Saturday, October 09, 2010

Calories Are Still Calories

In response to a post I wrote recently about nutritionists giving bad advice by pretending as if some calories are better than others, a longtime reader suggested that my theory would posit that a Coke and cotton candy diet with a 2000 calorie daily limit could be healthy.  He also stated that high fructose corn syrup is worse than cane sugar because the body processes it faster. 

I wrote a response to that comment (after a much delayed period in which my internet sucked), but decided it was good enough to be a full post, because I've been such a bum and haven't felt like writing lately.  So I rewrote it to be less of a response and more of a regular post.

BTW, shortly after writing my previous post, I read's 7 Biggest Diet Myths, which contained some of the same things I had just written about; including the dangers of smoothies.  While I thought a few of them were wrong, I definitely think it's worth a read.

The Coke & Cotton Candy Diet

Regarding the Coke and Cotton Candy Diet, as long as we threw in a daily vitamin supplement and some whey protein, I betcha a lot of people would see a vast improvement in their health compared with the crap they're eating now.  If anything, their taste buds would complain sooner than their health would. People scoffed at the Atkins Diet, too. But eventually, the nutritionists had to grudgingly back down and quietly rework all their theories while pretending they were right the whole time. 

But of course, their advice was based upon superstition and hearsay; not science.  And they rejected a pile of science before they finally accepted what Dr. Atkins was saying.  Not that he was right about everything, as there are other good ways to lose weight, too.  But the fat=bad, carbs=good crock of shit is now dead, no thanks to the nutritionists who kept it alive for as long as possible. 

It sickens me to think of all the people who replaced their protein-rich eggs for calorie-rich muffins because of these fools.  Even now, too many people still consider muffins to be health food, simply because they're not as tasty as their donut and cake cousins.  As one doctor quoted by LiveScience suggested, the low-fat craze was an "uncontrolled experiment on a whole population."

But of course, the nutritionists STILL engage in uncontrolled experiments upon us.  They've now settled on this theory that man-made foods are bad for us, citing minor allergies to MSG as proof that it's dangerous, while neglecting the fact that peanut allergies can kill people.  Just because something's natural doesn't mean it's good for us, as nature produces poisons, too.  But these people continue to pimp this all-natural myth all the same. 

And of course, I wouldn't actually recommend a Coke-Cotton Candy-supplement diet to anyone; but it'd surely be than the 3000+ calories they're consuming right now; even if it came from fruit and vegetables.

The Problem of Quantity

And it should be noted that quite a few people drink at least a 64-ounce Super Big Gulp of Coke every day, which gives them a whopping 776 calories.  That's where the problem with soda is.  It's not the content or lack of vitamins.  It's the quantity.  Anyone drinking a 64-ounce Jamba Juice every day would find their weight balloon, as 64-ounces of their all-fruit smoothies would add almost 1000 calories to their diet; almost 25% more than they're currently getting in their Super Big Gulps. 

That's why the advice for people to give up soda is such foolishness: If it's just a matter of switching beverages, they're doomed.  These people need to change lifestyles.  I personally have found it's quite easy to consume over 800 calories in fruit juice without trying. One cup of juice just isn't very much, and it's ohhhh so tasty.  Anyone with juice in their house is lucky to not consume 500 calories of it a day.  If I didn't have kids, I'd never keep it around.

As for the nutritional value of Jamba Juice, that's all well and good, except the typical Jamba Juice consumer isn't suffering from a vitamin deficiency and doesn't require the 190% daily vitamin C their large Strawberry Whirl gives them; along with 380 unnecessary calories.  These people aren't getting much needed vitamins in the form of a tasty beverage. They're getting a tasty beverage with a few perks thrown in to fool them into thinking they're being healthy.  But the calories still count, even if it comes with vitamins. 

People need to realize that Jamba Juice is a guilty pleasure, not a health food.  Yet the nutritionists aren't warning us about this stuff at all.  But if a smoothie isn't a substitute for a meal, it's just as empty as the calories in Coke. There's no reason someone needs 930% of their daily vitamin C from a sixteen ounce drink with 260 calories, as you'd get in a Acai Super Antioxidant.

BTW, the vitamin C from their medium and large versions of that drink is apparently so ridiculous that they didn't even post it online; though my calculations show the biggest one to have 1860% of your daily vitamin C; along with 520 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat.  That's the health nut equivalent of buying a monster truck to over-compensate for having a small dick.  You're pissing out the excess vitamins while the calories go straight to your hips.

Sugar is Sugar

And the other point is that we need to stop calling fruit "fruit," and realize we're talking about sugar.  You can get sugar from all kinds of plants and there's nothing superior about the "unprocessed" sugars from Jamba's processed fruit drinks.  That sugar is no longer the same as when it's in its fruit format.  Eating a strawberry isn't the same as drinking one.

And the point about corn syrup is simply false, and is based upon what the nutritionists told us; while the scientists have concluded no such thing.  While there is a slight increase in sugar spikes compared with sugar, foods like white bread and potatoes are actually worse and rank higher on the glycemic index.

And one of the biggest problems with the whole concept of sugar spikes is that it's based upon an empty stomach. Mix it up with a belly of food and the sugar spikes aren't nearly as dramatic. It's the same way with alcohol; you'll get drunk a lot quicker on an empty stomach, as your body absorbs it all quicker. But a full stomach makes it harder to test these kind of things, so they don't do it that way. But that just proves my point: Sugar spikes aren't very dramatic if you're actually eating food. 

Too Many Calories

Overall, people need to limit their consumption of ALL unnecessary calories; not just the ones processed by man. The ones in fruit can hurt you, too.  My point isn't that Coke is a health food.  My point is that fruit juice isn't either.  Getting people to switch from one calorie source to another isn't going to fix anything.  And if anything, it has the ill effect of making people believe they're being healthy when they're not.  Eating an apple doesn't justify the brownie they'll have for dessert, and drinking apple juice doesn't help them at all.

IMO, one of the biggest reasons people are overweight (besides genetics and intestinal bacteria) is that people honestly don't know how many calories they're consuming.  Yeah, they know that Big Macs aren't health food.  But until they understand that milk, juice, and bread are also loading them up with calories, they aren't getting the big picture.  Yet they're constantly led to believe that these are health foods; as if the calories don't count.  But of course, ALL calories count, no matter how healthy they are for you.

Eating 900 calories at McDonald's isn't helping them, but it's all to easy to consume that much from just milk, juice, and bread.  Yet not only do the nutritionists not warn us about this; they actually encourage us to consume these.  Our problem is too many calories.  We're not suffering from a lack of vitamin C.  The number of calories we consume is far more important than their source.

1 comment:

Doctor Biobrain said...

BTW, my comment about 900 calories in milk, juice, and bread is based upon drinking the daily recommended amount of skim milk (240 calories), four cups of juice (460 calories), and four slices of wheat bread (200 calories).

Not that I'm necessarily saying that everyone has toast and a sandwich every day. But my point is how easy this stuff adds up. You can easily consume half your daily level of calories without even including a full meal. Add butter to your toast and PB&J to your sandwich, and you've barely got any room left for an actual dinner in there.

That's why people are fat; not corn syrup. Getting people to switch foods won't help if they keep eating as much as they do.