Tag Archives: energy balance 101

Bad Nutrition Education

“There are no good foods or bad foods.”

You know that’s not true and The Curmudgeon knows that’s not true but 28 million American elementary school children have been taught by a health curriculum called “Energy Balance 101” that there are no good foods or bad foods.

Who’s behind this curriculum?

According to Mother Jones, one of The Curmudgeon’s favorite magazines,

This approach isn’t surprising when you consider the source. The class is part of “Together Counts,” an educational campaign promoting energy balance that is wholly funded by a group called the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation—which is in turn run and bankrolled by junk food corporations. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, is the chair of the board, and directors include the CEOs of Kellogg, Hershey, Nestle USA, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Smucker, and General Mills.

And this group, with purely charitable motives, has developed similar curricula for the Girl Scouts and the Head Start Association.

According to the people who make drinks like these, they're part of a well-balanced and healthy diet.

According to the people who make drinks like these, they’re part of a well-balanced and healthy diet.

And it’s not alone. As Mother Jones reports,

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola came under scrutiny after the New York Times revealed that the company had provided $1.5 million in seed funding to start the Global Energy Balance Network, a think tank that downplays the role of sodas in causing the obesity epidemic.

And some of the major fast food chains agree.

McDonald’s, meanwhile, has marketed energy balance for years; in 2005, with the rollout of a new jingle (“It’s what I eat and what I do…I’m lovin’ it”) former CEO Jim Skinner said, “One of the best things we can do is communicate the importance of energy balance in an engaging and simple way.” In the most recent corporate social-responsibility report of Yum! Brands, which is the parent of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC, nutrition officer Jonathan Blum says, “We believe that all of our food can be part of a balanced lifestyle if eaten in moderation and balanced with exercise.”

The Curmudgeon’s not going to tell you he doesn’t eat food that’s bad for him. That would be dishonest, and any look at him from the side would be all the proof you need that he does. But when he eats something that’s bad for him he knows that it’s bad for him, knows that getting some exercise may help with weight issues but does nothing for the damage he does to his heart and liver, for example, when he does.

But now, millions of school kids are intentionally being misled about this. Their teachers, people they respect, are telling them it’s just fine to chow down on all the junk food they want so long as they play a little jump rope or basketball after school.

Which is utter nonsense. Do you have any idea how much exercise it takes to work off some of the more offensive foods?

She's been running for one minute. 90 more minutes of jogging and she will have successfully burned off a single cup of Kraft macaroni and cheese.

She’s been running for one minute. 90 more minutes of jogging and she will have successfully burned off a single cup of Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Try 91 minutes of jogging for a child to work off a single cup of Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Or 150 minutes of jogging to work off five KFC chicken tenders.

Or 240 minutes – four hours! – of jogging to work off a McDonald’s chicken mcnuggets value meal.

The problem, though, isn’t with the people who pay for the development of these damaging nutrition education programs. In a warped way that should only (but probably doesn’t) prevent them from looking themselves in the mirror at night, they’re just doing their jobs.

And the problem isn’t even with the people who use their medical credentials to advance such hogwash, although someone should look into revoking those credentials.

No, the real villains here are the school board members and school superintendents who swallow this nonsense like it’s a Big Mac, a 32-ounce Coke, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and a cream donut, put this grotesque misinformation in their curriculum, and tell the young and impressionable minds they’re responsible for molding that there’s nothing wrong with eating such crap as long as they play a little dodge ball.

Which makes these “educators” incompetent – and dangerous to the young people they’re supposed to be educating.