Monday, February 12, 2007

Is breast milk a junk food?

British govt news:
Next month, the Office for Communications (Ofcom) will enact its ban on TV advertising of junk food to children. But first, a model had to be constructed whereby foods could be judged "unhealthy", and therefore subject to the ban, or "healthy", and therefore not subject to the ban. The arbitrary and clumsy model conjured up by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will mean that foods such as cheese, raisins and bran flakes -- as well as breast milk, if it were available in shops -- will be branded "unhealthy" and thus banned from kids' TV.

The FSA aimed to formulate a scientific schema for judging the healthiness or otherwise of food products. It devised the "Nutrient Profile Model", a complicated system based around overall energy (number of calories) and the percentage of salt, sugar and saturated fats in a product per 100 grams (regardless of the average serving size). According to this model, cheese, alongside honey, certain cereals, marmite and a host of other pretty nice and healthy foods, will be classified as junk foods to be hidden from children. And according to the same Nutrient Profile Model, chicken nuggets, microwaveable curries, oven chips and diet fizzy drinks -- which are seen by many today as "junk" -- are healthy foods and therefore it's okay to show them on kids' TV.
It has gotten to the point where it is difficult to trust anyone on distinctions between healthy and unhealthy (or junk) foods. The fact is that there is very little scientific evidence that any food is any better than any other. And when there is evidence, people refuse to accept it.

There is rock-solid evidence that cheese is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. And yet the British govt censors are going to apply some silly formula to classify cheese as junk food and ban cheese ads on TV.

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