Better Critical Thinking Skills, Better Diet
In this nutrition series by award-winning author and S&V contributor, Andrew Garrison, we'll journey through five “must Do’s” to lose excess fat and gain physical satisfaction.
Typical weight-loss efforts that focus solely on calorie restriction are doomed to fail because restrictive dieting is about food limitation and rejection. When we fall off the starvation wagon, so many of us make the negative promise, “I’ll never let that happen again,” but we do, over and over again. So much negativity! Instead, keeping our 'Being Image' in mind creates a positive mindset. We can make affirming statements like, “Fuel yourself” to seek out delicious fare the human body needs. By eating real food, we become viscerally aware of our own response to hunger, appetite, and satiety.
Here’s an important question: How can I stop starving myself (which often includes stuffing the body with empty-calorie foods in an attempt to feel fed) and begin feasting on all that life offers?
DO IT RIGHT
#1 Boost Critical Thinking Skills
Why don’t ads showcase the spectacular pleasures of whole foods, or highlight the abundant options for natural nourishment? Simple: it’s because the big corporations won’t profit. Yes, agri-business is catching on that there is money to be made in the health-food market, but it often involves the misleading use of words like “healthy” and “all-natural,” when the products are actually anything but. The buyer must definitely beware!
Critical thinking begins with awareness of just how big the business of weight loss is. U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market claims that the total weight loss market in the United States tops $60 billion. Commercial weight loss chains promise instant gratification with diet drugs, diet pills, meal replacements, diet programs, diet websites, diet apps, home delivery services and more. Compounding the influence of the weight loss business is our nation’s overproduction of certain foods (corn, beef, and dairy are heavily subsidized by our government) and the fortification and enrichment of products by artificially increasing micronutrients or by replacing original nutrients removed or destroyed through processing—all in the name of increasing product shelf life.
In a perfect world, we could simply follow government food guidelines to improve our nutrition. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Government watchdogs are challenged to adequately govern the food industry because we are targets of relentless marketing that messes with our minds, making us think we must have what we don’t need and sidetracking us from buying what we most need. In the end, it’s up to Joe Public to think critically about target marketing and understand how food processing and food promotion impact nutrition.
#2 Deciphering the Labels
We can learn a lot from the descriptions on packaged goods. Refined involves the removal of impurities or unwanted elements from a substance, such as refined sugar. Fortified means to increase essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals in processed food. Food products can also be fortified with nutrients that weren’t in the original food before processing. Enriched is synonymous with fortification, but also includes the addition of micronutrients that were lost during the processing of the food. You would think all this is a good thing, a means of reducing disease caused by dietary deficiency. But look again.
Food promoters scare people into feeling that we are deficient in something like certain vitamins and minerals, for example.
So, rather than buying whole foods naturally rich in micronutrients our bodies can utilize, we choose refined products, fortified and enriched with chemical micronutrients that our bodies may not even be able to absorb properly.
What's the lesson here, fellas?