Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I would like a side of air with that

I met a friend whom I haven't seen in a while this past Purim. Amid the sugarfest that Purim inevitably becomes, we somehow got on a conversation about the evils of sugar and processed carbs. Her point was, if I understood correctly, that many health-related evils are directly or indirectly related to sugar consumption. In order to be healthy one must completely eliminate all refined sugar and simple carbs.

I am not a big defender of sugar or white bread. I definitely could stand to lose quite a few pounds and eliminating sugar would help. However, I am just not buying the theory that all the evil is rooted in sugar. (I will also admit that few things in life are as satisfying as a freshly baked still warm white bread with a cold glass of milk. So yeah, I am biased.)

On the other hand, there are many other theories that blame other foods for all the ailments humanity suffers. There are those who say that dairy is evil; others say that it's actually meat; then there are those who claim that the only healthy lifestyle is avoiding all animal-derived foods. It doesn't stop there. One of my colleagues, citing numerous studies, said that fruit is to be avoided because it is high in sugar and whole grain Cheerios is bad for you. It doesn't end here because there are evils lurking in the form of salt, caffeine, alcohol, hydrogenated oils, not to mention preservatives, pesticides, coloring agents and other man-made chemicals.

Where does that leave me, if I were to follow every advice? Initially I wanted to say "with spinach", but there's E. Coli, then I wanted to say "cucumbers", but someone told me that the seeds in those could be bad for some people. Then I thought of beans, but men - how much beans can one consume before becoming a menace to society? (The answer: not much.) So that leaves me with an empty plate and stomach. Which would make advocates of the very low calorie lifestyle very happy. But not me...


Full disclosure: the post was written while drinking fully NON-decaffeinated Irish Breakfast tea and home made raisin cookies most definitely baked with sugar.

6 comments:

  1. I'm not one to talk because I can't go very long without my sugar fix, but I would guess that the less a food is processed, or the closer it is to its natural state, the better it would be for you.

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  2. I'm honored that my ravings warranted a blog post.
    By the way, giving up sugar or simple carbs doesn't mean never having sweets again. I bake and make pancakes out of whole wheat or rye flour and use Stevia (yes, it's the healthy sweetener) instead of sugar.
    It's true that there are a lot of contradicting "healthy eating" theories and diets out there. I don't believe one should follow them all, but pick one that you feel good on.
    If you feel 100% good and never have any health complaints, then I guess there's no reason for you to alter your eating habits. Everything is ok in moderation.
    I don't think I would have ever been prompted to give up sugar and refined carbs if I didn't experience very disturbing health issues, that thankfully went away after I excluded this stuff from my diet.

    On our next excursion, I'm tackling MSG :-). That is if you don't start avoiding me from now on.
    Here's some articles you might want to read. I'm sure you'll think they're biased, but whatever...
    http://www.organicnutrition.co.uk
    /articles/is-sugar-bad-for-you.htm
    http://rheumatic.org/sugar.htm
    http://www.healthymenumailer.com/articles/why-is-sugar-bad-health.html

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  3. MW, I would generally agree. There are exception, though. I would still suggest avoiding unprocessed poisonous mushrooms :)

    Yes, I believe moderation is the key. Thanks for the links! and yes, you were right, I do find them very unscientific and biased. Is sugar bad? No doubt! Is it so bad that one should avoid it like a plague (or heroin) - very doubtful.

    I am happy you are feeling better though. If it worked for you and you have the willpower to do it - kol hakavod!

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  4. White bread wish sugar? Bleh!

    I make wholewheat raisin nut bread with honey and olive oil instead of sugar and butter.

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  5. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.............................................

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