Is Toucan Sam to blame for childhood obesity? The federal government says he and Ronald McDonald have a lot more influence on the epidemic than their companies are taking responsibility for. Federal regulators are asking food makers and restaurant companies to either sell healthier products or stop advertising them to wide-eyed kids. The guidelines are voluntary but companies are feeling the pressure to adopt them, which would require them to alter their marketing strategies in the next five to 10 years. Under the new guidelines, foods must contain healthy ingredients—like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, or low-fat milk—and they cannot contain excessive amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, salt, and sugar. Sugar is a big culprit in cereals like Froot Loops and Captain Crunch, which contain 12 grams of sugar per serving. Cereals would be limited to eight grams of added sugar per serving under the new laws.
Health Frank Augstein