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Food And Tobacco Are Not The Same

Food And Tobacco Are Not The Same

MPs were told today that trying to stop people from overeating by regulating the foods they eat is simplistic and erroneous.

Vicki Hamilton, Executive Director of the Food Industry Group and also a nutritionist of over 20 years standing, told Parliament’s Health Select committee who are looking at the Public Health Bill that eating a cream bun was not a crime.

“Comparing the idea of banning a food the same way as cigarettes have been banned is unscientific and unrealistic,” she said.
“No one food is essentially bad, it is when the overall diet gets bad that problems arise.”

Hamilton outlined the hundreds and thousands of tonnes of fat, sugar and salt that had been taken out of the food supply by companies in their aim to make healthier products.

“They have not only employed nutritionists and developed healthy guidelines around new products which are being developed but they have also put in guidelines around marketing and advertising and are teaching their employees about healthy eating,” she said. “In short, they are working hard to help people eat better and ironically we have some of the best choices today of healthy foods in New Zealand. But we still get slated.”

Hamilton outlined the “fairly amazing” progress that had been made in places like Counties Manukau with their ‘Let’s Beat Diabetes’ program. She said tremendous strides had been taken to educate people about the right foods to eat and research showed people were listening and making changes. Pacific Island and Maori Groups had made tremendous inroads with their own people around healthy eating.

“The obesity problem has developed over years and we do not have a quick fix but what is being achieved is positive and can be measured and should be congratulated, “she said.


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