LOCAL NEWS STORY
25 August 2005
By HELEN HARVEY
Food and poor diet is the cause of about 30 percent of deaths each year, Green MP Sue Kedgley told a meeting in Palmerston North last night.
That is more than alcohol, violence, cigarette smoking or road deaths combined. More than 60 people crammed into the meeting room at the Palmerston North library to hear Ms Kedgley talk about the need for a food revolution.
If the Greens go into coalition with Labour after the election, food and nutrition will be on their list of policies, she said.
She churned out facts and figures at an alarming rate - some complicated, some well known and others downright scary.
"A child eating a pie, chips, a cookie and a fizzy drink for lunch would consume 10 teaspoons of fat and 20 teaspoons of sugar."
A Moro bar contains two teaspoons of fat and 10 teaspoons of sugar, the average pie 6.5 teaspoons of fat, a bottle of Coke - the biggest seller at the supermarket - contains about 17 teaspoons of sugar, and a serving of french fries seven teaspoons of fat.
Food should be one of the greatest contributors to good health, but a raft of experts are warning that food is becoming one of the greatest contributors towards ill health, Ms Kedgley said.
What people eat has changed more in the past 40 years than the previous 40,000 of human history.
"The so called affluent diet of today has twice the amount of saturated fat, a third of the former daily fibre intake, vastly more sugar, salt, flour, and carbohydrates and a reduced intake of nutrients," she said.
However, it is not only the composition of food that has changed. People's relationship with food has also changed.
"Anthropologists say our generation in the West is the first society where large numbers of people eat food alone - in front of the telly, in the street, at our desks and even in our cars."
In the future cars will be fitted with microwaves so people can heat up meals as they drive to and from work - while they are sitting in traffic jams, she said.
While the aim for many people is to buy cheap, processed food, there are a lot of hidden costs such as clogged arteries, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dental decay, topsoil that is exhausted by fertiliser use, rivers and lakes polluted by pesticides and cruel treatment of animals reared inside factory farms.
Transporting food around the world is another hidden cost, Ms Kedgley said. Marmite, made in New Zealand, contains sugar from Brazil, salt from Israel, wheat malto dextrum and caramel colour from the United States, iron from Sweden and vitamins from China and India.
MP, Member of parliament
fizzy drink, soda
Marmite,a spread for toast or bread.