Saturday, September 22, 2007

You are what you eat

Via CNN - If we are what we eat, Americans are corn and soy
Proteins and fats in your food are incorporated into your body and brain with potentially profound effects on your health and even your behavior.

[. . .]

"We are what we eat with respect to carbon, for sure. So if we eat a particular kind of food, and it has a particular kind of carbon in it, that's recorded in us, in our tissues, in our hair, in our fingernails, in the muscles," Dawson says.

[. . .]

"We're like corn chips walking because we really have a very, very large fraction of corn in our diets, and we actually can't help it because it's an additive in so many of the foods we find on the market shelves," Dawson says.

[. . .]

Americans also eat an extraordinary amount of soybean oil, another key ingredient in most processed foods.
Now apparently Europeans don't eat as much processed food as we Americans do. It makes me wonder, what the heck do they eat and how, as an American, do I avoid processed food. Also, it would seem that we could avoid anti-depressants if we just ate more fish.
Our bodies need a balance of omega-6 fatty acids like soybean oil and omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil, Hibbeln says. Over the last century, our diets have shifted almost completely to omega-6 fatty acids.

"It's quite likely that most of the diseases of modern civilization, major depression, heart disease and obesity are linked to the radical and dramatic shift in the composition of the fats in the food supply," Hibbeln says.

Our brains are composed of fatty acids, and an absence of omega-3 fatty acids can actually change our behavior, according to Hibbeln.

Hibbeln's research suggests diets containing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish reduce depression, aggression and anger, while improving mental well-being.
Now my question is, what if you eat fish that has been fried in soybean oil or corn oil? And I thought soy was supposed to be good for you anyway. Who knows anymore?

1 comment:

Dr. Richard Scott Nokes said...

I've never really understood what the phrase "processed foods" is supposed to mean. Bread and wine, the foods that are used to bring Enkidu into civilization in Gilgamesh, are processed -- in fact, they are used because they are the simplest processed foods.

I'm assuming that when I eat raw fruit and vegetables (I prefer my fruits and veggies raw for flavor reasons, not for dietary reasons), those count as unprocessed. But isn't cooking meat processing? Baking bread? Steaming rice?

I'm starting to suspect that the phrase "processed foods" means "foods prepared in ways I don't approve of," and has no particular meaning beyond that.