Sunday, January 28, 2007

More on real foods

From The New York Times via Instapundit:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.


A little meat won’t kill you, though it’s better approached as a side dish than as a main. And you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That’s what I mean by the recommendation to eat “food.” Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.

The advice and science seems so simple, yet so logical. It wasn't that long ago that our ancestors were in much better overall health (even without the benefits of modern medicine) meaning that some development of recent time must be responsible for the shift towards obesity, cancer and diabetes, all of which are controlled, again, by the miracle of modern medicine.

At the beginning of January, I posted a review of Nina Planck's book Real Foods, in which Planck explains the importance of eating real food. In case you forgot, here's a snippet from Planck's site:
Don't you find it odd that the experts blame butter and beef for heart disease, even though heart disease as we know it has only been around since 1912, and we've been eating butter for 30,000 years and beef for 3 million?

Don't you find it funny that the foods in all traditional diets - starting with breast milk - are loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol, yet people who eat these traditional foods liberally don't get heart disease? Nor are they fat or diabetic.

The experts are mistaken. The so-called diseases of civilization - obesity, diabetes, and heart disease - are not caused by real food. The diseases of industrialization - as I call them - are caused by the foods of industrialization.

What are industrial foods? In the triple epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, the three main villains are trans fats, corn oil, and sugar - not butter and eggs.

In Real Food: What to Eat and Why, I explain why traditional foods such as butter are healthy and industrial foods are not. You'll learn how butter, lard, beef, cheese, eggs, and other foods we've been eating for thousands of years got a bad rap - and why it's a bad rap.

Now I am no purists. While I try to eat mostly organic products, lots of veggies, lean meat and dairy along with some whole grains (mostly wheat bread, organic oatmeal and bran or wheat cereal), I still find myself eating food that contains forbidden products (particularly HFCS). One thing I have noticed, though, is that the more I eat real foods, the less I enjoy eating highly processed foods, artificially sweetened foods. In particular, I can no longer even stomach the taste of white bread. The taste and texture simply make me gag. Sweetened cereal on the other hand--particularly PB Crunch--is another story.

Still, the more I read about the "real foods approach," the more it makes sense, and the harder I try to stick to a mostly real-foods diet. I think these folks are on to something...

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At 7:50 AM, Blogger theedithr said...

I try to do this too ... although it's hard depending on whatever the D-hall gives you during the week.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

Yea. The dining hall does throw a wrench it the efforts from time to time. It's hard to eat healthy when all they have is deep fried Chinese finger foods or country fried steak and such...


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