A link going around Facebook right now is “25 Reasons to Stop Eating Sugar.” A stack of sugar cubes (When did you last see any of those? If ever.) opens up a series of panels with warnings we’ve all heard before. Sugar makes you fat. Belly fat, specifically. Just belly fat, nowhere else? Sugar gives you cavities. Sugar keeps you hungry. Of course there were the obligatory super scary warnings intended to freak you out. Sugar feeds cancer! Oh no, really? I don’t know actually. And honestly, I don’t care.
People love to point fingers at a particular villain. That one group we can blame for all our ills. Even that one particular food! Rid your diet of these evil foods and you’ll be glowing with health! “Sugary” drinks. Gluten. No more! People who have no reason to go on gluten-free diets are giving up breads. The totally-not-supported-by-actual-science “Wheat Belly” diet has folks pretty much reviving the old Atkins schtick which, in its heyday, was a fad sufficiently widespread to tank the stock price of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Food and diet fads and fears are going to come and go. Trying to blame any one particular food accomplishes very little except maybe to make for a grabby meme that goes viral and of course there’s the occasional breakout monster bestselling book. There is truly just one culprit and it actually is getting quite disturbing. We can get a glimpse of what’s happening by checking out this year’s “Food 3000 Conference” going on in Amsterdam for food “influencers.” The name Connie Diekman may ring a bell for you. She’s a former president of the American Dietetics Association, now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Diekman did PSAs for years. She’s over in Amsterdam right now and check out the kind of stuff she’s tweeting:
Don’t worry about “processed”? Processing “helps enhance” food quality? And what’s with that hashtag #spon ? It’s short for “sponsored.” It means you’re reading a SPONSORED tweet. Maybe they shortened it so you wouldn’t figure out that former ADA President Diekman is accepting cash to tweet about the virtues of processed food. She’s not the only one. There’s a slew of people with “RD” in their Twitter handle over there just gushing over how beneficial and nutritious processed food is! This is definitely the most flagrantly stupid:
When you’re ready to go mano a mano for a Nature Valley Strawberry Yogurt bar in the post-nuclear apocalypse, you’ll decide just the word “nature” is sufficient to know you’re eating the best! Well, yes it is “yogurt” that doesn’t need refrigeration. And it contains strawberry powder. Everybody loves their fruit powdered.
There’s only one rule for the best “diet” any of us could consume. Here’s what I like to go by:
It’s simple to know what to eat when you eat simple foods.
High fructose corn syrup? Trans fats? Chemicals we can’t even pronounce? It’s easy to avoid them. When you eat whole foods. No packages, no labels. Prepare it yourself. You’ll be consuming sugar and grain and even fat. All of it, naturally-occurring. But there’s an awful lot you won’t be eating. And that will make all the difference.
Am I crazy if that hashtag combo #f3k #spon makes me think “Fuck Sponsors”?