Over the last few years I’ve read a lot about what we should and should not be eating for good health. It’s been and continues to be a fascinating journey that has a whole lot more to do with diet and good health. Where our current food and diet advice and trends originate is often surprising and sometimes downright scary.
This week there has been another couple of interesting pieces on this topic that I thought were worth sharing with you.
Firstly this article was in The Age – Epicure this week. It’s titled What’s Wrong with our Food and looks at a number of concerns experts have with what we currently find on the supermarket shelves. I do not think I could have agreed more with this article. I’d love to see some follow up and some public pressure on finding solutions. Australian guidelines for food additives (those nasty E numbers) need to be tightened up with the benefit being given to consumers rather than producers, good health and clear labeling needs to be at the forefront. Pressure to reduce plastic in the food chain – as storage and packaging – needs to be placed on manufacturers. We also need to change our mind set on food shopping, more is not necessarily better if we just throw out half of it out. Cheaper food has huge ramifications for the environment and our health.
The second piece was on Catalyst tonight called The Heart of the Matter. This was a fascinating look at how we came to be adopting a diet lower in saturated animal fats in order to reduce heart disease. It was a really interesting analysis of the science (or lack of) behind these theories. There was considerable opposition to the hypothesis that saturated fats caused or contributed to heart disease. Those who refuted the connection indicated that stress, consumption of sugar and other factors were far greater risk factors than saturated fats.
In general I dislike diets, there is little research behind most of them and they seem to come unstuck regularly, hello Atkens. I also avoid supplements as a rule (one which I’m breaking temporarily to see if I can raise my iron levels) as taking single elements out of foods and taking them in tablet form to improve health actually has very little evidence behind it. Vitamins and minerals don’t work in isolation, that’s why foods have heaps of them together, and besides that there are lots of compounds in foods we haven’t even properly identified or understand their functions in the body. And as for ‘superfoods’ and the like, well I reckon someone is making a whole lot of money from them.
So what is my own food philosophy, to be honest I’m not really sure. I’ve always gone with colour, if you can get lots of different colours on your plate from different vegetables especially, it must be relatively balanced. I avoid too much meat. No food is off limits completely, but I avoid highly processed foods for the most part. That’s about it. What’s your food philosophy? Do you have one? Has it ever changed?