Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An Apple A Day?

"And then I thought, 'Wouldn't breakfast be healthier if my waffle were made of salad?'"
-Scott, on morning meal alternatives 

This article, “Gross Intredients in Processed Foods” in today’s Huffpo breathlessly breaks the “news” that some of the stuff in processed foods would gross us all out, if only we knew. So they tell us,  and the answers are "gross", which is a precise scientific term of art meaning Eight on a 1-10 scale from cringeworthy, to vomit inducing scrotum punch. Ok, I made that last part up. But in fairness to the author, she's an idiot.

Here’s what’s in an international orange bottle of Cheeze Whiz Squeeze: Whey, milk, milkfat, dried corn syrup, water, sodium phosphate, contains less than 2 percent of: Food starch-modified, salt, maltodextrin, lactic acid, mustard flour, Worcestershire sauce (vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, water, salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sugar, spices, tamarind, natural flavor), sorbic acid as a preservative, oleoresin paprika (color), cheese culture, annatto (color), enzymes. Yikes, right?

But not only is the science in this story rather squishy, they bury the lead. Turns out foodie bloggers are right: not only does real slow food taste better than fast food; it’s better for you! This scientific fact was cleverly deduced by Dr. David Katz, who knows what's best. “An overhaul of food labeling is most likely still a while off. In the meantime, consumers' increased curiosity into food production could result in a return to cleaner eating. 'What I know best is that the foods best for health are generally not prone to any such adulterations,' writes Katz, who suggests eating foods made from ingredients you have heard of, recognize as either a plant or animal and can pronounce.”

Seriously? Whether I can pronounce ingredients? Then again... Digest pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, phytosterols, alanine. Consider the lowly monosaccharide and it’s greasy cousin oligosaccharide. To me, these sound like pretty gross and unpronounceable ingredients. Hence, I conclude they are clearly not better for my health.  I mean, Dr. Katz might point out that monosaccharides totally sounds like a social disease; or it might if I could pronounce it. In case your curiosity has been aroused, these are the ingredients in apples. Moreover, even if consumers’ curiosity into apple production remains unaroused, these are still the ingredients in apples. 

The Huffpo article is to science as Cheese Whiz Squeeze (“Now with more Trademarks!”) is to cheese. But thanks, Sara Klein, Associate Editor, Healthy Living, for this amazing factoid stuffed taste of the science of healthy living.

In the event that you’re interested in an important issue to all who prefer their apples from trees and not GMO test tubes, check this out: GM Food: Don't Ask, Don't Tell? in the Utne Reader. There will be an initiative on labeling GMO foods on the upcoming CA ballot and this article gives a good, if biased*, background on the topic, along with a number of references. 

* Of course the GMO article and all of it's references have a bias. That is, if you want to consider facts capable of being biased. To paraphrase Respectful Insolence, facts can neither be biased, nor insolent. OBTW, evolution is true.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

I think 'chocolate' sounds natural. I understand the word. It's easy to say. It's used quite often in conversation and in books. I assume consuming and unlimited amount will be good for me? Is that the gist?