Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Health Food? Really, You Could Have Fooled Me!

OK, time for just a wee bit of venting here. Schools here in Nova Scotia are supposed to be providing our kids with a "healthy diet" while they're in schools. Well, it sure doesn't look that way to me. I just want to address one simple issue today in that regard, and that's the sale of chocolate milk in our high school vending machines.

You cannot sell Pepsi in the school (which is cool with me) but you CAN sell this crap masquerading as a health food (which is NOT cool with me.)

A cup of this "healthy beverage" contains FIFTY-SEVEN percent of its calories from sugar and TWENTY-FIVE percent of its calories from fat, the majority of which is saturated and trans fats.

An average bottle out of the vending machine (which is 500 mls, and come on, who shares these things?) will give a growing teenager 360 calories, 182 of which are pure sugar, compared to only 220 calories for a similar amount of Pepsi and only slightly less sugar. This is a few nutrients mixed in with a whole lot of unhealthy slop.

The label tells me that this product will give me, per 100 calories, the following nutrients. I'll compare them with the nutrition you would receive from a few other foods:

Notice how this supposed "health food" has only a fraction of the nutrition that true "health food" contains, but more than enough of the sugar and saturated fat we do NOT need. Even when it comes to calcium, dairy is a nutritional weakling next to little 'ol kale. Not only that, but the calcium in kale is much more bioavailable. (It is absorbed more easily.) Not only that, but excess animal protein in the diet makes our blood more acidic, leading to the leaching of calcium from our bones.
We only have so many calories that we can healthfully consume in a day; we cannot, with the obesity epidemic we are facing, afford to waste those precious calories on high fat, high sugar, low nutrition foods.
I think if school want to actually promote healthy living, they need to start actually paying some attention to what actually constitutes a healthy food, and stop promoting nutritional disasters in sheeps clothing.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tracy,

    I'm so glad to have found your blog! My partner and I just moved into the New Germany area (Wentzell's Lake) and we're growing organic vegetables on leased land. I studied Holistic Nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition many years ago and am always interested in meeting other nutritionists. Our farm is called Broadfork Farm ( and I'd love to have you come out and see the farm sometime. Maybe when it's warmer out we could have a potluck picnic with other health-conscious people in the area.

    All the best, Shannon