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TOPIC: Healthy eating in the Park?

Healthy eating in the Park? 01 Mar 2018 09:57 #3658

Well, I can't say I am surprised at these latest reactions. But before I withdraw inelegantly from the crossfire I would like to make a few parting points.

1 How are any of the correspondents qualified to assess the burgers (for example) for their nutrition status, compared for example with supermarket burgers?
2 What is it about "greasy" food that is bad for nutrition? Latest large-scale research has shown that low-sugar high-fat diets (using vegetable oils, a so-called Mediterranean diet) are pretty healthy. It is diets rich in saturated fat eaten every day that can be less healthy over many years, but no-one cooks in lard any more. We have the sugar industry to thank for diverting dietary study attention away from sugar and onto fats several decades ago, a scandal which is only now being unraveled.
3 No food eaten occasionally is going to cause anyone any harm.
4 It is perfectly reasonable to criticise a new feature of the park on the grounds that it is environmentally unpleasant - for example the smell of cooking food. However some people (like me) find the smell of burgers and onions almost irresistible. I happen to dislike the smell of an ice-cream truck generator, something that is ever-present in the summer. You can't please everyone, and the park is for everyone to enjoy. By all means complain to the Council, and perhaps the smell-haters will get their way.
5 It is the responsibility of parents, not the Council or snack vans, to instil in their children an understanding of the benefits and disbenefits of different foods, and an appreciation of when habits can become potentially unhealhy if pursued for many years.
6 Litter has always been a problem both at that site (particularly in the summer holidays when the ice-cream van is always there) and in the park generally. People drop litter, not vans, and will not walk ten yards to a bin, preferring to drop their empty plastic water bottles in the grass, for "someone" to clear up. It is absurd (IMHO) to blame a burger van for litter. If there were no customers there would be no litter. The Friends of Broomfield Park do a great job of keeping the park tidy for all local residents, and when I used to bring my son to the park I often brought a large carrier bag and a litter-picker. I just like a clean park. People are the problem, and the solution.

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Healthy eating in the Park? 01 Mar 2018 14:02 #3659

Geoff - what are you're eminent qualifications to assess the nutritional value of burger van produce?

I've eaten a fair few in my team, as well as supermarket and more gourmet versions, and whilst I lack a PhD I can tell you now the grotty burer van ones are universally more rank greasy and chewy (indicative of poor meat quality/%).

And yes greasy food is bad for nutrition. Just because people have finally come round to understand that replacing fats with high sugar levels was a bad thing, does not mean that greasy spoons are now the new detox kitchen.

It is almost perverse that you are comparing a burger van to some kind of Mediterranean dietary smorgasbord. Seriously, take a moment and think how stupid that sounds? Low quality processed meat dripping in grease shovelled between cheap high sugar bread rolls versus, say, grilled mackeral with vegetables roasted in olive oil served with polenta.

Here are some fat facts for you to aid confusion:

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Healthy eating in the Park? 01 Mar 2018 21:00 #3660

Dear David

The qualifications I was looking for would be someone who had perhaps (a) bought one of the burgers on sale in the park (b) asked the chef about the source of meat and cooking oil used in its preparation. That would seem to be the minimum requirements to enable someone to comment on its culinary and dietary value. I certainly don't have those qualifications - as I said, I have not tasted them myself. I have no idea whether the burgers are the lowest of the low or the pinnacle of artisan street food. Who does? Quoting impressions of other food eaten at other times from other outlets is unhelpful.

There are lots of pretty "healthy" burgers available all over London - many people demand it in their street food. The van in Broomfield Park may supply "healthy" ones or it may not, but just because something is a burger in a bun does not make it unhealthy. Far more important is the diet into which the said burger is being dropped. A high-fat high-sodium burger in a healthy diet is simply a treat, like a slice of delicious cake from Palmers Greenery or a cream tea in Baskervilles - something which one would not consume three times a day, seven days a week without expecting some payback down the line.

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Healthy eating in the Park? 02 Mar 2018 12:30 #3665

Once I'm up and walking again I'll go have a try then. My bet is they'll taste like every other grotty burger van burger I've ever had. As with most information asymmetry instances, one has to look for signalling - in this case, does the burger van look like ANY gourmet food fan or artisan street food vendor? Or just it look like something pulled up at the side of a motorway or outside a football ground?

Feel free to stick your "grease is good" mantra, sure your heart will love it.

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Healthy eating in the Park? 02 Mar 2018 17:00 #3666

Try this one on hot food takeaways.

There’s an incredibly huge evidence base collated to support the Draft London Plan, not least its concluding statements and policies. There’s for instance one on hot food takeaways (quibbles over A5 vs mobile excluded) which lays out key detail on, eg (numbered sections refer to the evidence base paper I've attached)

2.10 Dietary risk factors for obesity include high energy density foods, diets high in fat and low in fibre, sugar-rich drinks, and consumption of large portion sizes.

2.11 London boroughs have some of the highest densities of fast food outlets in England. (I seem to recall hearing Enfield has some of, if not the most, obese kids in London, or perhaps the UK)

5.1 ….One of the twelve core planning principles in the NPPF (that’s the National Planning Policy Framework), which should underpin plan-making and decision-taking, is that planning should “take account of and support local strategies to improve health, social and cultural wellbeing for all”. gives a flavour of our local thrust.

5.6 The NPPG (that’s the National Planning Policy Guidelines) on health and wellbeing was updated on 28 July 2017 to state that:

“Planning can influence the built environment to improve health and reduce obesity and excess weight in local communities. Local planning authorities can have a role in enabling a healthier environment by supporting opportunities for communities to access a wide range of healthier food production and consumption choices.”

“Local planning authorities and planning applicants could have particular regard to the following issues:

• proximity to locations where children and young people congregate such as schools, community centres and playgrounds

7.2 London boroughs generally take a distance or a concentration policy approach to managing hot food takeaways. Distance from schools or places attended by children and young people:

• The majority of boroughs have used a distance of 400m

If we, as a society, are going to work to reduce what is variously been described as an obesity (and also diabetes and NHS funding) crisis, not least in the next generation, then I guess there’s a lot of buttons which need to be pressed. Unnecessary temptation removal seems a pretty clear cut one of them, irrespective of what planning guidelines and requirements state.

Personally I’d be less worried about an irregular burger than regular sweetened drink (corn syrup or “natural”.

On any dimension, other than this outlet will be able to pay a higher rental than a straightforward ice cream van, it’s hard to see how and why this one passed any sensible test of appropriateness for this (playground / park) location.

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