Recently, The New York Times food writer Mark Bittman said that the real problem with American and American-style diets worldwide is not the overabundant use of salt, fat, and sugar. There are bigger things to worry about given the ways the public eats. The nation is in the grip of a plague of weight-related health problems like obesity and diabetes, and the only answer to it is, according to Bittman, replacing processed food with “real food.”
Packaged and prepared food is what Bittman and other acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan claim is the real enemy to the modern diet. Packed with unhealthy additives and high levels of sugar and other highly processed ingredients, the food that we buy out of convenience is the part of our diet doing us the most harm and making it impossible for people to lose weight. The biggest culprits are the food you find in the freezer aisle and with the chips and junk food.
Another part of the problem is processed food that claims to be healthy for you—such as labels that claim that things are “lite” or “fat-free” or “natural”—that don’t mean anything, or substitute one bad ingredient for another. We’ve discussed at length in another post about how the entire fat-free diet fad actually introduced higher sugar levels into all of the food that was being sold as a healthy alternative. No matter what the supposedly healthy food label says, the lesson to be learned is this: What you can’t see get made, you can’t trust.
Sometimes it’s a burden on families to find alternatives to these kinds of food. It’s a cycle of poor health and economic struggle that will never let people go. Healthy food alternatives have to become part of everyone’s diet—not only for better bodies, but for better lives.
Real food is the best answer to processed food. Eating healthy is not about seeking out the foods marketed as part of a fad diet so much as you need to stay away from the food that is making you unhealthy. The shift has to happen on a taste level. Once consumers realize that what they have been buying is not only unhealthy but also unappetizing, then you will see a real trend towards lower obesity rates, better performance at school and work, and happier people.