Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Eat, drink, and be merry

I used to often wonder, on reading articles about various foods and if they are good for you or bad, what one was actually supposed to do. Should you eat more of that particular food after reading glowing reports on its anti-oxidant properties? Suppose you do. A few months later, you are bound to see another article that informs you that after all, this miracle food is just an ordinary food and that it does no good in particular.
This trend is very prevalent in the U.S.; with the Americans already being a nation obsessed with food, imagine the confusion these articles and news pieces wreck. Last week, there was a report out on low-fat diets and how they may do nothing to reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease. (I love the use of the word “may” in these instances. Nothing is ever for certain in the world of cautionary literature about foods and links to human diseases.)
Finally, one Harriet Brown has seen fit to write, in the New York Times, an article of her own which puts forward this astonishing view: “instead of wringing our hands over fat grams and calories, let's resolve to enjoy whatever food we eat.” She goes on to quote a study which proves that the body extracts nutrients much more efficiently from foods we enjoy, provided that these foods already have an intrinsic nutritional value.
Eh? You mean we should stop making complex matrices of ideal foods, bad foods, carbohydrates, and ‘good’ cholesterol, and just eat sensibly the foods we actually like?But at least, it may (!) have put to rest the minds of countless Americans who have been chomping through their hateful and, ultimately unsuccessful, diets. And since it is certainly not only in the US where people force-feed themselves items like boiled cauliflower in attempts to lose weight, we should all just use our common sense in this matter and come out happier.

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