Supermarkets Doing Sweet FA in Sugar War; SIOBHAN O'CONNOR ON HEALTH CRISIS FACING OUR KIDS; Childrenstill Hit by Constant Marketing Blitz; Youngsters Set to Become Biggest in EU

The Mirror (London, England), April 14, 2018 | Go to article overview

Supermarkets Doing Sweet FA in Sugar War; SIOBHAN O'CONNOR ON HEALTH CRISIS FACING OUR KIDS; Childrenstill Hit by Constant Marketing Blitz; Youngsters Set to Become Biggest in EU


Byline: SIOBHAN O'CONNOR

As the mum of a toddler my biggest nightmare is being greeted by the Willy Wonka chocolate factory experience at the end of the grocery shop.

I dread the moment we reach the till as a mighty fight will ensue. Mammy always wins but holding a screaming kid with tears streaming down her face is never a good look.

How do you explain to a 20-month-old that she can't have the brightly-coloured, shiny sweeties jumping out at her, only short of saying "eat me".

The potential sugar rush is like dangling crack cocaine in front of a recovering addict.

I've witnessed my toddler biting off an Easter bunny's head as she escaped my grip while I unpacked the trolley. The lure of the chocolate treat was too great.

The masterminds who put the chocolate at the top of the till know damn well sales will skyrocket as stressed-out parents cave in for fear of causing a scene and acting like sugar Nazis in front of the shop assistant.

We spend our entire time in the supermarket placating our kids by allowing them to have one rice cake from the trolley only to be greeted by a giant sugar fest as we try to escape the shop.

Stores lull us into a false sense of security by offering little trucks for children to drive around in or miniature trollies so they can pretend to be adults for an hour.

Some have even introduced free fruit for kids, with signs saying, "Eat me".

But how can a humble apple compare to a candy cane delight? The UK's most senior dentist, Professor Michael Escudier, has called for a crackdown on supermarket "sugar chicanes" which bombard shoppers with last-minute deals on sweets and chocolate.

I think we should follow suit.

We need to wake up to the fact sugar is enemy number one and join forces in the fight against obesity and tooth decay.

If you ban your child from eating any form of sugar they will more than likely binge at the next party and end up becoming more addicted to the stuff.

But we need to be given the best chance possible to control their impulses - and banning sugar chicanes is a no brainer.

Around 37% of all sweet purchases are impulse buys. Imagine, if we all ate 37% less sugar, then cases of obesity, tooth decay and diabetes would seriously diminish.

Hidden sugars are the real enemy and processed food, including bread, is full of them.

So not only do we have to avoid the obvious culprits like fizzy drinks, chocolate and sweets, but chances are anything in a packet is full of sugar.

Manufacturers add it to 74% of packaged foods. And there are at least 61 different names for the substance used on labels. These include common ones such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as the less wellknown terms barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, among others.

Rotting teeth is one issue, obesity another and I don't want my daughter to get cancer from sugar, yet this is what society is advocating: Get fat and die young.

Sugar is as addictive as class A drugs, having the same effect on the release of dopamine in the brain. …

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