09 May 2011

Food Is Not the Enemy

I'm sick to death of infomercials and people who think they've got the inside track on what's "healthy." 

I really am.  I'd like to know what stone tablets these hard and fast rules are on. Experts are constantly making discoveries about foods and reexploring old grounds when it comes to foods and eating properly.

But before we go to the issues surrounding food, let's go to an issue surrounding appearance; being thin and slender does not equate to being in good health.  The mantra of any person who's ever had a single psychology or statistics class knows that "correlation doesn't imply causation."  Just because someone's thin doesn't mean they're the paragon of health and just because someone is fat or heavy doesn't mean that they aren't.  I'm sure we all know someone who eats complete crap, wouldn't know broccoli if it jumped up and beat them around the head, but still manages to be rail-thin.  I can guarantee that most of the time, if they were to have a physical done, their doctor would tell them they're in atrocious health.  There's a lot more involved with health than just what you look like or what you weigh.  You can't see cholesterol.  You can't see glucose levels.  There may be someone who's fat, like me, but may be in better health than some of those people who reflect more of what is considered to be "healthy."  You may not know that I work out by looking at me.  You may not know that I actually am in great health by looking at me.

There have been recent studies that have actually found that being overweight actually is NO MORE  a liability to your health than being thin and in some cases is actually more protective against fatality. This study explains it in more depth. This article makes it a little more clear and accessible. It shows that it it's just not really a factor in determining mortality.  Age is more of a factor.

But that's just to open the doors to realizing that weight and body shape do not determine health. Neither does diet, at least not alone.  There are many factors that determine health: genetics, diseases that are unrelated to weight, digestive issues and intolerances, hell, even allergies.  Diet plays a huge roll in almost every different type of life style.  People have different diets for all sorts of different conditions: People with Celiac disease can't eat products with gluten, people with IBS should stay away from foods that contain yeast, etc. etc.

Food shouldn't be vilified.  All that does is make it harder for people to eat foods that may not be healthy according to the "gurus" with their fad diets that come and go and can fuck up a person worse than what they do on their own.  And that's all most of these fad diets do, they either reduce portion size, or cut out certain things and make it "evil"...things people can either do on their own, or things that don't really address the problem of educating people how to eat well for their own life styles or needs, and doesn't really address the cost of "healthy eating."

For some people, eating and food are addictions.  Unlike damn near every other substance that one can be addicted to, you can't live without food.  You can't avoid contact with it, and you can't change your habits by changing your friends and getting out of those situations that make you want to indulge.  Food is a fucking necessity.  Which is why making eating bad, and making foods bad and vilifying the act of eating and the foods that damn near everyone enjoys doesn't work.  You can't avoid food.  We aren't the Jetsons, food doesn't come in pill form. 

I know I'm sort of talking in circles but it's because this issue enrages me.  It pisses me off that entire categories of food are written off because "holier-than-thou, I know the answers to it all, bow before me" food nazis say they're not good.  Education is better than just writing something off.  Let people make informed decisions.  I don't care how well you eat most of the time, everyone has their crap food they love and just want to indulge in every now and then.

Some eastern religions talk about moderation being the key to life.  It's true.  Most people (read: MOST) people, when given the tools, the knowledge, and the choice, will eat what's healthy for them without being prodded and instructed to do so.  Food is not inherently "healthy" or "unhealthy."  The associations people put on them are what give them the perception they are.  There are certain circumstances where having a Twinkie is a very healthy option. 

Let's look at long-distance runners shall we? I think we can all agree this subset of people tends to be very healthy.  Let me tell you something about them: they don't exist on carrots and lettuce.  Many of them eat foods that would make health nazis cry.  They need foods high in proteins, fats, and calories to support the insane amount of physical activity that is involved with long-distance running.  Donuts are a perfect example of a food that is considered "unhealthy" but is needed for these people to perform their healthy activity. 

Now, this has gotten long enough, but I hope it's opened some moth-eaten pocket in everyone's mind and encourages them to use some common sense, not judge based on societal pressure rather than scientific fact and mitigating circumstances.  I really hope you've learned that food isn't the enemy.  Food is just food.  It's there to be enjoyed and eaten regardless of by whom.

2 comments:

  1. Have I mentioned recently I love you?

    I'm so tired of people acting like you can make a character judgement based on someone's size or what they eat. You (well not you lol but you know what i mean) don't know shit about me and my life so don't judge me because I bought a snickers.

    I'm not going to apologize for liking mac and cheese or chocolate. Food Nazi's can suck it lol. Moderation is the key, but you know what even if someone wants to eat unhealthily who the fuck really cares? Does it affect you? If not then don't fucking worry about it. Live and let live!

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