Presented without comment. These are some of the articles I’ve read this week which caught my attention.
Mirriam- Webster defines food as, " material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also : such food together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments). By that definition, a wide range of consumable items qualify as food.
The folks at Oxford Dictionary define food as, "any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth." With the addition the word nutritious, the meaning of food changes.
In the last several years, we've added a value qualifier to the word food. There's an argument made that products which are designed for consumer to consume don't meet the definition of food. That's one of Pollan's key arguments in his Food Rules concept. Pollan argues that these "food like substances" are not real food. They are chemical concoctions designed by scientists, not designed by nature.
Yet depending on the definition you chose, these designer consumables are indeed food. They combine protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals into a substance used to sustain growth, repair the body, and support various vital processes. After all, the commercially designed feed that goes into pigs, cows and chickens does indeed fulfill those requirements.
So if we proceed to add the word nutritious into the mix, it appears on face to change things up. Nutritious comes from the word nourish, meaning to "nutrure or rear, or to promote the growth of." So nutritious leads us to look at food types as foods which promote growth or encourage. There's a positive value associated with them.
So how do we associate these values with the things we eat? Is blowfish, a fish valued for the toxin it produces, better for you than a cheeseburger from McDonald's? Why? The blowfish requires minimal preparation, yet prepared incorrectly it can lead to major illness or even death. The McDonald's cheeseburger won't kill you with the first bite. Are both items food? Are both items nutritious? What changes between the two?
There's no easy answer. At what point does human manipulation of an edible item change it from a nutritious food item to something else? Where do we draw the line?
So after some considerable reflection, it's looking like I need to put breaking up with diet soda into the challenge mix for this year.
Let's be honest here. There's nothing redeeming about diet soda. It's a chemical stew of colorings and flavorings, combined with artificial sweeteners and phosphoric acid. There's nothing good in there. It's a pure vanity drink.
Now I've got pretty firm views on food science. I can find studies which support both sides of most food related issues. So I don't fall into the "artificial sweeteners are evil" camp just yet. I think in moderation most of this stuff is fine. The whole moderation thing is where you run into issues. When you are eating pounds of artificial sweeteners every month, that's not moderation. Same thing with soy or corn. In moderation, it's not an issue. Given that HFCS is seen all through our food supply, as is soy we've got issues.
In this case it's not about the morality of health of the artificial sweeteners in the soda. It's about being honest. I made a decision that I was going to allow myself to use protein powder during this self challenge. Eventually I imagine it will drop off the okay list. For now it's a good security blanket. If I'm ingesting the protein powder, I need to not also be ingesting the evil chemical laden soda too.
That's the trade off. It's an either or situation. If I drink my sodas, I can't use the protein. Given that I'm also doing a fitness challenge right now, the protein is going to be more useful. So out the door it goes. I've eliminated artificial sweeteners everywhere else. I don't use Splenda in my tea. I don't eat low sugar candy. So it's time to cut the final tie.
I am allowing myself sodas using real sugar if I like. The rule remains if I drink a soda, I don't get my protein powder as an option. Additionally, I don't happen to like to consume excessive amounts of liquid calories. So a soda once or twice a week moves back to "treat", not necessity.
And so fades out the diet soda from my food list…bye bye soda!