Unhealthy Food? Or a Victim of Politically Correct Nutrition?
For many years now we have been conditioned to believe that many unhealthy foods are healthy and many healthy, natural foods are unhealthy.
My first response was disbelief followed quickly by anger when I first realised that saturated fats were actually a healthy food and that the so called ‘good fats’, the vegetable oils I had been encouraging my clients to use liberally for many years where highly damaging to health. I spent a long time researching and studying to make sense of what I had discovered. Once you have an understanding of the nature and chemical structure of fats and oils it’s obvious that polyunsatured vegetable oils pose a real danger to health, whereas the much maligned saturated fat is actually quite safe (see Understanding Fats and Oils: The Facts on Fat). The real proof was in the difference to my own level of health and well being after making some fairly radical dietary changes.
Overcoming my conditioning regarding carbohydrates was much easier. I had already observed over many years that carbohydrates considered healthy, complex carbohydrates such as potato, rice, pasta and bread behaved in much the same way as simple carbohydrates like sugar. In recent years, there has been much attention on carbohydrates thanks to the Glycaemic Index and many people easily understand the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbohydrates. Many people struggle with their conditioning regarding fats and oils, like growing up believing the world to be flat only to be told that in fact it’s actually round.
If you find yourself feeling defensive and hostile about saturated fat being healthy, that’s OK, take your time and do a little research and reading before making your mind up whether to accept this new paradigm (I will provide lots of links to other sources in Understanding Fats and Oils which will be added ASAP).
The Problem with Politically Correct Nutrition
The overwhelming majority of health care professionals mean well. Their sole concern when making suggestions regarding diet and nutrition is the health and well being of you and your family. Unfortunately the guidelines upon which their recommendations are based are severely flawed and incorrect.
Health care professionals may have your best interests at heart but the people making the decisions on government and health department nutrition guidelines are influenced heavily by corporations who care more about the profits of their shareholders than the health of you and your family.
Sound too much like a whacky conspiracy theory?
Try thinking of it this way. Do you really believe the promises made by politicians at election time? As much as you want to believe they’re telling the truth, deep in your heart you know that most of what you hear is simply spin and propaganda. It seems they’ll say anything if they think it’ll help them get your vote. Not to mention the scandals. Campaign donations and generous gifts to politicians from big business with vested interests. No one would argue that politics is a dirty business. Politicians may enter politics with idealistic dreams of making our community, country or world a better place but reality soon intervenes and they are forced to compromise or forced out.
It may or may not shock you to learn that health and health care is just as dirty and just as political as any election campaign.
The prevailing theory of what causes a disease and how to best treat it is not necessarily the correct one, it’s simply the most popular one.
Let me give you an example…
Do you remember when all stomach ulcers where believed to be caused by stress or too much stomach acid?
We now know that a certain bacteria, Helicobacter pylori is responsible for the majority of stomach ulcers which helped to revolutionize their treatment.
Barry James Marshal – The pathologist and clinician from Perth, Western Australia who discovered that this bacteria was responsible for stomach ulcers were mocked and ridiculed by the rest of the medical profession when they announced their discovery back in 1982. They persevered with guts, tenacity and courage to fight the prevailing dogma and were eventually rewarded with a Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2005.
This is a single successful example of the struggle that researchers, clinicians, doctors and others in the field of health care and medicine must face when challenging the accepted dogma.
Not everyone is successful
Our healthcare system does not embrace change or truth readily. On average, it seems to take at least 10 years for something to be proven correct by researchers before it even starts to be accepted by our health systems. This is due to vested interests by large corporations, ego and ignorance.
The field of nutrition is beset with the same problems. The advice dispensed by the majority of health care professionals is based on severely outdated and incorrect information. Remember, it takes about 10 years for something to be proven by researchers before it’s widely accepted by the health care profession. Our understanding of physiology (how your body works) and nutrition has come a long way in the last 10 years or so.
The failure of the health industry to embrace changes in our knowledge of how your body works and how nutrition influences your health is putting the health of you and your family at risk.
There is a continued trend for traditional nutrition to be proved correct eventually.
Remember the egg story?
When cholesterol was first discovered we were told that eggs were the ultimate unhealthy food. They were denounced as dangerous cholesterol containing killers and should be avoided by everyone concerned with their health. In Australia, eggs now carry the Heart Foundation tick as a ‘highly nutritious food’ yet many people continue to avoid eggs thinking them to be an unhealthy food as a direct result of the scare campaign against eggs. Old habits die hard.
Many of us have been bought up believing that foods common to the diets of our great grandparents are unhealthy foods. But time and time again these foods are found to be highly nutritious and healthy. These studies are simply ignored by Politically Correct Nutrition.
Why wait the ten or so years it will take for our current diet and nutrition recommendations to be proven incorrect.
Politically correct nutrition is responsible for the rising rates of diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, cardio vascular disease, dementia, arthritis, ADD/ADHD and allergies that are crippling our healthcare system and robbing us of our health.
Some of the myths and dogma currently perpetuated by Politically Correct Nutrition that will proven false in the next 10 or so years include:
- Cholesterol causes heart disease
- Animal products are an unhealthy food and cause high cholesterol
- You should eat 3-5 serves of grains or cereals per day
- Unpasteurized milk is a dangerous unhealthy food
- You should consume low fat meat and dairy products
- Red meat is an unhealthy food and bad for your health
- Vitamin A is dangerous during pregnancy
- Polyunsaturated vegetables oils are ‘good fats’
- Saturated fats are ‘bad fats’
- A low fat diet is healthy
- A low salt diet is healthy
I’m Jasmine, a Nutritionist and Wellness advocate. My passion is fitness and nutrition; but I also love cooking and making healthy foods with my family and being active.