Practitioners

We need more transparency around our food

When BBC Three Counties Radio called Natalie to ask for her opinion on a local food initiative, she jumped at the chance to discuss something she’s really passionate about – food transparency.

I had a call from BBC 3 Counties Radio asking for my opinion on the initiatives of a local pig farmer.

The farmer, in Buckinghamshire, was inviting children to visit the farm over the summer, and name and care for a pig. At a later date the food products from that pig could be collected and taken home to eat.

 

The purpose – to teach children more about where their food comes from. And I am 100% in favour.

 

I appreciate why you may be initially shocked but I’ll explain why I believe this is a good thing.

As a Nutritional Therapist specialising in weight loss, type 2 diabetes and gut health, I see a lot of disconnect between what we eat and where it comes from. The journey from farm – or these days factory – to fork is disregarded so long as it’s quick, easy and convenient. 

 

But there’s a trade-off as it’s driving poor health and chronic conditions.

 

 

Current UK Diabetes stats

£10 billion of the NHS budget is spent on type 2 diabetes – a disease that is avoidable through food and lifestyle choices. Although the NHS’s Diabetes Prevention Programme showed a 7% reduction in diagnoses between 2018-19, that’s currently a drop in the ocean when the budget is expected to reach £16.9 billion by 2035. 

 

Money aside, that budget represents the estimated 4.9 million people who will have type 2 diabetes by 2035. The support is not good enough when our food industry isn’t transparent and health education sparse. 

 

We’ve spoken to clients who have labeled the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme as “useless”. With our help, they have gone on to reverse their diabetes diagnosis in as little as 2 months (client success story coming soon!).

 

Back to the radio interview…

Although the farming initiatives may upset non-meat eaters, it empowers people to answer an important question;

Do I want to eat that? 
 

Not only can this question be applied to animal products but also to ultra-processed foods, and I have no doubt that the answer to that question would be very different if people had transparency around how certain ‘favourite’ foods were made. 

 

Take Nutella for example. A delicious, chocolate and hazelnut spread, advertised as the ideal spread on toast for breakfast (I couldn’t disagree more). If we break down the ingredients, half the jar is sugar and there’s more inflammatory palm oil than cocoa and hazelnuts combined.

BBC radio

The true value of food

My experience with clients and presenting to large groups of people is evidence that when people reconnect to their food; where it originates from, the ingredients it contains and the effects it has on the body, they make better choices that improve not only how they feel day-to-day but their longer-term health outcomes.

 

Food is fuel and information the body relies on to function. If we don’t meet our bodies requirements for nutrients, we will begin to struggle and our health will decline.

 

We wouldn’t expect our cars to run with minimal fuel, care and attention. Nor would we expect a plant to grow if we didn’t water it, feed it and give it some light. Why do we expect it of ourselves?

 

With the anticipated recession, less money will be available to spend on food as disposable income is divided across the rising bills. Between 1957 and 2017, the amount of disposable income spent on food decreased by half. In 2020, this was down to just 8%. 

 

Yet, what value can we place on our health?

 

If we reconnect the true value food has in our lives (beyond the BOGOFF offers and meal deals) could money be better spent on food items? I believe so.

 

Poor quality meals and lack of nutrients means we are hungrier faster and driven to rely on more food over all. Having 3 main meals a day that provide the right balance of nutrients – proteins, fibre, fats, complex carbohydrates and colour – keeps the body fuelled and fed for longer, reducing the overall demand for snacks and ‘top up’ foods.

 

And to top it off, better health in the long run saves money.

Wondering how to eat healthily and affordably?

Across the coming weeks, we’ll share more on how you can achieve this.

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