In an Olympic event for the dumbest so-called experts, food experts would probably get a gold.
According to this story, in the Guardian and elsewhere, they can’t tell their stir-fried arses from their lightly fricasseed elbows.
How bad for you is coleslaw?
In the light of a Food Commission report showing that a large pot of KFC coleslaw contains 22.4g of fat – more than its fillet burger (15.6g) or large fries (19.4g) – it is perhaps reasonable to wonder that if a mix of shredded cabbage, carrot and mayonnaise isn’t a healthy option, what on earth is?
A survey of leading nutrition and obesity experts bears this out, with none of the 66 specialists capable of telling from a menu description which item was the least healthy option.
Firstly, what is “healthy” in the context of food. Surely, short of actually putting poison in your mouth, all food is only “healthy” in terms of what it contributes to your overall diet. Cabbage and carrot have obviously got less protein and more vitamins and anti-oxidants than a burger, no matter how much fat they are sitting in. What’s “healthier” – protein or vitamins? You can’t live on either, by itself.
Secondly, why is it assumed that fat is automatically unhealthy? There are several kinds of fat – saturated, unsaturated, monosaturates (or something like that. I’ve forgotten the other kinds but, then, it’s not me who’s supposed to be the nutrition expert, ffs.) Whether any given one is essential or dangerous seems to be a matter of fashion.
The type of fat in the coleslaw isn’t likely to be the same as the types of fat in the burger or on the fries. The body of a person who wasn’t getting enough to eat would probably be well served by any of them. Fat can surely only be considered unhealthy for those of us who are already overweight and got that way by taking in too much fat, over a long time. But the experts are just taking it that any fat is “bad” and, by definition, unhealthy for everyone.
But my main quarrel with this is its bloody stupidity. Let’s temporarily assume for the sake of argument that all fat is by definition bad.
Do I have to take it that 66 “leading nutrition and obesity” experts really don’t know that coleslaw is made with mayonnaise. And don’t know that mayonnaise is made from oil and vinegar and egg yolks. Please note, that’s oil. (Don’t make me post a mayo recipe here.)
A bit more from the Guardian, making me wonder how people can really be this stupid about something so important to survival as food.
Confusion often stems from nutritional truth running contrary to accepted food wisdom. After all, surely vegetarian options are healthier? Not if you choose the Subway Veggie Patty Sub, which has more calories than either the steak and cheese sub, or the turkey, ham, bacon and cheese sub. Salads healthier than burgers? Not if you pick the McDonald’s crispy chicken and bacon salad, which has 15g of fat per portion, almost twice as much fat as a simple hamburger (8g)
I’m a vegetarian but I don’t assume vegetarian food was “healthier” and certainly not in this novel sense of “healthier” as meaning only “having less fat and/or fewer calories.” I have been on the planet long enough to know that food is “vegetarian” in the sense of “not being made from meat.” (Any other use of the word is usually a marketing tool.)
Which is a “healthier” lunch – a pile of candy or a steak? Here’s a clue. The candy is vegetarian.
Which has less fat – a cupful of olive oil or a plate of fried chicken and chips? (That’s french fries to you, Americans.) No matter how much we have been brainwashed into assuming that fried chicken and chips are “bad” for us, because they contain fat, I think you’ll find that olive oil wins this competition.
What about “Salads healthier than burgers? Not if you pick the McDonald’s crispy chicken and bacon salad.” This is confusing the definition of a salad – raw vegetables – with a labelled dish that has the name salad in its title but contains “chicken” and “bacon”, not normally considered raw vegetables the last time I checked.
The Guardian writer’s argument here is in support of the Food Commission’s aim to have nutritional information available for all foods at the point of sale, just as it is on supermarket foods.
This would be a rather more convincing argument if the “nutrition experts” knew enough about food to be aware that mayonnaise is made from oil, hence would recognise that any product swimming in mayo will have a high fat content.