Kate Livingstone: A little sugar treat cannot be wrong

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Do you really think banning so-called junk food TV adverts until after the 9pm watershed will make a difference?

We’ve got healthy food selections at some supermarket checkouts, healthy options for school meals, foodstuffs all carrying the ‘traffic light’ warning system to tell us about fats and salt ... and we’ve still got the worst obesity levels in Europe.

To have two out of three adult Scots obese and one out of three children is not the sort of statistics you want to boast about.

However, I’m a firm believer that unless people want to be thin they never will be.

Now before anyone says anything, I know that I’m not the thinnest person in the world. But I know that those extra inches round my hips are my own fault.

I also know that I feed my grandchildren healthy food most of the time, but you’ve got to give them little treats occasionally or else they will binge behind when out of sight.

Years ago, when Emma was in first or second year at high school, she knew a girl whose parents were very strict. I don’t think they allowed a chocolate biscuit or a sweet over their door.

But apparently this girl used to buy sweets from the tuckshop every day using the money given to pay for school lunches.

However, more concerning because her parents went to such lengths about sweet things being bad for you and would make you fat, she would then make herself sick.

Emma and her friends were aware of it at the time but didn’t know what to do. Sadly, it was years later before this tragic tale became public.

And by that time it was too late. The damage had already been done.

We were out shopping one day and Emma stopped to speak to this woman. I couldn’t believe it when she later told me that they were the same age.

This poor young woman had caused so many health issues with her bulimia that she looked 20 years older than she was.

To say it was caused by her parents refusing her sweets as a child is a bit simplistic but it had its roots in their decision.

What we need to do is educate people on the plus and minuses of eating an unhealthy diet 24/7.

I’m with Jamie Oliver – improve the diets of our children in schools and teach them why they should be eating more fruit and veg and less processed food. But if they eat 
their soup and salad, a portion of pudding once in a while is not going to do too much harm.