Robert Lustig, WIC Juice and Politics
Thursday, July 25, 2013
I am taking an online course from Coursera.org "Nutrition and Disease Prevention". This week topic is Obesity and one of the video lectures is by Robert Lustig. In it he talks about a woman who came to him and her son was obese. The boy is described as being wider than he was tall. He found out that the boy was on the WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program and the boy was drinking 1 gallon of orange juice a day. He mentions that he told the woman that she should be feeding the boy whole fruit instead of juice and her response was, "then why do they give us the juice?"
Robert goes on to talk about the politics over the last 30 years coincide with the rise of obesity. I cannot believe that mother actually gave that much juice to her son in one day. To think that because the juice was a given choice from WIC does not mean it is OK to drink a gallon of it in one day, especially by a 6 year old.
When my children were on the WIC program, I never once allowed either one of my children to consume 1 gallon of juice a day. I recall being counseled to limit the servings; that was a little less than 30 years ago. Even lately, when I picked up the voucher for my grandson, I was told to limit the serving of juice (or any sweetened beverage).
However, I do agree that the politics and food programs do have something to do with the obesity crisis. When I worked in the public school system about 7 years ago, the food was nasty. It was overly processed and had added sugar and soy products. I was told to keep my comments to myself because the person in charge was doing the best she could with the budget and the donated food from the USDA. Ahhh, yes, the politics of it all.
I think too many have the idea that since it is a program that provides food, then it must be healthy for us. Also, some think that because an item is on the grocery store shelf then it must be an OK food. However, we need to go beyond reading tho labels and look at the ingredient list. Do we even know what we are eating? Chances are, no, we do not.
I think that it is time to educate ourselves and make better choices by eating real food. that is, eat food as close to its natural state as possible and if not avoid, then limit processed foods. Make smarter choices and I don't mean eat Fruit Loops.