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Foodie Friday: in which i bitch

August 29, 2008
So, sorry. It’s just that the more attention i pay to the way people deal with food, the more it pisses me off. I guess it’s all along the lines of that cliche of the person who orders the super-size big mac meal with diet Coke. ‘Cause everyone knows that regular Coke makes you fat. The thing is, though, that even the people who like to make fun of that think the exact same way, even if they don’t eat big macs (or diet coke). The problem with that line of thought is two-fold.
I stole this pic from Madam. It sounds just like her, and i love it for that. Also for bein funny.

I stole this pic from Madam. It sounds just like her, and i love it for that. Also for bein' funny.

There is the obvious side: the “magic bullet” (and/or self-delusion) view that things that say “diet” (“fat free,” etc.) cure all the ills of your diet. This is also two-fold. On the one hand it’s the i ate a salad, or diet coke, or something “healthy,” so now i can eat anything i please, because i’ve already been healthy once today. But more insidious is the faking of healthy foods. That is, coke (in the proper Southern, lower-case use) is bad for you. I know because i drink too much Dr. Pepper. And if you like the way diet cokes taste better, fine by me (i happen to think fake sugar is worse for you than real sugar, but…in lieu of the everything about this is bad for me, i’ll give it a pass. Maybe you can give me a pass for my fattening-beverage ways on the same grounds, eh?). That’s, i guess, an obvious one, but the same thing goes for almost anything with health claims and such on it.

(A bit of history on that: “fat free” foods were never originally intended for weight loss or spurious health claims – they were first a niche food produced for people whose bodies can’t properly process fats, and who, therefore, have to eat fat-free. As such, they aren’t very related to weight loss. It was basically due to consumer mistake – fat-free food must equal fat-free eater – latched onto by marketing that they became so ubiquitous. Sorry, back to the rant at hand.)

Problem the second: being fat is the one and only problem you have to worry about with your body. I know i already covered what i think of that to some extent quite recently. However, i think it’s worth a review under different lighting. Before, i talked about being healthy as a matter of fitness (versus fatness). Well, nutrition is another major factor in health; both malnutrition and over-nutrition. Once again, while both of those problems are related to weight, they are in no way dependent on weight. You can be malnourished without be unfed. Which is to say that the picture of starving third-world children that comes to mind when one hears that term is (certainly not untrue, but) only part of the story. If you only eat junkie food (it is far cheaper than fresh foods), then you may well be filling up without getting much of the actual nutrition your body needs. Okay, i’m going on. I’ll just say, for over-nutrition, that extremely diet-related health indicators such as cholesterol levels are much more accurate than weight or fat, and can be exacerbated by foods that may not actually make you fat 9and vice versa).

So, my point is, really, that (go read In Defense of Food) people’s obsession with health and food and diet and (especially) fat is the antithesis of healthy, and that it is a sick way to think about both food and yourself.

Also, i don’t get folks’ obsession with meat. Just sayin’.

Lady Brett,
Who is fully aware that this is a cop out, and is penitent but not apologetic, because an apology would be something of a lie given that she is in complete control of what she does or does not post here.

P.S. – an addendum to the BMI post: linguistically speaking, is it accurate to call a BMI of 18.5-25 “normal” if well over half the US population is outside of that range (wikipedia didn’t say a number for under, but 63% are over it)? Only talking about the US because that’s the culture these posts are about, and also because “normal” BMI is defined differently for different cultures/areas of the world.

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