Junk bad food and save our children from life of illness, says TAM FRY

THE MORE people know about the ravages caused by food containing high levels of fat, sugar and salt the better. That is why I was delighted to see Michael Mosley's The Junk Food Experiment on ITV's prime time slot last week. I knew that 90 minutes of watching six willing volunteers being fed platefuls of less than healthy food would have a meaningful outcome.

It did, so much so that the six were the programme's first casualties.They just couldn't stomach the three weeks of junk Dr Mosley tried to put them through and dropped out like flies and if you didn't see Wednesday's airing, watch it on catch-up.

In brief, Hugo Taylor from Made In Chelsea was the first to go because he insisted that eating pizza and burgers made him anxious.Tessa Sanderson, the Olympian, was then warned that she could suffer a stroke if she continued with it and Sunday Express columnist ShaunWallace from The Chase suffered sleep apnoea and became borderline diabetic. If it was Dr Mosley's intention to scare the public at large into eating a healthy diet, he made a good case. In his own words it would be "job done" if everyone was alerted to the often hidden dangers of convenience foods.

And he'll need a lot of luck to succeed, simply because millions depend on convenience food to stay alive and, frequently, because they have never learnt to cook anything for themselves.They have little option but to eat the stuff that the fast food industry serves up for them and they are ensnared in its grip.

We have the horror that nearly a third of the country is obese and two thirds no longer are a healthy weight because, day-in and day-out, its citizens have to endure junk and cannot afford anything better.

However, there is a glimmer of hope for the future in that primary schools have begun to teach cooking again and, from next year, both primary and secondary schools will restore lessons on health to the prominence that the subject deserves.

My hope is that children are taught from an early age that, if they choose a bad lifestyle, they could develop diabetes type 2 and could lose a leg or go blind because of it.That might sound severe, but it's the truth and children at any age can understand the truth when it's sensitively put.

Also telling was the section on portion sizes and the look of amazement as one family was confronted with a Government nutritionists' concept of what a model meal should be. Such advice may never be heeded, so used has the nation become to eating 10 per cent more that is good for it.

The Government has been aware of the need for portion reduction for at least the past four years when the McKinsey Global Institute projected that reducing portion sizes would be the most cost-effective strategy to cut the epidemic by five per cent. But it did nothing. It does now have a plan to reduce calories by 20 per cent by 2024 but it will already be 10 years since McKinsey came up with a solution.

DOWNING Street has threatened that any food firm that fails to comply will be named and shamed - but governments have made such threats before and chickened out. Apropos chickens, I'd like to end with a personal experience of eating junk chicken in Middlesborough.

I went to that city when challenged to "enjoy" sampling a plate of its culinary delicacy, the parmo. This is a dish of a thick flattened piece of chicken, covered in breadcrumbs, deep fried, slathered in bechamel sauce, crowned with melted cheese and topped with salami. The locals, affronted by my remarks on radio about this disgusting dish which was a danger to health, demanded that I try one "on camera" and on site.

I didn't refuse and was filmed sitting down with a variety of parmos to choose from.All were way over the calorie count for several meals put together so I politely declined to eat more than could be gingerly speared on a fork.

Equally politely, the locals wouldn't take no for an answer and insisted that I take the rest home with me in the hope that my wife would better appreciate their cuisine.

For the record, it never got further than the bin...

Tam Fry FRSA is a patron of the Child Growth Foundation, chairman and spokesman of the National Obesity Forum and an expert advisory team member of Action On Sugar.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Share on google plus
    Google Comments
    Facebook Comments

0 comments:

Post a Comment