Monday, October 02, 2006

Nutrition and Education Go Hand in Hand

Abby Jaramillo, the Executive Director of the school gardening nonprofit, Urban Sprouts, recently posted about an experiment she did with some of her students from June Jordan, a San Francisco public middle school. Each student kept a 24-hour food diary and wrote down the nutrition facts for all the foods they ate. At the end of the week they totaled the percentage of calories from fat, the total grams of sugar eaten in one day, and how much dietary fiber they were eating.

"One Jamba Juice finished a student for the whole day, and another student needed to double bag his sugar collection," Abby writes.

According to NutritionData, a 16 oz Coldbuster Jamba Juice has 70 grams of sugar, a 12 oz Starbucks Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino, a popular drink with Abby's students, has 42 grams of sugar, and a 12 oz Child Size McDonald's Beverage Coca Cola Classic has 30 grams of sugar. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that a 2,000-calorie diet allows for 267 "discretionary calories" or 8 teaspoons (32 g) of sugars.

One woman working for better nutrition for young people is Chef Ann Cooper, author of Lunch Lessons: Changing The Way We Feed Our Children. Check out her list of Tips for Healthy Eating with your kids on her blog. You can see a video of Chef Ann on the site of two other food activists, Amy Kalafa and Susan Rubin, who are making a movie about school cafeteria food called, Two Angry Moms.

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