Friday, July 23, 2010
Food Rules Friday
Michael Pollan is an acclaimed author and whole food/heathy eating advocate. He is the author of the best selling "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dillemma."
Rule #9: "Avoid food products with the wordoid 'lite' or the terms 'low fat' or 'non-fat' in their names."
Personally, I don't take issue with certain low fat or non fat food items in moderation. I use soy milk in my cereal and for other milk uses. We keep non fat, or skim milk also. My wife likes it, and uses it for cooking uses that require milk for a creamy soup or sauce. We also use some other reduced fat dairy products such as chesse, cottage cheese and yogurt. Typically, these products are simply made from milk with lower fat content, and do not have other ingredients added to make up for the loss of fat.
I think Pollan's warning here has to be taken in context. His point is that the vast majority of food items in this category have other added ingredients, mostly carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Excess carbs are converted to fat by the body. The term "low fat" gives people the impression that they can eat all they want. Americans have actually been consuming an extra 500 calories per day since the low-fat campaign started. Pollan suggests that "You're better off eating the real thing in moderation than bingeing on 'lite' food products packed with sugars and salt."
The key, as I see it, is to know what you're eating. Don't buy anything without reading the labels. Learn which ingredients are healthy and which ingredients are not. Be aware that the total of calories is just as important as the source of the calories.