Couldn’t decide what to write about this week, so I thought I’d try covering a bunch of topics in a bit of a “quick hit” format…
What’s in our food?
Amidst our rising awareness of all things health-related, it would seem that more and more people are becoming concerned about what’s in the food we eat. In a recent example Global National ran a story earlier this week that highlighted the various “synthetic” ingredients in food that are being removed in the US, but not in Canada.
Let me be clear. With the rising rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, I’m all for corporations removing demonstrably harmful ingredients from the food they produce and sell. But the key words here are “demonstrably harmful”. Just because you can’t pronounce an ingredient doesn’t make it harmful. And neither does the fact that it is artificial or synthetic guarantee that it will be detrimental to your health (or conversely it’s natural so it must be good for you). At the end of the day, we should be relying on the independent scientific evidence regarding the safety of various ingredients, not the “expertise” of blogger-turned-activists or a misinformed public.
Speaking of blogger-turned-activists
I know I’ve been away from North America for a while, because until about a month ago I had never heard about Vani Hari, also known as The Food Babe. Not that I have been missing much, mind you. It’s just that I like to try to stay up-to-date with current health trends/fads/personalities, etc.
As you might have guessed, from what I know of The Food Babe, I’m not a big fan. There’s very little (if any) evidence behind the majority of her claims. It’s amazing to me that people would turn to someone like her for advice, despite the fact that she has zero training in this area. I guess it’s partly because her messages are so simple. Toxins equal bad, therefore remove anything sounding toxic from your diet.
Anyways, if you happen to be a disciple of hers I implore you to read this criticism by The Science Babe. It really is fantastic. Favourite line has to be:
Hari’s rule? “If a third grader can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.”
My rule? Don’t base your diet on the pronunciation skills of an eight-year-old.
Revisiting Weight Bias
On my personal Facebook page I recently shared an excellent blog written by obesity guru, University of Alberta professor and Director of the Canadian Obesity Network, Dr. Arya Sharma.
It seems people are taking issue with the appointment of Alberta’s new Health Minister, Sarah Hoffman, due to the fact – yup, you guessed it – she’s obese. It’s funny, because as Dr. Sharma points out, there wouldn’t be any outcry if she had diabetes, chronic renal failure, coronary artery disease, etc. If you happened to have a negative reaction to Minister Hoffman’s appointment, I’d strongly consider not only reading Dr. Sharma’s blog above, but check out the following weight bias resources:
Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity – http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/
Obesity Action Coalition – http://www.obesityaction.org/weight-bias-and-stigma
I for one agree with Dr. Sharma in that:
Perhaps it will take a Health Minister living with obesity, to finally create a health system, where people living with obesity are treated with compassion and respect and, most importantly, can find the help and treatments that they need.