A couple of days ago somebody shared one of the most stupid posts on Facebook I have seen in a while – and if you’re on Facebook , you will know that takes quite some doing.
A person who markets herself as a health and fitness expert posted a pic of herself holding a huge MARS bar with the following comment.
“This Mars bar is not naughty or bad. Eating this Mars bar does not mean that I will need to run 3.66km to burn it off……...Eating this Mars bar will not make me unhealthy. …………..To me, a Mars bar is not a “treat”. I’m not a dog. I don’t work or perform tricks for my food. I include Mars bars as a part of a balanced and moderate diet which also consists of lean protein, fresh fruit, lots of vegetables and some fat. If I want a Mars bar, I will eat one. No guilt. No shame. It’s just a Mars bar and life is too short to not enjoy food you love.”
Sadly this misguided person is followed by thousands of slavish fans who were delighted to be told they could safely eat crap as part of a healthy balanced diet. The post had over 67 000 likes ( a bit wtf-ish) and over 8000 shares !
Now I am all for people having their own opinions and I support individuals making their own decisions about what or what not to eat, HOWEVER everybody has a right to make informed decisions and as much as it is individual responsibility to do some research about the food they eat , it is equally , if not more so , the responsibility of public figures especially so called health and fitness experts, to give their supporters accurate information that will not cause harm.
Thinking that junk foods, sweets , chocolates or sugar loaded drinks can form part of a healthy balanced diet is NONSENSE.
A small Mars bar of 51g contains 35.8g of carb or 8.5 tsp of sugar.
The store I visited did not have large Mars bars I compared the ingredients to a Bar-One which is very similar. Here in 85g bar we see 67g of carb. This translates into 16.75 tsp of sugar.
Given that nutrition experts (see article )recommend no more than 6-7tsp of free sugars per day one really needs to ask HOW do you fit a Mars bar containing almost 3 times the recommended DAILY allowance into a healthy balanced eating plan ? The answer is – you don’t !
For those that want to go ahead and eat rubbish as part of their diets do so by all means but please people , don’t BS yourselves ( or let anybody else BS you) into believing that this is healthy.
A high intake of sugar drives high insulin levels. We now know that a high insulin level or hyperinsulinaemia in the body is a driving force behind many of the diseases we see today including cardio vascular disease and myriad other non communicable illnesses. Large amount of insulin regularly dumped into the body are harmful ( are you starting to reconsider that Mars bar yet?)
Furthermore sugar is addictive. Plenty of folk are only too thrilled to be told they can include chocolates in their diets because just like any addiction these people cannot imagine life without their fix. Kris Gunnars of Authority Nutrition has written a great article on how sugar hijacks your brain. I recommend you pop over to his page and have a read here
Another point is that you don’t have to be fat to be unhealthy. This is what is known as MONW ( metabolically obese normal weight) or ” skinny fat ” person.”Studies on teenagers found that 37 percent of the skinny kids had one or more signs of pre-diabetes such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol. Wait — almost four out of 10 normal-weight kids are pre-diabetic?”
A study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who are metabolically unhealthy regardless of their weight are also at increased risk of premature death.
So what’s the take home message?
1 Don’t believe everything you are told by ” health experts” or self proclaimed fitness gurus, learn to do the research yourself.
2 It’s not primarily about how much fat you will gain from eating junk – it’s about the damage that junk does to your body and your brain once inside.