Government Cheese

Because They Are Poisoning Us

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Conn Job?

Here’s one to keep an eye on.

Connecticut state legislators last week passed a bill that, if signed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, would ban junk food from the Nutmeg State’s public schools’ cafeterias and vending machines. Bout time, right? There is a childhood obesity epidemic to fight, and we're losing.



The (Republican) Governor is balking, however, trying to maintain control of such decisions in the hands of local boards.

If enacted, Connecticut’s would be the strictest such junk food ban in the nation, not only banning sugary, empty-calorie snacks from school lunches, but also requiring twenty minutes of daily physical activity outside of gym class.

Sound like good news?

Depends.


It Takes a Village to Tell You What to Feed Your Kid

Here are the parts I don’t like.

From Section 2 (b): “Each local and regional board of education shall establish a School Wellness Committee…”

Parents need be wary of child-rearing-by-committee.

Section 3 (a) allows only Water, Milk (“including, but not limited to, chocolate milk, soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or nondairy milk,”) or pure fruit Juice or drinks that are no less than half real fruit juice.

Water and juice sound OK. The Paleo-nutrition community has countless data on the dangers of dairy and soy, and rice milk sounds like it should have a Budweiser label.



Politicians being how they are, the State’s House debated for eight hours and, bowing to the pressure of all the soft drink companies who lobbied against the bill for obvious reasons, decided to allow diet soft drinks and sports drinks.

Diet soft drinks contain artificial sweeteners which are known to cause an insulin reaction in the drinker the moment he tastes the sweetness on his tongue. This phenomenon, called the ‘cephalic phase of insulin release’, causes more harm to the diet pop drinker than if he drank a good ol’ Coke Classic, so explains nutritionist Dr. Tanya Zilberter:

Sweet taste, even coming with artificial sweetener, raises glucose concentration in the blood before the food has a chance to be digested. Why? Because your body knows that eventually, it will have all the carbs you've swallowed and it doesn't wait until it that happens. When the sweet food is real, the carbohydrates eventually get into the blood... Nature never counted on us inventing artificial sweeteners. Being fooled, your body reacts rather vindictively: it forces you to want more sweet food plus eat more next time, no matter what food you agree to have.

There is enough scientific study that should convince the school boards that diet soda is not any healthier than regular pop.

But they also decided to allow insulin-stimulating high-fructose corn syrupy “sports” drinks, or, as they put it, “electrolyte replacement beverages containing no more than forty-two grams of added sweetener per twenty ounce serving”, to be sold at events after the regular school day ends, at least a half hour after the bell rings. Sheesh. Maybe they should try first to keep kids from drinking alcohol after school hours, then gradually move into Gatorade.



No, I’m afraid on this one I must agree with the bill’s Republican opponents, for instance Sen. Judy Freedman of Westport who just hates “the thought of the state coming in and saying, 'We're going to become the parent authority now’.”

Or Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield: "You're not going to stop childhood obesity by letting them drink sugar-free soda all day long."

No, you’re not.

Bill 1309’s dissidents could merely be under the influence of the soft drink lobby, but they have it right. Removing the junk food and the pop is essential, but don’t think you can make Johnny jog for a half hour, then throw him a glass of Bosco or Tab, and expect to see any results.

2 Comments:

Blogger diana said...

The sugar-free pop is also full of phenylalanine (and some with aspartame) which isn't really all that good for us in high concentrations, either...

The insulin reactions are interesting, though. I've heard of them but never really looked deeply into it. Something I'll have to check out sometime.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Although one shouldn't be consuming diet sodas for it, phenylalanine is an 'essential' amino acid found in many protein-rich foods, a building block for a number of neurotransmitters--and required in the diet.

9:48 PM  

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