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Posts Tagged ‘National Geographic’

I’m a heavy magazine reader (mostly nerdy stuff). This week, I polished-off a Women’s Health and a National Geographic:

  • The Women’s Health* May issue (page 112) has an article titled “Can you build a better sugar?” which basically concludes that sugar substitutes have their issues (they may actually cause blood sugar spikes) and that it might be best to just stick to the more natural sugar.
  • National Geographic included an excerpt of the book, Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong and highlighted how margarine and Crisco basically introduced trans fats to the American diet and cause up to 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. We’d be better off sticking with the more natural butter.

So, both concluded that we’d be better off sticking to a food closer to it’s original form than one created through a highly lab-intensive process. SHOCKED, shocked I tell you! (sarcasm)

I’m definitely guilty of some processed foods, but whenever possible, we should try to avoid them, especially as hypoglycemics, as there can be serious blood sugar consequences.

Am I saying go to town and eat as much sugar and butter as you want? Nope. Moderation is the key, a combination of portion control and cutting-back on how much sugar, butter, salt, etc. we add to things. For example, our sweets in the U.S. are ridiculously sweet compared to sweets in other countries and they are HUGE. We could easily fix both.

 

 

*I’m in no way advocating that Women’s Health is a good source of actual health advice. Some of their articles are great and well-researched, but many are not, and contradict each other. Read with caution.

 

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3 small plastic cups with small plants growing in each one

From Flickr Creative Commons: Plants are coming along by Tim Patterson

This is a favorite trick of not-so-honest representatives in the public relations industry (my day job, but I’m the honest kind); you ask one question, they answer with something that doesn’t really address what you are really asking.

So I watch with varying levels of frustration the debate on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s). The public is asking, “Are they safe?” and the response is, “They are safe for human consumption.

See what they did there? They defined what “safe” meant for us. How nice of them. But is that what we are asking? It’s not what I’m asking.

When I ask, “Are they safe?” I’m asking:

  • Are they safe for human consumption?
  • Are they safe for the environment?
  • Are there going to be long-term ecological consequences from GMO’s?
  • Are they safe for the animals living around them?

My question is much broader, they are only responding to part of it.

Two examples:

Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science, National Geographic

For many of us this new world is wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards—but also more complicated and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can’t easily analyze.

We’re asked to accept, for example, that it’s safe to eat food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) because, the experts point out, there’s no evidence that it isn’t and no reason to believe that altering genes precisely in a lab is more dangerous than altering them wholesale through traditional breeding. But to some people the very idea of transferring genes between species conjures up mad scientists running amok—and so, two centuries after Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, they talk about Frankenfood.

The Debate About GMO Safety is Over, Thanks to a Trillion-Meal Study, Forbes

The authors also found no evidence to suggest any health affect on humans who eat those animals. No study has revealed any differences in the nutritional profile of animal products derived from GE-fed animals.

In other words, the debate over the risks associated with GMO food is effectively over. As Novella writes:

We now have a large set of data, both experimental and observational, showing that genetically modified feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed. There does not appear to be any health risk to the animals, and it is even less likely that there could be any health effect on humans who eat those animals.

In order to maintain the position that GMOs are not adequately tested, or that they are harmful or risky, you have to either highly selectively cherry pick a few outliers of low scientific quality, or you have to simply deny the science.

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A photograph of three sugar cubes

Sugar is a main culprit in disease and obesity. From Flickr: Uwe Hermann

 

This month’s National Geographic cover story is an article titled, Sugar Love: A not so sweet story. I would really encourage you to read this. Not only is it a fascinating account of the history of sugar and sugar’s ties to slavery, but it really made me realize just how much sugar I am really eating because of added sugar in most of my processed foods.

It also does a great job of explaining why, after we as Americans cut so much fat from our diets, we are still unhealthy and obese. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the article:

“As a result, fat makes up a smaller portion of the American diet than it did 20 years ago. Yet the portion of America that is obese has only grown larger. The primary reason, says Johnson, along with other experts, is sugar, and in particular fructose.”

This article definitely made me rethink some of the foods I’ve been eating; even some of the protein and energy bars I’ve reviewed positively on here! Join me in paying attention to the sugars in your diet and let’s work together to get our needed carbohydrates from natural sugars.

 

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