Food scientists have no clueHe argues that it is exactly that kind of industrially “engineered” food that makes us sick as a civilization. It is not well understood how the different components, macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) and micronutrients work together. Each of them is praised as the bringer of ultimate health, but none of the proposed “diets” – in the sense of losing weight – holds up to its promises. Food scientists periodically come up with a new substance that is especially good or bad for us, often without taking the synergies of nutrients in account. For instance, some vitamins can only be digested with the addition of fat. Natural, non-processed foods usually come in a complementary combination. Adding a single essential ingredient to an otherwise unhealthy food doesn’t automatically make it healthier. But packaging makes us believe the contrary, with its health claims of added vitamins, probiotics, and minerals. Natural foods don’t come with a health claim printed on them!
Diets don’t workThe reason that so many people struggle to lose and sustain weight is that they reduce or eliminate only a single component in their diet, be it fat, carbohydrates, gluten or sugar. Since all of those components are essential for our body to function, neither of those diets works permanently. Leaving out for example carbs, reduces the amount of calories consumed through them, but are often replaced by one of the other sources of energy – fat and protein. People who go on diets, which are usually limited in duration, often bounce back to their former weight, because they don’t undergo a permanent change towards a diet that is rich in nutrients and reduced to a portion size that fits their daily needs in energy. What we eat in the Western world, changed dramatically over the last century. After the Second World War food became industrialized to a degree that our ancestors wouldn’t recognize it as food. These processed foods usually contain a lot of calories, comprised of fat and carbohydrates, but only few nutrients. They especially lack in complexity, which means that they are reduced to a “tasty” mash, whose only raison d’etre is to appeal to our taste buds so that we ultimately buy and eat more of it. This call to our primal instincts supplies our bodies with a surplus of energy. In the ancient days, it was much harder to find a sufficient amount of calories with which to live on. We had to put in a lot of the energy we ate to acquire more food. Nowadays the food sits in aisles in supermarkets in an ample supply.
Keep it realAll the advertisement of healthy food makes it hard to figure out what actually is healthy. Health claims are easily made, especially when there doesn’t have to be proof. Natural foods are healthy by definition – they don’t have to be advertised as such. As said before, processed food is not really “real” food. Instead, a healthy diet should be based on fresh produce whenever possible. Every dish should be centered around vegetables in a variety of colors. Proteins and carbohydrates are the sides. A ratio of half vegetables and the other half divided between the other two macronutrients is a good rule of thumb. From an evolutionary perspective it makes a lot of sense, hunting is very energy intensive, therefore it wasn’t as readily available as fruits and vegetables. The same is true for carbohydrates, which were introduced in a greater supply with the advent of agriculture.
Where to find food?The easiest location to find unprocessed foods are, of course, farmer’s markets. Not everybody has one in front of their house, though. Therefore shops that are specialized in produce are another good option, or, as a last resort, supermarkets.
- Avoid things wrapped in plastic as much as possible!
- Real foods are simple – avoid foods that have a lot of ingredients in them!
How to eat?
- If possible, don’t eat alone!
- Concentrate on the eating – put away anything that’s not food related!
- Take your time – enjoy the taste of the food!
- Eat until you are 70 % full!