[The American Years]

Friday, June 06, 2008

Food Hobgoblins

Jeff asks "Do you blog anymore?" I say it's been so long it feels like I have to have a gargantuan life-changing post to make up for lost time.

Then nablopomo (National Blog Posting Month) says "30 posts in 30 days". So I'm only 5 days behind. I can catch that up. I already had this one half written. And I'll post it without further edit.

First a little Eye-Candy.

Have you noticed this trend? Every 2 years or so, the food bad-guy that needs to be avoided changes.

I remember when I was a kid, it was salt. Avoid salt. "Starches" were bad at one time. At some point, calories were actually considered. More recently it was fat grams, ignoring the pesky fact that fat-free foods can make you fat by the miraculous work of the liver. Beer, of course, is a fat-free food, but there's a pork chop in every can. Fat free frozen yogurt? Remember those days? Why did we eat that junk. (I'll take mine with smarties on top.)

Cholesterol in food was the thing to be avoided for a while. Hence, margerine hit our shelves. Polyunsaturated fats. Whatever those are. I don't remember if those were good or bad. The health aspects of safflower oil compared to corn oil were touted. McDonalds at one points proudly anounced doing away with lard in favor of frying their stuff in veggie oil, etc.

In the last 5 years it switches from fat to carbs. Now carbs are going away as well. Now I've heard the word trans-fats tossed around as well. I'm sure it will be something new next year.

Now, there is something to it. In our diet, food flavor comes from fat and sugar. (OK, not sugar. This is America. Thanks to Iowa and subsidies, sugar has been replaced by high fructose corn syrup. To quote Deutoronomy "... a food unknown to your fathers." Cultures where food flavor comes more from salt and vinegar than from fat and sugar live healthier and longer. That's clear. But I think it's consumption levels as well. We just eat too doggone much, myself included. I'm not superior, I'm just tired of being pointed away from the new food hobgoblin.

1 comment:

Terry said...


There was an article in the New Yorker recently about the failure of world food production and the massive amount of calories we consume, with a quick look back at Malthus:


Some books from the article:


mmmm, now I'm hungry ...