What we eat has changed more in the last forty years than in the previous forty thousand. – Eric Schlosser, “Fast Food Nation”

This is mind-boggling to me that the food that humans consume has changed so quickly. Fast Food Nation (excellent book, highly recommend) is written about America, however fast food is global now, which is why I wrote “humans” rather than Americans.

Obesity, diabetes, liver and heart disease, etc. etc. etc. are not confined to the United States. China actually consumes more fast food than America, and they are also experiencing the health problems that come with it.

With all of this information, it is very inspiring to learn of positive changes that are currently being made, of people that are taking a stand and taking responsibility for their own (and others’) health.

Last night I was doing some online research and I happened upon a PDF document that I want to share with you regarding a beverage ban. This document states that effective July 01, 2006, all public school districts in Connecticut would allow only certain beverages to be sold to their students on school premises.

The only ones that they now allow are:

  • Milk (flavored or plain). Cannot contain any artificial sweeteners or over 4 grams of sugar.
  • Non-dairy milks (i.e.: soy or rice milk). Same guidelines as regular milk as well as they cannot contain more that 10% of their calories from saturated fat, and no more than 35% of calories from fat. Both of these percentages are per portion.
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or a combination of each. Cannot contain added sugars, sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners.
  • Beverages that contain only water and fruit or vegetable juice. Same stipulations as 100% fruit or vegetable juice.
  • Water. Same stipulations as 100% fruit or vegetable juice as well as they cannot contain caffeine. They can be flavored as long as they fit these stipulations.

The PDF document also lists all of the beverages that are not allowed, which include beverages that contain crystalline fructose. Therefore, every one of the 23 beverages that I listed in this previous post cannot be sold on their campuses.

I find this so inspiring. As adults, we can educate ourselves and make changes, however children are very susceptible to just falling in line with whatever they are offered. Couple this with the fact that sugar, fat, artificial additives and sweeteners make the food or drink taste awesome, how can they really resist when they are readily available?

Children and young adults are naturally going to go for what tastes great (so do adults!) The problem that many parents can face is that they provide their kids healthy whole foods and meals at home, but when they get to school, at every corner is a soda machine. Their parents aren’t there to enforce health and if the child has the money to buy, they more than likely will. Then, all of the sugar and artificial sweeteners set them up for wanting more of the same.

The Connecticut public schools have stood up and said “NO!” to the unhealthy beverages that are so prevalent on school campuses. It shows that there are those out there who are making changes and striving for healthy living. How fortunate for those children who attend public school in Connecticut.

It’s now been almost a year since this ban was instituted. If your child attends public school in Connecticut, I’d be interested to hear about the positive changes you have experienced!