Monday, May 2, 2011

Eliminating entire food groups!

(Note:  I changed my original link to the original story since I no longer advocate reading that other guy.),0,7758445.story
It looks like the dietitians are all working off the same sheet of talking points.  This topic was covered on another weight loss website recently, with pretty much the same old boring arguments that the dietitians dished out for this article.

Someone also asked a question about starchy vegetables, and the usual ones were suggested:  beets, corn, potatoes.  Then this was corrected by a dietitian (so glad we have a policeman to OK everything that goes into our mouths.)  I clicked on the provided link.  Lo and behold, the USDA has been working overtime complicating our food landscape by attempting to simplify it, and again, changed the food groups.
I provide the link here:

Science can be so dumb sometimes.  I remember struggling with second semester biology, that class where you have to memorize all sorts of junk, like a shark isn't a fish.  I couldn't believe that people actually spent their days fighting with each other about classifying animals and plants, or if something was really a "planimal".  Not only did we have to memorize lots of it, but we actually had to read through the whole history why slime mold was classified one way and then another.  Why memorize something well when they are just going to change the classification in the next edition?

That's when I also learned that green algae isn't always green, and brown algae isn't always brown.  Nice to know, I guess, if you are making miso soup medley and don't want the colors to run.  But for the rest of us, who really cares?  (My biology book was basic, and so they didn't get into the REAL reason the miso ingredients are differently classified.  That might have made it more interesting to me, but really, who cares????)

So, back to the what the USDA is telling us to do.  I noticed that they have different categories.  I guess since the government tore down the hilarious terror alert system, they decided to reuse/recycle the color scheme and use it to hilariously color-code our food.

Notice that beets are not in the starchy foods category.  (Hmmm, that may be because beets have sugar instead of starch.  Not a totally bad move, but most low-carbers and dieters don't care, because they view sugar and starch as pretty much the same thing, and has the same effect on their metabolism.)  But, green peas are not green, they are starchy.  And look at all those orange vegetables!  Sweet potatoes aren't starchy anymore, they are orange.  And carrots are orange, too.  But what about the yellow carrots I grow in my garden?  Should they be in the orange category or the starchy category??  Purple carrots?  Should they be be in the orange category or the other category? It looks like the white foods are lumped into the Other category.  Where, oh where, do I put my home-grown yellow peppers?  With the green peppers in the Other category, or with yellow corn?  And what about the beet medley that graced my table this weekend.  Purple beets and orange beets and yellow beets and white beets and striped beets. Oh, my head hurts and I think I need to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian in my area.

And, I don't even want to think about my light-green mature chayote squash.  Why isn't it in the fruit group?!!!!  Why isn't it in the "large-seeded green fruit category with avocado and olive where it belongs?  The USDA, in a nod to California agriculture of course, put avocado and olive in the oil category.  That's the category that also includes corn oil, even though corn is a grain and corn is a starchy vegetable.  Oh, there I go, thinking about it again......

Notice that these groups are the groups that the dietitians want to defend.  The information contained in the USDA website is all that fine and correct and unwavering?  Oh, we can't get rid of an arbitrarily-defined food group!!  We're probably going to die (unloved and in the gutter- as one poster put it) if we give up an entire group!  But it is quite OK to say fine, go ahead and get rid of all the meat, because meat is not a group.  Protein is a group, and meat is only a part of it.  And beans and peas are a great part of that group, I guess, when they are not in the vegetable group.

The folic acid comment in the above blog post warrants an entire post by me, coming soon.
(Disclosure:  I have actually done nutrition research using multivariate analysis.  Many analyses are flawed if they do not properly take into account the water content.)

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