Food for Thought: Big Ag, Big Carbs, Big Problems?
Remember everything that you learned about a low-fat diet? Well, it may be time to unlearn it, according to Harvard University researchers and a recent story in the L.A. Times. As Americans waistlines become increasingly larger, so, too, has our consumption of carbohydrates and scientists around the country are wagging their fingers at our high sugar, high carb diets.
According to Dr. Walter Willet of Harvard University:
“Fat is not the problem,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.”
And while I will leave the diet debate to the scientists, one line, in particular, from the L.A. Times piece struck me as incredibly insightful:
One way to put our diet in perspective is to imagine the face of a clock with 24 hours on it. Each hour represents 100,000 years that humans have been on the Earth.
On this clock, the advent of agriculture and refined grains would have appeared at about 11:54 p.m. (23 hours and 54 minutes into the day). Before that, humans were hunters and gatherers, eating animals and plants off the land. Agriculture allowed for the mass production of crops such as wheat and corn, and refineries transformed whole grains into refined flour and created processed sugar.
So at 11:54 p.m. on this Food Clock, we made a radical change to the way that we fed ourselves and our families.
The agricultural industry has profited enormously from this change, but what has the overall cost been to the health of our country?
Perhaps it’s time we think about it.