Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Cheese Please? Maybe not.

I just read the New York Times article "While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales." The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dairy Management office worked with Domino's Pizza to create a cheesier pizza. One slice has two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat. 

Ick! Just reading about it made my stomach hurt.

All this while the government also tries to convince us to eat healthier...including cutting down on saturated fats.

It's such a contradiction, I can hardly get my head around it. But it reminds me a lot about what Michael Pollan said when I saw him at Rutgers University last month. He talked about the development of nutrition guidelines. When the government wanted to promote something simple like "eat less read meat" the industry went nuts and we ended up with much more complicated guidelines that actually talked about eating more of other foods. The simple idea of cutting back on hamburgers and steak was tossed out the window.

Michael Pollan also talked about our never ended stream of food fads and how certain foods fall out of favor. Before everything on the supermarket shelves was low carb it was fat free. People like my mother devoured that stuff. Everything in her house was fat free from the yogurt, to the milk and cheese and bread. All snacks in the house were fat free...even the cookies. I remember thinking two things: It can't be good to cut all fat our of your diet. And this taste gross.

Well, Michael Pollan said the fat that was taken out of food had to be replaced with something, so most of those fat free foods were loaded with sugar to preserve some semblance of taste. My mother thought she was eating healthy, but she had actually replaced one bad thing with another.

I think his most interesting point was that our problem is we don't think of food as a whole anymore. We've broken it down to its nutrient parts. Now that eating omega-3s is the big fad we can artificially add into into anything like our cereal and our milk, instead of eating foods like walnuts that contain it naturally.

That New York Times article reminded me of why I try to avoid fast food restaurants. I think when it comes to my diet, I'll listen to Michael Pollan before I take the advice of the government.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

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