I am always skeptical when the latest study on food comes out.
Take sugar, for instance. Once, it was the worst thing in the world for you. But now we know high fructose corn syrup is the worst thing in the world for you, so some food producers are actually marketing their products with “real cane sugar” as if sugar is a health food. And we fall for it.
They told us for years that fat was bad for you, but wait! It turns out you need fats in your diet and a little fat goes a long way – in other words, you eat less if you eat foods that have fat in them. Or something like that. Pass the cheese!
When I was growing up, margarine was the thing. Butter made you fat. Margarine was made from plants, so it must be good. Ha! Now they’re telling us margarine is a killer. Pass the butter!
I think we’re wrong about a lot of things when it comes to food. Here are a few predictions about what we will learn from studies in the coming years.
Preservatives are good for you. Yes, the more chemicals the better. As you get older, you should eat lots of food with artificial preservatives because, logically, they will preserve you longer. It is a little-known fact that the ancient Egyptians really didn’t have any special talent when it came to embalming; the Pharaohs just ate a lot of Twinkies.
So be careful with that low-fat stuff. For instance, low-fat peanut butter and regular peanut butter have about the same amount of calories — low-fat peanut butter takes out the fat (which nutritionists now say is good fat) and replaces it with sugar or some kind of sugar substitute, and we all know about sugar. There are even some low-fat peanut butters that use a sweetener that can be fatal to dogs! If a dog can’t eat it, I don’t want it.
Pizza is the perfect health food. I realize they pretty much deconstructed the old food pyramid that they taught us as Gospel back when we were kids. Still, I think pizza is the ultimate food. It covers the entire pyramid. You have carbs and dairy and protein and tomatoes and if you throw some banana peppers on there, you have vegetables. A complete, well-rounded meal in one place.
“Natural” foods basically are a scam. “Natural” has a very wide definition. I think it’s mostly a marketing ploy. Here’s how it works: you have a conveyor belt with, let’s say, potato chips on it. At the end of the line, the belt splits. One batch of potato chips goes into a normal potato chip bag. The other batch goes into a fancy bag that says “Natural” and gets sold for two dollars more than the other bag. Of course, why anyone eating potato chips would worry about “natural” is beyond me. Organic is another thing all together. Those chips go into a third bag and the price goes up three dollars.
For a long time, the experts told us not to eat too many eggs. Bad cholesterol. Heart attack waiting to happen. Not anymore. It turns out the whole cholesterol thing was overrated and eggs are really good for you. They’re especially good with about a pound of bacon. OK, I know they still say bacon is a bad thing, but I’m counting on that changing, too. At least I know I can put butter on my toast instead of margarine.
I happen to think two of the most perfect foods in the world are chocolate and cheese. For years, the experts said DON’T EAT THAT. You’ll get fat and die of a heart attack. Now, if I had listened to them, I would have missed out on all those years of cheese and chocolate. And you know what? Now they’re saying cheese and chocolate aren’t so bad. I guess I’m glad I was weak on willpower all those years.
Maybe if I ate only organic, natural, unprocessed fruits and vegetables (with a few eggs now and then), I would live an extra five years. But you know what? If I make it to age 95, I’m not sure I’m going to want to live five more years. Enough is enough! At least this way, I can go out with a smile on my face.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.