food

Boycott junk food in schools - California mandates set a healthy eating example

Monday, May 28, 2012 by: PF Louis
Tags: junk food, schools, boycott

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(NaturalNews) Legislation in California has set limits on what foods can be sold as competitive foods in their public schools. Competitive food sales include snack bars and kiosks, a la carte cafeteria purchases, and vending machines.

The restrictions deal with lowering added sugars and fat contents and even excluding artificial sweeteners. The calorie amounts are limited while nutritional values are required to meet federal guidelines. For example, fruit juices are required to contain 50% natural nectar while restricting added sugar contents.

A recent study shows California teens are consuming 158 less calories per day than teens in 14 other states since the vending machine mandate was put into effect in California a few years ago.

One-hundred California teens were compared to 560 kids in other states in early 2010. The study was published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, May 2012. Health conditions were not considered with any of the subjects studied, only calorie content that could influence obesity. Less obesity is good, as obesity alone can promote a plethora of negative health conditions. But there was no hint of teens switching to healthier diets as a result of placing relatively decent snack food options in the California schools.

MSG and GMOs are probably in some of those calorie-restricted snack items since all of them are either processed or derived from Big Ag and Big Dairy farming methods. Those shiny apples are heavily sprayed with chemicals, unless they're organic. Throw in even a small amount of HFCS, colorings, flavorings and preservatives, and the toxic loads are dramatically increased. In other words, calorie restrictions alone don't guarantee good health.

Daniel Taber, University of Illinois-Chicago professor and the California study's lead author stated, "They should definitely be applauded for their actions. All states could focus on providing more healthy foods in schools, in addition to banning high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie foods and beverages. But I think the lesson is that even their laws were only a starting point."

Although the nutritional standards applied help somewhat, they are federal government standards set by dieticians from the old-school. You know, the type who prepares hospital menus. So there is much more to do before completely healthy foods can be provided by school cafeterias and competitive food vendors.

Private, underfunded and under-reported groups are promoting farm-fresh foods for school cafeterias

Meanwhile, NGOs (non-government organizations) are hard at work trying to get organic fresh foods from area farms into school lunch programs. Vermont and Oregon have taken the lead in the United States. California has also made inroads in the effort to feed kids better schools and encourage small organic farming with increased profits to family run organic farms.

There has been a massive UN study and additional regional studies that have concluded the best way to feed the world would be from small scale regional organic farming.

Each region would become self-sufficient with less large scale distributors, such as Cargill, brokering foods to chain retailers everywhere, and less commodity brokers gambling futures and affecting food prices because the food growing and distribution would be greatly decentralized.

Farm to school efforts could be a first step toward this planetary downsized sustainable end. Rome, Italy provides a successful example. Seventy percent of the foods in their schools are organic.

If you wish to learn more about this approach and perhaps get involved, check out this article (http://blogs.worldwatch.org).

Sources for this article include:

http://www.reuters.com

http://www.ncsl.org

http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1151631

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