in the form of extra spice and flavor, versus reduction of the pleasure given by the salt we add to our food, may have more success as a public health strategy to promote population-level dietary salt reduction,” he added.
Spice may have the potential to curb sugar cravings too, though the evidence is mixed. In one study involving 40 students from Denmark, when chili pepper was added to sweet, sour and bitter meals, participants experienced a greater desire to eat sweet foods compared with meals without chili added.
In another study, also from Denmark, people experienced a decreased desire for salty and spicy foods when they ate tomato soup with cayenne pepper compared with eating the soup without pepper. But their desire for sweet and fatty foods significantly increased when they consumed the spicy soup.
No pain, no weight gain?
Capsaicin is the compound in chili peppers that is responsible for the burning sensation we experience when eating them. The compound has the ability to suppress sweet taste, which could also explain some findings.
But while some may enjoy the heat that capsaicin produces, it may also come with an unintended consequence.
“Capsaicin helps fight pain. Most of the time, you hear about this as a topical cream, but eating chili peppers also has benefits. It may be that when the pain goes away, you’re stimulated to consume more sweet foods,” said Mary-Jon Ludy, an associate professor of clinical nutrition at Bowling Green State University.
In a meta-analysis, involving more than 70 studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the McCormick Science Institute, researchers state that the balance of the literature suggests the capsaicin suppresses appetite, though the magnitude of the effects is small. “Purposeful inclusion of these compounds in the diet may aid weight management, albeit modestly,” the study stated.
(Note that the National Institutes of Health is a federal government agency, and the McCormick Science Institute is an independent research organization that is owned and funded by spice product manufacturer McCormick & Co. Inc. The company said it does not influence the science institute’s research priorities.)
The meta-analysis included the Danish study that found increased sugar cravings among those who consumed spicy meals. But it also included a study that found adding spice can actually curb sugar cravings. In that study, when people added half a teaspoon of red pepper to their lunch, they had a decreased desire to eat sugary, fatty and salty foods, and ate about 70 fewer calories at their next meal. The effects were seen only among those who didn’t regularly consume red pepper.
“I think that there’s something in the novelty of the stimulus that would allow you to eat less,” said Ludy, who authored the study and the meta-analysis. “In terms of the work with red pepper, I think that that’s an important piece of the puzzle. If you are adding a spicy meal every couple of weeks, it might be enough to have an effect … but if you have it every day, the effect goes away, because you get used to it.”
A little dash will do ya
To get started with spice, Ludy recommends sprinkling red pepper flakes into eggs in the morning. You can also use spice when making a rub for meat or when seasoning vegetables, soups, pasta or curry dishes.
She also recommends adding red pepper flakes to a meal in anticipation of a tempting dessert. “It may give you that extra piece of security,” she said. Though not specific to sweet taste, cinnamon, ginger and saffron are other pungent spices with appetite suppressive effects, according to Ludy.
However you choose to use spice, it’s wise to start slowly. “Remember that a tiny bit of spice can go a long way!” Ludy said. If the heat is an issue, you can calm your taste buds by pairing hot spices with healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts, according to Ludy. “They help break down the chemical that causes the burn.”
If you’re new to spicy peppers, she recommends starting with milder varieties, such as jalapeno or serrano, which cause less burn than cayenne or habanero. “These peppers still contain some capsaicin but not as much. Although I haven’t researched it directly, my guess is that there would still be appetite effects (perhaps of a lesser magnitude) … but if you can’t tolerate higher quantities of spice, something is better than nothing, right?”
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, an author and a CNN health and nutrition contributor.
You have a 96% chance of surviving a plane crash.
Canada produces 85% of the world’s maple syrup.
Crying is good for your health, flushing unhealthy bacteria out of your body, strengthening the immune system and relieving stress.
Adding salt to pineapple will actually cause it to taste sweeter.
Nutrition is full of misinformation.
Everyone seems to “know” what is right, most often based on zero evidence.
Here are the top 11 most common nutrition mistakes that people keep repeating.
1. Drinking Fruit Juice
Fruit juice isn’t always what it seems to be.
It is often little more than water mixed with sugar and some kind of fruit concentrate.
In many cases, there isn’t any actual fruit in there, just chemicals that taste like fruit.
But even IF you’re drinking real, 100% fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.
That’s because fruit juices like orange juice have just about the same amount of sugar as Coca Cola and Pepsi!
Fruit juice is like fruit, except with all the good stuff removed.
There is no fiber, no chewing resistance and nothing to stop you from downing massive amounts of sugar.
While whole fruits take a long time to eat and digest, it is easy to consume large amounts of fruit juice in a short amount of time. One glass of orange juice can contain the sugar equivalent of several whole oranges.
If you’re healthy, lean and active or you just ran a marathon, then you can probably tolerate fruit juice and other sources of sugar without problems.
However, the majority of people would do best minimizing all rapidly digested sugars, which can lead to insulin resistance and all sorts of serious diseases down the line.
So… eat your fruit (unless if you’re on a low-carb diet, which may require moderating them) but avoid fruit juice like the plague.
Bottom Line: Most fruit juices contain as much sugar as sugar-sweetened beverages. It is best to avoid them and choose whole fruits instead.
2. Not Reading Labels
Many of the marketers at the junk food companies are shameless liars.
They tend to put highly misleading labels on foods… convincing health conscious people to buy unhealthy junk foods for themselves and their children.
Because most people don’t know much about nutrition, they repeatedly fall for labels like “includes whole grains,” “low-fat” or “contains Omega-3s.”
Adding small amounts of healthy ingredients to an unhealthy, highly processed food does not make it healthy.
For example, tiny amounts of Omega-3s are not going to make up for the fact that a food contains large amounts of sugar.
So… it is important to read labels. Even health foods can contain sugar, refined wheat and other very harmful ingredients.
This also applies to children’s foods that are marketed as healthy… do NOT trust the food manufacturers, READ the label.
Bottom Line: It is important to read labels, even “health foods” can contain nasty ingredients like added sugar.
3. Eating Whole Wheat
Awareness of the harmful effects of refined wheat has increased dramatically in the past few decades.
However, whole wheat is often mistakenly assumed to be healthy.
The problem is that whole wheat usually isn’t “whole” … the grains have been pulverized into very fine flour.
This makes the grain rapidly digestible and it can spike blood sugar just as fast as its refined counterpart.
Wheat also contains large amounts of gluten, a protein that many people are sensitive to and can contribute to various adverse effects like digestive issues, pain, fatigue and stool inconsistency.
There are also multiple studies linking wheat consumption to serious diseases, including schizophrenia, autism and cerebellar ataxia. One study shows a dramatic increase in cholesterol for people eating whole wheat.
Saying that whole wheat is better than refined wheat is like saying that filtered cigarettes are better than unfiltered cigarettes.
Using that same logic, everyone should be smoking filtered cigarettes for the health benefits. It doesn’t make sense.
Bottom Line: Whole wheat is often mistakenly assumed to be healthy, but studies show that it can contribute to various symptoms and health issues.
4. Not Focusing on Real, Unprocessed Foods
When it comes to optimal health, people tend to get lost in the details. They miss the forest for the trees.
Even though “nutrition” as an academic discipline can be incredibly complicated, eating healthy can and should be simple!
Keep in mind that humans and pre-humans have managed to survive and be healthy for millions of years.
Yet, we only learned about calories, vitamins, macronutrients and all that stuff very recently. Knowing about this stuff has NOT made us healthier.
What healthy, non-industrial societies that maintain excellent health all have in common is that they eat real, unprocessed foods that resemble what they looked like in nature.
Multiple studies have examined such societies and noted almost a complete absence of Western, lifestyle-related diseases like obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it!
Bottom Line: It is most important to simply eat real, unprocessed foods. Avoid stuff that looks like it was made in a factory.
5. Not Eating Enough Protein
The health authorities advocate a relatively low protein intake.
They say that we should aim for about 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women.
However, even though this meager intake may be enough to prevent downright deficiency, it is not enough for optimal health.
Studies show that a higher protein intake can be beneficial for body composition, especially in people who are physically active.
Protein is also by far the most satiating macronutrient and your body expends quite a few calories metabolizing it. For this reason, adding protein to your diet can help you lose weight without even trying.
Bottom Line: Most people aren’t getting enough protein in their diet. Increased protein can enhance fat burning, reduce appetite and improve health in various ways.
6. Being Afraid of Eating Fat
Back in the 60s and 70s, many scientists believed that saturated fat was a leading cause of heart disease.
This idea formed the foundation of the low-fat, high-carb diet… which has been recommended to all Americans since the year 1977.
Since then, multiple studies have shown that the low-fat diet simply does not work. It doesn’t lead to weight loss or a lower risk of heart disease or cancer.
In the past few decades, many studies have examined the health effects of saturated fats.
They consistently show that these fats are harmless. They raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and change LDL (the “bad”) to a benign subtype. Saturated fat does NOT raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The fats to avoid are man-made trans fats and refined vegetable oils like corn, soybean and others.
There is no reason to avoid foods that are naturally high in saturated fat. This includes butter, coconut oil, eggs and red meat… these foods are perfectly healthy!
Bottom Line: Studies show that saturated fat is harmless and that the low-fat diet pushed by the mainstream nutrition organizations doesn’t work.
7. Throwing Away The Egg Yolks
Nutrition professionals have an excellent track record of demonizing perfectly healthy foods.
Probably the worst example of that is eggs… which happen to contain a large amount of cholesterol.
Because of the cholesterol, people have been advised to reduce their consumption of eggs.
However, studies show that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t really raise cholesterol in the blood and that eggs do NOT increase your risk of heart disease.
What we’re left with is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, quality protein, healthy fats and various nutrients that are important for the eyes and brain.
Keep in mind that this applies to whole eggs only. The yolk is where almost all the nutrients reside, the white contains nothing but protein!
Throwing away the yolks and eating only the whites is just about the worst thing you could do.
Bottom Line: Eggs are incredibly nutritious, but most of the nutrients are found in the yolk. Despite being high in cholesterol, eggs do not raise the bad cholesterol in the blood or your risk of heart disease.
8. Thinking That All That Matters is Calories
There is a large misconception that all that matters for weight (and health for that matter) is calories.
Even though calories (the energy we take in and expend) are important, they are far from being the only thing that matters.
The truth is that different foods and macronutrients go through different metabolic pathways and can affect hunger and hormones in different ways.
Even though simple calorie counting and portion control work for a lot of people, many others fail using these methods.
For some people, it is much better to focus on the right foods and macronutrients to optimize your hunger and hormones to make your body want to lose weight.
Eating less sugar and carbohydrates with more protein and fat can help you lose weight without counting a single calorie.
Bottom Line: Weight loss and health are about much more than just calories. Different foods affect hunger, hormones and health in vastly different ways.
9. Cutting Back on Sodium
The nutrition organizations consistently tell us to reduce sodium in the diet.
This is supposed to lower blood pressure and reduce our risk of heart disease.
However, this doesn’t actually work.
Even though sodium restriction can cause mild reductions in blood pressure, studies show that this doesn’t lower the risk of heart disease, stroke or death.
Restricting sodium too much can even lead to adverse effects such as insulin resistance, as well as elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.
The biggest source of sodium in the diet is processed food. If you’re already avoiding highly processed foods, then there’s no reason not to add some salt to your foods to make them palatable.
If the “experts” had their way… we’d all be eating bland, tasteless foods with zero evidence that it would actually lead to health benefits.
Bottom Line: Despite being able to mildly reduce blood pressure, sodium restriction doesn’t lead to improved health outcomes. Avoiding salt is completely unnecessary for most people.
10. Eating Too Many Meals
Many people seem to think that it is best to eat 5-6 small meals per day.
They say that you need breakfast in the morning to “jump start metabolism” and then eat regularly throughout the day to “stoke the metabolic flame.”
It is true that eating can raise your metabolic rate slightly while you’re digesting and metabolizing the food
However, it is the total amount of food you eat that matters, NOT the number of meals.
This myth has actually been tested and refuted repeatedly. Controlled trials where one group eats many, smaller meals and the other fewer, larger meals find no difference between groups.
The thing is… it’s not natural for the human body to be constantly in the “fed” state.
The human body is well equipped to handle short periods of famine and there are studies showing that a cellular repair process called autophagy starts to occur when we fast for a short while.
Bottom Line: Eating so frequently is completely unnecessary and highly inconvenient. There is no evidence that it leads to improved outcomes.
11. Eating Too Many “Health Foods”
Every passing year, more and more people are becoming “health conscious.”
For this reason… the market for so-called “health foods” has grown rapidly in the past few decades.
The marketers have taken notice and brought all sorts of foods that are supposed to be healthy to the market. On these foods, you will find labels like “organic” and “gluten-free.”
The problem with many of these foods is that they usually aren’t healthy at all. Organic sugar is still sugar and gluten-free junk food is still junk food.
It is best to avoid processed, packaged foods… even if they are found in the “health food” aisle.
If the packaging of a food tells you that it is healthy, then it probably isn’t.
CBC News Feb 18, 2015
Mandatory nutrition standards for foods sold in schools could be one approach to tackle obesity.
Lancet study says voluntary measures for food industry called ineffective
The global obesity epidemic needs to be reconsidered in terms of regulatory controls to make it easier for people to choose healthier foods, according to a new medical journal series.
In Wednesday’s issue of The Lancet, researchers note that no country out of 187 has reversed its obesity epidemic, but child obesity rates have started to level off in some cities and countries with “patchy progress.”
For children, the focus needs to shift to prevention given the enormous threat, said one of the lead authors, Christina Roberto of the nutrition department at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
“There are a number of factors that work against us when we try to avoid unhealthy food,” Roberto said.
“We are really programmed to like high fat, high sugar, high salt foods and there are plenty of them available. We have psychological vulnerabilities. The way foods are marketed, the portion sizes we’re given, being inundated with food messages all the time, that makes us want to overeat.”
Convenience foods also tend to be less healthy, while healthier options can cost more, Roberto said.
Countries around the world have successfully tested ideas such as:
- Quebec’s ban on commercial advertising directed at children under the age of 13, which the Supreme Court of Canada upheld because of the vulnerability of children.
- Mandatory nutrition standards for foods sold in schools.
- Overhaul food labels to make them easier to understand.
- Government planning to encourage nutritious purchases from farmers markets, facilitate physical activity through bike lanes and green spaces and speed limits along school routes.
- Brazil’s program that favours fresh, local, non-processed foods for children to eat in school meals.
- Michelle Obama’s efforts to engage the food industry to improve nutritional quality of school menu items.
Other examples of policy solutions included:
- Tax “health-related” foods less than junk foods.
- Limit price promotions at point of sale, such as candy displays at the checkout.
- Give nutrition education such as cooking classes in school.
There’s no shortage of ideas, but governments need the courage to implement them, Roberto said.
In countries such as India and Mexico, children’s heights are consistently below the World Health Organization’s reference values. “Tackling of overweight and underheight simultaneously will need a coherent nutrition policy to promote children’s health and prevent poor nutrition in all of its forms,” Tim Lobstein of the World Obesity Federation and his team said in another research paper.
Lobstein is also concerned with how highly processed foods and sweetened beverages contain ingredients to condition the taste buds of children to a lifetime of energy-rich, nutrient-poor foods.
Internationally, there are now more industry-led pledges on food advertising to children than government regulations, but the scope needs to be broader, with more nutritious criteria and better enforcement, the researchers said.
Voluntary measures ‘ineffective’
In Canada, Bill Jeffrey, national co-ordinator for the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, said the federal government or other provinces could expand Quebec’s advertising ban or change how higher taxes are applied to fresh fruit salad compared with sugar-loaded cereals.
“There’s a large appetite for doing voluntary measures with the food industry which demonstrably are ineffective,” Jeffrey said, commenting on the findings.
“The food industry is a formidable force in Canada. When you try to apply regulatory controls to them, they fight back. I think that’s a big part of the problem. People are not fully aware of the extent to which large companies really do try to resist good public health policy.”
At a grocery store in Toronto, Yasmine Halfnight said she’d welcome more regulations and education. Her daughter Grace is not yet two and already has food preferences based on appearance.
“She’ll see something with a Sesame Street character and she wants that,” Halfnight said.
Opposite ideas, such as individual responsibility versus environmental factors often shape the debate and stall progress, Roberto said, but increased efforts could make serious strides toward halting the obesity epidemic.