Organisation - October 22, 2009

Tired of food

Nutrition is hot. These days, there are just too many nutrition activities. Hot on the heels of the Week of Flavours in September came Food4you in October. Additional servings were dished out in the form of information about the food supplements industry, the impact from allergy-free foods, the importance of dietary fibres, the effect of fish on heart failures and enriching cornflakes with iron. These are but a few of the food and nutrition articles which have bombarded our ears lately. I work in food research and so lapped up everything with interest. Yet I wonder if we were getting too much of a good thing in the last months.

Even the Children's Book Week was dedicated to food. With its rally 'Mealtime! Eat and snack on children's books', it drew children into libraries and book shops. That childish thing which dislikes sitting down to dinner but turns gleefully to candy and snacks was probably also responsible for the free booklet De wraak van het spruitje (Revenge of the Brussels Sprout). My son, a fervent denier of vegetables, mixed his greens with apple compote from a young age. That did the trick. No more fuss during mealtimes. This clever idea also popped up in a project during the Week of Flavours: the 'Schoolgruiten' which was about eating vegetables and fruits in school. This can't be bad, of course. By all means, stimulate and introduce this morsel.
I do, however, question the avalanche of information. What good will come of it? Does it help people to develop healthy eating habits?  Gradually, they can't see the forest for the trees. Fish: to eat or not to eat? It appears from research that fish has no effect on heart failures. But does everyone know the difference between heart failures and other heart diseases such as heart attacks? Pills: to take or not to take? Have more vegetables and fruit, but what about that revengeful Brussels sprout in the book? To top it all, we mustn't forget to have sufficient variety in our diet. Puff...I'm getting tired of food.
Excesses are bad. That goes for nutrition as well. /Marelle Boersma

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