Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 65 of 365: A Few Words About Dieting

I've been reading excerpts of Nick Carter's memoir Facing the Music (And Living to Talk About It). Excerpts, instead of the entire thing, because I've heard some pretty damning things about the book and I figured I was better off reading what I could online for free before investing $25 on a book that is only out in hardcover right now.

So far, I have to agree with the reviewers. The style of writing is exhaustingly monotonous. It's repetitive. It doesn't reveal anything that any fan wouldn't already know. It dives into self-help. A lot. In fact, I'd say the book is 1 part memoir, 9 parts "self-help". And I hate self-help books. They tend to be the same droll in different wording, and they never address the actual issues at hand (and, let's face it: if you're reading self-help, you'd do yourself a world of good to get outside help as well).

One of the things I read threw me for a loop: in a section about nutrition, Nick Carter talks about avoiding (or at least limiting) apples because they are high in calories and sugar.

Erm, what?

Maybe it's because I talked about crap eating yesterday, but that just got me angry. Because I've heard it before. I've heard tons of "nutrition" websites talking about avoiding fruits because they are actually "bad" for you!

Here's the issue: yes, fruits are high in sugar. Natural sugar. Good sugar. The sugar, you know, we need? You know, the reason why a drop in blood sugar is a bad thing? You need sugar. The same way you need sodium. You just don't need processed sugar, or the absurdly high amounts of salt, in food.

If you're big on the paleo diet, you know just how vital fruits are. Our ancestors ate a ton of fruits and vegetables. You don't have to believe in the paleo diet to recognize that eating like this probably shaped how humans evolved. Fruits are good, and any nutritionist who tells you that you should avoid fruit should have their practicing license revoked.

Maybe if you're just gorging yourself on apples and grapes and bananas (and not exercising) and wondering why you haven't lost any weight, I can see recognizing that your intake in general is too high and you need to cut back on the apples (and vegetables, and grains, and proteins). And hell, at the end of the day, I'm not a nutritionist, so I'm just saying this based on my limited education on the subject.

But this is one thing I know: very few people are in a position where too many apples is even an issue. Two out of three Americans are considered significantly overweight. One of out three are morbidly obese. Only 15% of America's population gets a sufficient amount of exercise each week. Americans eat, on average, 156 pounds of granulated sugar every year. You tell the masses that apples are bad for them, and you're not helping their nutrition one bit. You'll get people who avoid apples because the internet told them to, only to dive headfirst into a SnackPack because, "Hey, it's only 100 calories!" Yeah, and processed sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, but you're right: the SnackPacks are the way to go instead.

I cannot stomach these types of "findings". This comes from the same pool of nuttos who told us to eat a carb-only diet, only to turn around and say that carbs were bad (and to be avoided at all costs), only to turn around yet again that carbs are good, but in moderation. It's no better than the fad diets and the cleanses. All it does is distract and confuse people who genuinely want to eat better and be in better shape.

My advice? Eat intelligently. Fruits and veggies and proper portions. Lots of physical activity. If a fifth grader can't read what the ingredients are, it's probably not as great for you as you want it to be. And, for the love of God, don't listen to a pop star with a poorly written memoir.

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