Get your geek on

I’m slowly getting back into a normal routine, and therefore able to start posting again-yay! Thank you all for your patience with me while I got settled.

I’m going to post twice today, both under the new category of “Get your geek on”. This is a section where I will post interesting (what I think are interesting anyway!) news and research articles, giving us the opportunity to discuss our  thoughts and how we think it will impact our ability to live wellthy. The first one I’m going to post was suggested by Sarah K., and addresses the suggestion by researchers is San Francisco that sugar should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco. They argue that sugar is not just a bad food choice, but that it is addicting and as detrimental to our health as those government regulated products like booze and cigarettes. Some of their suggestions are to tax foods and drinks that are high in sugar, regulate the advertising that tends to cater to children, and to limit the availability of sugary products. Before I post my thoughts on this, I want to hear some of yours. Good idea, or a bunch of crazies? Feel free to talk amongst yourselves 🙂

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7 Responses to Get your geek on

  1. Dad says:

    I really think at the moment we have enough government regulation in our lives. It is about time we take responsibity for our lifes. Researchers can publish their findings in their areas of expertise. It should be up to us to review and decide how it will affect our lifes and what we want to do about it. Second hand smoke is bad so now it is against the law to smoke in public. I don’t think second hand sugar is going to affect the guy sitting next to you while you dump 5 packs of sugar in your coffee. As parents we should be the ones monitoring our childrens eating habits not the government. I agree with healthier school lunches. But I guess I really don’t feel we need warning labels on bags of sugar or cookies or candy. I don’t think any of our homeless people are in their condition because they got addicted to sugar. Give me a little sugar, honey.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      Thanks for replying! I think you made some really good points-and way to end strong 🙂 I think the second hand effects on others (or lack thereof) is a key argument. I’ll go ahead and give some of my opinions, since I can never hold them back for very long 🙂 I do think sugar has had a huge detrimental effect on the health of our society, and therefore the skyrocketing costs of health care. Because of this, I would not necessarily be opposed to highlighting products that are particularly high in sugar. To be completely honest, I would not even be opposed to a (small) tax on foods and drinks that exceed a certain amount of sugar per serving, as long as the taxes collected went towards national healthcare costs, or health prevention and wellness education. That being said, I agree that extensive government regulation like what was being proposed by the research group is excessive. We all do things on a daily basis that are not in the best interest of our health-we can’t control everything. People have to be responsible for themselves.

      Going off topic just a little bit here, I do often wonder why we are consistently attempting to “punish” people for what are perceived to be bad behaviors when experts have been telling us for years that positive reinforcement works significantly better. Why can I not get some type of reward for buying a certain amount of fresh produce when I’m grocery shopping? Or a small tax deduction for not smoking? (Yes, I realize the logistics of proving who smokes and who doesn’t would be difficult to say the least, but I’m just throwing out examples at this point). It seems like our money would be much better spent on educating and rewarding people regarding healthy behaviors than simply adding to the list of things we are not supposed to do.

      • Allie says:

        Such good points! I like your idea of getting a break for buying good food…if sugar is found to be addictive (said by a complete sugar addict), why are those types of food always so much cheaper than that which is good for you? Why not just make healthy options more ‘easy’ to buy instead of making them more expensive?

      • Dawn Whiting says:

        I agree! Even when you look at things like people using food stamps-what if they got discounts? Would that help alleviate (not eliminate) the differences in food behaviors between middle and upper class consumers, and the lower income populations? I think it would be worth a try.

  2. Dad says:

    This might go more to motivation but your comment about food stamps made me think of something I always do. Not that food stamps have anything to do with this but when I am food shopping and see a grossy obese person I always glance into their cart. Look at them, look at the cart and go right back to reading those labels. I don’t understand how people can get so obese without trying to do something. Maybe it is a vanity thing but I don’t like being overweight and I don’t like me for doing nothing about it. At least these folks keep me motivated.

  3. Eric Simmons says:

    MONEY! It is part of the cause of people not eating as healthy. While getting my Gerontology minor I looked at how to improve the eating habits of elders living on a fixed income. The problem became apparent in that processed foods and high calorie/low nutrient foods that have long shelf lives cost less than fresh foods which have short self lives. For manufactures/growers the longer the shelf life the higher the profit margin, for those on fixed income more meals for less money.

    For the obese there can be other factors besides laziness. First, portion sizes have gradually increased over the years, for example, what was a medium soft drink in the mid-80’s is now considered a regular or small size. Just the subtle change in drink size is a 100 calorie increase in portion size. In the 80’s a typical sit-down restaurant meal was about 800-900 calories, now they range over 1100 calories and appetizers are now encouraged that are 1200-2200+ calories. Many people are very conscious about not leaving food behind and tend to clean their plate no matter how full they feel instead of taking some of it home and making a second meal out it. Secondly, some medications interfere with the bodies sense of satiety or change the metabolism. Third, depression and other mental health issues can also play a self destructive role.

    We have brought some of this problem on ourselves as we want more quantity of food for less money. Corporate America is willing to do this with higher processed/longer shelf life food, the law of supply and demand. We also have created things to do most of our physical work for us so that we can have more liesure time sitting in front of the television.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for the posts! I agree-the obesity epidemic is more than a “personal choice”-it is a societal problem as well. Changes have to be made in our culture-both in neighborhoods, states and nationwide. I have found that cooking healthy can be relatively inexpensive, however it requires careful planning as well as a knowledge of how to use which ingredients to make them last. Not always the easiest thing to do!

      One point I always like to bring up is the inability of parents to let their kids go out an play like they used to. A lot of times we talk about how kids just sit in front of TVs, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that most of our parents just sent us out to play until dinner. That’s not always a safe option anymore.

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