Processed food - what to do??

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Processed food - what to do??

Postby anttismo » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:15 am

I guess a lot discussion around the place on the evils of processed foods and the link to increasing obesity levels. While I don't agree with most others on how evil it is, I think it is clearly very easy to adopt a diet that leads to weight gain.

So what can be done about it? Do we need to hold someone responsible, other than people feeding themselves? Should we be legislating against some kinds of foods, or even just mandating better labeling? Are people simply too dumb to work it out for themselves? Are people simply overpowered by uncontrollable urges and unable to resist the evil processed foods that ruin their lives?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-02/a ... es/5361908
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby ball bearing » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:41 am

"The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food"

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magaz ... -food.html
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby PlantPowered » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:44 am

Processed food is like a drug and the big company know it. The fill it up with salt and sugar to get you hooked. Its the massive amounts of fats in most processed foods thats the problem
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby g-boaf » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:00 am

PlantPowered wrote:Processed food is like a drug and the big company know it. The fill it up with salt and sugar to get you hooked. Its the massive amounts of fats in most processed foods thats the problem


I don't want to get into a debate about this, but it is not the fats in processed foods that is the problem, it is the people who are eating it.

You can eat fatty processed foods if you want, but you've got to offset it somehow. That's what I do - and why I eat pretty much what I want to eat and I'm still quite lean.

If you eat that stuff non-stop and don't exercise, then there is going to be a problem.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:22 am

g-boaf wrote:
PlantPowered wrote:Processed food is like a drug and the big company know it. The fill it up with salt and sugar to get you hooked. Its the massive amounts of fats in most processed foods thats the problem


I don't want to get into a debate about this, but it is not the fats in processed foods that is the problem, it is the people who are eating it.

You can eat fatty processed foods if you want, but you've got to offset it somehow. That's what I do - and why I eat pretty much what I want to eat and I'm still quite lean.

If you eat that stuff non-stop and don't exercise, then there is going to be a problem.


+squillions. People get hysterical about blaming McDonalds, supermarkets or anyone else they can think of because they don't want to take responsibility for their own actions. Much like blaming a "lack of infrastructure" when motor vehicles drive over the top of a cyclist.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby sankari » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:23 am

I'm all for a star rating system suggested by the article. We use star ratings for many other things, so why not food. The criteria need to be sensible though, catering to the needs of the majority of the population, and be free of loopholes that can be gamed by the industry.

I found this quote from the article amusing, especially the highlighted portion. "The powerful Food and Grocery Council, the peak body for the manufactured food sector, has made it clear it opposes aspects of star rating, citing the expense of changing packaging, and perceived anomalies within the system. It wants a full cost-benefit analysis, which is now underway."

Ultimately though, a star rating system is information that is already available in the nutritional panel digested into condensed form. Most people find the nutritional panel confusing however. I think the skills needed to comprehend and understand the significance of all the information in the panel should be taught to schools as a compulsory science subject.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby lobstermash » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:44 am

It's not just about fat, it's about what your body decides to keep and in what form. Your body has to work hard to extract and keep fat and protein in a usable form - what it doesn't need/want comes out in your poo, along with the indigestible material. Sugar on the other hand is easily absorbed and handled (whether that be for imminent use or stored as fat). When you have too much sugar in your blood (whether that's from simple sugars or broken down complex carbs), your body releases insulin, which converts the excess sugar to fat.

Much processed food also has high levels of dextrose as the sugar form, which like alcohol can only be processed by the liver.

My experience reflects g-boaf's. If you're burning it off through exercise, you can eat pretty much whatever you want. As long as you're not overloading your liver.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby jules21 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:10 pm

g-boaf wrote:You can eat fatty processed foods if you want, but you've got to offset it somehow. That's what I do - and why I eat pretty much what I want to eat and I'm still quite lean.

how old are you though? some people can get away with that, but it tends to get more difficult as you age. i'm 40 and that worked when i was 20, but not anymore.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby g-boaf » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:37 pm

Oh, I'm getting near 34. But you know how much riding I do, along with some training at pretty high intensity.

But you are doing as much riding as I'm doing and more elevation by the looks of it. :)
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby human909 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:14 pm

ldrcycles wrote:
g-boaf wrote:I don't want to get into a debate about this, but it is not the fats in processed foods that is the problem, it is the people who are eating it.


+squillions. People get hysterical about blaming McDonalds, supermarkets or anyone else they can think of because they don't want to take responsibility for their own actions. Much like blaming a "lack of infrastructure" when motor vehicles drive over the top of a cyclist.


There is plenty of information out there on nutrition and exercise. Adults don't have anybody else to blame for they bad lifestyle habits. Obese children on the other hand.... :evil: (And it is still not the food companies' fault!)
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby casual_cyclist » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:29 pm

g-boaf wrote:You can eat fatty processed foods if you want, but you've got to offset it somehow. That's what I do - and why I eat pretty much what I want to eat and I'm still quite lean.

That's a meaningless statement. I bet eating what you want doesn't mean eating a pack of tim tams every night or a 2L tub of ice cream every night.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby g-boaf » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:43 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:
g-boaf wrote:You can eat fatty processed foods if you want, but you've got to offset it somehow. That's what I do - and why I eat pretty much what I want to eat and I'm still quite lean.

That's a meaningless statement. I bet eating what you want doesn't mean eating a pack of tim tams every night or a 2L tub of ice cream every night.


Well, I don't eat a pack of tim tams every night, but I've been known to get through those fairly quickly if there is a pack in the fridge. ;) I'm absolutely not the healthiest eating person around.

It's pretty simple. If you exercise a lot, you can work away some of the "bad" stuff.

It's up to the person who is doing the eating to make a decision about what they are eating. Obviously packaging can be filled with information on the nutritional aspects of the food product, which it is already, but apart from that, what else do you do?
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby casual_cyclist » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:45 pm

anttismo wrote:I guess a lot discussion around the place on the evils of processed foods and the link to increasing obesity levels. While I don't agree with most others on how evil it is, I think it is clearly very easy to adopt a diet that leads to weight gain.

It is very easy to adopt a diet that leads to weight gain. I've done exactly that by putting on 8 kg in the last 6 months. I have managed to do that without overeating, without eating ridiculous amounts of food, without bingeing and without eating a lot of junk food.

It's pretty easy really. Eat a little bit more than you need to. Eat more processed food and less whole food because processed food makes you hungry. Eat calories you know you don't need. Not getting enough sleep was key to my weight gain. For example, I don't need an afternoon snack. However, if I did eat one I would have a piece of fruit and some nuts. When I'm tired, I'm less likely to choose the healthy option and more likely to choose the unhealthy option. For example, I might eat a chocolate bar and energy drink because I want to feel more awake. Those extra calories from cake, chocolate, energy drinks etc add up.

anttismo wrote:So what can be done about it?

Very little.
anttismo wrote:Do we need to hold someone responsible, other than people feeding themselves?

No. Educating people then giving them the freedom to choose is the best we can do.
anttismo wrote:Should we be legislating against some kinds of foods, or even just mandating better labeling?

Banning junk food won't work. Labelling won't make food more healthy or help people make better choices. I'm not sure that processed food can even be made healthy. Education is the key.
anttismo wrote:Are people simply too dumb to work it out for themselves?

It's not a matter of being dumb. I'm not dumb and I am nutritionally knowledgeable. By switching to mainly whole foods and eating very little processed, I lost close to 40kg in a couple of years and kept it off for a while. So, I know how to do it. I put some back on through bad choices, not lack of knowledge.
anttismo wrote:Are people simply overpowered by uncontrollable urges and unable to resist the evil processed foods that ruin their lives?

I have never craved any particular food and didn't eat any of the junk food I ate because of uncontrollable urges. Every thing I ate was a choice and each choice was deliberate... not sub-conscious. Now if you could pin down why people deliberately choose to eat food they know is not healthy... you might be able to make a difference.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby casual_cyclist » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:47 pm

g-boaf wrote:
casual_cyclist wrote:
g-boaf wrote:You can eat fatty processed foods if you want, but you've got to offset it somehow. That's what I do - and why I eat pretty much what I want to eat and I'm still quite lean.

That's a meaningless statement. I bet eating what you want doesn't mean eating a pack of tim tams every night or a 2L tub of ice cream every night.


Well, I don't eat a pack of tim tams every night, but I've been known to get through those fairly quickly if there is a pack in the fridge. ;) I'm absolutely not the healthiest eating person around.

It's pretty simple. If you exercise a lot, you can work away some of the "bad" stuff.

True. But this is limited. It's easy to exercise off a tim tam but a lot more difficult to exercise off a pack of tim tams. Now eat that pack every night and good luck exercising that off.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby g-boaf » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:49 pm

If you can get people into exercising, then you might have a chance of getting them to change their eating habits too.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby casual_cyclist » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:00 pm

g-boaf wrote:If you can get people into exercising, then you might have a chance of getting them to change their eating habits too.

In my experience, no. The people I know use exercise as an excuse for eating more junk. I look at my workmate eating a giant muffin and he goes "I'm going to the gym this afternoon".

I think it is about changing attidudes that food is fuel and exercise is for health, not to burn off extra calories that you ate because you are going to exercise.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby lobstermash » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:23 pm

casual_cyclist wrote: In my experience, no. The people I know use exercise as an excuse for eating more junk. I look at my workmate eating a giant muffin and he goes "I'm going to the gym this afternoon".


That's a big issue right there. The gym. There aren't many people that can regularly subject themselves to meaningless exercise, much less connect how their diet helps them perform at said meaningless exercise. If you play sport, or even train regularly for a sport, you consciously connect your diet to how you feel when you perform at that activity.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby anttismo » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:30 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:In my experience, no. The people I know use exercise as an excuse for eating more junk. I look at my workmate eating a giant muffin and he goes "I'm going to the gym this afternoon".

I think it is about changing attidudes that food is fuel and exercise is for health, not to burn off extra calories that you ate because you are going to exercise.


I'm very much of the "burn off whatever you eat" kind of philosophy. Basically everyone I know is very suprised by how much I eat, and also the apparent unsuitability of what I eat (basically processed crap), but then I guess I excercise more than anyone else I know too, so....

Whether my reposnse to processed crap has changed with age, I don't really know. I eat more crap now, I eat much more in total now, I train much, much more now, I'm 43 and approximately as lean as was in my 20s, albiet much stronger, musclier, and about 5kg heavier.

Interestingly I work with a chick who cycles at a high level - usually top 10 in crits at nationals, top 20 TT, won a round of the NRS this year. Anyway, she does NOT eat particulalry "clean" by typical health freak standards either. Her comment is exactly that the purspose of cycling like a lunatic is to be able to eat whatever you like :lol: shes 34, I think??

OT, I reckon improved labling could help, beacuse it seems people struggle with the nutritional facts as presented now. Just big green-red-yellow traffic lights against whatever criteria the mainstream science determines is best.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby MattyK » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:46 pm

Blame evolution. We are genetically programmed to crave sugar and fat, in case it runs out, which it used to. Now we still have the craving, but the food supply doesn't run out.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby Calvin27 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:53 pm

anttismo wrote:I'm very much of the "burn off whatever you eat" kind of philosophy. Basically everyone I know is very suprised by how much I eat, and also the apparent unsuitability of what I eat (basically processed crap), but then I guess I excercise more than anyone else I know too, so....


Some people just have good genetics. I used to be one of those 'eat whatever', and then turned into a 'eat whatever but burn it'. Very soon I suspect it will be don't eat anything.

It's hard to appreciate when you can't gain a gram no matter what you eat, sometimes I also rationalised by my high activity level. Unfortunately for most, their genetics means this is a no go and they must keep the energy balance in nick.

On a side note, me and mate had maccas one time on a big ride. Both of similar fitness, he had the salad and water option. I went for fries and coke with extra burger on the side. Guess how the return ride went!
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby human909 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:56 pm

anttismo wrote:Are people simply too dumb to work it out for themselves?

Eating is a addiction and a vice to many people. Controlling it is hard. For many over eating is a psychological problem as much as a physiological one. Many people have difficulties in disciplining and controlling some aspects of their behavior.

Personally I have no problems eating less, eating healthily and exercising. But I have other difficulties so I can't be too critical. A little too much alcohol, excessive procrastination, depression...

anttismo wrote:OT, I reckon improved labling could help, beacuse it seems people struggle with the nutritional facts as presented now. Just big green-red-yellow traffic lights against whatever criteria the mainstream science determines is best.


Too controversial and too misleading. There are plenty of "BAD" food which are exactly what you need. I'm fortunate enough to have very well behaved cravings, most of the time they crave exactly what my body needs nutritionally. So I simply just listen to my cravings most of the time. :mrgreen:

MattyK wrote:Blame evolution. We are genetically programmed to crave sugar and fat, in case it runs out, which it used to. Now we still have the craving, but the food supply doesn't run out.

I disagree about this. We are genetically programmed to crave what we need. If all you are craving is sugar and fat then your craving mechanism is broken.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby MattyK » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:14 pm

I never said that was all we are programmed to crave. Please don't put words in my mouth.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby Dragster1 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:41 pm

I suppose some people just have bad eating habits. Cant all blame the supermarkets and take away shops for what people choose to eat.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:30 am

Dragster1 wrote:I suppose some people just have bad eating habits. Cant all blame the supermarkets and take away shops for what people choose to eat.

I agree. As an adult from lightest to heaviest, I put on around 40 kg. But I didn't sue coles for selling the food that made me fat or the food manufacturers for making the food that made me fat. At the end of the day, it's still a choice. I chose to eat too much and got fat.
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Re: Processed food - what to do??

Postby Parker » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:52 am

But you can, we know that placement of products is directly linked to the money the supplier pays to the supermarket.

Its like the confectionary free checkout line, it was a cute idea and it's sweet to do that for people, but when you realise that checkouts normally come in two's... and only one is confectionary free, its just taking the mickey isn't it. When the food industry employs scientists to discover why you eat and what makes your brain want more we know that it's not a level playing field. Coke notices when a heavy user stops purchasing their product, yes they actually notice this. Food companies wouldn't have made changes to their product lines if they didn't see changes in the way you shopped, they see everything about the consumer and safeway and coles are the first to pass on that information.

Some people do have bad eating habits, but it isn't helped by product placement, for example, Easter starts on Boxing day every year, the first thing they do is fill the clip strips near your register with little bags of easter eggs and you might see the little red lindt eggs be placed on a register, thats the first stage, then gradually you'll see that some gold bunnies will appear and you'll go, oh that's nice, it's easter soon. How is someone who has trouble with their eating supposed to improve with this sort of placement?

My suggestions:

- shop online (this avoids having to go to places where you're tempted), its easier to say no to the internet
- if there's something that you'll generally over eat and can't stop with, stop eating it, its like smoking it is bad and you can't do it occasionaly, just like not being able to stop at two slices of bread isn't possible for some people
- don't reward yourself with food

A lot of the people on this forum go on about it being self control and that we should just know what is healthy and what isn't. We know that sugar makes you want more, so if you're what coke describes as a heavy user when it comes to sugar then it makes sense to give it up. When I say sugar I mean processed sugar, things that shouldn't have sugar in them, like for example sweet potato fries have sugar in them, not the natural occuring sugar, but ADDED sugar.

It is nice that people say, oh just have it in moderation, it's really nice, thanks, when you say that you actually make me feel bad for not being able to do that and when I say I gave up processed foods most people say, "you should eat some of everything." I call your bluff, tell me what is so great about high fructose corn syrup? Tell me what's so friggen nutritious about bread or pasta? What exactly does that give me that I can't get from fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy? Why are you so insistent that I eat these food which we know aren't highly nutritious?

Oh yeah, because you're insecure about the food choices that YOU make.
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