Just in time for a holiday that focuses on a big meal, a local food expert recently entertained the pupils of River Ridge Elementary School while praising the benefits of healthful eating.
"I am a scientist who does experiments with food," explained Warren "Dr. Bill" Karp, a Medical College of Georgia professor in the pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology departments.
"I'm going to tell you things your parents don't know and your teachers don't know."
In between songs played on his ribbon-decorated guitar, Karp told the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders huddled in the River Ridge commons area that they are what they eat.
"The food you eat, it becomes you ... it becomes your body," he said. "If you eat junk, you build a junk body."
When food is swallowed, it travels through the esophagus to the stomach and then the intestines, where it is digested into the bloodstream to nourish the entire body.
"If your bones need calcium, it gets it from the food you eat," Karp said.
Karp then used an empty Powerade bottle as a prop to illustrate his point. He asked a pupil to read the nutritional information on the bottle, which was 0 fat, 0 protein and 15 grams of sugar per serving.
"This is sugar water," he said "Kids also drink soda instead of drinking skim milk. Their bones break more easily when they go out for sports."
After urging students to ditch soda for skim milk, Karp told them to put away candy bars, even granola bars, in favor of fruit snacks.
He also warned pupils to look out for other foods, especially for breakfast, that pretend to be healthy, specifically Pop Tarts and Toaster Strudel.
"You're eating cake for breakfast; cake and candy," he said.
Fourth-grader Lauren Green became an example to her classmates on how to eat a healthy breakfast.
Lauren told Karp that each morning she eats multigrain Cheerios with skim milk and banana slices.
"She is building a fantastic body," Karp said of Lauren. "Your body can't come from Toaster Strudel, my friends."
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