Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sugar Smackdown

I am giddy as I write this, having narrowly escaped the jaws of death. By all rights, I shouldn’t be here. Neither should my husband, or any of my siblings or childhood friends. It’s a miracle we all made it out of the ‘70s alive.

I speak, of course, of the terrible dangers posed by sugared cereals.

According to the Associated Press: “Kellogg Co., the world's largest cereal maker, has agreed to raise the nutritional value of cereals and snacks it markets to children.

The Battle Creek, Mich., company avoided a lawsuit threatened by parents and nutrition advocacy groups worried about increasing child obesity.” (Italics are mine.)

Oh. My. God.

I grew up on a steady advertising diet of Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam. Apparently they manipulated me to eat vast quantities of Frosted Flakes, Cap’n Crunch, Honeycombs, Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks. To say nothing of Pop-Tarts, Oreos, Fritos and Ho-Hos. Good lord, I consumed trans and saturated fats by the kilogram. Good lord, they tasted good.

Amazingly I’m still alive. My blood pressure is fine, my cholesterol level is low. I am not diabetic. I’m nowhere near obese. Or even overweight (which will come as a shock to my husband, who bears the brunt of my body image issues).

Because after I scarfed down a half dozen cookies, I used to go outside and play. Sometimes organized sports like softball, volleyball, basketball and tennis. Sometimes just a game of catch. Or Tag. Remember Tag, and the more excellent version, Freeze Tag? The upshot: my caloric output matched if not exceeded my caloric intake. Simple arithmetic.

Is it a shock to today’s parents that their kids are sitting on their asses playing video games, surfing the Internet or listening to their i-Pods? So why all the junk food in the house? Did Snap, Crackle and Pop hold a gun to their heads and force them to buy a truckload of Sugar Smacks?

The makers and marketers of sugared cereals are not responsible for this country’s apparently raging epidemic of childhood obesity. The people who coddle these moppets are. The people who purchase these products are.

If little Johnny’s Body Mass Index is off the charts (and I don’t mean in a good, six-pack abs kind of way), it’s time to stop blaming the Keebler Elves. And take a look in the mirror.


Post a Comment

<< Home