The past (and future) of nutrition is a grotesque animal

8 Mar

Of Montreal

To quote the pictured band (one of my favorites ever!) Of Montreal:

The past is a grotesque animal
And in its eyes you see
How completely wrong you can be

The grotesque animal in question is fat of all kinds.  In this case, the past is the last 50 years or so in which we, the people, were fed amazing, misinformation about what causes diet related problems, namely obesity.  Fat, particularly saturated fat, was vilified, demonized, and admonished for being the culprit of burgeoning disease and obesity.  Even more horrifying, trans fats became the en vogue fat, remaining stable at room temperature, maintaining a shelf life of 6000 years, and reducing or even fully replacing of the ever-dangerous, grotesque animal that is saturated fat (more on trans fats later).

In the book Freakonomics, authors Levit and Dubner describe the “convenience of conventional wisdom.” For 50 years, convenient, conventional wisdom has once again let us down.  Even food writers and nutritionists today are rescinding their recommendations to eat low fat diets with Martha Rose Shulman, longtime advocate of low-fat and New York Times author, doing a complete 180, dropping the term “low-fat” from her vocabulary altogether*.   Gary Taubes has written extensively about this subject and this “Big fat lie” that we were fed (pun intended) all these years and in his book “Why we get fat.” . He advocates for a hardcore, Atkins-like diet (which I’m not personally crazy about) but the moral of the story is clear: fats are NOT your mortal enemy nor are they Lucifer himself!

I’m amazed at the nutritional nihilism going on in the world.  Nutritional nihilism is a term I coined describing those in our modern age that deny the causal relationship between diet and modern disease.  But at the same time, I can empathize with nutritional nihilists because quite frankly, diet trends seem to change by the day, minute, second, + milisecond.  The confusing nature of convenient information we are fed (from reputable channels) has undoubtedly contributed to problem of chronic disease, obesity, and the continued strain these diseases are putting on our society.  I am at a complete loss that we are quite literally, beginning to tear at the seems. With the exponential growth of Type II Diabetes, we could literally bankrupt our healthcare system in the next decade or so and completely destroy the productivity of our society altogether.  Case-in-point: We are even making ambulances larger just to accommodate the morbidly obese!

There’s a few new grotesque animals in town and they are called carbohydrates and refined sugars.  The LA Times wrote a great article about the Reversal of carbs here.  While it seems like we have gotten to the bottom of this, I have little doubt that in another decade, minute, or so there will be a new grotesque animal in town(probably fruits and vegetables this time).

Always going for glory!

C.E. Steinfeld

Twitter: @CESteinfeld

p.s. —– I will be unveiling some sketches of the project/invention I’ve been working on for months this week! Stay posted! In addition, look out for my post next week about “The real food groups.”

*Important link!

*The timely eulogy of low-fat


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