Open Thread Friday 2-21-2020

Finding a basic diet plan for the average person is actually quite complicated. Lots of advice is available and much of it contradictory.

This program originally developed in Brazil about 10 years ago is a good foundation. It is not complicated. Simple adjustments can be made to accommodate food sensitivities, medical conditions and many of the dietary suggestions that have been offered in multiple C99 diaries.

Buy, eat and cook with primarily unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Avoid or minimize ultra-processed foods.

What characterises ultra-processed foods is that they are so altered that it can be hard to recognise the underlying ingredients. These are concoctions of concoctions, engineered from ingredients that are already highly refined, such as cheap vegetable oils, flours, whey proteins and sugars, which are then whipped up into something more appetising with the help of industrial additives such as emulsifiers.

Ultra-processed foods (or UPF) now account for more than half of all the calories eaten in the UK and US, and other countries are fast catching up. UPFs are now simply part of the flavour of modern life. These foods are convenient, affordable, highly profitable, strongly flavoured, aggressively marketed – and on sale in supermarkets everywhere. The foods themselves may be familiar, yet the term “ultra-processed” is less so.
....
The concept of UPFs was born in the early years of this millennium when a Brazilian scientist called Carlos Monteiro noticed a paradox. People appeared to be buying less sugar, yet obesity and type 2 diabetes were going up.
...
To Monteiro, the bag of sugar on the kitchen counter is a healthy sign, not because sugar itself has any goodness in it, but because it belongs to a person who cooks. Monteiro’s data suggested to him that the households who were still buying sugar were also the ones who were still making the old Brazilian dishes such as rice and beans.
...
As he sees it, there are four basic kinds of food, graded by the degree to which they are processed. Taken together, these four groups form what Monteiro calls the Nova system (meaning a new star).
...
The first time the nutrition researcher Kevin Hall heard anyone talk about ultra-processed food, he thought it was “a nonsense definition”. It was 2016 and Hall – who studies how people put on weight at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at Bethesda, Maryland – was at a conference chatting with a representative from PepsiCo who scornfully mentioned the new Brazilian set of food guidelines and specifically the directive to avoid ultra-processed foods. Hall agreed that this was a silly rule because, as far as he was concerned, obesity had nothing to do with food processing
...
At the end of 2018, Hall and his colleagues became the first scientists to test – in randomised controlled conditions – whether diets high in ultra-processed foods could actually cause overeating and weight gain.
...
Hall’s study provided evidence that an ultra-processed diet – with its soft textures and strong flavours – really does cause over-eating and weight gain, regardless of the sugar content. Over just two weeks, the subjects gained an average of 1kg. This is a far more dramatic result than you would expect to see over such a short space of time (especially since the volunteers rated both types of food as equally pleasant).

After Hall’s study was published in July 2019, it was impossible to dismiss Monteiro’s proposition that the rise of UPFs increases the risk of obesity. Monteiro told me that as a result of Hall’s study, he and his colleagues in Brazil found they were suddenly being taken seriously.

Now that we have evidence of a link between diets high in UPFs and obesity, it seems clear that a healthy diet should be based on fresh, home-cooked food.

Nova groups for food processing

Group 1. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods
Unprocessed (or natural) foods are edible parts of plants (seeds, fruits, leaves, stems, roots) or of animals (muscle, offal, eggs, milk), and also fungi, algae and water, after separation from nature.

Minimally processed foods are natural foods altered by processes that include removal of inedible or unwanted parts, and drying, crushing, grinding, fractioning, filtering, roasting, boiling, non-alcoholic fermentation, pasteurization, refrigeration, chilling, freezing, placing in containers and vacuum-packaging. These processes are designed to preserve natural foods, to make them suitable for storage, or to make them safe or edible or more pleasant to consume. Many unprocessed or minimally processed foods are prepared and cooked at home or in restaurant kitchens in combination with processed culinary ingredients as dishes or meals.

Group 2. Processed culinary ingredients
Processed culinary ingredients, such as oils, butter, sugar and salt, are substances derived from Group 1 foods or from nature by processes that include pressing, refining, grinding, milling and drying. The purpose of such processes is to make durable products that are suitable for use in home and restaurant kitchens to prepare, season and cook Group 1 foods and to make with them varied and enjoyable hand-made dishes and meals, such as stews, soups and broths, salads, breads, preserves, drinks and desserts. They are not meant to be consumed by themselves, and are normally used in combination with Group 1 foods to make freshly prepared drinks, dishes and meals.

Group 3. Processed foods
Processed foods, such as bottled vegetables, canned fish, fruits in syrup, cheeses and freshly made breads, are made essentially by adding salt, oil, sugar or other substances from Group 2 to Group 1 foods.

Processes include various preservation or cooking methods, and, in the case of breads and cheese, non-alcoholic fermentation. Most processed foods have two or three ingredients, and are recognizable as modified versions of Group 1 foods. They are edible by themselves or, more usually, in combination with other foods. The purpose of processing here is to increase the durability of Group 1 foods, or to modify or enhance their sensory qualities.

Group 4. Ultra-processed foods
Ultra-processed foods, such as soft drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, reconstituted meat products and pre-prepared frozen dishes, are not modified foods but formulations made mostly or entirely from substances derived from foods and additives, with little if any intact Group 1 food.

Ingredients of these formulations usually include those also used in processed foods, such as sugars, oils, fats or salt. But ultra-processed products also include other sources of energy and nutrients not normally used in culinary preparations. Some of these are directly extracted from foods, such as casein, lactose, whey and gluten.

Many are derived from further processing of food constituents, such as hydrogenated or interesterified oils, UN, NOVA and the trouble with ultra-processing 9 hydrolysed proteins, soya protein isolate, maltodextrin, invert sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

Additives in ultra-processed foods include some also used in processed foods, such as preservatives, antioxidants and stabilizers. Classes of additives found only in ultra-processed products include those used to imitate or enhance the sensory qualities of foods or to disguise unpalatable aspects of the final product. These additives include dyes and other colours, colour stabilizers; flavours, flavour enhancers, non-sugar sweeteners; and processing aids such as carbonating, firming, bulking and anti-bulking, de-foaming, anti-caking and glazing agents, emulsifiers, sequestrants and humectants.

Read the ingredient list on all your food purchases. Annoying I know, but familiar products like cottage cheese are now often ultra processed foods. My favorite how sauce added a stabilizer and am back to using Tabasco. May you enjoy good eating and improved health.

Share
up
10 users have voted.

Comments

Lookout's picture

Thanks for the diet advice. Sure is nice to eat out of the garden. We still have collards and arugula (roquette) growing. Time to plant peas and more greens. Hope to get some in tomorrow.

Perhaps as important as what to eat is when to eat. I noticed a new study (somewhere) that doctors are big on intermittent fasting for their own health. We just broke a 3 day water fast after our 3 week trip where we ate outside of our normal diet and hours. To break the fast, I made a broccoli and spinach soup with cheese, topped with a bit salmon, and a drizzle of olive oil. Like they say, hunger is the best sauce, and it was delicious. I'm curious to see if it is as good today.

Hope all is well on your farm and your animals have had an easy winter. Only one month till spring!

up
6 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

studentofearth's picture

@Lookout to eat for health. The time changes, selection of food choices, restaurants and social eating can leave us to the mercy of the big food giants. Enjoyed you sharing the Costa Rica trip. After I left for for college my parents and sibling were host to a Costa Rican student for a school year.

As a culture we have been trained to need multiple snacks or high calorie drinks several times a day. Over the years the commercial ready to eat foods and ingredients for home cooking have changed to include chemical stabilizers, flavor enhancers and texture control. It wrecks havoc on our bodies microbes. I think part of your and my message is healthy heating does not have to be complicated or tasteless. Simply ease it into ones life.

up
5 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

on that exact same specific topic, right down to the link to world.openfoodfacts.org. They have a link to an app at the bottom of their home page, looks like Apple, M$, and android, to scan bar codes and thereby get product info and nutri-score, etc. It looks like you can submit stuff that isn't already in the database, query the database and stuff like that. I just notice and installed it and ergo haven't played with it yet.

That reminds me of another app "code check" which allegedly gives you the skinney on supplements, medications, cosmetics and all that, again by scanning bar codes, maybe foods as well, can't recall.

Anyhow, good column, thanks, I'll find something else to do this week. Wink

Have a good, unprocessed day.

up
4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris great minds think alike?

I have barely touched the surface of the subject. Did not provided any real food examples, how to use when traveling, eating out or cooking. We could subtly use the marketing model of repetition to shift public opinion and actions.

I don't try the apps. A smart phone doesn't fit in my pocket and if I attach the phone to a belt it gets caught on the wire fencing in the field. So I carry and old fashioned flip phone. I will be interested in your recommendation for others to use.

up
6 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

@studentofearth
vests pretty much everywhere I went. I stash my phone in one of the side opening chest pockets where it doesn't bang and slam into stuff like it would in one of the waist pockets, or sometimes in one of the front cargo pockets in the type of pants or shorts I always wear.

up
3 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris

up
2 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

wendy davis's picture

but if i might add:

What is excreted is equally is as important as what's eaten even in a healthy diet, especially among those who eat meat. meat slows down gut peristalsis, and can collected on intestinal walls, and esp if eaten with quickly digestible foods like fruit, which requires wholly different enzymes to break it down...it can play havoc, and end up with divericuli pouches in large intestinal walls.

they do tend to lead to infections and further elimination problems in later life. we use psyllium seeds husks in water (i like the orange tang-tasting stuff, mr. wd the plain (ugh).

also multistrain probiotics are crucial, imo, and although there used to be shelf-stable brands that would culture almost-boiled milk overnight under the oven light, that stopped being true (and they are muy expensive!). so we settled on greek gods yogurt in quarts, and it seems to work well (as in: it cultures).

most of the bacteria in our guts is beneficial, and if the good stuff gets gone, the bad un's can flourish only too easily.

up
4 users have voted.
studentofearth's picture

@wendy davis At home I use a regional product, Nancy's Yogurt plain to eat and start some of my cheeses. Helpful tip on the Greek Gods. When I travel it is hard to find products without added stabilizers that change one's gut culture.

My Grandmother kept a pouch of dried pineapple and papaya to handout if one of us kids complained of a tummy ache after a heavy meal. When I got older began drinking black coffee after meals to stimulate stomach acid release.

up
2 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

wendy davis's picture

@studentofearth

digestive, yes. the thing i love about psyllium seed husks is that they swell to 100 x their original volume, and create a rather slippery, mucilaginous gel along the way. hence: stir it into cold water, and glug it down fast!

but they get into the nooks and crannies of intestines. twice a year or so i do a major flush with them over three days. heh; i just remembered: when i was in massage school in boulder, one of the big rages was high colonics. (how'd you like that job?)

besides kidneys, the third organ of elimination is skin, so it's night to sauna, sweat lodge, and/or scrub skin with a brush. load of undesirable rubbish flies off. ; )

up
0 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

The ideas in this Essay bear out my theory of the current obesity epidemic. When adult-wage jobs paid enough to support families properly (single breadwinner), we didn't have an obesity problem. But today, we do. Why?

I think that a majority of the reason lies with worklife. As both couple partners must work, and often disgustingly long hours at multiple jobs just for the august privilege of a roof overhead, the time and energy required for all forms of healthy living become unavailable. Whether it's actually cooking meals from nature, or healthy recreations, or healthy family life, or even adequate rest, the time and energy just aren't to be had. High-calorie and high caffeine drinks substitute for proper sleep while over-synthetic and over-processed pseudo-foods substitute for real foods.

The results are obvious -- and vile.

Restore the norm to one partner working no more than 40 hours a week, and you'll see the obesity epidemic disappear.

up
5 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

studentofearth's picture

@thanatokephaloides

the time and energy required for all forms of healthy living become unavailable. Whether it's actually cooking meals from nature, or healthy recreations, or healthy family life, or even adequate rest, the time and energy just aren't to be had. High-calorie and high caffeine drinks substitute for proper sleep while over-synthetic and over-processed pseudo-foods substitute for real foods.

Stepping off is very anti-establishment and discouraged. The welfare changes in the 80's and 90's helped accelerated those changed. In my state they first started denying assistance to families with a married couple. The man needed to just get a job and support his family. When there were no jobs the solution was divorce. At least the kids ate and had a roof over their head. Then deny assistance to any able bodied adult; train them for a job, send to school or join a find a job program. Kids farmed out to daycare businesses or family for the day.

We need good paying jobs and the understanding it is good for society for a parent, partner or a someone in a multi generational household to have the time, support and funds to create a healthy home environment.

up
1 user has voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

wendy davis's picture

@thanatokephaloides

and i'd add food deserts in inner cities (only fast food and quick stops), GMOs, especially corn....but Bt corn is even worse, as it sets up little pesticide factories in your gut and disrupts beneficial intestinal flora.

i'd reckon most of the high fructose corn that's in soda and myriad other processed foods is...both.

i just got jonathan latham's newsletter with several stories that hadn't been sent, one on (a perhaps Oopsie) gene-editing which title gave me gave the absolute willies. i'll read it and the others when there's time.

up
1 user has voted.

Here's Bernie's debate performance reenacted.

up
3 users have voted.
studentofearth's picture

@gjohnsit Facing a major health event can make one less complacent of thinking there is plenty of time to address the issues. He needs all his effort and focus to change the course of this country.

up
2 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Wally's picture

@studentofearth

up
1 user has voted.

@studentofearth
when riled by dumbed down
stalking points

he gets it

starving out the poor
may be the solution
to the 90+%

they get more
the less we cost

fairness?
it's not the dnc way

up
1 user has voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel