Joe Wicks blames ultra-processed junk for explosion of children with ADHD as he reveals he ‘ran on sugar’ as a kid and thinks his love of Sunny Delight, Wagon Wheels and jam sandwiches caused his ‘behavioural issues’

Photo of author
Written By Rivera Claudia

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

Ultraprocessed junk food may be behind the explosion in child ADHD diagnoses, Joe Wicks claimed today. 

The nation’s favourite work-out guru, nicknamed the Body Coach warned ‘every child’ now appears to have a diagnosis.

Appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Headliners podcast the cookbook author also admitted he ‘ran on sugar’ as a child, blaming his love of Wagon Wheels and jam sandwiches on his behaviour. 

Latest NHS data shows a massive surge year-on-year in ADHD drug prescriptions. 

He told the podcast: ‘Looking back now, there’s no doubt the food I was eating was directly linked to my behaviour.

The nation’s favourite work-out guru, nicknamed the Body Coach warned ‘every child’ now appears to have a diagnosis. Appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Headliners podcast the cookbook author also admitted he ‘ran on sugar’ as a child, blaming his love of Wagon Wheels and jam sandwiches on his behaviour

Experts have warned rogue private clinics are over-diagnosing the condition and have questioned the widespread prescribing of powerful stimulant drugs to treat it. The booming market is thought to have been fuelled by celebrities such as model Katie Price and Love Island star Olivia Attwood (pictured) talking about their ADHD ordeal and waits of up to ten years for an assessment on the NHS

Experts have warned rogue private clinics are over-diagnosing the condition and have questioned the widespread prescribing of powerful stimulant drugs to treat it. The booming market is thought to have been fuelled by celebrities such as model Katie Price and Love Island star Olivia Attwood (pictured) talking about their ADHD ordeal and waits of up to ten years for an assessment on the NHS 

Fascinating graphs show how ADHD prescriptions have risen over time, with the patient demographic shifting from children to adults with women in particular now driving the increase

Fascinating graphs show how ADHD prescriptions have risen over time, with the patient demographic shifting from children to adults with women in particular now driving the increase

‘I was never diagnosed with ADHD but I think nowadays it’s this common thing that every child seems to be being diagnosed.

‘And I think a lot of it can stem back to the diet and the foods that we’re eating.

‘So, when I think about my diet it was cereal for breakfast, concentrated juice from the milkman, Sunny Delight, Wagon Wheels, sandwiches just jam, Nutella, very little nutrients — pure sugar.’

He added: ‘The thing about them is we can eat so much, so fast, because they’re so palatable, we know these foods just taste amazing and we can consume so much of it.

WHAT ARE ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS? 

Ultra-processed foods are high in added fat, sugar and salt, low in protein and fibre and contain artificial colourings, sweeteners and preservatives.

The term covers food that contains ingredients that a person wouldn’t add when cooking at home — such as chemicals, colourings and preservatives.

Ready meals, ice cream, sausages, deep-fried chicken and ketchup are some of the best-loved examples.

They are different to processed foods, which are processed to make them last longer or enhance their taste, such as cured meat, cheese and fresh bread.

Ultra-processed foods, such as sausages, cereals, biscuits and fizzy drinks, are formulations made mostly or entirely from substances derived from foods and additives.

They contain little or no unprocessed or minimally processed foods, such as fruit, vegetables, seeds and eggs.

The foods are usually packed with sugars, oils, fats and salt, as well as  additives, such as preservatives, antioxidants and stabilisers.

Ultra-processed foods are often presented as ready-to-consume, taste good and are cheap.

Source: Open Food Facts  

Advertisement

‘And then we’re taught this is what kids eat, kids need these snacks in their lunchbox, this is what they have for dinner.

‘So, we’re kind of being confused and led down this path that adults have adult food and kids have kids menus and kids food.

‘And that’s the issue we’ve got because people are cooking less than ever and relying on these processed foods and it’s a shame because kids are getting their energy sucked out of them.

‘They’re struggling at school with focus, they’re gaining weight, and probably having really low energy crashes because these foods are just not going to give your children the energy they need to sustain a healthy day – a balanced level of energy.’

ADHD affects around 5 per cent of children in the US with rates in the UK about 3.6 per cent in boys and 0.9 per cent of girls. 

But as many as one in 20 adults in Britain could have the condition, according to the ADHD Foundation charity.

NHS data for the 2022/23 financial year shows more than 230,000 people in England were now taking ADHD meds to combat their inattentiveness and hyperactivity.

Latest figures show prescription rates jumped by 51 per cent between October and December last year. 

Within this, there was a 28 per cent rise among those aged 10 to 14 and a 146 per cent rise among those aged 30 to 34.

Wicks has long spoken of the impact of his difficult upbringing. 

His dad used heroin, while his mum struggled with multiple illnesses at different times, including OCD, anxiety and an eating disorder.

In a 2020 interview he also admitted his ‘behavioural issues’ as a child could have been linked ‘to my upbringing and not having a great start with my nutrition’. 

He told the podcast today: ‘When I talk about things, I don’t want to be someone who demonises all these foods because ultimately that got me through life.

‘I’m healthy now, I have a much healthier relationship with food.

‘But, I am passionate about it because when you look at the environment you live in and it’s supermarkets, schools, airports, train stations, hospitals, petrol stations — all you see is ultra-processed food.

‘Ultimately these businesses are only driven by one thing which is profit and consumerism.’

Additive-laden foods have been vilified for decades over their supposed risks, with dozens of studies linking them to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Experts have even called for ultra processed foods (UPFs) — typically anything edible with more artificial ingredients than natural ones — to be cut from diets completely.

The Nova system, developed by scientists in Brazil more than a decade ago, splits food into four groups based on the amount of processing it has gone through. Unprocessed foods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs and meat. Processed culinary ingredients ¿ which are usually not eaten alone ¿ include oils, butter, sugar and salt

The Nova system, developed by scientists in Brazil more than a decade ago, splits food into four groups based on the amount of processing it has gone through. Unprocessed foods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs and meat. Processed culinary ingredients — which are usually not eaten alone — include oils, butter, sugar and salt

Sheridan Smith, 42, has recently revealed she has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (pictured in 2023).  The 42-year-old, who shot to fame on The Royle Family as Antony 's girlfriend Emma, told Vogue that it has helped her 'make sense of a lot of things' in her life and better understand her 'brain's background noise'. Other celebs to have been diagnosed with ADHD include Olivia Atwood, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas and Ben Fogle

Sheridan Smith, 42, has recently revealed she has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (pictured in 2023).  The 42-year-old, who shot to fame on The Royle Family as Antony ‘s girlfriend Emma, told Vogue that it has helped her ‘make sense of a lot of things’ in her life and better understand her ‘brain’s background noise’. Other celebs to have been diagnosed with ADHD include Olivia Atwood, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas and Ben Fogle

Instead, he urged people to cook from scratch, to stave off ‘eating ourselves into anxiety and depression’.  

‘When you shift your life from being predominantly ultra-processed to more whole-foods, home cooked foods, your life completely turns around in so many ways,’ he said. 

‘Ultimately, I believe, the more I talk about it, we can eat ourselves into depression.

‘These UPFs, the way they interact with our body and our gut, there’s now science to show that it’s linked to the brain.

‘We can eat ourselves into anxiety and depression.

‘When I eat something now I’m thinking “is this going to fuel me and give me energy” or is it going to drain me and make me feel bloated, flat and down for the day.

‘And sometimes we’ve just got to make those small changes and it can really change how you feel about yourself from the inside.’

Last month NHS England announced it would launch a new taskforce to examine a concerning rise in adults and children being diagnosed with ADHD.

Experts have warned rogue private clinics are over-diagnosing the condition and have questioned the widespread prescribing of powerful stimulant drugs to treat it.

The booming market is thought to have been fuelled by celebrities such as model Katie Price and Love Island star Olivia Attwood talking about their ADHD ordeal and waits of up to ten years for an assessment on the NHS.

Last month, Kate Silverton also said we shouldn't be so quick to diagnose children with ADHD as such 'labels' can be 'debilitating'. The newsreader-turned-child therapist has warned against prematurely putting children on ADHD medication as they may simply be struggling to deal with difficult emotions

Last month, Kate Silverton also said we shouldn’t be so quick to diagnose children with ADHD as such ‘labels’ can be ‘debilitating’. The newsreader-turned-child therapist has warned against prematurely putting children on ADHD medication as they may simply be struggling to deal with difficult emotions

Social media sites are also full of users telling how medication helped to calm them down, control their fidgeting and boost their concentration.

Earlier this week, one psychologist warned this had distorted society’s understanding of neurodiversity and what constitutes ‘typical’ behaviour.

Dr Lisa Williams, director of The Autism Service, which operates 29 clinics across England and Wales, said: ‘If we’re not more careful, diagnoses like ASD and ADHD are going to be meaningless, with every other person we meet having been labelled as such.’

She added: ‘The more we broaden and blur what diagnoses like ASD and ADHD look like, the more people will ‘fit’ into the category and the less specialist care is available for people living with a true developmental disability.’

But experts have also argued that ADHD was only officially listed in the UK as a disorder that affects adults in 2008. 

Before then, it was just recognised as a childhood problem that kids grew out of.

As a result, rather than being over diagnosed, some experts claim many adults now being told they have ADHD have gone years having their symptoms dismissed. 

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural condition defined by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

It affects around five per cent of children in the US. Some 3.6 per cent of boys and 0.85 per cent of girls suffer in the UK. 

Symptoms typically appear at an early age and become more noticeable as a child grows. These can also include:

  • Constant fidgeting 
  • Poor concentration
  • Excessive movement or talking
  • Acting without thinking
  • Inability to deal with stress 
  • Little or no sense of danger 
  • Careless mistakes
  • Mood swings
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Difficulty organising tasks
  •  Continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones
  • Inability to listen or carry out instructions 

Most cases are diagnosed between six and 12 years old. Adults can also suffer, but there is less research into this.

ADHD’s exact cause is unclear but is thought to involve genetic mutations that affect a person’s brain function and structure.

Premature babies and those with epilepsy or brain damage are more at risk. 

ADHD is also linked to anxiety, depression, insomnia, Tourette’s and epilepsy.  

There is no cure. 

A combination of medication and therapy is usually recommended to relieve symptoms and make day-to-day life easier. 

Source: NHS Choices 

SOURCE

Leave a Comment

data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data data