The release of a video called ‘What the Health’ and the general panic in its wake about how we are all eating ourselves into cancer, diabetes and early death has gone viral. It has also spawned a few dietary cousins including one that compels you to drink only vegetable juice and all this effort will make your insides squeaky clean.
What’s bad for you? Everything. We are told that bread (the staff of life), salt (of the earth and worth it), sugar (hi honey) and milk (of human kindness) are foisted upon us by a gigantic conspiracy of the pharmaceutical industry, the egg and dairy industry and the meat and poultry mafias in conjunction with government connivance so that it is a win-win for all … except the consumer who is designated to keel over and become a statistic.
We are all going to die. Right. There is no running away from that solitary reaper. And food is a happy element in our lives. But we are being so easily robbed of that joy.
We are not stupid. Just as we know that smoking is bad for us we also know that processed meats cannot be good. We also know through sheer logic that taking in marbled red meats and oil soaked fast foods will supersize us. Nothing surprising there. If we overdo fried foods and alcohol and eat cream in its many wondrous forms it will clog our arteries.
The scaremongers have based their findings, though, on American portions. The rest of the world eats sparingly in comparison. You know how much you need so if you ignore that simple factor there will be a price to pay. The mountain of French fries, the dozen bacon rashers, salami, pastrami, etc in one serving are about the same as what we would consume as mere mortals in a week. Ergo, the 18% risk is whittled down to a little over 2%.
By the same token it is impossible to scientifically evaluate how a single food damages the human body. No one has done any authoritative study with a dedicated group of volunteers eating only, shall we say, cheese and figured out how it affects them as compared to a group being given placebos. Therefore the premise itself is flawed.
The 2% risk factor is further reduced by the difference between a daily rational intake and an infrequent devouring of any of these dining table adversaries. If i eat a few rashers on a holiday morning or fry an egg or two on toast to go with them, the skies will not fall. The odds would fall to half which is 1%.
There is no gainsaying the fact that spurious foodstuffs and lack of a common yardstick for quality and safety contribute to the illnesses listed in these current denouncements. If you stop eating plump chickens which are hormonally enhanced that makes sense. If you scratch off dyed fruits and vegetable or animal products treated with antibiotics to be made meatier and go organic no one would accuse you of being a ‘fraidy’ cat.
The same measure can be applied to anything that is suspect. Add to this protective decision an up in hygiene so that your cast-iron stomach is not tested because you are avoiding contaminated roadside foods, stale edibles and post sell-by products and you reduce your risk to 0.5%. Add to that an awareness of spurious colourings, injected fruits and other imaginative food adulterations and the risk dwindles even more.
Add to the fraction of the percentage the grimness and joylessness of life without your culinary delights and what is left to enjoy. For years fad diets wrecked happiness and tossed us on this sea of misery. Now, it is being fine tuned with very little scientific fact to make us wallow in calorific guilt. The stress of denial is tangible.
In ‘What the Health’ the visuals compare eggs to smoking five cigarettes and milk and dairy to pure poison. The trick lies not in scare stories and clever manipulations of the mind but in moderate and judicious consumption.
You will live longer and be happier for it.