Fitness column: The perils of hidden junk food
As you already know, our society is totally obsessed with outward appearance. This easily relates to food since the gathering, preparing and eating of food is a big part of our lives. The phenomenon of man-made foods that look great on the outside but are arguably poisonous on the inside is totally plausible, expected and dominating what we put into our bodies in my opinion.
For example, we are hammered with relentless, incessant Disney movies from birth to adulthood to distract and condition us. Perhaps the one positive thing that we can sift out of the sex, violence and fearful conditioning from these wonderfully entertaining works of art, is the concept of deception. The poison apple from the story “Snow White” is probably the most familiar and easiest example of actual food deception. Beautiful and perfect on the outside and deadly on the inside, the poison apple represents to me what is going on with our federally controlled chem-food program. Walt tried to warn us.
I’ve fallen into this trap myself occasionally, claiming ignorance as the blame. Of course I usually know better and pay the price for eating healthy junk-food. Unfortunately, this is a part of what is going on with the tight relationship between what we eat and our health.
In my opinion, we are eating too much flashy, fake, junk and our fitness is suffering more from this factor than any other.
I see people exercise like crazy, trying to outrun a poor diet — or a diet that they may think is good because it was recommended by ‘experts’. They may not realize just how poor their diet really is, especially not knowing that their food is tainted and many ‘experts’ are on the payroll.
Here are a few real world examples of franken-foods you might be putting into your body while at the same time, fooling yourself into thinking that it is kind-of healthy:
Organic processed food: My personal favorite. I love organic junk food because it’s OK to binge eat on organic food — because it’s organic. Once again, overeating is one of the biggest dietary no-nos. Eating organic is a great way to help reduce toxin intake and to avoid GMOs (until the man makes that impossible — he is working diligently on that as you read this). We all still tend to overeat which is a behavioral issue, not a food composition issue. Behavioral issues contribute to a lack of health just as much as hidden junk food. Just realize that just because something is labeled organic, it can still be junk. One man’s junk food is another man’s health food, which brings up the next example.
Processed, fake, imitation, meat-like, meat substitute: This encompasses many food products including many vegetarian, vegan and regular-people varieties of “meat replacement” and “imitation meat” food products. Although these products make many of us feel good by not violating certain political rules, they’re mostly processed junk. It’s cool to be serious about weird dietary behavior, I’m just saying that you should still avoid all the politically correct colors, binders, preservatives, flavors, texture enhancers while we ship this junk all around the world from one fair trade, green-sourced country to the next in semi-trucks that get 6 miles to the gallon. If you are going to follow any list of eating behavior rules, eat real-food versions of the foods accepted by your particular eating behavior team.
Fruit juice. It’s better than soda, so let the kids drink gallons of it. I hear this all the time. It’s just processed sugar masked with fruity characters on the plastic container — our society loves fruity characters, just look at cereal boxes made by the same corporate giants. The sugar in this junk is more fattening than table sugar. It comes from corn, Corn is grown in the heartland and it’s a darn vegetable so it must be good. Right? A little real juice here and there is not a problem. It becomes one when you add even more sugar onto an already heaping pile of hidden sugar with organic fruit-juice-sugar.
Fruit snacks: I must admit that I had no idea what the heck a fruit snack is. Are they similar to gummy bears? Are they licorice? Are they Swedish Fish? Are they pain medication with better labeling? Real scientists right now are trying to determine if a fruit snack has any fruit in it to make up more research to entertain us with. They could have just asked the other scientists that made them, but personal trainers like me know nothing about real science so this idea would never work. I’ll tell you what they aren’t — fruit. Perhaps lawyers and marketing experts could explain how the word ‘fruit’ could possibly be used to describe high fructose corn syrup and chemicals.
The reality, in my opinion:
There are many more hidden junk foods to discuss — many of them are dubbed “supplements” — but you get the idea. They (governmentsters who allow this charade to go on for mega-profits and campaign donations) know it’s a rat-race to try to reduce processed food intake — it’s in almost everything we eat and very difficult to eliminate. Until you are ready to make some serious eating behavior sacrifices, you will continue to eat lots of hidden junk. Fitness is a fantasy when eating inferior food regardless of what crazy diet team you are on.
Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His column appears on Tuesdays.
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