I’ve been following the Heart Foundation on Facebook for the past month or so as they are currently being lobbied by certain “low carb high fat” activists who want all the recommendations changed. That page is basically over run with trolls of the “you say this food is a healthy choice but I personally cannot eat it due to my medical condition, so you need to stop saying it is a healthy choice” variety. It’s not something I really understand, but it seems to be a common sort of thought process… the old “I can’t, therefore no one else should” idea.
Also as mentioned you have the high fat low carb activists who’s argument seems to be that saturated fat is NOT necessarily bad for people. I’d actually agree with this in principle but as usual, people can’t just say “it’s fine in non excessive amounts”, they have to extend to such a ridiculous extreme as Christine Cronau‘s frequent claims that “eating fat can’t make you fat” no matter how much you have. Absolute rot. What seems to come next is the “well if fat is good, it must be EVERYTHING ELSE that is bad” stuff. So you get on the Heart Foundation’s page and there’s all this stuff complaining about “demonisation of fat”,and demanding that sugar be demonised instead.
As an aside, you can see what the Mediawatch program had to say about the dubious credibility of some of those High Fat Low Carb activists by clicking that link.
So anyway I noticed a post from the Heart Foundation on my news feed and there was a comment from this guy with “No Fructose” in his name and that caught my eye and raised my ire. Following on to his “No Fructose” website made me IRATE.
First of let’s say this about fructose. If you’re in the habit of for example consuming huge amounts of fanta every day, we all know that’s a lot of sugar. I’m going to use a 1.25 litre bottle per day as an example… and you might say “oh that’s a HUGE bottle, that’s excessive” and that’s exactly my point… it IS excessive, but some people would put one of these away most days for sure, and it’s pretty good odds that if they do, they’re going to be overweight or obese. At close to 600 calories just from soft drink a day, on top of whatever else you consume in the day… you’re looking at vastly excessive total calorie intake, and the the sugar (fructose) in that soft drink will be a huge percentage of the excess calories while also providing no nutritional value or promotion of satiety.
So again, here comes the problem via means of faulty reasoning. If the fructose in a huge quantity of soft drink will make you gain weight, that means fructose is bad. Since fructose comes from fruit, that means fruit is bad and you shouldn’t eat too much of it.
Clearly that is an absolutely ridiculous conclusion to come to, but our mate Gary has built an entire website and a “no fructose” movement about it. Let me paste some stuff in straight from the no fructose website.
I believe fruit makes you hungry. How many of you can eat just one grape if you have a bunch in front of you? Just try doing one strawberry. Even an apple can leave you hungry. That’s what they are designed to do.
Read that again. Does that look like something that you’d expect to find on the website of a responsible, educated adult? Or more like something you’d read on a pro-ana blog run by a troubled adolescent? The suggestion that a single grape should be enough to satisfy one’s appetite, or that there would anything remotely bad about eating a whole bunch is so irresponsible as to be outrageous to me. I was LIVID when I read this.
That’s probably the worst of it, but it’s not ALL of it. The rest is a bunch of stuff about how transporting fruit from one area to another where it can’t be grown due to climate or other geographical reasons is somehow “unnatural” and therefore bad. Whatever. When we get to the point that even FRUIT is not considered enough of a natural healthy choice… there is a big problem. And to suggest that eating a single grape is a bad idea as you won’t be able to stop at just one, and then you’ll get fat… GOD HELP ME.
Here is the deal. I wanted to just do an angry slam post calling this guy out as a “dangerous imbecile who actively promotes damaging and false ideas about food, to the point of actual encouragement of eating disorder type attitudes”.. but on further investigation, the guy is not stupid. He’s a leading surgeon who has addressed parliament in the past. Apparently highly respected. That is the scary part, because everything ELSE I said (other than “imbecile”) still stands. The idea that fruit isn’t a healthy choice of foods, that needs to be limited to a maximum of one piece per day, or you’ll get fat and unhealthy… it would be laughable if eating disorders weren’t such a serious and prolific problem. These ideas are not just incorrect, but they are very harmful.
Here’s the actual deal in point form the way I like it:
- We each have a range of calories that will result in maintenance of a healthy, “historically normal” weight (or whatever healthy goal weight you choose) that is determined by our age, height and lifestyle amongst other factors.
- If we habitually consume within that range of calories, we’ll end up in the predicted weight range.
- An appropriate balance of macronutrients will help, but none of them need to be eliminated completely.
- Vitamins, minerals and fibre are also important for good health, and fruits are an excellent way to meet these requirements.
- Enjoying your foods with no guilt attached is also important, and fruits are most delicious and enjoyable.
- Regardless of the source (healthy and natural, or less so), no calories can be stored as fat if you are not consuming in excess of your requirements.
In the end… I even got Gary Fettke to admit to this. Hopefully he’ll now reconsider the accuracy and implications of what he has been promoting.