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Ice cream laws face revamp in the battle against obesity in Ireland

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Irish ice cream laws dating back to 1952 are being revised in an effort to fight national obesity levels.

Health Promotion Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has proposed to revoke the current Food Standards (Ice Cream) Regulations dating from 1952.

The planned changes will revise the content of milk-fat, milk solids and sugar content in ice cream.

One of the stipulations in the 1952 regulations states that ice cream must contain at least 10pc by weight of sugar.

This obviously presents problems for any company wishing to reduce the sugar content of its ice cream products, according to the FSAI.

It says the purpose of the proposed regulations is to revoke these compositional standards as soon as possible.

Having consulted other relevant Government departments and official agencies, it is considered that it is no longer fit for purpose and has largely been superseded by EU legislation, Ms Corcoran Kennedy said.

Recent research found that Ireland has the third highest consumption of ice cream per capita in Europe

Source: Ireland’s ice cream laws face revamp in the battle against obesity – Independent.ie

Sugar is the ‘alcohol of the child’, yet we let it dominate the breakfast table 

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With kids consuming half their sugar quota first thing, it’s no wonder they’re getting diabetes and liver disease. We have to fight corporate interests

Breakfast is considered by most nutrition experts, including Public Health England, to be the most important meal of the day. It gets your brain and your metabolism going, and it suppresses the hunger hormone in your stomach so you won’t overeat at lunch. But in our busy lives, it’s easy to turn to what is quick, cheap, or what you can eat on the go. Cold cereal. Instant oatmeal. For those die-hard “I’m gonna serve something hot for breakfast” types, it’s microwaveable breakfast sandwiches. Gotta get out the door now? Granola bars. Protein bars. Yoghurt smoothies.

Sadly, as the National Diet and Nutrition Survey found, what you’re really doing is giving your children a huge sugar load while sending them on their way: half of their daily intake on average. There’s a reason that the World Health Organisationand the United States Department of Agriculture have provided upper limits of sugar – because dietary sugar fries your kids’ liver and brain; just like alcohol.

Alcohol provides calories (7kcal/g), but not nutrition. There’s no biochemical reaction that requires it. When consumed chronically and in high dose, alcohol is toxic, unrelated to its calories or effects on weight. Not everyone who is exposed gets addicted, but enough do to warrant taxation and restriction of access, especially to children. Clearly, alcohol is not a food – it’s a dangerous drug, because it’s both toxic and abused.

Dietary sugar is composed of two molecules: glucose and fructose. Fructose, while an energy source (4kcal/g), is otherwise vestigial to humans; again, there is no biochemical reaction that requires it. But fructose is metabolised in the liver in exactly the same way as alcohol. And that’s why, when consumed chronically and at a high dose, fructose is similarly toxic and abused, unrelated to its calories or effects on weight. And that’s why our children now get the diseases of alcohol (type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease), without alcohol. Because sugar is the “alcohol of the child”. Also similar to alcohol, sugared beverages are linked to behavioural problems in children

Source: Sugar is the ‘alcohol of the child’, yet we let it dominate the breakfast table | Robert Lustig | Opinion | The Guardian

Obesity is the new smoking – soon governments will be forced to tackle it in the same way | Irish Examiner

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News that the global food company will advise consumers to eat certain products only “occasionally” plays havoc with the jingle that has earned its spot in the advertising slogan Hall of Fame. (Hands up all of you who can still hum the “Mars a day helps you work, rest, and play” tune that brought TV ads to life from 1959 to 1995?) Though – and here’s the unsettling bit — Mars Food isn’t telling us to eat Mars bars or indeed its Snickers bars, M&Ms, or Maltesers occasionally. It is, in fact, admitting that its pasta products and sauces — food we are likely to put on our daily dinner tables — should carry what amounts to a health warning. There’s been a rush to laud the food giant for the move, but I must be missing the point. Doesn’t anybody find it astounding that a food manufacturer is actually warning us about eating its food? You might expect to hear that its confectionery is high in sugar, salt and fat but the fact that Mars is admitting that Dolmio — “When’s your Dolmio day”, indeed? — and other sauces should be eaten, at most, once a week is hair-raising.

How did we end up here, in a world where our daily bread, so to speak, has to come with a label telling us not to eat it too often?…

Source: Obesity is the new smoking – soon governments will be forced to tackle it in the same way | Irish Examiner

Obesity costs global economy an estimated €2tn a year

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Obesity costs global economy an estimated €2tn a year.

The global cost of obesity outweighs that of alcoholism, drug use or road accidents and closely rivals that of armed conflict and smoking, according to a new study.

The cost of obesity is estimated at $2 trillion – equivalent to 2.8 per cent of the world’s economic output, the study found. This makes it one of the top three global social burdens behind smoking and armed violence, war and terrorism..

The research, which was carried out by consultancy firm McKinsey, reveals that obesity is now responsible for about 5 per cent of all deaths a year worldwide.

More than 2.1 billion people – equivalent to nearly 30 per cent of the global population- are overweight or obese. That is almost two and a half times the number of adults and children who are undernourished.

A number of studies conducted in Ireland show that two out of three Irish adults, and one in four primary school children, are overweight or obese.

“Obesity is a major global economic problem caused by a multitude of factors. Today obesity is jostling with armed conflict and smoking in terms of having the greatest human-generated global economic impact,” the report said…

Obesity crisis so severe parents face ‘burying’ their children – Health News | Irish Medical News | The Irish Times – Mon, Jun 23, 2014

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Obesity crisis so severe parents face ‘burying’ their children – Health News | Irish Medical News | The Irish Times – Mon, Jun 23, 2014.

The obesity problem among young people is so bad that the present generation of parents may be the “first to bury our children”, Department of Health secretary-general Ambrose McLoughlin has said.

He told an Irish Heart Foundation conference today that the State had to move away from treatment and towards prevention, adding that tackling obesity was now a “public health priority”.

“If we don’t deal with [obesity], we will be the first generation to bury our children,” he said…

What Causes Weight Gain – NYTimes.com

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What Causes Weight Gain – NYTimes.com.

If I ask you what constitutes “bad” eating, the kind that leads to obesity and a variety of connected diseases, you’re likely to answer, “Salt, fat and sugar.” This trilogy of evil has been drilled into us for decades, yet that’s not an adequate answer.

We don’t know everything about the dietary links to chronic disease, but the best-qualified people argue that real food is more likely to promote health and less likely to cause disease than hyperprocessed food. And we can further refine that message: Minimally processed plants should dominate our diets. (This isn’t just me saying this; the Institute of Medicine and the Department of Agriculture agree.)

And yet we’re in the middle of a public health emergency that isn’t being taken seriously enough. We should make it a national priority to create two new programs, a research program to determine precisely what causes diet-related chronic illnesses (on top of the list is “Just how bad is sugar?”), and a program that will get this single, simple message across: Eat Real Food…

Michelle Obama on Attempts to Roll Back Healthy Reforms – NYTimes.com

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Michelle Obama on Attempts to Roll Back Healthy Reforms – NYTimes.com.

WHEN we began our Let’s Move! initiative four years ago, we set one simple but ambitious goal: to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born today will grow up healthy.

To achieve this goal, we have adhered to one clear standard: what works. The initiatives we undertake are evidence-based, and we rely on the most current science. Research indicated that kids needed less sugar, salt and fat in their diets, so we revamped school lunch menus accordingly. When data showed that the lack of nearby grocery stores negatively affected people’s eating habits, we worked to get more fresh-food retailers into underserved areas. Studies on habit formation in young children drove our efforts to get healthier food and more physical activity into child care centers.

Today, we are seeing glimmers of progress. Tens of millions of kids are getting better nutrition in school; families are thinking more carefully about food they eat, cook and buy…

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