Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Demonisation Of Processed Foods Has Gone Way Too Far

For a while now I've had an issue with the amount of nonsense that gets put around about quote/unquote "processed food" and how you can't be healthy, can't lose weight, can't be in shape & and are a poor excuse for a human being if you ever eat any of it.

I mean... really.

There are lots of foods on the shelves of the supermarket that don't make for a great choice in meeting your nutritional requirements without exceeding your energy requirements. This much is true, however for the most part these particular "unhealthy" products aren't really marketed as things you should rely on for every meal. They're more like snack products and so on, for the most part.

To say "we should eat less processed foods" isn't bad advice, as in implies eating more fresh fruit and vegetables instead, for example. But interpreting that advice as "any food out of packet is inherently bad at any amount or frequency" is not correct and I've been saying for a while it is actually harmful. For example when you have the case of someone who is trying to get into shape through restrictive dieting and excessive exercise without results, the idea that a specific, particular choice of meal or snack is responsible for the lack of results especially coupled with the inference that they "weren't disciplined enough to earn it" or whatever is particular harmful and conducive to the development of eating disorder.

What we've seen in the past week though is a step beyond even this, with the suggestion that commercial baby formula is unsafe and unhealthy, merely on the basis that it "comes from a tin" and has ingredient names that people don't recognise. Worse still when the "healthy alternative" people are being encouraged to use instead actually has the potential to kill a child due to the inappropriate level of certain nutrients that it might contain.

Why all the hate for "big food?" I'll paste in my comments in reply to the message above on the Blocked By Pete page on facebook.

It comes across to me like these people literally think of "big food" as a bunch of diabolical Monty Burns type characters sitting around scheming about "how can we trick people into ingesting more toxic chemicals and tell 'em it's healthy? ESPECIALLY BABIES?"

I mean... I'm not the most trusting person but even I don't see any reason to assume anything remotely like that is plausible. Truth be told, although I might come across otherwise sometimes, I don't even think that's what's going on with most of the "alternative nutrition" crowd... they're not deliberately evil, they're just deluded narcissists who can't accept that their gut feeling might not be as accurate as legit scientific investigation, and just keep digging in deeper the more flawed their position is shown to be. Except for a couple I won't name right now who i believe are genuinely just very bad people.

The idea that baby formula isn't / wouldn't be healthy and safe on the basis that it is produced by "big food" though? You'd need to actually provide some evidence, not just act like it is self evident.

Baby formula is an answer to a problem of the instance where a new mother is not able to produce enough breast milk for some reason, or hell it is 2015... the biological mother might not even be in the picture, it could be a single dad or even a two dad family. So in these instances we have a need for a product that replicates the nutritional content of breast milk as closely as possible to ensure the infant can get what it needs to thrive. And "big food" goes "yeah there's some money in that, we can do that" and there you have it.

This whole "we need a healthier more natural alternative to formula' is problematic on two fronts as #1 it just puts more pressure on to new parents who are probably stressed out and in many cases made to feel guilty already due to not having success in breast feeding, and #2 so far (and believe me I have been asking) no one has been able to tell me exactly why people need to be looking for an alternative to formula as if it in some way questionable.

It's a very good, very dangerous example of why this whole demonisation of processed foods thing has gotten way, way, WAY out of hand.


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