Food is not the enemy.

Last night at work I was casually reading the label of the Dannon Light and Fit yogurt I was eating. Ordinarily not my particular choice of yogurt, but it’s the brand that my hospital just happens to get for our patients.

I’m guilty of reading nutrition labels of products not because it really affects whether I’ll eat it, but just with the casual interest of someone who reads the back of a cereal box while eating breakfast, or the back of a shampoo bottle while in the shower. Just for the sheer reason of having something to do.

As I’m reading, I stumble over the warning I’ve seen so many times:

Phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine.

It made me think.

Our culture has demonized the things that naturally come in food. Calories, fat, protein, carbs, sugars, sodium. There are products that are specifically made to be zero calorie. Does it make anyone else wonder? If you’re eating something that’s zero calorie/zero fat/zero whatever else–if it’s not calories you’re ingesting. . .what exactly is it?

We have demonized the things that we need for our bodies.

Calories are not evil. Calories, in their most simple definition, are energy. You NEED energy to get through your day.

Fat is not evil. You need fat in your diet for brain development, to absorb nutrients, to cover your organs.

Carbs are not evil. You NEED carbs in your diet for fuel.

Sodium is not evil. Having too little sodium in your body can kill you.

Far be it from me to police what anyone puts in their bodies, but the fact that things that are literally necessary for basic human functions are looked down upon in so many ads, so many products, it really rubs me the wrong way. Especially how so many of the products are labeled as ‘guilt free.’  (Likewise, when something is ‘bad’ for you, it’s often described as ‘sinful’ or ‘decadent’.) You shouldn’t feel guilty for putting food in your mouth. Ever, ever, ever.

And hell, things that are made with real, legitimate ingredients instead of chemicals and aspartame just taste better. And having food that tastes good is also something that should never make you feel like you’re being ‘sinful’ or ‘decadent’.

I don’t want a 60 calorie yogurt. When I’m at work and I grab a snack, I grab it because I’m running around all night and I need energy to be alert and effective. The difference between a 60 calorie ‘light and fit’ yogurt and the 100 calories it would be normally, it doesn’t really make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

But really, I’m more concerned about what we’re replacing these things our body needs with. Phenylalanine? Okay, so it’s an essential amino acid, but to replace other things with it is so unnecessary. In fact, according to wikipedia, large quantaties of phenylalanine interferes with the production of serotonin, a chemical that allows you to feel happy. So in a twist of fate, consuming too much phenylalanine actually harms your well being!

The things that we replace our calories, carbs, sodium with ends up being more harmful than what they’re cutting out.

The things that are naturally in food are not the enemy.

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4 Responses to Food is not the enemy.

  1. j says:

    The reason that is on the can of diet soda is because people with Phenylketonuria lack the ability to metabolize phenylalanine . . . not because they’re trying to say it’s better or worse for your diet. People with PKU can suffer serious problems if they consume food that contains that amino acid. There’s no real way to cure PKU and most people diagnosed with it are told to simply avoid any food which can irritate its effects. That’s why it’s on the can–to make sure the people that need to do so are able to avoid consuming phenylalanine.

  2. JG says:

    Too much sodium isn’t healthy for bodies. Too much sugar isn’t healthy for bodies. Yes, eating all-natural foods is healthier than eating stuff packed with artificial chemicals, but too much of certain naturally-occurring things isn’t good either.

    Do you realize that you often come off as looking for every excuse for maintain your unhealthy lifestyle? Before you respond with “how do you know what my lifestyle entails?” please keep in mind that you often post on Tumblr how depressed you are and how it leads to you laying around your house. You also seem to use food as a coping mechanism.

    Truly look yourself in the eye and find out why you do those things. You deserve to be treated with respect regardless of what your body shape/size is, but you are not a healthy person–physically nor mentally.

  3. Stephaine Schoeffler says:

    DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA) is marketed as a nutritional supplement for its supposed analgesic and antidepressant activities. DL-Phenylalanine is a mixture of D-phenylalanine and L-phenylalanine.-

    Latest short article straight from our own web blog

  4. BeaGomez says:

    You don’t need carbs for energy. Your brain and your body run just fine on ketones, from protein and fat. You really don’t understand what you’re writing, do you?

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