January 9, 2013

Natural Foodie: Maine doctor's 'Dunk the Junk' makes healthy food look hip

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Dr. Kevin Strong slam-dunks junk food through a basketball hoop in front of a mural painted by Portland artist Mike Rich. More of Rich’s work can be seen at mikerichdesign.com.

Courtesy of Dunk the Junk

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Dominique Wilkins, an NBA Hall of Famer who is considered one of the best dunkers of all times, left, Dr. Kevin Strong, founder of Dunk the Junk, and rap artist Killer Mike attend the Dunk the Junk event at the Emma Hutchinson Elementary School in Atlanta.

Russell Kaye photo

Additional Photos Below


TO LEARN MORE about the Dunk the Junk campaign, visit dunkthejunk.org or find it on Facebook.

DUNK THE JUNK'S Top 10 Foods to Dunk:

1. Soda

2. Sports drinks

3. Chocolate and strawberry milk

4. Sugar cereals

5. Fruit/vanilla yogurt

6. Granola bars

7. Peanut butter with added sugar

8. Veggie puffs

9. Fruit snacks and fruit juice

10. Energy drinks


"Top Ten Foods to Dunk" poster lists 10 sugar-laden foods and provides stickers to place on the poster after each food has been dunked from a child's diet. It sells for $10, with discounts available for larger orders.

"Animals Ate the Alphabet" was written by Kevin Strong, M.D., and Robert Strong, Ph.D., and illustrated by Hannah Berta. The book, written for toddlers and young children, promotes literacy and makes eating vegetables fun. It sells for $15, with discounts available for larger orders.


Check out the Dunk the Junk's Twitter feed at twitter.com/DunkTheJunkFood during the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Dr. Kevin Strong intends to put out parody messages to counter halftime singer Beyonce's $50 million endorsement deal with Pepsi. Strong said the promotional image of her pushing a cart full of soda would be more accurate if she had an amputated leg, an insulin needle sticking out of her thigh and a rotten tooth.

While the consequences of diabetes are severe -- including blindness, limb amputation and heart disease -- Strong finds that non-medical messages work best with parents.

He said the most effective tack to take is to present the obesity epidemic in terms of the marketing manipulation they and their children are exposed to each day.

"If you tell them that food companies are making a lot of money by selling them sugar, no one likes getting duped by fat cats," Strong said. "Mainers, especially, don't like to be hoodwinked."

As an example, he mentioned a trip to the grocery store he took with a patient's mother. His goal was to help the family identify and purchase whole foods and healthier foods.

In the cereal aisle, the mom spotted a box of Multigrain Cheerios and recognized the cereal as a sponsor of the weight loss reality show "The Biggest Loser."

"When we turned (the box) around and found it actually had four times more sugar than regular Cheerios, that was really powerful to her," Strong said.

The experience showed her how she was being misled by Cheerios' clever marketing, Strong said. She vowed to never purchase the brand again.

Counter to the popular perception that lack of exercise is the main cause of obesity, Strong said, "I want to make really clear (that) sugar is what's pushing the obesity epidemic."

In December, he wrote to first lady Michelle Obama asking her to consider renaming her "Let's Move" campaign to "Let's Not Drink Sugar."

"I can show you 20 papers that show exercise won't put a dent in the obesity epidemic," Strong said. "But the government is not challenging Big Sugar. We need to let people know that sugar is bad. Soda is terrible."

But the solution is simple: Just dunk the junk.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:


Twitter: AveryYaleKamila


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Additional Photos

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Hutchinson Elementary fifth-graders Marshall Jackson, Jayquan Jones, Robert Couch and Carmani Brown, calling themselves The ShortyZ, won the Dunk the Junk rap contest.

Morgan Kirkham photo


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