Tuesday 3 January 2017

New year, same old sugar panic

Stop it

From the BBC (and everywhere else)...

Kids devouring too much 'breakfast sugar' warning

Children are packing in so much sugar at breakfast that half their daily allowance has already been eaten before school, Public Health England says.

There is no such thing as a sugar allowance. Rationing was abolished in the early 1950s. What we have is a recommendation - a recommendation that was arbitrarily and unscientifically halved recently because - I suspect - people were getting close to meeting it.

A survey of 200 parents with children aged four to 10 revealed the problem starts at breakfast. It found children were eating more than 11g of sugar or nearly three sugar cubes, on average, at breakfast alone.

Eleven grams of sugar is nothing. It's 44 calories. Britain is in a bad place if the consumption of 44 calories is front pages news.

Public Health England could make themselves useful by waging an educational campaign against the hysteria and scientific illiteracy of the anti-sugar/low carb/high fat cultists. With a bit of effort, it might avert the epidemic of eating disorders that is on its way if the current irrationality persists. Instead, it is effectively collaborating with the Action on Sugar cranks in order to promote its Change4Life app.

So let's look at the healthy breakfast alternatives suggested by Change4Life, five of which are given pride of place on Auntie Beeb's report of this non-story.

Of the two sweet dishes suggested, the blueberry and banana smoothie contains 15 grams of sugar and a serving of the porridge contains 20 grams of sugar. Even the baked tomatoes have 9 grams of sugar.

A touch of hypocrisy from Public Health England? Perhaps, but these dishes are not unhealthy. The amount of sugar in them is perfectly normal and appropriate. It would be very difficult to put together a palatable sweet dish for an adult or a child without 11 grams of sugar.

The survey also showed that 84% of parents thought they were giving their children a healthy start to the day.

For the most part, the parents are right. No child is going to come to harm by having 44 calories of sugar in their cereal bowl, on their toast or in their glass. Can everybody please get a grip?

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