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What's wrong with healthy food?

2 Mar 2015 11:51 AM - Just eat junk food.....

Does what you eat affect your health?


Over the holidays I got a chance to catch up on some of the health documentaries I had set aside to watch one day.

One documentary kinda made my blood boil just a bit. It was a documentary on the science of taste. It had lots of scientific experts talking about taste receptors on our tongues and how we are inclined to like sweet foods because historically they were likely to be safer for us to eat than bitter foods which might have been poisonous or unripe.

Interesting! However, through it all was the implication, although closer to a statement of “fact”, that nothing tastes as good as junk food; you know those fried foods, salty snacks or sweet treats that are everywhere.  This was the point where my blood pressure started to increase. Here were “experts” basically telling people that food which is more nutritious and less likely to cause us health problems is not going to be as satisfying as junk food.

It can be challenging enough working with my new naturopathic clients who are yet to see a connection between their health issues and their diet, without this kind of “expert” advice.

It's a ridiculous generalisation and it's really unhelpful when it comes to educating the general public.  They were discussing this in the context of an obesity crisis where so many people are above their most healthy weight, potentially leading to serious illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease or  conditions like fatigue and depression. But they were saying that we eat too much junk food because it tastes better than anything else. SERIOUSLY, how is this helpful! 

Do you need to learn more about healthy food?

Here's the problem. Imagine you've grown up on a diet of junk food or processed foods. That’s what you were regularly fed as a child and naturally that’s what you seek out as an adult. Perhaps you have never been educated about nutrition so you know no better. To you, food’s just food. Maybe you have never been taught how to buy healthier options and you’ve never been taught how to cook basic healthy meals that still fit within your budget and satisfy your taste buds. It’s not your fault. You don’t know any better.   (Before I studied to be a naturopath that was me to a large extent.  I didn't really know anything about nutrition, I was confused by all the messages out there and I thought that cooking with packets of pre-prepared ingredients was the way to go.)

So then you hear experts say things like “nothing tastes as good as junk food”. Where is the incentive to even try new foods or learn how to shop for and prepare food?  You may as well just give up and carry on eating junk food.

But these authorities in the documentary had the “answer” to this dilemma.  According to these people, the solution is to work out how to make healthy food taste like junk food through genetic engineering and the like. Huh? Did I hear that right? Is this what our precious research dollars should be spent on?

What about educating people (starting with children and parents of children) about flavours and textures and how to recognise and select flavoursome fruit and vegetables?



Maybe even how to grow them. How about teaching them about basic nutrition and the importance of eating a balanced diet containing all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals if we want to be healthy and reduce our risk of illness? And then, what about teaching them how to prepare simple, interesting and tasty meals that aren’t based on sugar, salt or lots of saturated fat?

In my humble opinion, that would be a much smarter place to start.

As a naturopath, I sincerely believe that what we eat has a profound impact on how we feel both physically and mentally. Good nutrition underpins good health. If you need help unravelling your diet and improving your nutrition, please call me on 9620 9503 and let me help you sort the broccoli from the burger.

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Eat to improve your health


In good health,

 

Kaye Wright
Naturopath
Melbourne CBD

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