Anyway, Bittman's solution to the obesity problem in this country and everywhere else is simple and the epitome of common sense: cut out processed food and sugar in all its forms and eat only real food with fruits and vegetables dominating our diet.
I agree with Mr. Bittman and I think he is 100% right, as are all the rest of the thousands of nutritional voices who've been crying out some variation of the same message in the processed-food wilderness for the past 10, 20, 30, or however many years. And the message is always the same, isn't it? Eat healthy. Eat fruits and vegetables. Don't eat refined carbohydrates and sugar. Don't eat processed food.
And anymore, do you know how I feel like responding whenever I hear that message?
I mean, come on, for cryin' out loud, do we really need at this point to be told that we should finish our meal with an apple instead of a chocolate brownie? Eat a plate of grilled chicken with a side of raw veggies instead of a big Mac and fries? Munch on carrot sticks instead of Combos? We know it already! How could we not?
But they just keep on lecturing us and lecturing us on what we already know about how we should be eating without ever addressing the big over- weight elephant in the room: Human appetite.
Appetite is something that we all have, right? And ultimately we're driven to eat according to its dictates. It dicates to us to eat what it wants, and what it wants ain't healthy.
I mean, take me, for example. All I ever want to drink is caffeine-free diet cola. It makes everything I eat taste good. But since all the nutritional data states that water is the healthy thing to drink, I've given up diet cola for water. Now I drink water with my meals. And my food doesn't taste as good. Eating without a diet cola not as satisfying. Some essential flavor is missing. But I'm forcing myself to drink water anyway with the goal of suppressing the will of my appetite in deference to what's good for me.
And, by the way, it's not just us humans who naturally prefer the bad stuff over the good stuff.
When my daughter Theresa was in college she did an experiment with rats. She set a bowl of healthy rat food in the cage where the rats could easily get to it. She also put Cheetos (which are as junky for rats as they are for us) in the cage, but to get to the Cheetos the rats had to figure out how to work a complicated(for rats) little device. Those rats knocked themselves out getting the Cheetos while they let the healthy stuff go.
So here's the questions I'd like answered in the next article somebody writes on how we all need to eat healthy :
1. If appetite is an evolutionary apparatus to ensure that we take in the fuel necessary for our survival, how come it leads us to the wrong fuel?
2. Why doesn't the real food we're supposed to eat taste as good to us as the bogus food we're not supposed to eat?
3. Is somebody working on a pill that will make food that's good for us taste as good as food that's bad for us?
3. Why did God invent sugar, anyway?
4. Is this all somehow related to pain?
Everybody have a great weekend!