Remove temptation or manage it?
If you haven’t watched Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush program yet, I highly recommend it. It has been great to see someone like him finally get behind the seriousness of the health issues this country and others are facing from high sugar consumption.
Diabetes has increased 60% in a decade, there are over 7000 amputations in the UK each year from diabetes and most chronic diseases are caused by inflammation and acidity, most of which could be avoided if people got their sugar intake down to the revised recommended daily amount of 7tsp of sugar a day (excluding natural sugar found in fresh fruit and vegetables, although this needs to be looked at in many cases too because of fructose issues).
What was also interesting was hearing statistics that 70% of sugar snacks bought were impulse buys and seeing Jamie Oliver slam manufacturers for heavy advertising and sneaky, sugary point of sales seen in most high street shops and supermarkets. About time! I was told by a WHSmith’s employee last year AND someone working in my local petrol station, that they get a bonus pay for selling the large chocolate bars and Haribos etc at the tills on their shifts. This should be made bloody illegal in my view! I think his idea of the sugar tax is brilliant (although I think it should be more!) and as I’ve been saying for years, what you’re going to see with the sugar industry over the next 20-30 years is what we’ve seen with the tobacco industry over the last 20-30 years and about time!
But one thing that I think Jamie is missing is that whilst soda and confectionary consumption is part of the problem, high sugar eating in general is also to blame. So as Jamie cross examined some of the sugar manufacturers and food industry experts in interviews and made funny faces when they said sugar isn’t the problem, too sugar much is, that moderation is key and that people had to take responsibility for their own choices, it was clear he couldn’t see his own role in the high sugar problem we have in this country!
No don’t get me wrong, Jamie Oliver has done some great things for the country regarding food, BUT, he has whole books dedicated to sugary cakes and desserts, has 30-60 minute shows all around indulgent foods he’s cooking and has a top selling book called ‘Comfort Food’! All of which are designed to inspire us to make and eat sugary things and these I know have been at point of sales around supermarkets and high street shops!
So what’s the difference between a coca cola advert on TV and an advert for Jamie’s new cookery show? What’s the difference between a full-page Mars advert in the Sunday paper and a five page spread of Jamie’s new dessert recipes? What’s the difference between five sugar adverts in BGT prime time TV and an hour of Great British Bake Off?
Nothing in my view, because they all do the same thing… Glorify sugar, encourage eating higher sugar foods and create something called temptation and lots of it. People like Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry may say things along the lines of ‘home cooking is healthier than drinking Coca cola’ and ‘families should be encouraged to bake together’ and again (just like those manufacturers) dismiss their role in the increase of sugar consumption in the UK but saying things like ‘of course these things aren’t a problem with moderation’. But the fact is (as someone recently pointed out to me in a mini twitter rant) the GBBO has got more families baking together and I read a recent report that since the GBBO started, cake tin sales have soared by 400% I think it was. So please tell me what the difference is between Coca cola adverts and the GBBO? Because you see things like this absolutely everywhere and they do exactly the same thing, maybe in slightly different ways… ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO EAT MORE SUGAR!
So, do we need to remove all temptation (adverts, sweet cookery books, GBBO etc)? After all it’s been proven these things increase people’s appetite and desire for sweet food. Or, do we teach people (as I do in my emotional eating program!) on how to identify the triggers and anchors you have around images, adverts, recipe books and cookery shows and start rewiring your brain so you can look at them (like I can now!) without having the need to eat the things they are selling and promoting? And of course really teach people about moderation, actual moderation based on the World Health Organisation’s new sugar guidelines.
I think a combination of the two. Because if you work on lowering temptation AND helping people take responsibility for their own actions, we’ve got something pretty powerful on our hands. This is not about me being a health Hitler and saying people can’t have some sugar or a piece of cake occasionally, but when we know that Diabetes takes up £10 billion pounds of the NHS budget, yes £10 billion, more has to be done. Most chronic diseases would be eradicated according to Dr Aseem, top Cardiologist based in London if people got sugar out, grains right down and got vegetables and good fats up. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine, most people don’t understand it (as Jamie Oliver proved when they went through hidden sugars in healthy looking meals) and most people have an emotional link to the stuff, which stems from memories and habit loops installed to us as children usually (more on this and core beliefs on the emotional eating program!).
But there’s a third leg of the stool in my view. The media have a lot to answer for. A lot. I mean, I read the Sunday Sun yesterday (I do like my weekly celeb gossip!) and there was an article in the Fabulous magazine about how wine is affecting women’s health and it was warning of liver disease issues from drinking and then there were six, yes six, full size, separate one page adverts selling wine in the main paper! If wine is your weakness, this is like a kamikaze flight, literally doomed from the outset! How many of us read things like You magazine on a Sunday where you have a six page detox spread and how to get the body you want, followed by eight pages of Nigella’s new desserts?! Talk about confusion. Unless you are able to take it for what it is and be less influenced by the images and message you see around you (again we cover this on the emotional eating program!).
But what is also quite scary is that there are many people out there who are eating way too much sugar, who don’t consider them high sugar eaters because they don’t have coke and mars bars on a daily basis and aren’t morbidly obese. They bake everything from scratch and don’t see themselves as sugar addicts yet if you asked them to take sugar out of their diets they would be so affected emotionally and physically.
So going back to my blog title, do we remove temptation or manage it? I’d say as individuals it’s down to us to manage it. And this comes from knowledge of how our brains work, what our anchors, triggers, core beliefs and habits are around sugar and food, education around sugar and I mean real education, not the crappy advice that’s being given out by the NHS and governments at the moment, despite all these sugar related diseases saturating billions of pounds each year and killing millions of people. As Dr Aseem says ‘ They’ve got it wrong and they’ve had it wrong for quite some time’.
You can enjoy life with a lot less sugar and if you don’t think you can then you have a real emotional issue around it or have a physical addiction, both of which are not going to help you out long term. You don’t need to be morbidly obese to get diabetes and chronic health diseases at all.
I’m here to help and Jamie Oliver, if you want to really tackle the sugar issues in this country, you need to look at what goes on in people’s minds about it (myself and Gill Harvey Bush can come on board your #sugarrush team no problem!), look at the role of celebrity chefs and the increase of cookery shows AS WELL as introducing a sugar tax!
The Emotional Eating program is a five-week audio based program, is completely anonymous and comes with a money back guarantee!
This week, observe your thoughts and feelings when you see adverts, shows or read the papers and surf online. Monitor what images you see and what it stirs up in you. It’s a really interesting exercise to do!