Weight Loss Wednesday April 20, 2016

Occasional Consumption; Is It Too Late?

We are in the midst of an obesity crisis of which we are uncertain of the outcome. Who knows how this epidemic will pan out in the future? Are we spiralling into an age of premature obesity, heart attacks and surge of Type 2 diabetes cases?

Over the past few years, we've seen obesity levels rise and the government is looking to impose stricter laws of high fat, high sugar, high salt foods that cause future health risks…

  • Certain laws and further knowledge about the damaging effects of obesity have emerged over the past few years.
  • In fact, the sugar tax will be implemented in the UK to curb the weight problem, and many have welcomed this.
  • Others are encouraged by the government exploring options to impose a ban of children entering fast food restaurants and takeaways without an adult.
  • The damage of fizzy drinks and its link to obesity has been recognised, especially within the sugar tax.
  • Jeremy Hunt has called the childhood obesity rate in the UK a "national emergency".

Let's not get it twisted; this is serious stuff. So what's the latest?

A crackdown on sauces apparently.

So what's this about then?

This week (14.04.2016) one of the largest food corporations in the world – Mars Foods – has announced that it will be labelling certain foods that are high in fat and high in sugar with a 'not fit for daily consumption' badge. This is on top of the other labelling selections we have on offer.

Yep, our favourite brands and those accompanying sauces that are so easy to buy, and help millions of families across the UK have a quick and easy meal after a long tiring day at work, are apparently so innutritious that companies are brandishing the worst offenders with 'occasional consumption' guidelines.

The idea will be implemented over the next five years with the Mars Company stating that it will help families distinguish which foods can be eaten on a daily basis and which should be use and consumed as a treat. Those that are higher in salt, sugar and/or fat will be 'named and shamed'.

Foods that will be labelled under 'occasional use' include:

  • Dolmio lasagne sauces and meal kits
  • Dolmio oven bake sauces and kits
  • Uncle Ben's oriental sauces
  • Other savoury pasta products
  • Other savoury rice products

What do people think?

Many organisations associated with reducing obesity rates in the UK have praised the transparency, however they are quick to add that this sort of labelling is long overdue considering our current state of affairs, nor does it really specifically target the correct audience.

The National Obesity Forum has claimed the move is "hugely unusual" whilst the BBC look through some of these products - the classic 500g Dolmio lasagne sauce contains 32g of sugar for example – and spoke to the nutritionist from Action on Sugar, Jenny Rosborough. Whilst Rosborough praised the increasing amount of awareness, she stated that those likely to read these labels wouldn't be buying the 'occasional consumption' products in the first place. Therefore, we're missing the market.

"The challenge we have with it [the 'everyday' labelling] is that only the health conscious will look at the labels in the first place…What we really need is these targets to continue to reduce the sugar, salt and fat in the products, and ideally we want them to be regulated." Jenny Rosborough, Nutritionist at Action On Sugar

Why aren't they just making the food healthier?

The Mars company have stated that they want to maintain the "authentic" taste of their foods, hence the reluctance to change the recipes themselves to a much healthier equivalent. After all, we've established that putting a label on the foods won't matter to some who will still buy these products for daily consumption anyway. However those from obesity charities and the government have welcomed the move, and we should hopefully see an increase in the amount of Britons making smarter choices.

The global president of Mars, Fiona Dawson, has also stated that 70% of the tomato-based sauces made by Dolmio do already meet the standard for 'everyday' consumption so we shouldn't reach for our pitchforks just yet. The aim is to make that 70% rise to 95%.

Fiona Dawson, Global President of Mars

So when is it happening?

The labelling looks to be implemented on products in the UK for now, as Britons become additionally more health conscious. The move is overall supported and should help clearly identify nutritional information on the Mars Company products to allow families more advise on their eating habits.

What can I do now?

For now, there are some really easy guidelines, the main being to, double check the ingredient chart on all of your jars during your grocery shop and make your own from scratch if possible; unleash the chef within you! These sugar guidelines have always been available to read during our shopping, so let's nip it in the bud before company have to spell it out for us!

"5% of our product portfolio will receive an 'occasional' label in the coming years, much of which will still go through some amount of reformulation to be made healthier."

At the end of the day, there is no substitute for fresh produce, and whilst you may be used to sauces with such an intense flavour due to sweeteners and artificial flavourings, your body and taste buds will adjust to the new flavours.

Curbing obesity

It is best to start sooner rather than later if you are considering or need to lose weight. If you are significantly overweight or obese, this will be a long journey, however the results make the whole process worth it.

This begins with a healthy diet and exercise regime, and it will be a long process. No is no such thing as a magic pill or quick weight loss method, and crash dieting can do more harm to your body than good.

If you are obese with a BMI of over 30, or overweight with a BMI of over 27 with underlining health issues, and would like help loosing weight if dieting and exercise having produced results, then Xenical is available in the UK after completing a consultation.

This can be obtained in person with your doctor or we can issue your prescription online at HealthExpress.

Similar to smoking from the 1950s-1960s, we are still in the process of discovering just how costly our eating habits are. Being overweight or obese is no picnic and the long-term complication and health risks increase over time. Our government is in the midst of taking obesity seriously, so now it's your turn.


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