Q: What’s left that is safe to eat! Every day there is another food scare, another opinion about what’s good and bad to eat. Even buying a loaf of bread is a challenge. Who can you trust? ………… Audrie, S
A: Those of us over 50 like to wax nostalgic about ’when we were young’ we…… But I think there is one area in which that might actually have been true—the food we eat. Before the over farmed products became widely available, the genetically modified products hiding unmarked on the store shelves, there actually was some food value in what we ingested. We didn’t have to be sleuths to figure out if it was going to hurt us, or call ourselves wellness warriors in order to adequately feed our growing families. We also didn’t have to fight off the onslaught of advertising and creative marketing to encourage purchasing of the excess produced in this country’s agricultural system.
You know the drill, you buy what is advertised as “low fat,” “high fiber,” “natural,” multigrain” and think you’ve done the ‘right thing.’ Even the most sophisticated customer can be taken in. Most people see “multigrain” and think “whole grain,” but that isn’t necessarily so. When you see “enriched wheat flour” on the list of ingredients that means refined flour, often made from GMO grains. When you are shopping for “whole grain” products such as whole wheat, whole oats or brown rice, make sure it is listed first and preferably the only grain listed.
I’ve never understood the point behind things like reduced fat peanut butter. The oil is the healthiest part of the nut, having the most nutrients. When you take the oil out it is replaced with other things, including more sugar. According to a recent Harvard study, eating one or two ounces of nuts or regular peanut butter is associated with lower body weight, reduction in heart disease and lower cancer risk.
To me, what is most insidious is the supposedly ’healthy’ food that masquerades as beneficial, but does more harm than good. Energy bars, for instance. They are advertised as meal replacement bars to build muscle and lose weight. In fact, they are glorified candy bars with added vitamins or fiber, and yes—sugar. Check the label and see what position the sugar is. Of course it is often hidden as maltose, dextrose, corn syrup, glucose, carob syrup, date sugar, diatase, ethyl maltol, grape sugar, honey, agave, lactose, mannitol, brown sugar, buttered syrup, barley malt, beet sugar, corn syrup solids, sorbitol……... You get the picture.
And then we could go on to chips. We believe if the labels says “baked” or “low fat” that it is healthy . Most of these are made with refined (GMO) grain or starch, lots of calories but no nutrients, raising our risk of heart disease, cancers, diabetes and weight gain. If you must have something crunchy, try Wasa or Finn Crisp Original Rye crackers, whole grain products with low sodium content. If chips are your nemesis, try Terra Chips made with sliced vegetables or even a 100 percent whole grain chip fried in healthy oil like coconut or canola. Tortilla chips and Sun Chips are two examples. Remember though, a serving is one ounce of chips.
How is it that Subway gets away with marketing their products as healthy when the meat is processed meat, the sauces are filled with sugar and preservatives and they sell junk food cookies and soft drinks as add-ons. For example, their Honey Oat Bread ingredient list includes Honey Oat topping (soy grits, sugar, rolled oats, thickener, honey powder, molasses powder, salt, flavor, caramel coloring. At least four sources of sugar listed. For a complete list of food content check them out online. (Click thru on the online version of this article).http://www.subway.com.au/assets/documents/ausingredientguide.pdf
As to who can you trust, I'm not sure I can answer that. To quote Oprah, "What we know so far" seems to change all the time. Butter used to be bad but has been reclaimed of late (more details in upcoming articles). Salt used to be really, really bad, but now has been found to be absolutely essential. Eggs had a bad rap and we were told led to high cholesterol. Now it's been discovered that egg eaters actually have lower serum cholesterol levels then those who don't eat eggs.
Have a question, or is there something you’ve always wondered about. Ask Madalyn invites your questions.
- Wednesday, 28 March 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Ask Madalyn