Saturday, October 09, 2010
Food Is Not The Villain
We even demonize macronutrients. Water, Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Take water for example. I remember when there was no bottled water to speak of. People actually drove in their cars and took walks without carrying bottled water. Mysteriously railroads were built, coal mines were dug, and sky scrapers were erected when the laborers didn't carry cute little tote bags with a bottle of water in them to stave off dehydration. Suddenly water, above what is needed to quench thirst, is a magic nutrient that costs lots of money. It's more expensive than gasoline but few people yell about the price of water. It seems to be of similar make up and substance as the stuff our ancestors drank. I guess I missed something. It's usually about this point where someone will step in and tell me that our ancestors water was pure. OK. I'll have to talk to the men in black suits who are poisoning the water. People are dropping like flies in the streets.
For a while we were told that fats are bad for us. We were educated that dietary fat has an easy conversion to body fat ( it does ) and that if we eat a low, or fat free diet, we'll never get fat. What a relief! Just eat fat free and you can't get fat. Remember all those fat free pastries from a few years ago? Apparently you could eat all you want and never get fat. I'm not sure if this worked so well. Many people actually gained weight on those diets. They ignored the fact that calories do count. There is no free lunch. You can't eat all you want and not gain weight. The energy formula doesn't work that way.
The other end of the spectrum is to eliminate carbohydrates. We were informed by massive amounts of books and articles that carbohydrates are evil. ( interesting how macronutrients have moral values placed upon them). Carbs stimulated the release of INSULIN. Insulin was evil and made us fat. It was associated with a whole list of diseases. Therefore, these sources claimed, if eliminate carbs, which stimulate insulin, you will never get fat. Eat all the eggs, bacon, cheese, pork rinds, and Crisco you want. You can't get fat. Seems like a perfect diet if you grew up in the South. There's a problem with this though,.. these people got fat too. They wanted that magical free lunch.
When I was young,... I consumed those disgusting protein powders and pills from Bob Hoffman's company. I thought that adding them, instead of Mom's ground round meat loaf was a necessary evil. Then teams of experts called adults told me that any extra protein would destroy my kidneys. This scared me. It also made me worry. No wonder cavemen died young. They didn't have adults to tell them that they ate too much fresh wild game. The must have been dropping like flies from kidney failure. The same thing happened with adding fiber to your diet. Modern man, they told me, lacked fiber and this was the cause of all Western disease. So I started eating bran muffins. Buckets of them. I didn't want to have an Western disease or an Eastern one either. I'm not sure if it worked. I did get a lot of reading done. I could actually read a Sunday paper cover to cover. Of course Mom had to send my dog in the bathroom after I came out to make sure it was OK.
In most of the cases and for one reason or another, we try to make food the bad guy. It's not. Too much food results in storage of extra energy in the form of fat. Because of our abundance in America, we have a problem of easy access to cheap food. That food is marketed according to demand. If we like things big, sweet, fat, and salty, food manufacturers give it to us. If they don't, they will be out of business. For example many people like the taste of carbohydrate based foods for snacking. Chips, cookies, candy, bagels, fried potatoes, granola, rice, and bread. They are cheap, convenient, have a wide profit margin, and deal well when packaged. There is NO conspiracy here. They are giving you what you want. When you demand that a salad basket be put out instead of a bread basket,.. you will get it. It's a simple matter of supply and demand.