Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Hell hour"

There is a new book out in Swedish on the consumption of sugar. They say it's good. I had it in my hand in February and was about to buy it but thought I have learned enough already from Nancy Appleton, Robert Lustig, Bitten Johnson, and all those others who preach the message regarding the harms of sugar. Anyway, because the book is receiving so much attention in Sweden, and actually influencing media to have a closer look at sugar, I have now decided that I need to read this book. So I am line to get it from the local library.
The book is called "A sweeter blood" and it is written by a biochemist and journalist called Ann Fernholm.

Since I haven't read the book I can't really deal with its inner core here but instead I just wanted to comment on some of her thoughts that have been presented on the blog "Naturlig mat i skolan".

First of all, I have to say that I feel an enormous relief that somebody has done such a thorough job to debunk the prevailing assumption that sugar to kids cause little harm, and that fat would be worse than sugar. I feel such a relief that somebody is writing about those observations I made when we switched diets, as something that is not specific to our family, many others are struggling with the same problems! Take for example what she calls the "hell hour", the hour between when you pick up your child from daycare and when you have dinner on the table. I remember how we were walking home from daycare with one child screaming and crying because she was so exhausted. And how that changed when we started eating breakfast with protein and fat included at home instead of at daycare. Or if I go even further back in memory, I remember that first year of daycare when we had a one year old child who was going crazy in the kitchen while I was trying to as quickly as possible get some food on the dinner table. The stress level was high and I hated cooking just because of that.

Second, she talks about the prestige invested in the faulty dietary recommendations (avoid fat instead of sugar)  and that knowing how the research community works, it will probably take a good while before these faulty assumptions are corrected. She adds that if the politicians get involved, then change might come sooner. Unfortunately, I am more pessimistic than Fernholm. I think the politicians have invested just as much prestige, if not even more, in this cholesterol/fat-scare than the scientists. Besides, much of the funding of political campaigns probably comes from the food industry, and if not in form of direct money to finance the fake smiley faces next to the roads during election times, then at least the politicians have consequences to take when food industry starts making losses and jobs are lost. Instead, I think it is now up to each and everyone of us to decide about our future: do we want to have a healthy future or do we want to continue making ourselves sick by the way we are eating? And then act accordingly. The problem is of course up here in the north the school and daycare food, which is steered by the state dietary recommendations. Here once again, I have little hope that change will come from above. Instead I think that as the consciousness grows among parents, we can start putting pressure on the municipality to do something about the food. Particularly once more real stories of success start raising up to the surface. Change will happen, once those parents who have seen remarkable change in their children by changing their diets start speaking up and making everyone else aware of the health gains to be won by reducing sugars, fast carbs and increasing the amount  real food (and real fat) dare to speak up!

Until now we who have noticed the difference have been met with a lot of skepticism when trying to tell the world about our observations. I think it is the natural resistance to change that produces this reaction. But I also think that books like Fernholm's book can help our message to grow stronger. I think it can help many children suffering from food addictions or behavioral problems categorized as ADHD or hyperactivity once their parents understand the connection between getting rid of the sweet tooth and their children's health. After all, I think we all want what is best for both ourselves and our children. But while the establishment continues preaching the risks of fat and the non-addictiveness of sugars, it is hard to let loose and believe in other contradictory stories.

I also think there might be a big step between realizing that Fernholm's book is right to the point and then actually doing something about it.That is the biggest challenge of them all; the challenge of changing lifestyles! More about that in a later post!

Oh, and I am also happy that Fernholm's book will be published in Finnish soon!Yey, yey, happy happy! :-)

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