Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sugar is bad, Fat, too and Salt - But is this really the problem?

A Facebook friend of mine posted a link to this new movie about sugar they currently make in Australia. About sugar and how bad it is. This coincides with me reading the book "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us" by Michael Moss.

In general it is great that more and more people become aware of these issues. But is this really our problem?

Sugar = obesity, Fat = heart disease, salt, too. And then we have wheat, lactose and dairy products in general, meat vs. vegetarian or even vegan, alcohol destroys brain cells, caffeine causes osteoporosis - the list of nutrition horrors is endless. And it is all basically correct. Basically! But what happens with this increase in awareness? You get more and more people who either are so confused that they don't know what to eat and drink anymore or you get people who come up with arguments like "There is more sugar in an apple than in a glass of soda pop!"

What really is our problem? It isn't sugar, fat and salt. It isn't wheat and dairy. It is processed food. All the ingredients those movie makers and book authors concentrate on are not bad in general. Yes, sugar isn't bad for you! Butter isn't either! They are bad in refined form, in pasteurized and homogenized form. In saturated form. In extruded, extracted, ultra heated and ammonia disinfected form. The sugar in your coffee or tea is not a problem. Even your cup or three of coffee per day isn't the problem. The 3 litres per day of caffeinated fizzy drinks is. Your steak on the BBQ isn't your problem, the burger from the fast food chain is. The salt in your pasta or homemade bread isn't the problem, the salt on the french fries you buy from the take away and the bag of potato chips is. The wheat in your sourdough you bought from the small bakery isn't your problem, the highly processed wheat (plus all the other emulsifiers, preservatives and aromatics) in the supermarket loaf is.

Yes all the books and movies do carry this message in them. They still do some sort of scaremongering which leads to overreaction. A movie against sugar, a book against fat is sending out the wrong signal.

When do we look at the real problem? When will we see more movies and books and blogs which tell us that the real problem is our food industry? That the real problem is processed food.  That the real problem is profits and shareholder values?