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Saturday, February 11, 2012

If It Sounds Too Bad To Be True Then It Probably Is

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is the old saying goes but what if it sounds too bad? If something sounds too bad to be believable it likely is as well. That is especially true given most of what is said about health and nutrition! The most recent example is an article by Dr. Robert Lustig in Nature the weekly international scientific journal.

The article titled The Toxic Truth about Sugar attempts to link sugar, the stuff that sweetens your tea with every health issue known to man. Everything from obesity and diabetes to heart and liver disease are linked to the sugar we consume. Dr. Lustig went even further in his assessment putting sugar on the same level as tobacco and alcohol in terms of its negative effects on health. After reading the article I have concluded that it just sounds too bad to be true.

Health warnings through the years such as salt causes high blood pressure and butter leads heart disease have made great fodder for the headlines but have done little to clarify what it really means to eat a healthy diet. As a consequence the ridiculousness escalates until there is a headline calling sugar a toxic substance needing to be regulated by the government. Another and even more egregious consequence is that we begin to question or ignore our own common sense when it comes to what we eat.

Here are a few quotes I have heard that highlight the point “White bread is bad for you and may cause diabetes”, “Refined white flour and sugar are devoid of nutrients and make you fat”, “I really need to stop poisoning myself with all of this sugar”. These comments and others like them may be a reaction to a headline but are in no way related to facts. The next time you read or hear something along these lines ask yourself “Does this sound too bad to be true?”

Although we are constantly old that many of the foods we eat, white bread, sugar, pasta, butter etc., are causing poor health is it true? Is drinking a soda or glass of sweet tea as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes? Is that linguine Alfredo you had for dinner on par with several shots of hard liquor in terms of health?  Is a Twinkie going to send you spiraling into a diabetic coma? The answers are no, no and no to all three.

Rather than writing a dissertation skewering all of these outlandish health claims I encourage you to ignore them and trust your own common sense. Seek out good sound information (i.e. from mother and grandmother) on what is good and healthy for you to eat. Finally if it sounds too bad to be true, it is!

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