Since When Is Cane Sugar A Health Food? Zak sent me a link to an extremely interesting NY Times article where I learned that since consumers have decided that high fructose corn syrup is the devil that has caused rampant obesity in the United States (and yes, it may be -one- factor among -many- involved in the obesity problem–but by no means should anyone believe it is the sole cause), cane sugar is being used as an ingredient in many processed foods, and this fact is being used as a marketing tool.
Which is fine–there are people who want to avoid HFCS, and that is great, so labeling the absence of it and the presence of cane sugar is fine. However, calling cane sugar a “healthy alternative” to HFCS is stretching the truth just a wee bit.
Oh, hell, let’s just say it is patent bull crap. Sugar is still not good for you in large quantities, no matter whether it comes from sugar cane, beets or corn. Cane sugar may be more cleanly metabolized by our bodies, but it is still sugar, and frankly, I don’t think it needs to be in every brand of spaghetti sauce, salad dressing and bread in copious amounts on the grocery store shelf.
Mark Bittman Says: Eat Better Food, Don’t Worry About Organic I like Mark Bittman. Even when I disagree with him, I like him–he just has such a sensible, no-nonsense way of putting his opinions that I respect and enjoy. In his recent article in the NY Times, Eating Food That’s Better For You, Organic Or Not, he points out that he would rather see Americans eating more conventionally or organically grown fruits and vegetables and other whole, minimally processed foods than have them get the idea that an organic Oreo cookie is somehow healthier than a regular Oreo cookie.
And that is a point that I have found over and over in talking with people who are not in my immediate circle of friends. A lot of people in this country have the idea that the USDA Organic label on a package of cookies, crackers or cereal instantly imbues that particular food with immediate healthy to eat status, which is just not true. “Organic” does not necessarily equate with “healthy,” “sustainable,” or “local,” when it comes to food. All it means is that the food is grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, that it has not been treated with sewage sludge and that it has been processed with minimal artificial ingredients and chemicals. That’s it.
As Bittman points out, it can be organically grown in China, then shipped to the United States, which is still not very sustainable. And as he quotes author and nutritionist Marion Nestle, “Organic junk food is still junk food.”
So, as he says, let’s all get off our duffs and eat more vegetables and fruits and leave the organic Oreos to themselves.
Will The Food Revolution Be Televised? If you get the reference to the subhead for this bit, you get a cookie, because you win extra points for obscure cultural awareness. Zak, you don’t count, because I know you know what I am talking about.
Once again, we come to a NY Times article, Is a Food Revolution Now In Season? to see that all of those foodie activists and authors I have been reading and writing about for years: Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser and Marion Nestle, thrilled to finally have their voices heard by the new presidential administration. So thrilled in fact, that they are pushing their agenda for a better, healthier food system for the United States, that they are heading to Washington, writing letters, meeting with Tom Vilsack, our new Secretary of Agriculture, and First Lady Michelle Obama, armed with copies of the film, Food, Inc.
Of course, the change these activists want will not come as fast as they want, but it appears that even among farm-state Senators, copies of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma are being seen tucked in briefcases and under arms.
That leads me to think that change is coming–faster than I expected, but still slowly.
And that is fine–as any ecologist or gardener will tell you, slow, steady change is the way natural systems work.
Fast change is what is likely to be unsustainable and not stick. Slow change is the way to work toward long-term goals.
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