FAST FOOD, FASTER DRINKS
We all know what the dieticians and nutritionists are saying to us - 2 serves of fruit, 5+ serves of vegetables, 3 serves of lean meat, 6 serves of grains, 2.5 of dairy and the beer, vodka and triple-choc mud cake ‘’only sometimes and in small amounts’’. The daily diet guidelines are spelt out to us in unbending detail by the Department of Health in an effort to save us from ourselves.
We have been told the “5 fruit, 2 vegetable” message for quite some time now and the evidence to validate it is right in front of us. Those heeding the message display much lower rates of chronic disease and hormone issues. So why are so many still ignoring the message?
We’ve never been more preoccupied with what, where & how to eat, so why are we fatter than ever & less capable of preparing our own food?
WHAT ARE WE REALLY EATING THESE DAYS?
The 2011–13 Australian Health Survey revealed some frightening statistics about Australian eating habits. This was the largest and most comprehensive health survey that has ever been conducted in Australia, involving the collection of detailed information on foods consumed from over 12,000 participants across Australia.
For vegetables, the news was not good. Around 92% of adults were not eating enough vegetables, and only 49% were eating enough fruit for optimum nutrition.
The news gets worse when you look at consumption of ‘discretionary foods’. Just over a third of our kilojoules each day was coming from foods considered to be of little nutritional value and which tend to be high in saturated fats, sugars, salt and/ or alcohol. Cakes, desserts, confectionary, alcoholic beverages, cereal bars, pastries, sweet and savoury biscuits, soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters are all over-represented here.
We are eating more processed foods and frozen meals where the meats, like chicken, are often buffed up with gluten, flour and other grains that you might not associate with the food on the plate.’’ It is similar with packaged soups and bottled sauces.
THE BLISS POINT
In the US, Food scientist discovered what is now called the “Bliss Point!” The Bliss Point is where they found the right balance of fat, salt and sugar, (which were key to survival in prehistoric times) combined in such a way as to make a food highly palatable, infact very very desirable. Each of our 10,000 odd taste buds has receptors triggered by fat, salt and sugar that link to the brain’s pleasure zone and send us signals, such as “That’s good! I need it! Eat more of it!” Many fast foods have been designed to trigger the Bliss Point.
Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only “empty” calories.
It lacks the natural minerals that are present in the sugar beet or cane. In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion and elimination makes upon one’s entire system.
Balance is essential to our bodies, so we have many ways to provide against the sudden shock of a heavy intake of sugar. Minerals such as sodium (from salt), potassium and magnesium (from vegetables), and calcium (from the bones) are mobilised and used in chemical transmutation; neutral acids are produced which attempt to return the acid-alkaline balance factor of the blood to a more normal state.
Sugar taken every day produces a continuously over acid condition, and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin.
Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body.
Initially, it is stored in the liver in the form of glucose (glycogen). Since the liver’s capacity is limited, a daily intake of refined sugar (above the required amount of natural sugar) soon makes the liver expand like a balloon. When the liver is filled to its maximum capacity, the excess glycogen is returned to the blood in the form of fatty acids. These are taken to every part of the body and stored in the most inactive areas: the belly, the buttocks, the breasts and the thighs.
When these comparatively harmless places are completely filled, fatty acids are then distributed among active organs, such as the heart and kidneys. These begin to slow down; finally their tissues degenerate and turn to fat. The whole body is affected by their reduced ability, and abnormal blood pressure is created. The parasympathetic nervous system is affected; and organs governed by it, such as the small brain, become inactive or paralysed. The circulatory and lymphatic systems are invaded, and the quality of the red corpuscles starts to change. An overabundance of white cells occurs, and the creation of tissue becomes slower.
Our body’s tolerance and immunising power becomes more limited, so we cannot respond properly to extreme attacks, whether they be cold, heat, mosquitoes or microbes.
Refined grains include white rice, white bread, white pasta, and other foods that have been made with white flour (also called enriched wheat flour or all-purpose flour), including many cookies, cakes, breakfast cereals, crackers, and snack foods.
Refined grains are missing fibre & key nutrients that their whole-grain counterparts retain.
Whole grains contain three parts: the bran (outer layer), endosperm (middle layer), and germ (inner layer). The bran and germ are the most nutritious parts of the grain; they contain concentrated amounts of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. During the refining process, however, the bran and germ are removed from the whole grain. The endosperm, the part of the grain that is left after the refining process, is primarily composed of starchy carbohydrates and is low in nutrients. Some nutrients, including iron and a handful of B vitamins, are added back to refined grains and flours during manufacturing (hence the term enriched wheat flour), but these represent only a fraction of what is initially removed from the grain. For these reasons, refined grains do not provide the same health benefits as whole grains.
Refined grains are quickly digested into simple sugars and absorbed into your bloodstream; this can cause blood-sugar levels to spike and then quickly crash. These rapid swings in blood sugar can drain your energy and leave you feeling tired.
On the other hand, high-quality carbohydrates such as whole grains are rich in fibre, which helps temper blood sugars by slowing the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream after meals. They provide long-lasting energy that will keep you fuelled for hours.
Choose high-quality carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes) instead of poor-quality carbohydrates whenever possible.
Compared with diets high in refined grains, diets rich in nutritious whole grains reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. On the flip side, a diet high in refined grains can contribute to high triglycerides and increase inflammation throughout the body, which may worsen symptoms of arthritis. Refined grains may also stand in the way of weight loss; because they are low in fiber, they’re not as filling as whole grains and are much easier to overeat.