Something that has been really bugging me lately is all of the confusion regarding food and nutrition information. Some people don’t know anything about food, other than you need it to live, and it tastes good, and that’s fine, those are the most important things, obviously. But there are a lot of people who actually try to learn more about nutrition, and what to eat to be healthy.
I’m not talking about diet food, or how many calories you should consume in a day to make it to your goal weight, I mean actual health, eating to boost your immune system, fight disease, and really just take the best possible care of yourself that you can.
It is extremely frustrating because everything you read is so contradictory. I do a lot of research about nutrition and healthy foods, and it seems like as soon as you read something about how you should eat, and what you should be eating less of, the next day you read something else that is telling you exactly the opposite. I’m not talking about some random lady in a grocery store, or an internet forum of interested people, these are doctors, nutritionists and experts, and the fact that they can’t agree on the most basic things makes it so hard for people to make healthy choices.
There are many examples of this, but let’s start with dairy. About half the time, I read about how yogurt and skim milk are the cornerstones of bone and dental health, keep you slim, and promote wellness. But there is a growing group of experts who say that people shouldn’t eat dairy at all, that it is completely unnecessary unless you are a baby, that incidences of cancer and other disease skyrocket in developing countries with the introduction of dairy into their diets, and that we should be getting most of our calcium from leafy green vegetables.
Those are two pretty different view points, it’s not really a grey area. So our choices are osteoporosis, or death? Charming.
Also, whole grains. It’s fairly well acknowledged that processed flour, white bread, etc isn’t good for you, and that people should eat whole wheat bread and brown rice as part of a healthy, balanced diet. But all you need to do is google Whole Grains, and you can come up with tons of article, and books by experts who say that whole grains, and the gluten they contain, is slowly poisoning us all.
I’m obviously being facetious, and I’m certainly not claiming to be an expert on any of this, but I am somebody who would like to eat healthier and get more in touch with my overall health, but it can be really overwhelming, and sometimes I feel like somebody is playing a trick on me, like they deliberately make it difficult so people keep buying food that’s not good for them.
We are inundated with food marketing from the time we are young we learn that “Milk does a body good” and that “the incredible, edible egg” is the greatest source of protein and a great way to start the day (or possibly a great way to die of heart disease, but who knows?). These are multi-million dollar a year advertising campaigns, for billion dollar industries.
How much did the corn growers spend on that “high fructose corn syrup is no different than cane sugar” campaign? I don’t know if it is better or worse, I just wonder if some of these things really are terrible for us, would they really one day just be like, “OK, guys, we made a mistake, stop eating this thing, all of these people that produce it are going to be out of business tomorrow?”
I’m starting to sound like one of those Area 51 conspiracy theorists, but seriously, it kind of seems like you can’t win. People try to be healthy and spend more money to eat organic and natural, but there really aren’t any hard and fast guidelines for what qualifies as organic, or natural, so really it’s just marketing.
I guess the answer is as ever, an extremely vague “everything in moderation”, and “try to make healthy choices”, but with the epidemic of obesity and disease that is constantly rising in this country, and all over the world, I’m not really sure how well that’s working out for us.
Excuse me while I go sit in the corner and eat a pizza and some cookies, may as well, right?
My sister recommended a book for me, “Clean” by Alejandro Junger. I downloaded it today, so I’ll post about it later and let you know what I learned.