Alternate food facts

Sometimes I really wish that someone would just organise all my food and exercise for me (hell, my life), so I’d didn’t need to think about it. Sometimes I could quite happily just do what I was told, rather than have to deal with all the decisions and planning involved with being a grown up.

Well. That’s never going to happen. So, I have been researching diets and trying to find out if there is one good, simple, healthy diet I could follow. (Not “diet” in the weight-loss sense, “diet” in the nutrition-sense).

The short answer is: No. There is no agreement on what is a healthy diet. No easy answer. There are lots of differing opinions. 

Reviewing Why We Get Fat in The New York Times, Abigail Zuger, a physician, notes that “in virtually all head-to-head comparisons of various diet plans, the average long-term results have invariably been quite similar—mediocre all around.” Given the “remarkable diversity of the human organism,” she adds, “it is foolish to expect a single diet to serve all comers.

Pieces of the jigsaw are known but no one yet knows what the final picture is (the box lid is missing). So there are lots of conflicting opinions. Just when I think I’ve found some good advice, then I will find someone else who rubbishes the whole idea.

….the food industry itself thrives off of keeping the public confused

Compounding the problem are the food industry players funding studies based upon dodgy science. In 2003 the sugar industry threatened to take down WHO if their guidelines recommended sugar make up 10% of our daily diet instead of the 25% limit they wanted. 25%???? Seriously?

This reminds me of Australia’s Food Star Rating system which is just ridiculous. Greek yoghurt has less stars (less healthy) than beer battered oven fries. Right.

Today I read this piece on the origins of the food pyramid, which led me to Denise Minger’s web-site, which is full of fascinating nutrition studies articles, including this post, which led to her publishing a book: “Death by Food Pyramid“. 

My take away from my reading so far is that we should eat some meat-based protein, ideally fish, the jury is still out on dairy products (whey v casein), and vegetables should be the base of every meal.

This is the kind of advice I can follow:

Aim to fill half your plate with veg, one quarter with meat and alternatives (e.g. chicken, fish, legumes or tofu) and the last quarter with cereals and grains (e.g. rice, pasta, bread).

Or this alternate food pyramid:

Some other reading in this space: