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Thoughts On: Salt, Sugar, Fat

Today I want to do something that is slightly different to the norm we do here on the blog. Today I will break down some of the key points from a book I've recently read cover-to-cover, and provide my opinion on the books main arguments and opinions.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the food giants hooked usToday's feature is . This is a book that explores the role of salt, sugar and fat in the food industry, it's impact on your health and how food corporations go about their marketing strategies to increase profit.

It's time to delve into the literature and give my take on the main points taken from the work. I promise I won't hold back!

Sweet drinks may be a Trojan horse when it comes to making people gain weight. Our bodies might not be able to identify the calories in sweet liquid as well as they can in solid foods.

Yep. It's extremely easy to over-consume on soft drinks as they are packed with empty calories and do not fill you up which means you will want more. You get ZERO nutritional benefit.

Of course sodas are not the sole ‘Trojan horse’ for why people gain weight. There could be many factors at play for why someone gains weight easily. Sleep, stress, hydration, fibre, current physiological state, peer pressure, a terrible home and work environment could all be factors that cause weight gain.

If you are somebody who is in pretty good shape and knows a lot about nutrition, then knock yourself out. A drink or two is not going to affect your gains.

But it's no surprise that anyone on a fat loss diet should be avoiding empty calorie drinks like these! Opt for diet drinks because they contain zero calories and can help people wean off sugary sweet drinks.

I won’t go in to detail about artificial sweeteners (which in my opinion are totally fine.) Perhaps for another post on another day. Anyway on to the next one…

[On kids and their sugar intake] Some of this craving for sugar may not be innate in kids but rather is the result of the massive amounts of sugar being added to processed foods. Scientists called this learned behaviour…

Generally this is true. If kids are subject to a diet that is rich in highly processed foods filled with sugar from an early age they are going to become pre-conditioned to the taste and more likely crave the stuff down the line through this learned behaviour.

If you are a parent that worries about this, there's a simple solution. STOP giving kids so much of the damn stuff and limit their processed/added sugar intake from an early age. Start this pattern early enough and the kids’ habitual eating pattern will more than likely extend into adulthood.

We know that not all kids like vegetables. Just remember that it can take up to 15 attempts before a child accepts a new food. Stick with it and persist as it will be worth it in the end.

We are driven to eat by other forces in our lives. Some of these are emotional needs…

play on your emotions because we are hard-wired to crave calorie dense foods from our caveman days when we didn’t know when our next meal would be.Yeah this can definitely be the case for some people. Humans are not robots and no one has the will power to eat perfectly 100% of the time. It's just not possible. Will power is finite. High calorie snacks are extremely easy to binge on because they don't fill you up and take no time to prepare. They can

We've all opened a bag of Doritos and before we know it the entire bag is gone. Because it’s easy and requires no effort. Even more so when someone is dieting and have restricted all of their favourite foods. The diet was too rigid and before you know it, the person has undone all their hard work in a matter of minutes.These days we have high calorie foods in abundance so it’s easy enough to over-indulge.

This is why I prescribe a flexible dieting protocol to most of my clients because it keeps them on track. If you restrict your diet back to boring, bland, samey foods you are 100% destined to break a diet.

[discussing a sugary breakfast cereal advert that claimed to improve attentiveness in kids by 18 percent] The claim wasn't true. The clinical study cited in the classroom campaign had, in fact, been commissioned and paid for by the same company. Only one is seven kids got a boost of 18 percent or more.

This happens all of the time. Companies happily pay for research that will support their message but only if the results are positive. This can lead to a manipulation of the data to ensure it reads positively. They don't need to tell you that not every kid gained a boost. Why would they? If one kid improves even slightly, then yeah great, we’ll jump all over this result and claim is as a 100% success rate.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of well researched studies that are funded by the dairy and egg industry so I'm not disputing all claims that sponsored studies are flawed. Just be aware that if a food or product claims to help in some way when in fact they’ve actually manipulated the data.

[on big food companies and their process to find out what kids want to eat] A key concept in the marketing campaign for the product... the team would delve into adolescent psychology to discover that it wasn't the food in the trays that excited the kids; it was the fun, the cool, and most of all, the feelings of power it brought to their lives.

Well yeah. This is what big corporations do. They put a lot of time, money and effort and find out what people like and use this to their advantage. In the case of kids, they like fun and cool things. Tony the Tiger anyone?

If this surprises you then you need to wake up and understand that these companies are doing whatever they can to get you to buy their product! They could care less about your health or well-being; all they want is your money! This isn't just giant food corps though. Fruit and vegetable suppliers and butchers who provide us with more nutritious food will happily do the same thing to boosts sales. Clothing outlets. Hollywood. Cosmetic companies. Record labels. I could go on.

Welcome to capitalism.

The food industry is accountable for the [obesity] epidemic. More calories in, less calories burned, obesity up.

Energy dense snacks are ONE part of the problem with obesity. What about the rise of technology? People are less likely to go for a walk or hit the gym, and instead would rather go straight from their sedentary office job to the living room and Netflix binge for hours on end. Forget going out for a walk at lunch; let's play some non-nonsensical game on our iPhone!

How about sleep? If we get less sleep, we affect our hunger hormones so we think we're actually hungry when in fact we're not, we’re just tired and our hormones are out of whack.

While it's easy to pick on companies that make snacks, let's look at the bigger picture and start to make better overall lifestyle choices, which includes an improvement in diet as well.

Something that I preach a lot is that everything you do in life is your fault! Sure readily accessible snacks and bake sale Friday’s don’t help. But you always have a choice and you don't have to fall in to the pit of saying yes all the time.

Deliberate public health efforts are warranted to reduce intakes of saturated fats.

Saturated fat is not bad for you! We need a healthy balance of saturated fats (butter, animal foods) along with mono-unsaturated fats (olives, nuts, avocados) and poly-unsaturated fats (oily fish, flax.)

The problem with saturated fat is mostly aimed at the typical western dieter. Fast food, takeaways and junk food are packed with saturated fat. If you stop eating takeaways and fast food alone, you would automatically drop saturated fat levels and sodium levels. And even sugar levels!

There's your action after reading this. If you regularly indulge in takeaways and fast food cut then our of your diet and your health will improve massively with one simple hack. Plus your finances will thank you for it.

Red meat should be slashed from the current average of one serving a day to no more than two servings a week. Moreover, red meat that has been processed into bacon, bologna, hot dogs, sandwich meats, and other products with added salt is best avoided altogether.

I've covered red meat and processed meat in quite a bit of detail here. In short we don't know what our best red meat consumption is and processed meat is probably best limited.

Numerous other foods can supply the protein that people require, including chicken and fish.

Yes, all great sources of protein and good staples for your diet. Eat them regularly alongside a tonne of fruit and vegetables.

In looking for ways to reduce the consumption of sodium, health officials identified one obvious target: the saltshakers on everyone's kitchen table.

As discussed above, cut down on fast food and takeaways and you auto-correct this problem. The little sodium you get from table salt you season your meal with will be fine and even beneficial to your health.

Remember your body needs sodium to function properly! You could even switch to Himalayan or rock salt which have far more minerals your body needs than regular table salt. Don't be scared to season your food with salt.

I'll leave on this point. If people claim to be so addicted to sugar or salt I challenge anyone to grab a bowl of table sugar or a bowl of salt and binge on it. No I didn't think so. The problem is not that sugar and salt is inherently bad, it's because junk foods have a mega calorie intake and a low filling threshold.

If you eat an 80% single-ingredient diet, the rest can be played around with. If someone lives for biscuits the worst possible thing you can say to that person is to never eat biscuits again. Create a super-nutritional baseline of foods and the rest will fall into place!

That’s Salt, Sugar, Fat wrapped up. For more tasty nutritional views, visit Facebook.com/Angelnutrition1

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