The following Post is a Guest Post from John Barban - Scientific editor of Eat Stop Eat and author of The Adonis Effect. (Please direct all comments towards John)
Good Foods, Bad Foods
I was recently reading some comments about ESE and some other diets and people seem to keep using the words “Good foods” and “Bad foods” .
I think this is a dangerous distinction to be making because it presents the potential for us to label almost anything good or bad depending on our focus and opens the slippery slope towards full blown Obsessive Compulsive Eating.
Let’s look at a mythical example of a ‘good food’ and a ‘bad’ food.
Our mythical “Good’ food = Orange Juice
Our mythical “Bad” food = Cake
If you label orange juice a “good food” you might want to consider all of the following points:
1) Do all brands of orange juice get this distinction?
2) Would the nutritional label of your ‘good’ orange juice have to fit into a certain parameter of sugar, salt, calories, additives etc, per serving? (you could simply adjust the serving size to make it fit, half cup vs full cup)
3) What about the source of oranges used and whether or not they are genetically modified
4) Pesticide use on the oranges used to make your juice
5) Artificial flavors and colors?
6) Political implications of where the oranges came from; was any farmer or region exploited in order to get these oranges into the juice you are drinking, were they paid a fair price, were there government subsidies etc.
7) Environmental impact and fuel usage of transporting the oranges and manufacturing the juice and the container that ended up on the store shelf in your town
…and on and on and on…you could take this more in the political direction, or more environmental, or more biological and the specific effects the juice has on your body (this last one is what I am assuming most people mean when they say ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food).
My mythical ‘bad’ food =A slice of Cake
If you label cake as ‘bad’ food you might want to consider all of the following points:
1) Is store bought pre made cake the same as home made cake even if it contains the same amount of fat, sugar, salt etc?
2) is it only bad because of the amount of calories or fat or sugar it contains? (is one bite just as bad as a whole slice)
3) Does the frequency that you eat the cake make a difference for how ‘bad’ it is. Ie: only once every couple months at a celebration is ok, but once a day is bad?
4) Environmental impact and fuel usage of transporting all the ingredients to the store then ending up in a mixing bowl on your counter then the oven then on your plate.
5) If it were the only piece of food you ate today would it still be ‘bad’
6) If you are in good health, happy with your weight and have no measurable ‘health’ issues before and after you eat the cake is it still ‘bad’
…and on and on and on…
It is my contention that there is no such thing as good and bad foods, there is only this…
The food you choose to eat, and the impact this food has directly on your body (both physiologically and emotionally) and the environment impact if purchasing that particular food item.
When you look at it this way food choices become much more personal than general lists of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and you can start to become a much more responsible, eater, shopper, consumer, citizen, parent, spouse, person.
(please feel free to leave a comment, however, if you want to talk to me directly, feel fee to email me at john (at) adoniseffect.com)