What About Sugars Fats And Other Atrocities?
Well, I've begun to write an ebook about fats sugars and salt. Mainly relevant for us here are just a few points that will summarise what the book expands upon:
- Are Sugars, Fats, and Salt Unhealthy per se?No - they are a vital part of our diet. However, there are various forms of each, some are natural and healthy, some are natural and unhealthy, and most that are in processed foods are unnatural and unhealthy. What makes them unhealthy are things such as the sheer quantity that food manufacturers are using, the adulteration, admixture, and alteration that they undergo in processing, and the fact that manufacturers will always use the cheapest possible source of them. Also, fats and sugars produce physical changes in processed foods, to the point where many foods can't be made without them. And salt is similarly a substance that helps preserve the processed food.
- Advice On Sugars:
Sugars are one of the energy sources of life. Without them, we'd stop pretty quickly. But we really only require the sugars that naturally occur in our foodstuffs, (and we need those sugars in the foodstuff, not extracted, processed, and then inserted into a different foodstuff!) and in honey etc. Processing sugar out of cane and beets is acceptable only because our species has had time to acclimatise to processed raw and brown sugars of cane and beet. Refined white sugars and sugars from sources we would not have used in the past, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or other sources, sweeteners made from odd plants such as Stevia, and any other artificial sweeteners, are to be avoided .
- Advice On Fats (Lipids):
Fats (lipids) are also important to our good health. As well as an energy source, lipids are also a source of complex amino acids, trace elements, and proteins that our bodies require in order to maintain healthy functioning. What causes the health problems is that manufacturers must adulterate and alter cheap lipids to do the job that would normally be done by more expensive natural lipids. That, and the fact that manufacturers add huge amounts of lipids and sugars to almost every food they produce because it turns out that not just our taste buds but our whole bodies naturally react to the sensations of fat and sugars in our foods, causing us to like that food more, and eventually, to crave it.
- Advice On Salt:
Salt is also important to our body health. In theory we should always get all the salt we need from the wholefoods we eat, but a small amount of supplemental salt is not dangerous to us. The danger to us is actually the sodium in salt, it causes all kinds of cellular problems when present in our diet in too great a quantity. And of course, most predictably, food manufacturers take advantage of the salt craving we have, by putting more of it into all the foods they produce, to up the "crave" factor.
- General Observations on Sugar Fats and Salt.
Because our bodies have been tuned by evolution to find sugars fats and some quantity of salt to be desirable properties of our food, manufacturers have only a limited range of options:
- They can ignore these, and produce "convenience" foods that aren't really convenient because they don't have along enough shelf life or require too much time to put on the table. They of course won't last long as a food manufacturer, because no-one would buy their products.
- They can use the more expensive ingredients and in the correct ratios, and thus have to either price their convenience foods out of the "convenient" range. And as an added detriment, their food wouldn't taste as good as their competitors', because those competitors would have been able to hone their recipe for the same thing with plentiful fats sugars and salt. So again, this is a losing strategy for a manufacturer.
- Lastly, they can use cheaper sources of ingredients, just like their competitors are doing. They can formulate their food to keep as long on the shelf as their competitors' food. They can add more fats, sugars, and salt, until their product has the same or better addictive flavour and mouthfeel as the competition's product, and price it as low as possible to get your sale.
It's not hard to see that economics alone dictates that what we end up with will be the worst ingredients processed by the cheapest (rather than the healthiest) method. And that's why processed convenience food can never be an option in a healthy diet...