Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Study on snacking gets it wrong

I am non-police blogging today. It's a subject I'm passionate about, though.

Read about a new study via Reuters today. I'm so angry about the obesity epidemic and the misplaced blame. Did you know we're headed toward 75% of the nation being overweight or obese? The article and study blames daily snacking as explaining the rise in childhood obesity.


It's not the extra snacking that's doing it. It's the items kids are given to snack on that is doing it. It's the increase in indoor activities, and decrease in outdoor activities doing it. Here's a tip: eating every 3 hours increases metabolism. A higher metabolism means you are burning more calories. You're actually keeping your body digesting more often, and even the act of digestion burns calories.

But when the snacking options are crap, crap and more crap, naturally the caloric intake outweighs the increase in metabolism. Here's another tip: eating crap foods is like putting regular gasoline in a lawnmower that requires an oil-fuel mix. It makes the process break down. Salt, fat, sugar, sure all these are OK and even helpful to your body IN MODERATION. When that is all that a snack consists of, the body starts reacting poorly. I don't have the time or patience today to really break it all down, but it's true, if you care to do the research on your own. Eat a sugary snack, for example, and your body ramps up insulin production. Once the speed rush of this little process slows down, your blood sugar plummets, energy goes down, and you feel hungry. You're not really hungry so much as needing energy, but it doesn't matter. You eat another sugary snack to counter the effects. Meanwhile your body starts flipping out from the excess and other healthier processes slow down.

I'm getting away from myself. If kids want to snack and they're eating healthy, natural foods, they're not going to get fat. If your kid wants a snack between lunch and dinner and you give him an apple with peanut butter, that is AWESOME. If you give him a bag of Doritos, well, of course he's going to end up fat.

I'd be willing to bet that the kids who eat the awful snacks between meals are also being fed awful meals, thus lending to the epidemic.

One last note: children's bodies are designed to grow. As a result, they also create fat cells much faster than adults. When a child starts out on the wrong path, being fed crap and being overweight so early, they are being set up for a lifetime of failure. It is that much harder to lose fat when you start creating the fat cells so early.

I could ramble on and on about this. I'm going to try not to. It's just an issue that really gets under my skin.


Mama Hen said...

Thanks for sharing this. I totally agree with you. OH and I have been working on eating healthier and losing weight and as a result our kids are eating better as well. I actually followed weight watchers for a bit but found that I was eating crappier food simply because it was "less points." Now I'm following more of a hypoglycemic diet (high fiber, low sugar) and I feel better and have lost more weight; I think it's due to the fact that I'm giving my body the right kind of fuel.
Thanks again for sharing!

mrs. fuzz said...

I agree. I am passionate about this subject as well. It's a common sense thing. But people go for what's easiest and packaged the pertiest. A lot of the blame can be placed on companies and advertising, but people just aren't thinking. They are trusting what's put out there for them and you can't do that. And don't get me started on "snacks" that are packaged as healthy, but are actually worse than "non healthy" snacks.

FroneAmy said...

Don't get me wrong, it's hard in today's society especially. Think about when we were in school, how much health education did you get? We got 1 required course, in 8th grade, and half of it was sex ed. In high school we did have electives that were basically home-ec from a healthy standpoint.

It's hard anyway, particularly if you were raised like the average American, to change your eating habits.

Another reason this hits close to home for me (well us, really) is that our husbands sometimes don't have a choice in eating healthy. You know as well as I do, sometimes they go long stretches of time without food, and sometimes when the shift is busy, or they're working overnights, the only option is McDonalds. Maybe they forgot to pack that day. Maybe there's no fridge or microwave at the station. Maybe they're working out of an outpost, or stuck at a detail in the middle of nowhere. Packing carrots and apples and a turkey sandwich is fighting an uphill battle.

I would love to be able to help people out, but like Mrs Fuzz said, people aren't thinking and they have to WANT to make a change.

There I go rambling again!