Wine keeps you slim, fruit makes you fat and eggs are now a super food! (I wonder does that include Cadbury’s Eggs, given the season) Go back a few years and juicing fruit was hailed as a cure all for both health and weight loss, red wine was never considered a slimming aid but good for your heart and, at one point, eggs were almost sold with a skull and crossbones stamped on the box. We’ve never had so much information about food and I’ve never be as confused. In the western world these days we educate our children from a very early age about food. I nearly fell over in shock recently when my nephew, who is not quite 5 yet, announced that he had “eaten too many ‘carbo-hydrants’” and felt sick! Ok, so he got the word wrong, but I’m sure I didn’t come into contact with the word carbohydrate until I was in secondary school. He is a pretty typical child and therefore it shows how much more food aware they are these days. He can tell you what he is and isn’t allowed have in his lunchbox for school and why you shouldn’t eat too many sweets or chocolate bars. I suppose it’s the world we live in, and yet I can’t help but feel that such knowledge is almost burdensome to one so little. His generation is growing up with a completely different set of food rules and beliefs.
Think about the starving
We had the ‘must clean your plate’ mantra ‘because of all the poor people in Africa!’ Many a comedian has since made the point that the expanding waistlines and clean plates of western world children never made any difference to the starving anywhere, least of all Africa. The other revelation of the 70s and 80s was the low fat craze. We eradicated natural fat to the point where food tasted like cardboard and in turn manufacturers put the taste back with chemicals, which made us even fatter in the long run. Sugar was next on the hit list so we just solved that problem with another chemical; something that was even sweeter than real sugar but didn’t have any calories. It may not be making us fat but God knows what it’s doing to our insides. Coffee has been through its fair share of positive and negative swings. One article will have you believe it is nothing short of poison while others will claim a few cups a day are good for you. There’s even another school of thought that believes using coffee enemas will clean out the liver and detoxify the body. I think I’ll just stick to a mug in the morning, imbibed through the mouth.
The author and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins wrote in one of his books once that if you owned a car but didn’t have a juicer, you should sell the car and buy one, it was that important for your health. Jason Vale is known as the Juice Master. He has sold books and has many franchised juice bars throughout the UK and Ireland. There isn’t a shopping centre or mall in the country that doesn’t have a juice concession or smoothie counter. Here’s a headline from a newspaper this week, “How too much fruit can make you fat! Thought plenty of grapes or apples will keep you healthy? Think again…” Meanwhile the government health authorities are at pains to encourage at least 5 a day.
According to this latest report exceeding the recommended amount is fine if you are a healthy weight, but if your are overweight or suffer from high cholesterol or diabetes, too much fruit could mean trouble. The main concern is in the area of smoothies and juices. Apparently the fruit sugar doesn’t trigger the ‘full’ feeling in the body like other foods and therefore even though you are taking in lots of energy calories with your juices and smoothies you don’t feel satisfied.
Eggs have gone in an out of popularity as well. At the moment they are being hailed a ‘super food’. More and more items are joining the list that already contains blueberries, broccoli, oats and turkey. Eggs are even being credited with the ability to tackle obesity and are considered necessary for eye health, once the domain of the carrot. The nutritionists say eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods and are recommending one a day for the maximum benefit. They discovered that, despite being low in calories, eggs are a rich source of protein and are packed with nutrients thought essential to good health, particularly vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium and choline. When it comes to protein rich foods, eggs contain the richest mix of essential amino acids, crucial for children, adolescents and young adults for body growth and repair.
Perhaps one of the best reports to emerge recently is the one about red wine. If you thought sweating at the gym was the way to go, forget it. Just take to the sofa with a glass of Merlot. Quoting the report, “Women who enjoy a glass or two of wine a day put on less weight than those who stick to mineral water or soft drinks, research shows – with red wine particularly forgiving.” I wondered why they didn’t mention men and then realised that the study was only carried out on women. Of course the general assumption among dieters is that alcohol is fattening. The study also proved that while a glass of wine has calories, those calories are burned off more quickly than calories from other foods. So if a glass of wine has 120 calories and so does a chocolate bar, the wine will disappear fast while the chocolate will take up residence on your hips, get married and have a large family and never leave you.
Sifting through it all there is only one answer. Eat everything in moderation and you can’t go wrong. If I was to take all this on board I could be in danger of sailing past the fruit bowl next time I’m hungry for, apparently, dieter’s gold: a nice glass of red and a Cadbury’s Crème Egg!