Disease Proof

How Sweet It Is--That's The Problem

Last month DiseaseProof.com spotlighted news stories addressing childhood obesity. A growing problem that has inspired many of potential remedies; from video games in schools to banning whole-milk in the lunchroom. Last week Stephanie Dunnewind of The Seattle Times reported another solution might be turning a watchful eye to the classroom Cs:

With rising concern over childhood obesity, more educators and parents are tackling the classroom Cs: cupcakes, cookies and candy. Served for birthdays and class parties, some worry kids now expect the high-fat and sugar sweets as part of every celebration.

Proponents suggest subbing fruit, low-fat snacks or veggies and dip but some parents balk at serving carrots for special days. Other schools skip food entirely, focusing on games and activities for class parties or asking for a donated book in the birthday child's name.

Limiting children's intake of sugary foods is a step in the right direction. In his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains the importance of avoiding processed foods, like sweets, in order to maintain healthy bodyweight:

It is not merely dental cavities that should concern us about sugar. If we allow ourselves and our children to utilize sugar, white-flour products, and oil to supply the majority of calories, as most American families do, we shall be condemning ourselves to a lifetime of sickness, medical problems, and premature death.

Refined sugars include table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), honey, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweeteners, and fruit juice concentrates. Even the bottled and boxed fruit juices that many children drink are poor food; with no significant nutrient density, they lead to obesity and disease.1

If you want to lose weight, the most important foods to avoid are processed foods: condiments, candy, snacks, and baked goods.

In Disease Proof Your Child, Dr. Fuhrman has lots of healthy kid-friendly recipes. Here are five treats he recommends instead of cakes and sweets:
1. Date Nut Pop-Ems--A mix of dates, ground nuts, cinnamon, and carob powder. (You can make your own, or purchase them.)
2. Soaked dried fruit--Dried apricots, apples, or mangoes soaked overnight in soy milk.
3. Frozen banana whip--Frozen bananas, sliced and pureed in a blender or food processor with a little soy milk or skim milk
4. Baked apples--Cored apples filled with a mix of apple sauce, cinnamon, and raisins and then baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
5. Fruit smoothies--A blended mixture of fresh fruit, banana, dried fruit, and soy milk, milk, or fruit juice. Unsweetened canned pineapple, with the juice mixed banana and frozen strawberries, is a kid favorite. Experiment.

1. Berenson, G. S., S. R. Srinivasan, W. Bao, et al. 1998. Association between multiple cardiovascular risk factors and atherosclerosis in children and young adults. N. Eng. J. Med. 338: 1650-56.

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Vijay Sonnad - February 24, 2006 11:39 PM

A question that has been on mind for some time is the value of non-fat yogurt added to a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Clearly this is animal protein, but it is valuable as a probiotic and has long been supposed to promote health among many cultures. Are there obvious reasons to avoid non-fat yogurt?

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