Navigating your way through the junk food maze can be a tough assignment, but if you want to know how to eat healthily there are some simple rules to observe.
First and most importantly, lay off the jack, king and queen of junk foods, the ‘garbohydrates’. Yep you read it correctly, ‘garbohydrates’.
The garbohydrates are flour and sugar, on their own, mixed with each other and/or combined with fat. They form the basis of the high energy diet beloved of all civilizations.
Since antiquity, our genetic makeup has compelled us to crave flour, sugar and fat. In an era of scarcity it’s exactly what you need to eat to get massive amounts of energy into your body in the quickest possible time, either to break a famine or prepare yourself for the famine that might be on its way.
When you have to grow or collect your own food, there’s not usually a lot of it around to pick at, and what food is readily available is not full of fat, flour and sugar and wrapped in cellophane.
These days it’s the opposite. Just about everywhere you go, pre-packed, brightly colored garbohydrates are staring you in the face, begging to be purchased. You can’t pay for a magazine at the newsagent without leaning over a counter full of confectionery. Same when you go to pay for your petrol. Your greengrocer will have a box of chocolates near the checkout. Even the chemist will have small packets of jelly beans to tempt you on your way out – and don’t you need some cheering up after visiting the chemist?
It’s insidious. Garbohydrate manufacturers are running amok with people’s health, leaving governments to clean up the mess. At the very least the garbohydrates should be wrapped in plain packaging.
But in the junk food era, when the next snack can be ten minutes away (in the form of a chocolate biscuit or a soda pop) and containing exactly the same ingredients as the garbohydrate meal you’ve just consumed, stuffing yourself with garbohydrates 24/7/365 is not a wise move. You just get fatter and fatter.
When it’s all said and done, (and when it comes to eating wisely, there’s usually a lot more said than done), if you want to eat healthily, stop eating the garbohydrates; bread, biscuits, pasta, cake, confectionery, chocolate… and steer clear of the sugared, carbonated soft drinks.
Let me give you an idea of the energy density of the garbohydrates.
As our reference point, a carrot contains around 30 Calories/100gms.)
Bread contains about 250 Calories/100gms. The problem is that few people have just dry bread. They smother it with margarine, peanut butter and honey, which doubles the amount of energy. It becomes a huge energy dump that the body can’t handle. They end up with all manner of metabolic dysfunctions of which being fat and diabetic are the two most prominent symptoms.
Boiled lollies, licorice, ‘snakes’ and jubes – made almost totally from sugar – contain around 450 Calories/100 gms. Have you ever eaten a 250 gm packet of licorice in one go?
Add fat to sugar and you get chocolate which is around 550 Calories/100gms – nearly 20 times the amount of energy that’s in a carrot. And when all you need is around 2,000 Calories a day, 550 Calories in a couple of mouthfuls means that by the time you’ve had breakfast, lunch and dinner you’re well and truly on the way to exceeding your daily energy intake limit.
Biscuits, do you like biscuits? A plain flour and fat dry biscuit can range from 400 Calories/100gms to 560 Calories/100gms for a Ritz cracker biscuit. And nobody every had one Rit (sic), or one that didn’t come lathered with dip or cheese. The small plastic container of dip can contain up to 500 Calories.
The plainest of digestive biscuits have around 475 Calories/100gms, leading up to over 550 Calories/100gms for a chocolate biscuit. Have you ever had just one chocolate biscuit? It’s like trying to eat one peanut.
When I grew up, if you said, ‘Mum, I’m hungry’, she’d say, ‘Have an apple.’ Nowadays kids get told to eat a snack bar full of fat, flour and sugar. They get programmed into the garbohydrate way of life from a very early age.
When it comes to slaking thirst it’s pretty much the same. In my day when you said, ‘Mum I’m thirsty’, she’d say, ‘Have a drink of water.’ Nowadays when kids say, ‘Mum I’m thirsty’, the reply is often, ‘Help yourself to a fizzy drink.’
Secondly, if you want to eat healthily, stop eating so much. Some of the meals served up in cafes and restaurants are just gargantuan. The people who prepare them must have absolutely no training in nutrition science. There’s a good case to have ‘fat police’ going around the food outlets re-educating the staff. Anyone without a certificate in portion control won’t be allowed to prepare food.
Despite what your mother may have drummed into you, you don’t have to eat everything on your plate.
And did I forget to mention fries? Don’t order fries. Every 100gms contains another 500 Calories.
If you want to stop eating so much, have a drink of water before every meal. And instead of ice cream and chocolate biscuits for dessert, have a piece of fruit.
In between meals, drink green tea. Often people mistake being thirsty for being hungry. Keep yourself well hydrated with a drink that doesn’t contain sugar and doesn’t come out of a bottle or can.
An apple contains around 50 Calories per 100 gms. Which do reckon is better for you, an apple or a Mars bar?
In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned; steer clear of the garbohydrates and eat from the top of the Hourglass.