As someone who is in culinary school, we are taught that it is important to be informed on the importants of nutrients in food and nutritional information. This is true, as our careers end up feeding countless people in their lives; we must be able to make wise and healthy decisions on what we put on the plate of the public table.
The spread of nutritional misinformation puts people’s health at risk. Those who accept misinformation without questioning it may put themselves at risk; some people postpone appropriate health treatments in favor of false health promises. Others may be mislead into spending lots of money, and most are just left confused by conflicting information.
Nutritional science is less than 200 years old as a field of study. Many people put a lot of faith into nutritional science despite this fact, which leads to a plethora of confusion and misinformation surrounding nutrition. Notwithstanding all of the ‘proven’ scientific and pseudoscientific nutritional information we are given, we still have no idea what to eat. This can be seen in ever changing popular diet fads and our idea of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ nutrients that seem to change with each new study (for the record, nutrients do not have a moral agenda). There is even a multi-billion dollar industry on weight loss, fad diets, and related pharmaceuticals.
The unfortunate truth surrounding the majority of the food in our supermarkets and our cupboards today is that the more you process food, the more you can profit from it. Why? Well, there is a lot of money to be found in the Western diet, and especially the consequences of the masses eating a Western diet. Prevention of chronic disease is no where near as profitable as treating it, and so the cycle continues regardless of our intuition (should I really be eating this Twinkie?). It is also a matter of apathy towards diet and health; the convenience of a quick bite at the drive through during a busy work day is now at the expense of the health of the masses, yet few people seem to care. On top of all of this, the media has a constant influx of new (mis)information to report on, the food manufacturers can re-engineer their products, and the nutrition ‘experts’ become treasured. The only ones who do not benefit from this mad money race is us, the eaters.
I do not mean to sound negative, but this is the sad truth. Fortunately for those informed, this truth reveals a rather simple conclusion; do not partake in the typical Western diet! Processed foods, meats, added fats, added sugars, and refined grains should be avoided. The amount of food that we eat per meal is also drastically high, especially when the food is so calorie dense and empty of nutrients. Rather, eating fair servings of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are a good way to remove yourself from this cycle and life a healthier, cleaner life (and drastically reduce your chances of chronic disease). It seems almost too easy to be true, but that is the beauty of the simplicity of eating naturally.
This is obviously just a quick introduction on the large topic of misinformation and nutrition, but it is an important one to begin with. This clearly defines the problem (high fat and sugar, processed foods of the Western diet), it’s effects (a dietarily sick, numb, and misinformed population), and the solution (eat a variety of fruits, veggies, and whole grains; maintain body weight with physical activity and healthy eating, and enjoy low fat foods with little or no added fat, sugar, or salt).
I will be writing a lot more on this subject in the future, as there is much to be said. The foods and recipes that I post in the future will also orbit around this information. I would love to hear your stories on the subject of nutrition and misinformation.
Yours in food,