I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office today reading What’s Eating Your Child? when the cover of a Newsweek magazine on the chair next to me caught my attention.
It featured a chubby baby holding a container of french fries. I can’t remember the caption, but it was sufficiently intriguing for me to put down my book and pick up the magazine.
The featured article was called Why the Campaign to Stop America’s Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing.
The story essentially complains about the fact that the new HBO films, The Weight of the Nation, is all focused on calories in and calories out. Which, according to journalist Gary Taubes, is not the whole story. (I can’t confirm if this is correct, because I haven’t watched the films yet…)
There is definitely some valid criticism of the story in the many comments, but I appreciate the fact that Taubes reminds us that all calories are not created equal. Refined sugar is dangerous.
There is an alternative theory, one that has also been around for decades but that the establishment has largely ignored. This theory implicates specific foods—refined sugars and grains—because of their effect on the hormone insulin, which regulates fat accumulation. If this hormonal-defect hypothesis is true, not all calories are created equal, as the conventional wisdom holds. And if it is true, the problem is not only controlling our impulses, but also changing the entire American food economy and rewriting our beliefs about what constitutes a healthy diet. ~Gary Taubes
I especially enjoyed the last part of this quote. It’s “not just about controlling our impulses, but changing the entire American food economy…” Yes indeed. Major overhaul needed.
A good start would be to remove all refined sugar and grains from school lunches. In reviewing the Nutrient Analysis Protocols – How to Analyze Menus for USDA’s School Meals Programs, a search for “sugar” returns zero results. There’s a lot of talk about saturated fat and cholesterol, but not a peep about sugar.
Something is wrong with this picture.
The more I read about the effects of refined sugar on the human body (including the brain), the more I think products containing these substances should be labeled with a big poison symbol.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all carbs are bad though. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are pretty fantastic and contain lots of important nutrients. Just skip the highly processed varieties.
Wellness Project Starts Soon!
On June 1, I’ll start my year-long Wellness Project. Join me!
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