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American toddlers are eating more sugar than the amount recommended for adults (qz.com)
325 points by prostoalex on June 11, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 395 comments

Last year I went a month avoiding any food or drink that contained added sugar.

Health benefits aside (I was also exercising a lot more and drinking less, so I can't comment on specific benefits), it was incredibly hard.

It wasn't the sugar cravings that were hard. I didn't get them at all, I didn't miss sweet food or sugar one bit. The hard part was actually finding food that didn't contain added sugar.

I was basically relegated to preparing all my food from scratch. Practically anything in a packet contained sugar. Even the most innocuous things would contain it. Obviously some things only contain low amounts and that's normal (e.g. cured meats), but I couldn't eat most bread, any sauces, the vast majority of pre-prepared meals (except for "paleo" meals), or any spice mixes. Even bottled mayonnaise contains sugar!

It made trying to find a snack incredibly difficult, I basically had to eat carrots and hummus.

At least whisky contains no added sugar (caramel colouring wasn't counted as sugar, in this case).

> It made trying to find a snack incredibly difficult, I basically had to eat carrots and hummus.

And fruits, I hope? :-)

Also, you mention carrots, but there's lots of other vegetables that taste nicely when eaten raw that require little to no preparation time. I recognize that this is not mainstream at all but lately I've begun eating all kinds of vegetables as a snack. Eg iceberg salad: if you take the outer 5 or so leaves off, then the rest has not usually been touched by pesticides, so you can just eat that without all the washing cutting prep etc. I've found that just putting an iceberg salad next to my keyboard works exactly the same as just putting a bag of crisps there: when i look up an hour later, it's all gone.

Similar tricks: pointed red peppers only need washing, and then you can eat them as if they're a mars bar. The seeds are only at the very end. bags of pre-cut lettuce. Also, way too few people are aware that cauliflower tastes great raw. It's a bit of work to clean (but not too bad) but cauliflowers tend to be huge so you can cut one into pieces, put the pieces into four bags and bring a bag every next day or so. It also stays good super long.

I also like cabbage (you can also remove the outer leaves and eat the rest without washing), but it has a pretty strong taste and I recognize that this might not be for everyone :-)

Fruits contain a lot of fruit sugar. If you're trying to avoid sugar entirely, they may not be the best choice.

>Fruits contain a lot of fruit sugar

Vegetable contain a lot of sugar too, like the mention he ate a lot of carrots, he ate a lot of sugar, but that's naturally occurring sugar human body can process well, unlike tablespoon of sugar in a sausage made of processed meat.

the sugar is the same in any case, but fiber may reduce how harmful it is, or at least slow down how fast you shove it in your face.

The point you make is an important distinction. It's really effortless to put down 44oz of soda but very hard to eat the sugar equivalent of ~6lbs of carrots (even if you are juicing them 6lbs is a lot of carrot juice).


There's an age at which drinking a sugary soda becomes difficult...

Related, it was recently discovered that there is a limit to how much sugar you can (comfortably) consume, unless you are a child. In children there is no limit.

Citation/link, please?

It was a while ago. I remember reading it on reddit, so I googled "no limit sugar children reddit", this is it!


“Sugar” is a broad category of chemical compounds, each of which is metabolized differently. Even if they all had the same caloric density (which they don’t), that would give you a woefully incomplete picture of their effect on your health.

Vegetables contains much less sugar then fruits. You can get enough calories if you eat fruits alone, but you can't get all calories you need from vegetables alone.

If you don't finish off that calorie budget with some protein and fat, you're in trouble.

Vegetables contain protein.

They said they were trying to avoid "added sugar," not sugar entirely. It's pretty impossible to avoid sugar entirely unless you eat an extremely limited diet.

I think the OP was referring to added sugars.

> And fruits, I hope?

Why? Fruits are just sweets with fibre and nutrients. Vegetables have everything you need.

Because GP wanted to eat food without added sugars and complained that he could only snack carrots and hummus. Apples, last I checked, have no added sugar.

Also,your mileage may vary but I'm not sure that fruits should be very high on the list of food to avoid when you're trying to eat healthier. Ketogenic diet, sure, but that's not what this subthread is about. Fruits are good for you. Skip the hotdog instead.

The fiber and nutrients make a difference. Fruit is healthy if you don't overdo it.

(Not all fruits are sweet either -- like avocados, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers.)

Why would you want to avoid fruit? Fruit is GOOD for you. The more variety in fruits AND vegetables the better.

I'm not saying avoid fruit. If you like it then eat it in moderation. Remember plants make fruit because they want you to eat it. But you can do just fine with vegetables (in the culinary sense, so including tomatoes etc).

It is much easier to eat a balanced diet if it includes fruit. Many things are not impossible to do without, but some things do make everything else easier.

Beans are a large part of my largely added-sugar free diet. Also eggs, salsa, and lean meats.

That is one of the reasons I decided to leave the US after I moved there. I found it WAY to hard to live healthy there. Sugar is added to so much stuff in America. Not only that but it is usually added in much larger quantities than I am used to at home.

I also think there is too much exposure to sweet foods in the US. You are offered sweets things so often. It is just part of the culture it seems.

It is 15 years now since I lived in the US and I steel struggle with a sugar addiction from just living one year in the US. I never had any particular desire to eat sweet things before I moved to the US.

> That is one of the reasons I decided to leave the US after I moved there. I found it WAY to hard to live healthy there. Sugar is added to so much stuff in America. Not only that but it is usually added in much larger quantities than I am used to at home.

It is a lot better now. In just the last 2 years the low carb movement has really kicked off, it is super easy to get no sugar or low sugar options. Restaurants now swap out buns (which have added sugar in them of course) without question, no sugar BBQ sauce is finally a thing, no sugar ketchup is a thing now, and there are even a lot of sugar free snack food options.

As someone who has been doing Keto for ~5 years, this last year has been the easiest yet.

> relegated to preparing all my food from scratch

> find a snack incredibly difficult [..] I basically had to eat carrots and hummus

You make it sound as if it was not normal to cook your own food from basic ingredients and not regularly eat processed snacks.

For many people, it is normal to regularly eat packaged foods.

When I was growing up, practically everything I ate came out of a packet, and was usually cooked in a microwave.

My parents never made sauce from scratch or used their own herbs and spices. Any sauce came in a jar or a packet. Gravy was that disgusting mix of maltodextrin, MSG, and colouring that you simply add to hot water. Pasta sauce always came in a bottle, with the inevitable hit of sugar. If we had tacos, the seasoning came in a packet, which is mostly sugar with a little bit of cumin and chilli.

The meat would inevitably be cooked in a microwave so as to not require using oil to cook it. My mother practically had a phobia of fat and salt. The only meats I ate were chicken breast and ultra lean mince with the grease drained off.

It wasn't that my parents were unhealthy, I ate a lot of vegetables, and as I mentioned, I had a very low fat diet. I guess it was a lack of time and creativity that drove them to using packages for everything.

I'm sorry you had this experience. I grew up with a stay-at-home-mother who cooked two fresh meals every day (And usually bread or Müsli for breakfast), my grandmothers did this too. I loved helping her in the kitchen and now with my own family I try to do the same, fresh ingredients, diverse meals - and I always prefer home-made meals even over restaurants, which are pretty high quality here in Austria. Homemade, self-cooked still tastes better, has higher quality (Organic and wholefoods) and you can't beat the price of basic ingredients. And cooking is surprisingly easy once you have some basic skills, surely a much flatter learning curve than software development or other professional skills!

This is down partly to cultural and lifestyle differences. This sort of communal food culture is still alive and rather widespread in continental Europe but largely dead in the US.

Low fat, high carb, is actually quite unhealthy. It is a shame to hear this, with just a little practice and preparation you can learn to make fresh, tasty and healthier food in under 20 minutes every day.

Any resources for meal planning for a time-strapped bachelor-vegetarian? :D

"Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant" is a fantastic cookbook with a vegetarian emphasis.

And Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" is the most read book in my house. My wife and I have taken to calling it The Bible.

Both books have a good number of quick recipies (Bittman tends to write his more like guides), with general cooking tips and history mixed in.

I love "How to Cook Everything".... and I'm working on the newer "How to Cook Everything - Fast" :-)

Cook in big batches -- a big pot of soup lasts most of the week for two people if you eat it as one meal per day (dinner for example). Cook a batch of something else to provide lunches for a week (probably not soup based if you want to bring it to work), whatever you usually eat for breakfast (oats?) and you are set for a week with an our or two of cooking per week. This way you have 3 different meals per day and you only need to reheat them.

This is easier with meat based meals (better calorie density), but works fine with vegetable based meals too. Just get bigger pots. :)

All those people cooking for 30 mins per day are hardcore.

Not a resource so much as a tool, but getting an instant pot was a game changer in a lot of ways for me. I never minded cooking but now when I don't want to cook, I still have it remarkably easy.

Search on 'four hour body' or 'slow carb' -- following the release of Tim Ferris' book there's a huge wealth of blogs, forums, etc that contain lots of fast, tasty recipes that meet the general criteria. Vegetarian complicates matters only slightly -- either way you're looking to consume a lot of legumes unless you're going completely carb-free.

I eat a primarily vegetarian diet, and my advice is to make a big pot of vegetable stew on Sunday. I quite literally just put a bunch of veggies, rice, potatoes, whatever in a pot with onions, garlic, salt and pepper. It freezes great, and I can get about 2 weeks of lunches from it.

Budget Bytes has relatively healthy, cheap, fast vegetarian and meat recipes.


Practically everything I eat comes out of a package these days. I'd prefer it wasn't like that, but it was the easiest way to measure calories when I was losing weight. You don't lose half your body weight by not making extreme sacrifices, despite what charlatans might tell you in an effort to sell you something.

After I hit my lowest weight I decided to ease up on the extreme calorie counting and shift my efforts towards eating simple home cooked meals since they'd be less expensive and, if you believe the common wisdom, healthier. Consequently, I put on about 30 pounds. This was mostly eating tofu, eggs, potatoes, fruit, mushrooms, various vegetables, cheese, and homemade bread (usually whole grain).

So I went back to what worked. One other thing eating packaged foods did was give me a bunch of time back. I'm still about 10 pounds up from that experiment.

I wasn't able to lose weight and keep it off until I permanently eliminated certain categories of food: added sugars, refined grains, all flours, potatoes, dairy, eggs, most oils, and most meat. The only grain-like things I eat are rice (mostly brown rice), amaranth seeds, and buckwheat groats. My staples are things like steamed Brassica oleracea vegetables and legume soup, which are easy to prepare in bulk in advance. The only oil I use during food preparation is a couple of tablespoons of uncooked olive oil per day. I get most other fats from avocados, nuts, seeds, and fish. I cook almost everything from scratch. I also do some calorie restriction and water fasting (3-5 days at a time).

I lost about 70 pounds and now am easily maintaining a normal BMI.

I don't know what you've tried, in terms of home preparation of food. One strategy is to switch to two meals a day, plus one snack. Another is to focus on high-volume, low calorie density foods, such as vegetables and beans, while limiting high-calorie dense foods such as bread, cheese, and meat. This allows you to feel full from fewer calories. Another way to think about this is to dramatically increase your fiber intake (and not just from hard fruits, but from a variety of sources). For example, if you were to make a pasta dish, use half the regular amount of pasta, and greatly increase the amount of veggies in it, so the pasta is just a small component of the dish.

I watched this the other day which was more informative than I'd imagined [0].

Main take away for me was to eat fibre rich foods - so instead of potatoes eat squash and celariac, instead of rice eat bulgar wheat, and so on.

[0] The Truth About Carbs: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b5y6c0

I've been fighting my body for the better part of a decade now, trust me when I say that I've probably tried every piece of advice ever parrotted on the internet. For instance the high-volume low-calorie high-fiber plan ultimately just made me extremely bloated and often constipated.

The bloating is caused by the production of gas by the bacteria in your gut. If you add a lot of fiber at once, the bacteria will overpopulate, and produce too much gas, causing bloating/distension. One way to avoid this is to gradually increase the amount of fiber, so your microbiome will adjust slowly, allowing you to avoid the excess gas/bloating. Not sure what to say about the constipation, though it could be a similar issue.

These things are not simple, are they?

One strategy is to focus on the healthy veggies that your genetic ancestors likely ate; your body is more likely to be adapted to those foods.

I didn't ask for your advice and I'm not a moron so I know how to use google just as well as you do.

This is the shit I'm talking about. If you have difficult losing and maintaining weight people crawl out of the woodwork to parrot bullshit advice they got from some clickbait article as though knowledge isn't the easiest part of the process. People don't have difficulty with their weight because they lack knowledge, people have difficulty with their weight because suffering sucks and the human body doesn't like having to eat itself.

The high-volume low fat high-fiber plan works for most people. Apparently there is something different about your body.

> Consequently, I put on about 30 pounds.

Kitchen scale and MyFitnessPal.

Also don't have food around that doesn't require prep! It is super easy to snack on fruit and bread. If everything in your fridge is raw meat or veggies that require cooking, there is no way to over eat.

Also I try to avoid prepping too much food in advance, since if the food is good I am tempted to eat it all without waiting! So I cook each meal individually, which takes a lot more time, but it works for weight loss.

Either that or I do a weeks meal prep and commit to not buying any more food, that way if I am stupid and eat more food per meal than I should, one of my future meals is going to come up short. It is amazing how quickly self control develops under those situations. :)

In comparison, packaged food requires at least a bit of conscious prep work, so people are aware of the time they spent and of the calorie consumption, thus I can see why that route can be easier.

> Kitchen scale and MyFitnessPal.

Yes, somehow I managed to lose half my body weight and keep it off despite a setback from a failed experiment without every knowing how to count calories or properly measure things in a kitchen.

What is it with talking about health and nutrition on the internet that makes everyone come out and offer their unsolicited advice that assumes the person they're speaking with is an idiot?

> Yes, somehow I managed to lose half my body weight and keep it off despite a setback from a failed experiment without every knowing how to count calories or properly measure things in a kitchen.

You mentioned that you had problems with home cooking, and found portion control easier with pre-packaged food. I proposed that measuring out home cooked food gives the same effect as prepackaged food.

I fail to see how that is accusing anyone of being an idiot.

When people reply they aren’t just talking to you but lots of other people also reading this thread. The information may be useful to some.

I think a decent trick is learning to approximate calories/meal sizes for your body. I usually know when I'm eating 1 portion vs 1.5 portions of my home-cooked stuff, just by virtue of having cooked and paid attention to serving sizes long enough.

Another useful tool is a food scale. Everyone has measuring cups and stuff, but having a food scale can make stuff like measuring a serving of mixed nuts for my breakfast way easier.

However, packaged foods vs. from scratch is an element of time and convenience as well. I just make food when I have the time/feel like it (I enjoy cooking as a hobby, but am not always up for it) and use 'easy' meals when I need to: throwing together some pasta and a pre-made sauce jar I keep in the pantry, plus some frozen TJ's meatballs or something.

I'm well aware of the concept of estimation, and I own a food scale. Even when you make things yourself you know that an egg is ~70 calories, 100g of flour is ~400 calories, etc. It isn't exactly rocket science.

Knowing how much of what to eat isn't the problem. It has never been the problem. The problem is actually sticking to that diet when your body is screaming at you to eat more, when the part of your mind that evolved to keep you from starving --which is what losing weight is, since your body literally has to eat itself-- starts playing tricks on you and conveniently forgetting that you ate earlier, and when your metabolism, which has been unavoidably and permanently damaged by the mere act of losing weight at all, requires that you eat substantially less than the daily average.

I'm really sick of people assuming I'm a moron because losing weight is difficult. Do you know what it is like to only eat one meal a day? To have to avoid all social functions at which free food might be present? To ensure that there is only ever enough food in your house for exactly one week of your caloric allotment of 1600/day?

Trust me, whatever parroted advice you're thinking of offering next, I've heard about it and tried it.

Well, this would then probably not work for you, but it worked for me. What helped me to lose weight was to still cook my own food from bought ingredients, and measure everything that I was eating for weight and calories. But mostly what I did was switch the type of food that I was making, and the ingredients I was using to things that were far less calorie dense, that worked for me. It does still suck to go to social events with plenty of food, because then I will totally eat it.

The solution to overeating at social events is to go vegan. Then you'll only snack on some cantaloupe.

Corn chips and salsa, pita chips and hummus, popcorn if it doesn't have butter, and since I live in a relatively liberal town vegan sweets are not even that rare at social gatherings.

I get everything you said but the eternally damaged metabolism. Don't have the source handy on mobile but from what I have read the difference between a so-called fast and slow metabolism is < 10%.

Food is absolutely addictive and we have so much available. Combine that with a car based and sedentary lifestyle and it's a huge problem. The only thing that has worked for me is being a lifelong runner and cyclist. Burn an extra 500 to 800 calories a day and most weight loss goals are much more attainable. I am trying to help my mom lose weight and when you are very overweight adding huge amounts of activity is very hard.

She seemingly also has a 'slow' metabolism but in reality she moves as little as possible. Whereas I am always wandering around doing things at top speed. Activity begets activity because it begins to hurt less to move.

Anyways, best of luck in your efforts.

Your sources about metabolism are wrong. I know because I've done base metabolic rate tests in uni (with one of those hoods) and have seen (repeatedly) that some people breathe out ~4k kcal per day and others only ~1.6k. This is at rest and at different times in the day.

Yes, I know what that is like. While I agree that is is occasionally excruciatingly hard to not eat when there is plenty of food available, it's not impossible for me. It has nothing to do with whether or not you're a moron - loads of people will be perfectly able to just not eat unless it's within a certain timeframe, as you've no doubt repeatedly read.

Keep in mind that there are different levels of 'from scratch.' Making your own sandwich is pretty normal. Making your own bread for your sandwich but with store-bought mayo is probably less common. Making your own bread and making your own mayo is probably even less common, and that was about the level of 'from scratch' that the other user is talking about.

Ok, I'm not talking about sandwiches or making your own bread, but "proper" meals, like aspargus-risotto, (store-bought-)pasta with homemade-sugo, cooked beef with homemade-gravy, vegetables and dumplings as a side, diverse soups made from fresh vegetables/beans/meat, vegetable casserole, mixed salad, grilled fish, curry with rice etc. (Just a selection of the stuff we had in the past days). Guess as a european I'm still naive about life in the USA :-)

I think people are overestimating the quality of products they used to call "fresh." Do you know the source of all the products you use? Preparing your own meal doesn't change much, unless you really trust the source.

If we define "normal" as whatever most people do, then yes, currently in USA it's not normal to cook all (or even most) of your food yourself from basic ingredients; most people do not do that anymore, when they cook themselves, a lot of ingredients are highly processed or pre-prepared.

> I was basically relegated to preparing all my food from scratch.

I don't see a problem with this. It's not hard and doesn't have to be too time consuming if you prepare things in bulk. You can listen to music or the radio while doing it. I find it quite relaxing.

> It made trying to find a snack incredibly difficult

Don't snack. That would solve so many problems that people have with diets. I eat two meals every day. Between meals I do not eat. By eating I mean opening my mouth and inserting things into it. I honestly think some people just don't realise how much they eat by snacking. I get hungry every day but that's fine. I look forward to my next meal. Don't snack when you're hungry. Just look foward to your next meal.

I'm the same as you (one or two meals a day) but I don't think we can generalize our experiences to a recommendation (especially across gender lines).

My partner gets impossible really quickly if she doesn't eat about four times daily, and I've met enough hangry-type people to believe that some people really do have to snack. Although I guess I'd encourage everyone to try not-snacking given how much more convenient and healthy it is if your metabolism can manage it.

No matter which way you cut it, making a proper meal from scratch will take you a while. Especially if you're not used to that kind of cooking, as the people you're speaking to no doubt are. All it takes is a little empathy to see that for some people, what you find easy is indeed hard.

>I don't see a problem with this. It's not hard ...

What's not hard is being able to see a problem with preparing all your meals from scratch. I don't know a kinder way to say that you're just wrong.

I've been doing keto for about six weeks and following along in the community.

You are correct. It's amazing.

Some folks view this as some kind of evil corporate overlord thing, but I think the answer is much closer to home: we like stuff with sugar in it. So other people are going to put sugar in stuff so that we'll like it more. Sadly it looks as simple as that.

I had tried low-carb before and couldn't stay on it. What I didn't know back then was that you can fall off your low carb diet without even realizing it. There are so many items with hidden sugars that it's impossible not to -- unless, as you say, you prepare all of your stuff. (My strategy is to curate items that are safe.)

Carbs past a certain point are addictive, although probably at the low end of the addiction scale. I believe this is because if you live in an environment where fruit only ripens one month a year, it's important to have a biological drive to fatten up on those easy sugars in preparation for the winter months. Of course we don't live in that environment any more.

And you will lie to yourself, making it even worse. I imagine what happens to most folks is that they accidentally eat enough carbs to start triggering perverse insulin responses, then "decide" to go ahead and eat one or two things that they've always loved. After all, those one or two things by themselves are fine, right? And then we've flipped over the tipping point.

I am amazed at the obesity crisis in the West, although it seems like a natural outcome to so many plentiful foods. The part that amazes me is how nutrition experts consistently blew it, over and over again recommending public health policies that only worsen the problem.

"Some folks view this as some kind of evil corporate overlord thing, but I think the answer is much closer to home: we like stuff with sugar in it. So other people are going to put sugar in stuff so that we'll like it more. Sadly it looks as simple as that."

I recommend the book "Good Calories, Bad Calories". It is widely thought by people who have only heard about the book third-hand (criticizing the people who wrote their second-hand assessments of it) that it's a diet book, but the bulk of it is actually a well-researched history book on how the modern conception of "correct diet" came about, you know, the bad one that we're still oh-so-slowly extricating ourselves from. Basically it answers the question "If the late 20th-century diet consensus was so bad, how did it become the consensus?"

Since I read it, my assessment of the late 20th-century diet consensus has only gone down, and the history itself doesn't change, since, you know, "not changing" is pretty much what history does. You can blip over the bits where it does try to discuss the science of proper diet; even if you're interested in this branch of scientific thought, there's more up-to-date resources now. But the history is good.

The hardest part of Whole30[1] is avoiding food and drinks with added sugar or sweeteners, but I strongly suspect it's also the most effective part for a variety of health benefits, including losing weight. I found that after a month, though, the cravings essentially went away and it was easy to follow (more or less, I don't do it strictly nowadays). I've lost over 20% of my body weight since January.

Drinks were maybe the most difficult for me; I drink coffee with Nutpods[2] and Coffee Booster[3], unsweetened tea, and water now.

For snacking, I like salted cashews, although again, strict Whole30 doesn't really want you to snack.

It does involve a lot of cooking, and (especially when you're following it strictly) makes restaurants difficult. But I think it's worthwhile. I could talk more about it if people wanted but I don't want to divert the conversation.

1. https://whole30.com/new/

2. https://www.nutpods.com/

3. https://coffeebooster.net/

Can confirm. Giving up sugar has been one of the best decisions in my life. I did it gradually, but in the end I gave almost any added sugar whatsoever (no ketchup, no canned fish, no juices, no syrupy breads, etc.). Maybe it's not necessary to go that far, but I feel I don't need it nor crave it anymore. My depression has gone away, I've lost weight, and I don't have fogginess in my head anymore nor mood swings. It's an empty addiction, and my feeling is it's doing you very much harm! Let it go, folks.

>>no ketchup, no canned fish, no juices, no syrupy breads, etc

One of these things don't seem to be like the others. Is there typically added sugar in canned fish? My go to is canned tuna, but the nutritional label checks out to me.

Yes, I was a bit unclear. In certain kinds of canned herrings there are over 15g/100g of sugar, could be in a form of tomato sauce for example.

Weird (to foreigners) swedish canned herring. Dozens of pickles, but one thing in common - sugar.

I assume you live in the US? The difference in what's on offer in supermarkets, restaurants or convenience stores, compared to northern Europe or even South America (halfway in between I'd say) is astounding.

Why pointing "Northern" Europe rather than Europe in general ?

From my experience, I would say you find more and better vegetables in Southern Europe. And Eastern Europe is quite similar to Northern Europe in terms of accessibility and choice (probably still better in quality though).

And South America in my opinion is rather poor in vegetables (but fantastic in fruits!). They can grow perfectly there but people just don't seem to eat them much, apart from a few specific ones. But they do cook at least.

One final factor is also the price of restaurants. In South America and Asia many people just eat at restaurants/cafeteria/whatever local street food you find all the time because it is not expensive at all. And not super healthy. Doing that in Sweden or Norway would lead you to ruin very very fast (and also street food is obviously less popular when it's freezing outside so it doesn't help developing a street food culture).

> Why pointing "Northern" Europe rather than Europe in general ?

I assumed because it's suprising how much worse the American diet is, even compared to countries with similar Western diets, incomes and lifestyles (UK, IE, DE, NL etc).

all of those countries are in Western Europe though. Northern Europe is primarily Scandinavia.

Britain and Ireland are Northern Europe by various definitions, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_geoscheme_for_E...

that seems like a weird decision given Britain & Ireland are more culturally tied with Western Europe. It looks like the UN made that grouping for "statistical convenience" rather than cultural identity though, whatever that means.

That's debatable.

Especially in Northern England and Scotland, its not difficult to see things that are culturally closer to Scandinavia.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one - I live in Northern England and half my family are Scottish, and I can't really see the cultural similarities with Scandinavia.

I live in Denmark, but I'm from the English Midlands, with family from the North and South.

Food: roast meats with gravy and (if pork) crackling, pickled herring and other preserved fish, cranachan / rød grød med fløde or rice pudding / risalamande. The strong flavours of whisky are closer to aquavit than a cognac or brandy. Beer, especially in excess.

Traditions: maypole dancing, woollen clothes. Guising is similar to some fastelavn activities.

Poor weather including long nights for many months; leads to a more indoor, cosy culture and excitement at summer.

More feeling of equality between people, not being better than other people.

Long history of trade and cultural links across the North Sea, from the Viking age to the present.

I can certainly agree with some of those similarities but most of them I would attribute to the weather combined with a generally working class culture (at least in the North of England, not sure about Scandinavia). As I understand it, prizing roast meats goes back to its rare availability to working class people from the industrial era (where Yorkshire at least derives much of its modern culture). Beer is common to working class areas and whiskey to cold areas. Woollen clothes help with the cold. Social egalitarianism is more of a working class thing.

Not to say there aren't links, there certainly are, but I wouldn't say they are strongly culturally bound compared to our relationship with Western Europe.

Meant to say Western Europe, still haven't internalized these divisions... in fact I have the impression Sweden, Norway and the UK have a somewhat stronger fast-food presence than other parts of europe, but the bit on food variety still applies.

In Brazil at least, the variety of vegetables, and especially fruit, is surprisingly limited for a place so sunny and rich in nature; but you do get a lot of stuff you won't find anywhere else, and it's very easy, and relatively cheap to have a healthy meal if you know where to look. The most common type of street restaurant is an all-you-can-eat buffet, which offer a ton of fresh food of all kinds. I miss this a lot, the rest of the world seems content with pre-assembled dishes everywhere.

I was living in New Zealand at the time.

It's not as bad as the USA in terms of being a food desert, but it's not amazing either. Fresh meat and vegetables aren't cheap. Being an isolated, mostly self-sufficient country means that vegetable prices are at the whim of the season and the harvest. If there's a bad growing season, vegetables can be up to twice the normal price.

I've done something similar lately (not eliminating sugar but setting a hard daily limit). Some tips, if you don't have a lot of time to prepare food from scratch:

- if you need bread, there are some pitas that are low on sugar. You can also find tortillas with minimal sugar and make wraps instead of sandwiches.

- if you need a prepared meal, some canned soups are very low on sugar.

- a homemade salad dressing made of lemon juice, olive oil, and pressed garlic is delicious, and takes only as long to make as it does to press the garlic - a week's worth takes about 5 min

- no-sugar-added peanut butter can be delicious, especially if it's made with salt, and is easy to find at the grocery store these days. It goes well with carrots, celery, pretty much everything

- cheese generally does not contain sugar. Other dairy, such as milk and plain yogurt has sugar but its natural rather than added sugar.

- eggs are great for quick prep, and you can scramble them up with vegetables and cheese in minutes. Or hard boil a week's worth at a time

- nuts are spectacular for snacking

> I basically had to eat carrots

Carrots are mostly carbs (sugar) [1]. The problem isn't sugar; its an abundance of calories in the form of sugar.

[1] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetabl...

Re bread, this is one of many great reasons to make your own! It isn’t particularly hard — it takes time, but most of that time is just waiting.

The sugar in bread is rarely there for flavor. It’s a way to cut corners by feeding the yeast and causing the dough to rise faster. Leave it out and you just have to wait a bit longer, but you get a better developed flavor as a result.

I prepare close to 100% of my food from scratch, though not for health reasons, I just enjoy cooking. If you're cooking for taste, I find myself adding sugar/honey to compensate for produce not being up to snuff (hard with supermarket produce sometimes) with some frequency (maybe a couple times a week.) Most often I'm adding sugar to fix sauces made from fresh produce that turn out bitter or sour just because of the produce.

I can't imagine most packaged food companies are using amazing produce. I would bet that most packaged meals would taste terrible without some added sugar.

Nuts, cheese, boiled eggs, and fruit are all widely available, pre-made, snacks.

It should be noted that The Longevity Diet, promoted by Valter Longo, recommends nuts as the "go-to" snack. Super easy, and healthy too.

Nuts are extremely calorie dense. A small handful of nuts is like 1/6 of my BMR.

Nice effort!

And I will use that as my reason for picking up my next bottle of Single Malt.

A good takeaway. I have similar priorities haha.

(Sorry for long quote, but this is good...)

"The story begins in 1971. Richard Nixon was facing re-election. The Vietnam war was threatening his popularity at home, but just as big an issue with voters was the soaring cost of food. If Nixon was to survive, he needed food prices to go down, and that required getting a very powerful lobby on board – the farmers. Nixon appointed Earl Butz, an academic from the farming heartland of Indiana, to broker a compromise. Butz, an agriculture expert, had a radical plan that would transform the food we eat, and in doing so, the shape of the human race.

Butz pushed farmers into a new, industrial scale of production, and into farming one crop in particular: corn. US cattle were fattened by the immense increases in corn production. Burgers became bigger. Fries, fried in corn oil, became fattier. Corn became the engine for the massive surge in the quantities of cheaper food being supplied to American supermarkets: everything from cereals, to biscuits and flour found new uses for corn. As a result of Butz's free-market reforms, American farmers, almost overnight, went from parochial small-holders to multimillionaire businessmen with a global market. One Indiana farmer believes that America could have won the cold war by simply starving the Russians of corn. But instead they chose to make money.

By the mid-70s, there was a surplus of corn. Butz flew to Japan to look into a scientific innovation that would change everything: the mass development of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), or glucose-fructose syrup as it's often referred to in the UK, a highly sweet, gloppy syrup, produced from surplus corn, that was also incredibly cheap. HFCS had been discovered in the 50s, but it was only in the 70s that a process had been found to harness it for mass production. HFCS was soon pumped into every conceivable food: pizzas, coleslaw, meat. It provided that "just baked" sheen on bread and cakes, made everything sweeter, and extended shelf life from days to years. A silent revolution of the amount of sugar that was going into our bodies was taking place. In Britain, the food on our plates became pure science – each processed milligram tweaked and sweetened for maximum palatability. And the general public were clueless that these changes were taking place."


I didn’t cut out sugar completely, but choose as low sugar as possible. For example, most bagels contain around 6 grams of sugar at the supermarkets I go to, but one brand only has 3 grams. So I go with 3 grams, even if zero would be better. My daily sugar in take is still under 30g.

Also, many sports nutrition bars will rely on sugar alcohol, which has its own problems but isn’t (probably) as bad as sugar.

My diet is mostly bananas, oranges, apples, almonds, cashews, carrots for snacks.

Onion, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, with baked chicken or a steak for dinner.

Protein shake with a banana and almond/coconut milk (with no sugar added) for breakfast.

I don't think it's that hard to avoid added sugar you just have to keep things a little more basic.

I've found Muscle Milk to be great if I'm in a hurry. It's basically whey isolate, vegetable fiber and aspartame. The fiber and protein make it really filling. I wish I knew where they got their fiber because I want to add it to my own whey.

I throw a soup spoon full of Benefiber in my shake every morning. It's been very helpful. Smile/amazon link below:


Learn some knife skills! It's fun and easy. Make sure you have a sharp knife and practice safe cutting skills

I love having random fruit and veggies in my kitchen and just being able to grab one and cut it up in 1 minute or so. Call me weird, but it's fun.

sharp knives are safer than dull knives

Funny that you split the hair on the caramel colouring in the fermented, distilled sugar.

The fermenting process gets rid of almost all of the sugar.

Yeah, I used the past tense up there. It also wouldn't be added sugar if it was there from the start, it would be remaining sugar.

But ethanol probably isn't a whole lot better as excess calories than sugars are.

By turning it into alcohol, at only about 20 % loss of caloric content (if my math is correct).

Bread has sugar in it to feed the yeast. You should avoid HFCS in bread but as long as sugar isn't the first thing in the ingredients list it's probably just feeding the leavening.

Bread doesn't need added sugar to feed the yeast, though. There's plenty of food for the yeast in the flour itself.

Bread may benefit from added sugar if your primary goal is trying to increase your yield from an industrial process. Sucrose is also really easily digestible for yeast, so I wouldn't be surprised if a dough with added sugar rises faster than a bread that's made with regular ingredients.

I think that this sort of thing is part of the general problem with added sugar: There are all sorts of practical reasons why you might want to add a little bit of sugar to products. (As another example, a lot of commercial hummus contains it as a preservative.) But a bunch of individual products using a little bit of it for their own individual purposes adds up to a whole lot of excess sugar consumption for the people who are eating all that food.

Saying bread doesn't need sugar is disingenuous. It depends on the type of bread you are baking. Sourdough doesn't need sugar because the fermentation process is what makes it a sourdough. Italian bread on the other hand, does need sugar due to its effects on the crumb/crust.

Well, I said it doesn't need it to feed the yeast. I hope I wasn't implying any controversy over whether adding sugar to a product can alter its flavor or texture.

But even if you include sugar-for-flavor on top of any practical uses, my point still stands: Spread across all the different kinds of foods you can get at the grocery store, a little sugar here and a little sugar there adds up to a whole lot of sugar overall. Maybe it's worth accepting a somewhat less carmelized crust on your paninis in the interest of having a healthier diet.

>a lot of commercial hummus contains it as a preservative

How does this work? I thought sugar works as a preservative by reducing the water activity, and for it to be effective requires a high concentration (like jam or honey) that would be inappropriately sweet in hummus.

there's no reason to consume bottled mayonnaise at all. Don't be extremely strict, food with reasonable % of sugar will not harm you if you will be below daily limit with sugar...

You're right on both counts.

I don't really use mayo, I prefer vinaigrette dressings. I was just using mayo as an example though, if you make mayonnaise yourself, it's just oil, egg yolk, and vinegar. There shouldn't be sugar in mayo.

On the second count, you're right that you don't need to be extremely strict. I went sugar-free for a month because I made a bet with a friend, rather than for any actual health reason. A small amount of sugar is fine for you.

The problem is that practically every shelf stable packaged food contains added sugar. If you have a diet that consists of a lot of packaged food, the sugar starts to add up quickly, especially if you're in a habit of using ketchup, which is astoundingly high in sugar. Granola bars (and granola in general) are also a food that people seem to forget contain a boatload of sugar too.

Consider replacing anything that has sugar in it, with an organic sugar alternative. Trader Joes, Whole Food, Costco, local organic store/coop have many alternatives, and many of them taste better than the popular brands.

Organic sugar isn't a panacea, it's still almost completely sucrose and organic sucrose is absolutely chemically identical to non-organic. It often tastes way better, but it's a stretch to assign significant health benefits to it.

By all means, steer clear of HFCS (operative word: fructose, not sucrose). It's probably less bad than it's reputation suggests, but its also probably worse than sucrose. More pertinently, it's indicative of cheap, low-quality food that has way too much sweetener because it otherwise has no flavour.

But more on point for this thread: Don't replace a food that shouldn't have sugar in it at all (mayonnaise) with a variant that just has a different kind of sugar. Find a variant that is better quality and doesn't have sugar at all. Good mayonnaise requires really good eggs and those are expensive.

The problem is sometimes these "variants" are very difficult to find.

Pasta sauce for instance IMHO should not have any sugar at all (tomatoes, spices, and a little bit of olive oil). If sugar is added, it should be very modest. But try finding a typical pasta sauce in the store with no sugar or even only a modest amount of sugar. This is more difficult than it sounds.

Options definitely exist and Googling, it seems with keto being more of a thing, there are a few more options compared to when I searched a few years ago -- haven't honestly made pasta in a while. But it's still relatively few, your typical Ragu type bottles will have sugar or HFCS as one of the top 3 ingredients. The options that do exist tend to cluster around more expensive "organic" offerings. And you have to keep checking ingredients lists continuously for changes. One report for instance said Aldi's used to have a pasta sauce without sugar. This is not the case now... http://ggfgourmet.com/en/index.php/aldipastasauce/

Pasta sauce is one of those things that takes time to make. If you don't have the time to make it, and can't find a quality variety without the unnecessary sugar... you're out of luck.

It's pretty easy to buy a couple 28oz cans of tomatoes, a jar of minced garlic, and some olive oil and simmer for a half hour. That's like, what, 15 minutes more than it takes to make pasta to begin with. Generally I agree with you, though.

I'd like to be able to buy ground sausage, but a lot of packaged ground sausage has added sugar, as do a lot of packaged broths and bouillon cubes. Broth and sausage are great ways to add some flavor to staples like beans and lentils and it's really unfortunate that it's so hard to find packaged versions without sugar.

>Organic sugar isn't a panacea

I didn't say it was.

>...organic sucrose is absolutely chemically identical to non-organic.

Have any evidence to support this? Also, many things are "chemically" similar but affect the body in very different ways.

Sucrose refers to an arrangement of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms that form a specific molecular shape.

Whether organic or not, the process to make it yields the same molecule.

You are assuming that sucrose is the only component that causes any sort of problems.

The "assumption" is that when you ask someone what the difference between sucrose and sucrose is, that you don't mean a second hidden question about something else entirely.

I didn't, that was assumed by the replier.

I was arguing there is a difference between raw unprocessed extract from the sugar cane plant vs processed white sugar.

The issue here is consuming fructose and sucrose. Organic or not won't factor in.

I'd argue that organic can make all the difference, if the problem with sugar is the processing, not the substance.

You definitely free to argue that, but is there some scientific basis or any study you can point to?

The issue with sugar is how the body processes fructose and glucose. Unless there is indication that substances present in non-organic vs organic sugar modify digestion of sucrose and fructose there isn't much to the theory organic makes sugar less harmful.

I am not a scientist that can argue how the body processes fructose/glucose. But I can argue the difference between raw unprocessed sugar cane plant vs processed white sugar.

Processed white sugar has a detrimental effect on the body, and unprocessed sugar does not. Or if it does, it's so minimal as to be unnoticeable in my own tests.

This includes ability to concentrate, lethargy, dental health, sleep, hyperactivity and general health like colds and the flu.

This is from my own experimentation with multiple people, first hand, not just reading what others have said.

I'm curious : did this diet changes made any significant difference on your wellbeing?

I know a few people who've done the "Whole 30" diet which includes cutting out added sugar, among many things (although some of which, like legumes, seem completely arbitrary).

One friend's severe eczema completely cleared up, others pretty much universally reported sleeping better and feeling more alert. Some just lost a lot of weight (as was their intention, although as with most diets probably mainly retained water weight).

We live in a rural area of the UK where farm shops are common so it's relatively easy around here, but I could see it being much more difficult for city dwellers.

I personally wouldn't do it myself and am not a fan of short term "fad" diets but the results are hard to deny.

I was also exercising a lot more and drinking less, so I can't really say what in particular helped the most, but I felt a lot healthier and fitter in general.

It also had a positive effect on my mental health, which was an unintended but nice side effect.

> It also had a positive effect on my mental health, which was an unintended but nice side effect.

Do you think this could be a result of improved sleep? It's one of the benefits I've heard reported by people following a similar diet.

I guess it could. I was definitely sleeping better as a result of one of the things I was doing, or all of the things.

Tried something similar. One thing I noticed is that i became more mentally focused not feel constantly hazy and low energy all the time. Eating lots of carbs and sugar is fucked and affects your mental ability.

I did this back in 1995. I can count on one hand the times I've been sick since then, and every single time has been because I drank too much coffee, not enough water and didn't sleep properly or at all for days.

I do eat organic sugar and honey though, but because I don't eat any white/processed sugar (nor corn syrup) this automatically cuts out 95% (guess) of the bad food I would normally have been eating.

There's no one solution for "wellbeing" of course, but this sure is a big thing to change.

‘Organic’ (brown) sugar and honey are mostly sugar with a little extra stuff.

I've heard this many times, but my experience, and those of many others I've met or read about, is that there is a substantive difference between processed and non-processed sweeteners.

I make my own brown sugar at home, its white sugar + molasses. I don't know how you could consider it less "processed" than white sugar without molasses.

Most people don't know that store bought brown sugar is actually just processed white sugar + molasses.

That is not my argument. I never said "brown sugar", I said "organic sugar", which includes the growing and any processing of the sugar. True brown sugar is something like succanat [0], and it doesn't look anything like what we normally consider "brown sugar".

[0] https://www.amazon.com/NOW-Foods-Sucanat-Organic-Sugar/dp/B0...

What is the difference that you have experienced, precisely?

>Even bottled mayonnaise contains sugar!

As someone with sugar problems who loves mayo, I hate this.

Mayo is easy to make at home using a stick blender and a jar: https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/10/two-minute-mayon...

I’ve done this myself. It’s amazing how much healthier I was after just 30 days.

You need to tackle this stuff early on. Here in Norway sweets are banned from pre-school and school in lunch boxes, including for birth days. There are no pre-school or school celebrations involving sweets.

The kids get involved early in learning about healthy food making and we get a cook book about what sort of food one should make for children when they start school.

This is something so serious for people's future and life that I don't think one can focus enough on it.

Those toddlers' parents may not have received the greatest nutrition education. In the 1980s, ketchup was famously declared a vegetable (despite being mostly sugar). Anecdotally, as a child in the U.S. during that era, I remember being marked wrong on a nutrition worksheet where I identified milkshakes as a dessert. No, my teacher insisted. Milkshakes aren't dessert. They're dairy.

That's the thing about the food pyramid that was so bad, foods don't always neatly fit into one category, and foods sharing a category can have very different nutritional profiles.

No wonder so many Americans eat iceberg lettuce, and put added sugar in bread.

Well, even in the 80s, people were mocking the Reagan administration's classification of ketchup as a vegetable.

And for all the flaws of the food pyramid, I can remember a time before that when it was even worse. We had the "Basic Four" food groups: meat, dairy, fruit+vegetables, and grains.

The four lobby groups!

Wait, what's wrong with iceberg lettuce? Seriously, as an American that eats like 1/2 head per day, am I rotting my teeth out? Am I headed for diabetes? You've got me scared.

It's nutritional profile is significantly less than an average vegetable. I advice switching iceberg lettuce for darker leafy greens. Assuming you eat the lettuce in salads this can be done without much discomfort by slowing introducing darker greens in your salad, and adding more as your body is accustom to them.

You aren't hurting yourself by eating lettuce, but it's a missed opportunity to do so much more for your diet. See the difference for yourself.



It's nutritionally equivalent to an unfiltered glass of water

It's not bad of itself but it's nutritionally deficient. My ex raised herps lizards and turtles. Both die of malnutrition if fed too much iceberg lettuce.

I think he's just referring to it having next to zero nutritional value.

Ketchup vegetable wasn't "education"; it was political football with school lunch funding and minimum vegetable requirements and trying to feed kids when they'd simply throw away any salad they were served.

I agree most comments here are confusing what's being taught in schools with what was a ridiculous "compromise" in school cafeterias.

But I'm sure the reason kids threw away fruits and vegetables because they were terrible; not necessarily because they were healthy. I don't know if it's a low value put on food or cost-cutting...I'm sure both are related. You can see this in places other than schools, outside of every corporate meeting is a tray of terrible honeydew and cantaloupe. Most lettuce and tomato don't really have flavor but seem to leach off-flavors. In my personal experience, when I find out someone says they don't like a certain food about half the time it's because they've never had a good example of it.

It's difficult because fresh food spoils so much more quickly than other, cheaper, and less healthy foods. But what's crazy is that today we have way better technology than most of human history to make even the foods most prone to spoilage cheaper an accessible...it's just relative to frozen pizza and ketchup it's more expensive.

Most food suppliers for schools are the same companies supplying food for prisons. With a captive consumer base I certainly wouldn't expect all that great of fruit and vegetables. Their only concerns are profit and passing minimum safety standards.

> No, my teacher insisted. Milkshakes aren't dessert. They're dairy.

Ha! I suppose fruit roll ups[1] are also "fruit" then right?

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_roll_up

I'm a parent of two kids.

One thing I've noticed is that a huge percentage of the American population had been tricked into thinking that fruit juice is healthy.

It isn't healthy. It is soda with some vitamins tossed in as far as the body is concerned.

I fully blame the US government for this. Even liberal cities that pass soda tax laws ignore fruit juice, because hippies with a naturalistic fallacy are a powerful voting bloc on the Democratic party.

I would say that MOST toddlers I see drink several juices a day.

For my kids, it was always a treat, and served incredibly watered down, as in 1 part juice to 6 parts water. So sweet that they don't even know that.


Agreed. We don't water it down, but we do consider it a treat -- a juice box is a lollipop, not an apple. It's not for daily consumption.

I also see lots of parents offering "fruit snack" candies to their kids as if that's a legitimate substitute for actual fruit.

Don't even get me started on breakfast cereal.

If I create milkshake from milk and fruit only is that still desert? That is how they are done around here.

We'd call that a shake in the US, but not a milkshake. My gut tells me there is a distinction. You can drink a "shake" after the gym, but a milkshake with a burger and fries.

Our milkshakes will have other additives such as malt, vanilla extract, and some sweetener.

I would call it a smoothie, not a shake. To me a shake is a smoothie with ice cream in it.

That's a Fruitmilk

I'd call that a smoothie and still treat it as a dessert. Fruits are pretty sugary and very much an "after a meal and in moderation" thing for me.

We've tried.

In 2011, USDA tried to improve the school lunch requirements involving pizza sauce being a vegetable, but Congress blocked it all in an appropriations bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/2112...

The USDA is now prohibited from not treating pizza sauce as a vegetable, at the behest of corporate food companies like ConAgra.


We don't actually have school lunches. The only thing they got usually is that kids can eat vegetables for free. But that is really just for snacking, you need to bring your own lunch box. That is why there isn't that much nutritional standards for our schools, it is more about guides for parents.

Not only do we get the cookbook for parents, but we are also offered free lectures about nutrition and healthy eating for children. That is an offer all first time parents get. So you can go in the evening and listen to a nutritional expert talk about what sort of food is good for children.

I remember the nutritional expert that held a lecture for me was really cool. She said, that to her, there was no bad food. Instead it was about how much you ate of different kinds of foods. She wanted to emphasize the the problem for most people is that they eat the wrong quantities of different types of foods.

E.g. she mentioned how we eat too much red meat, but that we should not cut it out entirely because it contains many useful things such as iron. Eat red meat once or twice a week I think she said.

> We don't actually have school lunches

And this is the real kicker. Norway is a relatively affluent country with a comprehensive social safety net and a relatively homogenous culture.

Here in the US, we have too many children living in poverty, often with single parents and broken families, who would never bring their own lunchbox in the first place. School lunch is a necessity, otherwise a lot of kids would go hungry and not be able to learn anything.

Norway also doesn't have a huge domestic agriculture sector with outsized political power, and school lunch is a really nice subsidy for them as well.

The lunch boxes isn't really caused by our affluence however, rather it is caused by our traditional poverty. Most other European countries serve school lunches. The French have amazing school lunches. When on vacation in France we passed schools in town and every school had their menu posted at the entrance. They had fricken 3 course meals on every dam school! And it was pretty fancy stuff.

Norwegian food culture is in fact rather primitive. The only reason we are somewhat healthy is because we don't eat that much sweets and fried stuff, and we tend to eat primarily whole grain.

> Here in the US, we have too many children living in poverty, often with single parents and broken families, who would never bring their own lunchbox in the first place. School lunch is a necessity, otherwise a lot of kids would go hungry and not be able to learn anything.

I get that, but they might already struggle given what I've seen American school lunches look like. Also one need to teach parents how to cook healthy food. It doesn't help that they get something healthy in school if they just eat junk at home.

> Norway also doesn't have a huge domestic agriculture sector with outsized political power, and school lunch is a really nice subsidy for them as well.

Hahaha, then you don't know Norwegian politics ;-P We have a whole political party just for farmers. Farmers get more subsidies than anywhere else in the world I think here. They got very strong influence. This is tied to our history and identity. Farmers manage to project this idea they they are the sole of the nation and that food from any other country is scary and dangerous.

I would claim the issue in the US isn't your agricultural sector but the political clout of the food processors. Fast food chains, grocery store chains and makers of food products don't have that much influence in Norwegian politics. But they seem to have a lot of influence in American politics. Anyone with money seems to have.

Farmers in Norway don't have influence due to money but more from an emotional stand point. They appeal to basic emotions. We are a country which has historically suffered a lot of food shortages and so there is an ingrained belief that we need to be self sufficient. There is also an element of xenophobia. That foreign food is full of anti-biotics, hormons, e-coli, salmonella etc. Which is partially true but not as dangerous as people make it.

Growing up in Sweden, we definitely had school lunches. Bringing food from home was unheard of, school lunch was provided and everyone ate it (and complained about it.)

It wasn't until grade 11-12 or something that we sometimes started going out and getting burgers for lunch....

> Here in Norway sweets are banned from pre-school and school in lunch boxes

This seems reasonable.

I remember seeing 'Supersize me' where kids were fed with junk food (e.g. pizza, chocolate bars, sodas) at school. Is that representative of American schools or did they pick the worst ones to make their point?

It varies by location and affluence. When I was going to a public elementary school in the midwest, in the very early 1990s, we had "pizza days" that happened once or twice a month but generally the food was fairly healthy.

I think they maybe had deserts like pudding sometimes. There were no sodas or junk food available at all. The drink choices were 2% milk, chocolate milk, or water.

What I do remember is the food seemed fairly low quality. Canned and frozen packaged stuff, never anything resembling fresh. Every kid got the exact same meal unless you had some medical exemption.

In high school there were some bad choices available in the menu. There were soda and junk food vending machines, but they weren't part of the normal cafeteria and I never had money for them. While there were unhealthy options, there were also many healthy options and you simply bought what you wanted. The freshness was maybe a step up from elementary school.

I think there may have been efforts to remove the vending machines since my time there.

> In high school there were all sorts of bad choices. There were soda and junk food vending machines.

I read a bunch of years ago in Branded by Alissa Quart of American schools where soda giants would fund equipment for the sports teams and provide free soda for the cafeteria. So the school would both have to pay for their own drinks in the cafeteria and refuse sponsorship of the sports team to avoid being involved with soda the companies. It just makes economic sense in that case to let the soda company rope the kids in.

It's been a while since I read it, and I can't verify the truth. For me, it sounds like schools should have no part in getting kids addicted to soda.

That is just sad. I think it is for good reason here in Norway that companies can not contribute to school funding. They try to keep private money out of schools, so that you don't end up with A and B schools because some parents are richer than others.

I think the corporate sponsorship you talk about here also means that the pressure to fund schools properly through taxes are taken away. It gets too easy to avoid taxes by getting others to pay.

> That is just sad. I think it is for good reason here in Norway that companies can not contribute to school funding.

I had a great High School class in genetics that would not have been possible without large donations of money and equipment from a local biotech company.

I have fewer problems with companies donating science equipment, computers, and the like. There have been occasional issues with corporate donated history books though...

There was an episode of the show Daria that explored this phenomenon.

I can see that happening. Hopefully it's less of a possibility now than it would have been when I was attending in the late 1990s.

I think at my school it was because staff wanted them, so why not have them available for the kids too? I don't think much thought was given to it, and even if there were it would have been framed as a matter of personal responsibility. Adults there would have not thought of their responsibility to teach children good eating habits -- that was for the parents.

Back when I was in middle school (mid-90's), I was on the student council, which was responsible for maintaining relationships with the junk food vendors (we used it to raise money for other projects). We switched from Coke to Pepsi during that time, and I remember them coming to us with a deal that involved them providing the vending machines, running some contests, and some other goodies for the school. All we had to do was give them exclusive access.

It also would make sense for schools and sports teams to be unrelated. It's bizarre that they are so tightly integrated.

Here's[0] a menu from my kid's elementary school in the midwest (Lawrence, KS).

School lunches have certainly declined over the years. Continued relaxation of nutrition standards[1] doesn't help.



What a terrible menu. It has 'cultural poverty' written all over it. Food is a major manifestation of culture--food speaks volumes about the people who prepare and eat it.

What ends up happening is that the Feds fund school lunch at a level where you cannot say no as a district, but the hooks that come with the money make it difficult to do a better job.

Doesn't chocolate milk count as junk food? I thought it had masses of sugar in it.

At my highschool, pizza, hamburgers, and fries were regularly available options. Soda was available from vending machines. Milk was the standard beverage included with lunches, which included the option of either white milk, or sugary chocolate milk.

Exact same here. Greasy rectangles they called pizza, nachos, chocolate milk, soda, fries were all regular if not daily meals. What do you expect from 300lb adults who think their weight is the norm.

Sans buns, burgers (in moderation) are healthy.

Even the bun is just a carb.

That's the bad part. Simple carbs from bread have high glycemic index and easily convert to body fat. Modern diets are composed of way too high amounts of carbs.

It certainly doesn't help that most bread sold in the US contains added sugars.

Yes, but you do need some carbs in your diet. If you have a burger with a whole wheat bun and skip the fries, it can work out.

I am told that 'Supersize me' was a complete sham in its primary claims, so I would be sceptical.

EDIT: Okay, since I'm not on mobile now, relevant link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Size_Me#Counter-claims

I hate that movie. If you eat more than your resting metabolic rate and calories burned through activity you gain weight. Surprise!

I personally have lost 55 lbs since January 25th of this year and McDonalds hamburgers and fudge sundaes have been a meal frequently.

"I hate that" people think calories and weight is the primary gauge of health.

It's true weight is very often a negative health indicator because of the toxic nature of the diet that results in weight gain. However, losing weight is not always a sign of being more healthy.

Shutting down your liver, clogging your arteries, and generally filling your soft tissue and fat storage with toxins is not healthy even if you appear to be losing weight.

While true, I think this sentiment is vastly overstated. For the typical American eating the typical American diet, obesity is one of the biggest risks. It's right up there with smoking, except smoking is getting less popular and obesity is getting more popular.

Let's clear one thing up first: aside from a few issues like joint stress, it's not weight in general that's the problem; it's body fat. If you're a power athlete with significant muscle mass, you're going to be able to carry a lot of weight and still be perfectly healthy as long as it's lean weight. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shouldn't worry about his weight, despite having a BMI that's technically in the obese category. If you have a high weight for your height and you don't look like a professional wrestler, you should definitely be concerned about your weight.

Aside from the problems caused directly by excess body fat, carrying around excess body fat also makes it far more difficult and far riskier to exercise, which means all your other health indicators are going to go down south. Even mental health is pretty strongly influenced by exercise. Also, excess body fat is a far more difficult problem to solve.

> problems caused directly by excess body fat

I would say this is putting the cart before the horse. It's not excess body fat that is the source of health problems. It's the lifestyle (diet and movement) that leads to excess body fat (as one of the many symptoms of growing health problems) from choices.

In other words, baldness, obesity, sluggishness, headaches, etc... are not the source of health problems - they are the symptoms.

Visceral fat is a pretty significant source of health problems.

The Rock should absolutely be worried about his health, specifically his endocrine system as it is physiologically supranormal because of the cocktail of drugs he is undoubtedly on.

The doctor who does my physicals commented that he considers weight to be maybe the fourth or fifth thing he looks at when considering your basic health. Being overweight is bad, but because it's so overemphasized (and so easy to see), people ignore some things that should go in front of it.

(Though one imagines that if one is not willing to change one's diet or exercise habits to lose weight, the odds of them willing to do it to lower blood pressure or other such indicators seems low too.)

The McDouble/hamburger diet is a legitimate diet. You can dial in exactly how many calories you're eating.

To prove a point a few years back, I ate nothing but pizza and diet Pepsi for several weeks and lost weight. 2 supermarket pizzas was something like 1800 calories.

==To prove a point a few years back, I ate nothing but pizza and diet Pepsi for several weeks and lost weight.==

What point did this prove? Weight is hardly the sole determinant of health.

Pretty sure that was the point he was proving. You can eat only unhealthy foods and lose weight.

As someone who would like to lose about 50lbs I have a lot of questions. Mostly I'd like to know how you determined your resting metabolic rate. I've started working out a little and adjusted my diet a lot but I kinda feel like I'm fumbling around in the dark.

I lost about 60 lbs on Phentermine, then gained 10 lbs back, then lost about 15 lbs just dieting, and then gained about 10 lbs back.

Phentermine made it a lot easier because I didn't feel hungry, even when I was. But other than that, the same techniques applied: I used a calorie counter and tried to stick to the recommendation that it gave.

After using it a month or 2, I realized that its numbers were slightly high for me, and cut my max allowed calories a little further and started losing weight.

If you're wondering what your number is, the easiest way is probably just to follow what some tool tells you (I used Weight Watchers, then SparkPeople) and adjust the calories according to whether you are losing weight or not.

One caution: There is a rather large gap where you go from gaining weight to maintaining weight to losing weight. The area where you maintain weight is pretty broad. Finding that area is the first step, then slowly removing some calories until you start losing is the key, IMO. If you go too fast, you might remove too many calories and actually make it harder to lose weight than it should be. Your body will try to compensate for lack of calories.

I've lost weight many times without any exercise. The formula was pretty simple for me:

1) Eat on regular intervals. Don't starve yourself, but don't overeat. Typically you stop while you are a tiny bit hungry. The body is a bit slow on registering that you've had enough.

2) Cut out all sugary stuff, chocolate, ice cream, candy.

If you live in the US, it might be harder. My experience from living in the US was that it was hard to stay healthy there because 1) Almost all food contains some sugar 2) Served portions are usually way too large. And you buy things in too large quantities.

This means you might have to focus on cooking food from scratch at home to avoid the added sugar, and getting too large portions.

Don't cook larger portions to have left overs for later. You'll just eat more.

But if you are like me and can't be bothered to make food yourself, then buy EXPENSIVE food. This sounds silly but the thing is that when you buy cheap food, it doesn't taste well unless it is unhealthy.

Healthy food that tastes good is often expensive food. If you go to nice restaurants you tend to get smaller and healthier portions.

I waste a lot of money on food this way but it is just a trade off I've made. I rather waste money than get more unhealthy.

Don't worry about any of that. Do this diet: no sugar, no grains. That's it. Eat as much of everything else as you want. Watch the pounds melt.

That will definitely work, but there must be some other factor at play. There are plenty of populations in the world that consume a lot of grain but do not necessarily suffer from increased rates of obesity.

They probably have cultures of smaller portions, less processed food, and less added sugar (especially drinks). Example: compare the size of a Japanese mosburger with a burger & fries meal in the US:


When you meet foreign travelers, ask them what they think about US serving sizes. Many of them find it shocking.

The more you can integrate moderate physical activity into your daily routine as a matter of getting things done rather than as a specific chore you have to do, the better. Cutting sugar consumption should also help. I'd start there and see what happens.

You can find online calculator to have an estimation of your metabolic rate. From there, subtract 500 kcal and count all the calories to eat everyday to make sure you're below your limite. A popular calories counting app is "fitness pal".

Two public schools I went to in the mid-west here had private pop vending machines installed up until like 6-7 years ago when people complained about them not being healthy. However what they replaced them with was 'vitaminwater' and fruit juice vending machines which contain just as many calories. In years before then they did hold out for awhile on pop machines but eventually gave in because kids would just stop at a nearby gas station or party store and bring pop in anyways.

Pizza wasn't uncommon but it wasn't like take-out pizza, it was a real cheap basic version that had much less grease and fat. They would on rare occasions make 'real' pizza or have some kind of 'real' food that people would devour, but in general the lunch food was a grade or two lower in quality than the cheapest shit you can buy at walmart. In many schools it is literally the same food/supplier as our prison food so all of it was somewhat questionable in nutrient content.

No, that's 100% accurate, at least when I was in school in the 90s-2000s. It actually got worse, as the old government subsidized food staples were phased out (government cheese, flour, potatoes, etc), that actually had to be cooked, and replaced with Sysco frozen products. I'm not sure whether this was actually cheaper than buying real food, or it was laziness.

Also the school breakfast programs were catastrophic, in my opinion. Again, no real food, just packaged donuts and danishes and sugar-laden cereals. It was arguably better when we had snack time instead, with milk and a bag of pretzels or Goldfish and a piece of fruit.

> government cheese, flour, potatoes

None of these are healthy staples!

Healthy staples are beans and whole grains.

You're missing the point entirely.

Compared to sugar-laced and processed frozen foods that replaced them, anything home-cooked would be wildly more healthy.

I did forget to mention the mountains of C-ration style canned vegetables and fruits that were also present.

Soda was available on a vending machine in middle School and high school. I think they've been removed.

Pizza has a normal lunch. But chocolate bars, no.

My daughter's elementary school has soda machines in it.

In the US, we don't like to fully fund education with tax money, which means our public schools need other sources of revenue to fill the gap. Junk food vending is a large and crucial funding source.

In Sweden, sweets and ice cream are banned at my kids' pre-school and school through the official system, but then a kid will move and have an ice cream sending-off celebration or an instructor switches jobs and does the same. Also, we just had celebrations for the start of summer vacations, with cookies and lemonade. So the ban is definitely not the complete ban that I would like, since they make constant exceptions for individuals to bring their own stuff and even serve it themselves on special occasions.

Both school and pre-school make it sound like they don't allow sweets, so it's very disingenuous. At least they're not served lemonade daily for lunch, and the afternoon snack is fruit.

As a Norwegian, I just want to add that Swedish candy shops are insane. I find it strange that your country doesn't have a lot more diabetic/obese people. Somebody has to be keeping those stores in business?

Some of the candy shops in Denmark seems to be used for money laundering.

Most candy is cheap to buy in volume and you just discard it rather than handing it to customers. Everything looks fine in the books. You just don't have as many customers in the shop as the accounting books says you have. You will have to pay tax on the laundered money but that can be a small price for making the money fully legal and usable for e.g. house loans.

> Somebody has to be keeping those stores in business?

All the adults who were deprived in childhood.

> Somebody has to be keeping those stores in business?

Norwegians driving across the border to avoid the sugar tax?

Also the fika culture is pretty ubiquitous, at my office there's almost always some cake lying around in the kitchens.

By the same argument there should be more alcoholics in deregulated alcohol markets in Europe. And I think there are, but is it a significant difference?

Somebody has to be keeping those stores in business?


> The kids get involved early in learning about healthy food making and we get a cook book about what sort of food one should make for children when they start school.

How frequently is this curriculum revised and how are updates communicated to children after they graduate from that course/class/curriculum?

I'm mostly curiously because of how dietary research has changed and because there is little consensus on what a "bad" diet is. Almost everyone will agree to avoid sugar and processed food, but that's about where it ends. You also have to factor in individual genetics and lifestyle, although perhaps less so in countries like Norway where there would be a common genetic ancestry.

It isn't super detailed as far as I remember. It is more about the really obvious stuff like eating less processed and whole foods. So e.g. they will make whole grain bread, cut raw vegtables, maybe make vegtable soup, avoid stuff with lots of added sugar.

As far as I know the debate about health eating has centered around how much carbo hydrates we should eat and the role of fat. But I think eating less processed food, more whole grain and less sugar has always been accepted wisdom about healthy eating.

We Norwegians probably eat a bit much bread and potatoes and should probably eat more vegtables and alternatives such as beans, lentils etc. However I think we've been fairly good at avoiding too much sweets in the diet.

There's a lot of confusion around nutrition, but the badness of sugar and goodness of water is just about the most consensus we have.

Michelle Obama suggested that kids eat apples at school and people here lost their shit over it. I'd love it if we banned sweets in schools but I just don't see it happening.

Imagine the public reaction to Melania suggest that kids eat apples at school, and I think you'll agree that outrage had nothing to do with nutrition in schools.

There would be a very small amount of praise from the right, a very small amount of jokes about her being a phone-it-in first lady from the left, and both would be overshadowed by an overwhelming amount of indifference by everyone.

> Imagine the public reaction to Melania suggest that kids eat apples at school

It's just an assumption to say that both sides are the same. Barbara and Laura Bush, for example, were not demonized like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

I think you misread OP’s comment—they’re not saying both sides are the same.

Moreover, generally democrats don’t stoop as low as republicans. Republicans attacked Chelsea Clinton when she was like 11—Rush Limbaugh was calling her ugly. Can you imagine any democrats calling Barron ugly or something as vicious? How about how Fox News harassed Obama’s kids? You’d never see that on CNN. Republicanism is a morally bankrupt ideology.

I can imagine a Democrat saying "Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter".

Right but democrats didn’t stand behind that type of rhetoric like republicans do. It’s just another example of the obvious hypocrisy of the Republican Party—the party of family values that voters for an adulterer with 3 wives, the party of fiscal responsibility that consistently drives up the federal deficit, the party of law and order that doesn’t apply the law equally, the party of Lincoln that now defends white nationalists, and of course the party of the military who ignores veterans and insults Gold Star families. What a crock.

Seriously? That is just sad. I suspect the issue in the US is that there isn't much common ground politically.

In Norway none of this is very controversial, and fast food companies have little political influence. Money in Norwegian politics is quite restricted. Not sure how it is now, but usually you could not pay for political TV ads.

If you wanted to get on TV you would have to join a political TV debate of which there are usually a lot of.

> the issue in the US is that there isn't much common ground politically

The issue is harming children's nutrition to score political points.

Can you link to the rules / cookbook if available?

Here is a link to the current version: http://www.kagge.no/index.cfm?tmpl=butikk&a=product_inline&b...

The description is in Norwegian but I can give a quick summary: It gives recipes for breakfast, lunch boxes, food for hiking trips (hiking is very common in Norway), dinner, supper and snacks. The recipes are simple and tasty. There are discussion of what is healthy and what one should eat.

It has different authors. One of the co-authors is Rune Blomhoff who is nutritional science professor at university of Oslo and one of the leading researchers in the world on anti-oxydants.

In our book there are discussion for each dish what part of the food making the kids can participate in. It is to encourage children to learn about food themselves and get used to making healthy food themselves.

Thanks. A bit disappointed that I can't find an English version, but will keep my eyes open.

I'll check with my wife later what the title was and if they got it online.

Thanks, I am curious as well.

IIRC, US schools are phasing out whole milk in favor of skim chocolate milk, based on the old "fat bad carbs okay" theory.

>celebrations involving sweets.

Do kids bring carrots?

They don't celebrate by eating anything. They do activities instead. The focus is on the child who get a crown and gets to sit in this silly little royal chair or something. Not sure exactly how it works, but the kids are apparently very proud of it. I've only seen the pictures from when my son has had the crown

Are you insinuating that since carrots have sugar content, we should eat cupcakes with abandon?

That sounds dystopian. Does the government also ban adults from eating certain foods or just children?

How is it dystopian? We ban kids from doing plenty of things we deem unsafe in the US. We don't let them drive, go to the store alone, drink alcohol, buy guns, get married, buy cigarettes, watch certain movies, play certain video games, get jobs, etc.

Knowing what we know about the long term impact of high-sugar diets, is it really that much of a stretch to limit intake?

You can look at my earlier answer to similar question. Nobody gets punished for not following the rules. We are not a police state. Parents participate in setting up the rules and conventions.

If you dump chocolate in your kids food box every day then the employees will simply talk to you about why it is a bad idea. They are not going to stop you or take away the chocolate.

This is also about consideration towards other parents and children. If one child has lots of candy in their food box you make the other kids envious and they start complaining to their parents about why they don't get candy. That is why it is good to have common guidelines on what kind of food parents should put in the lunch box of their kids.

Protecting underage members of society from potentially harmful substances that they are unlikely to consume in moderation is hardly dystopian; it is in fact a key responsibility of a well-functioning state. Alcohol is also banned at schools, for instance.

It only bans them from eating children.

It is dystopian. And like clockwork, the top comment is about the state banning something, other statists/authoritarians here on HN applauding the effort, and your comment getting downvoted.

I wonder when the state will ban sugar from the homes too. These people don't understand what they're asking for - like the frog in boiling water.

Are all laws that limit the rights of children dystopian?

Should 5 year-olds have voting rights, access to jobs or the ability to buy alcohol and tobacco?

You think this comment makes you sound smart. Like you know something "these people" don't. Really it just makes you sound out of touch with reality.

How is it dystopian to tell parents that if you give your kids candy it makes the job for other parents much harder, since now their kids will fuzz about getting candy too?

It is just about people agreeing to common sensible rules for the benefit of everybody. It is about showing consideration for other people.

That is kind of frightening - why stop at school? Why not have Sweets Inspectors checking up on parents in their home? And talk about taking the fun out of any celebrations.

Does Norway also ban fruit juice?

> That is kind of frightening - why stop at school? Why not have Sweets Inspectors checking up on parents in their home? And talk about taking the fun out of any celebrations.

I see what you're saying, but considering the exploding rates of obesity for children in the U.S., maybe dialling down some of that "fun" is necessary. There is overwhelming evidence that overconsumption of sugar is very unhealthy and fits the profile for addiction. I started looking at sugar the way I look at alcohol: to be consumed in minimal amounts, if at all. If one takes that view, measures such as those in Norway don't seem that extreme anymore.

> overconsumption of sugar is very unhealthy


> and fits the profile for addiction

Sugar doesn't really fit the profile for addiction, which requires tolerance, preoccupation, seeking, and not stopping even though you know it's harmful.

Sugar hits maybe one or two of those, but rarely all four.

> Sugar doesn't really fit the profile for addiction, which requires tolerance, preoccupation, seeking, and not stopping even though you know it's harmful.

It sure does. Tolerance manifests itself as insulin resistance. Preoccupation starts as soon as the blood glucose level drops, which happens at regular intervals on carbohydrate-rich diets, manifesting itself as cravings. Seeking is just a trip to the vending machine, and choosing the crepes and the donuts over the eggs and salads. Not stopping even though you know it's harmful? The struggle to fix one's diet is one of the hardest and most likely to fail as far as addictions go, as can be seen in the ever-increasing diabetes and obesity rates in the general population. It's certainly not because of a lack of awareness, even though a lot of people (and doctors) still think low-fat diets are the key to success.

I work with people who have addictions.

Sugar doesn't come close.

> I work with people who have addictions. Sugar doesn't come close.

While I will defer to your experience with working with addicts, with respect I would suggest that the nature of your work may lead you to underestimate the addictive properties of sugar.

I am not claiming it compares with alcohol, meth, or crack cocaine addiction, but I think it is not unreasonable to compare its intensity to, say, coffee addiction. Except that in the case of sugar, the consequences can be chronic disease and premature death.

Research shows that sugar affects the brain reward pathways in a way similar to other drugs [1]. This contributes to its addictive properties in addition to those caused by the metabolic disruptions brought about by insulin resistance.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23719144

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

[3] https://addictionresource.com/addiction/sugar-addiction/

Still any sugar addiction is mild, in my opinion. For instance, when provided a good meal without sugar (say a nice restaurant on a date) do most folks get the shakes, leave halfway through the meal and run to an ice cream shop for a fix?

Its pretty easy to give up sugar for many people, for months at a time. Going back is probably laziness (easy availability, nostalgia) and not a physical compulsion.

Its common to throw words around like addiction when better words exist. Like habitual, or accustomed, or conditioned.

> Its common to throw words around like addiction when better words exist. Like habitual, or accustomed, or conditioned.

It's also common for attitudes to change very slowly with respect to something that has been around forever, that is available everywhere, and that can be safely used in moderation. It may be hard to accept that 'sugar addiction' is not an exaggeration; sugar brings to mind Valentine's Day, Halloween, and mom's apple pie, while addiction is associated with laying in the street, fatal overdoses, and ruined lives.

I certainly don't mean to say that everyone who likes sweets is automatically addicted to sugar. I use the term 'addiction' not to throw it around lightly, but because it is being used with its literal meaning by the medical professionals conducting said research, and because the usage is supported by the evidence (as can be seen in the links provided). That sugar addiction is being felt much less intensely than addictions to hard drugs, or that it can be overcome more easily, doesn't mean it doesn't fit the definition. Moreover, at a societal level, its consequences are just as dire (arguably, more so).

It's also interesting to look at the labels on our food in the US. Spaghetti sauce? Added sugar. Loaf of whole wheat bread? Added sugar. People may not see the addiction, but it's added to most everything right in front of our face.

Okay I realize I need to clarify some differences in American and Norwegian society. In America ban and rules often involve punishment or fines. In Scandinavia we have lots of rules and bans which carry no sort of punishment. This is one of them. No parent is getting a money fine, going to prison or get their kid kicked out of school because they bundle sweets in their lunch box.

So I think you are overreacting a tad here ;-) Also keep in mind this isn't exclusively a government thing. We have meeting were parents were the pre-school comes with suggestions and parents come with suggestions as well and people agree together on common rules.

"And talk about taking the fun out of any celebrations."

You can't have fun if there aren't sweets? That is sad? In a school there are lots of kids. If you celebrate with sweets for every single birthday through the year, and then in addition have your celebrations at home with sweets that ends up being a LOT of sugar.

I think you are trivializing the problem with sugar. Kids don't NEED processed sugar. There are lots of other things they can enjoy such as fruits, smoothies, yogurts and other good food.

School is a place of education and development.

The idea that "sugar" === "fun" is exactly the misconception they are trying to fix.

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