We need to talk about breakfast. The most common question I am asked when it comes to diet is what to eat for breakfast, especially by those seeking a low-carb option. When you’ve got a whole family to sort out before school and work, breakfast […]
Go find yourself a beam, a branch or one of those slack-lines and try balancing for a bit. How long can you last? Probably not as long as you’d like because chance are, like me, you are not an Olympic gymnast. Sure, you can engage […]
I was just flicking through a book that I used as a junior doctor when I first started working. Oxford Handbooks are the pocket sized bibles for anyone starting in medicine. Page 87 got me thinking – the page of nutritional requirements. At the top of the page are carbohydrates, “found in almost all food” it says. It quotes a daily requirement of 300g and the deficiency of carbohydrates is called malnutrition.
Oh come on. This is crap Nutrition School 101.
Lots of people in the nutrition world like to point out that doctors have very little in the way of nutrtional training at medical school. They are right. I recall only one undergraduate lecture, memorable because I had an interest in nutrition and it seemed odd not to do more at med school. They talked about The Framingham Heart Study and they said that “it is hard working in clinical obesity management because fat people never take the advice given”.
Ignoring nutrition science in medical training is completely rediculous. Bad nutrition and blind faith in bad guidelines got us into the big fat mess that we are in.
Why is this ignored in favour of learning only about drug treatments, I wonder?
I’ve been catching up with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his fat fight. He likes a good fight and I’m so glad he has chosen this one. Whilst I’m a little down that the calories-in-calories-out mantra is still prevailing, there was something that was even more […]
Leg cramps are a common complaint for those starting out on a low carb or ketogenic diet. I was a bit worried, if I’m honest, because I have a grizzly history with cramps. I was afflicted from an early age (long before keto) and my […]
Navigating the food pyramid with the next generation is really hard, especially when you are trying to turn it upside down. The next generation, and by that, I mean my kids, are going to need a lot of help. My children are already being taught the wrong ideas about healthy eating at their school. The education is certainly well meaning, but it is just wrong. When my youngest presented me with the “healthy food plate” template recently, I started to wonder how I can navigate the bad dietary advice that the kids still get, versus what I believe. I have two children (10 and 9 years old) and over the last decade we have eaten breakfast cereals (often choosing those with less sugar but certainly not zero sugar), we have drunk fruit juice (often choosing this as a better drink than fizzy ‘junk’), we have eaten hundreds of low-fat yogurts (ignoring the sugar content), and we have eaten many pasta meals and sandwiches. In essence, we have been looking after ourselves by following the low-fat diet that we have been advised to follow. What’s wrong with that?
Putting starchy carbohydrates as the basis for the diet and being afraid of fat is the wrong way around and upside down, for us and for our children.
My daughter and I looked at her breakfast this morning. She asked for a bacon sandwich and I made her one. Then, looking at the labels on the bread packet she asked me if the bread was OK to eat (as she knows I don’t eat it). I didn’t want to contradict myself (I do think it is a bad choice, yet I am giving it to her – ouch).
I needed to show her that it was about the choices we make, and I poured a bowl of her favourite breakfast cereal onto the scales to show her. Ignoring sugar for a moment (never ignore sugar folks) – the bread ‘thin’ had 18g carbs in it. Her usual portion of breakfast cereal contained 50g (with half of that being sugar). My daughter was genuinely surprised. “I’ll take the bacon sandwich” she said, “and one day I will not have the bread”.
So, one day she will choose not to have the bread. But which day? When she has reached a point where she feels sick and overweight or when she wants to lose a belly? When she is told she has diabetes? That’s what we’re dealing with if we continue with this idea that kids need the sugar for energy, we are leading them down this path and telling them it is healthy.
There is no requirement for sugar in the diet, for adults or children. How on earth do our teachers control and teach a class of thirty kids who had a standard breakfast full of sugar and who will crash and be craving more sugar by mid-morning? I really don’t envy them their job.
A massive problem in tackling this is a potential backlash in talking about healthy eating with children. It is a concern that they will all start counting calories and become anorexic. So, don’t mention fat to girls or they might become anorexic. I am not belittling this very difficult and sometimes devastating illness, but do you know how many teens with anorexia there are, compared to those who are obese or heading for obesity and the complications that come with obesity? I would suggest giving them the right advice in the first place rather than sweeping this important issue under the carpet. Handy hint: stop telling them to count calories.
For me, it was a big step to change my diet overnight, but that was after years of believing that only the opposite of my dietary-guideline diet would help me and yet doing nothing about it. For the kids, it is a bit harder to get them onside. What I say at home contradicts the dietary advice that the children are getting in school. That’s a tricky situation and how I can deal with it is for another blog post.
I wrote about this briefly on an Instagram post and had some interesting and useful suggestions. These included using full-fat yogurts with home made granola of nuts, seeds and raspberries for days when bacon and eggs aren’t on the menu. I plan to pull together a collection of useful ideas and thoughts about how we prevent the next generation from heading towards the medical issues of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and the burden of these chronic diseases that are affecting their parents and grandparents. We can’t lead them off the cliff when we know how to prevent it. Please help and contribute, if you can.
I can’t get through a day without being asked – are you allowed to eat this or that. My response is always the same: there is nothing I am not allowed to eat, there are many things I choose not to eat, because I am […]