I know a lot of people out there will never understand (or attempt to understand, or even be aware of the issue on a minute level) basic facts about why certain foods are better for you than others, but it particularly aggravates me when journalists and bloggers propagate inaccurate information in the realm of eat this, not that. It only furthers the "what do I eat" dilemma, sets edgy women off on the latest faddy diet trends and muddles the most basic tenets behind healthy eating.
Yes, somebody pissed me off again.
A recent article by Opinions author Jacques Rousseau (Daily Maverick, South Africa) addresses the seemingly age-old "to carb or not to carb" debate that has sparked interest again after a noted sports-science guru took a complete 180 on his stance with regard to carb-loading, changing his tune to state that carbs are actually addictive and harmful to your health.
Now, I do plan on going back to read Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories again some day, because all of the science behind chronic disease and cancer is fascinating, and if you recall my previous descriptions of the book or get where I'm heading, in part this theory is right that carbs are evil and we should all stay away — but come on. That's not the full story, and we all know it.
Nowhere in the article does it mention the value of eating whole grains. I'm no expert, but I know enough to recognize the inherent difference between a slice of apple-cinnamon swirl breakfast bread (made with bleached, refined, enriched flour) and a loaf of simple honey whole wheat. The former, of course, being a sugar bomb that does nothing for you nutritionally and, arguably, can actually harm you if consumed on a regular basis, and the latter being a solid source of fiber, protein, iron and various vitamins and minerals. These two examples are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum and, therefore, shouldn't be lumped into one "bad" category that just ends up confusing more people and encouraging more irrational diet plans.
In a food culture that is continually reaching more consumers and educating a wider audience, it's a shame that people still just don't get it. Either that or they haven't done their research — and this is not an area in which to act out irresponsibly. Carbs are not the devil, as long as you choose the right ones. Whole grains — corn, oats, barley, 100% whole wheat, etc — do as much to benefit you as the junky white-flour counterparts do to harm you. If you're going to follow the advice of a newspaper columnist, sports-science guru, dietitian or nutritionist, do your own research before diving in...there is more power in building your own source of knowledge and understanding than ever simply taking a quote, claim or fad out of context.
Next up: The Mommy Connection — How to Help in the Kitchen