Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine

The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.
― Voltaire

I was going to write about salt today, but before I could sit down and do so, I found an interesting article. Two actually. One is from the New York Times, the other from the LATimes. We’ll start on the West Coast since that’s closer to me.

You’ll be thrilled, excited, and basically all-around adrenalized to see the headline: “FDA Approves a New Artificial Sweetener.” I know I’m beside myself.

Advantame — which does not yet having a catchy marketing name — is the sixth artificial sweetener on the U.S. market to receive the FDA’s blessing as a safe food additive.

Advantame joins five other artificial sweeteners: saccharine, aspartame, sucralose, neotame and acesulfame potassium–better known by their respective commercial names, Sweet’N Low, Equal, Splenda and Newtame and Sweet One.

You know, I knew we were missing something. All we have is sugar and brown sugar and raw sugar and maple syrup and stevia and coconut sugar and honey and molasses and Sweet’N Low and Equal and Splenda and Newtame and Sweet One and Truvia and agave syrup and brown rice syrup and cane syrup and corn sugar and corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup and erythritol and fructose and hydrogenated starch hydrolysate and lactose and palm sugar and Miraculin and xylitol!

How can anyone be expected to live with so few choices? Call the WHO and get Keith Urban over here to raise awareness.

Advantame is 20,000 times sweeter, gram per gram, than table sugar, making it the sweetest, by far, of the bunch.

Unlike sugar, honey or molasses, advantame and the other “high-intensity” sweeteners it joins on the U.S. market add no substantial calories to the foods or drinks they flavor. They also do not generally raise blood sugar levels in humans.

Ah, here we get to it. This new artificial sweetener is good because it doesn’t have any calories.

Calories, you see, are Minions of Satan. In a nefarious plot to make you fat, calories were suddenly–and seemingly satanically, since I can come up with no rational explanation otherwise–invested with Evil. This is why foods which all your ancestors ate for thousands of years, like honey and butter, and which never seemed to make them fat, suddenly started making you fat around 1980.

Of course the food industry was there to make money save you, and the government was there to create an enormous, bureaucratic mess support the food industry, and they saved you with the invention of all the artificial sweeteners we already have, as this lady illustrates.

Image courtesy of Marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Celebrating 30 Proud Years of Successful Government Advice on Weight Loss

Now the writer of the article, their interviewed expert, and the FDA proceed to get snarky about anyone who might not be 100% completely, totally on-board with all this.

“It was virtually impossible to find a toxic dose in animals, and there were no signs of carcinogenicity, reproductive or developmental toxicity, or any other systemic toxicity in animals or humans,” Josh Bloom of the American Council on Science and Health wrote on his blog Wednesday. “About the only way this stuff could harm you is if you were run over by a truck that was delivering it.”

Purveyors of dietary supplements who routinely warn of artificial sweeteners’ dangers, he added, will undoubtedly find something “wrong” with advantame and offer a natural alternative. “After all” he wrote, “we all need to make a living.”

Yes, Josh, everyone does. Including you.

Interestingly, you make your money by dismissing as stupid and anti-science anyone who doesn’t think a non-food item should be marketed as food. You are equally dismissive of anyone who might question The Overlords and whether they’ve actually done enough research to say for certain that once a non-food is in every food I eat, it will still be safe.

You make that living off enormous donations from Pfizer, McDonald’s, The Safe Cig, Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Philip Morris and Ethox Chemicals, among many others. Some of those folks just might be making a ton ‘o money very soon off a certain new calorie-free sweetener that is 20,000 times sweeter than sugar.

Also, the term “virtually impossible” is a little strong there, Josh. At least according to the European review of the evidence.

But all that’s missing the point. I’m going to tell you the point, and contrary to anything Josh says, I’m not making a living off doing so.

The point is that this…THING…isn’t food.

If we just need to make sure that eating a ton of something probably won’t make you sick (no one can say for sure, because no one’s studied the effects of eating this stuff day in and day out for twenty-five years) then that rule can be applied across the board.

If I said I’m going to soak my paper towels till they break down, blend them, and then use them to thicken soups, I hope the reaction would be: You’re insane. Potato starch, corn starch, gelatin, arrowroot, and eggs already exist. They’re actual food. They thicken things just fine. Why would you throw something in your food that isn’t food? That’s my question about this sweetener, and all the artificial sweeteners, for that matter. Why on earth would you want to eat them?

Oh wait. I know why you want to eat them. Because you want to eat sweet things all the live-long day without any consequences.

But you were never made to do that. Your body is broken if you can’t live without sweets at every meal and sweet snacks and sweet drinks all the time. I’m going to just come right out and say it: if you’re eating sweetened things all day, this isn’t just another perfectly acceptable way to live. It’s not a legitimate life-style choice. Sorry, but it’s not.

If you told me you’re choosing to spend an hour or two every day banging your head against concrete, and because it’s been hurting you and causing you problems you’ve decided to invent ever more sophisticated head gear to allow you to bang your head more safely, I’d take you to have your head examined. And what’s happening here is no different.

When I was a kid, my siblings and I used to have rock fights. We had these two walls by our house that were very fort-like. One group would defend the fort using the gravel driveway, while the other group would attack. We did this regularly, and we were smart enough not to tell our mother about it. One day our cousins came to visit. This was awesome, as it nearly doubled the numbers for battl. Now the gravel was really flying, and inevitably, Cousin John got hit in the eye.

We begged Cousin John not to tell the mothers, but I regret to say that boy had no sense of timing. He went running in the house, and that was the end of our gravel-throwing ways. Thankfully, Cousin John had actually gotten hit just above his eye and his was not seriously hurt. And surprisingly, all of us–including the cousins–went on to become normal and actually well-educated adults.

To this day, we’re all thankful that Cousin John is only slightly unusual, and not blind in one eye as he could have been.

The point of this fascinating story is that throwing gravel at each other was a lot of fun. I mean, there was real danger of pain. It was exhilarating. That’s what elevates your games from little kid stuff–like laser tag–to a serious paintball course, which can lure in grown men and get them to dress in ridiculous outfits and spend money on pretend guns. But in reality, our mothers were quite right. What we were doing was stupid, and we were very lucky that Cousin John’s head got in the way in time to stop us before one of us suffered truly serious consequences.

Eating sugar all day long is fun. It makes you feel good temporarily. It’s momentarily exhilarating. But it’s really stupid.

If you’d grown up eating a piece of fruit once a day or so, and a small piece of some homemade dessert three times a week after a good meal; if you’d grown up eating eggs and bacon and a biscuit for breakfast, roast and vegetables for lunch, and fried chicken and salad for dinner, where all the grain or starch you ate was a little on the fried chicken, one biscuit at breakfast, and a few fat-soaked potatoes with your roast, you would be eating a lot like your American great-grandparents ate, and you would be highly unlikely to be fat. You wouldn’t have diabetes (unless it was type 1). Is what I just described the ideal way to eat? No,we can quibble. But that’s still a much, much better way to eat than the current standard American diet.

But thanks to government advice telling us to stop eating fat and then encouraging us to eat sugar all day long (which all grains, breads, pastas, and cereal are in the end), we all started eating tons more sugar than ever before. We got fat and got diabetes, and the government helpfully told us to double down and eat even more sugar and even less fat and just exercise more. And by eating so much glucose, we got addicted to eating more and more glucose.

Finally we figured out that at least some of the sugar–the refined stuff, anyway–might not be so good for us, and artificial sweeteners were invented to allow us to continue to do what we wanted without any consequences.

The first problem is you. You need to acknowledge that you are not meant to mostly eat enormous amounts of things that are, or break down to become, nothing but sugar.

You ought to eat real food, and you ought to eat sweet things in very small amounts after meals that contain plenty of healthy fat and protein. If you continue to stuff yourself with sweeteners, grains, fruits smoothies, and starches all day, you will likely get fat and will certainly get sick–even if you are genetically predisposed to remain thin.

Yes, it’ll be hard. You’re addicted to sweet. But you can do it. You should do it. Before you knew what was going on, it wasn’t your fault that you ate Special K with skim milk and a smoothie for breakfast, and then a low-fat vegetable sandwich at lunch to “save” enough calories for a brownie later, and three sodas through the day to keep you “awake,” and a lifeless piece of chicken breast with a salad covered in sugar-packed, low-fat dressing for dinner. You were hungry and misled. But once you know what to do, it’s only your own fault if you don’t do it.

The second problem is our government. They need to stop telling us how to eat. They’ve done nothing but make our health catastrophically worse ever since they first got involved. They also need to stop propping up certain agricultural concerns–like the corn growers–so that corn syrup is so cheap you can buy enormous bags of gummy worms for $.30. They also need to stop handing out our tax money grant money like candy; but only to researchers and doctors willing to tow the party line. That’s not how genuine research gets done.

Somehow, through clever marketing and ignorance, our government has gotten most people to completely overlook their role in our national dietary mess, and instead blame Greedy Evil Businesses for all our national health problems: Greedy Evil Businesses, and also stupid fat people who don’t know to stop eating.

The government’s gotten people to overlook their role so completely that not only do we not realize they are responsible for the advice and habits we now accept as “normal,” but we’re actually stupid enough to look to them again to fix all our health problems. The ruling class loves this. They love to think they’re smarter than you, and all the world’s problems would be solved if you’d just do what your betters tell you: and if it doesn’t work, it’s because YOU didn’t do it right.

The third problem is companies and businesses. They’ve grown accustomed to making money off non-foods. They’ve grown accustomed to cutting out of their foods all the natural fat that makes them satiating and replacing them with cheap sweeteners that stimulate the appetite. They don’t want to go back to simple ingredients, because you can’t make boatloads of money off eggs, bacon, milk, and beef. You can’t market them to niche groups. You can’t stuff them with preservatives and ship them around the world. But you can do all that with energy bars, sodas, and cholesterol-free egg substitutes. Don’t assume that every food company in America is run by sadists bent on ruining your health. But don’t be misled into thinking these people have you best interests at heart.

I know the preceding was a bit harsh. But the real question is: is it true? Should you believe Josh, or should you believe me? After all, Josh has a degree, and he says that this not-food is actually safe to add to your food. He agrees with thirty years of dietary advice that has overseen an obesity and disease health crisis of epic proportions. All I want you to do is take a minute to ponder whether it’s really healthy for you to drink all that soda, eat all those energy bars, put things into your body that can survive for years on a shelf unrefrigerated, and eat so much sugar that you can’t use honey or maple syrup or coconut sugar or any other naturally occurring sweet sugar. So much sugar that you have to use artificial sweeteners so you don’t kill yourself.

Is that any way to live? Is that making food your medicine?


Plato says he’s hungry

Help us keep paying for this site and feeding the dogs.




4 thoughts on “Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine

  1. This reminds me of the common backlash to anything that might disrupt the status quo. If people ate right, got healthy, and lived normal lives, just think what would happen! Chaos, calamity! Hospitals would languish, health clubs would go out of business, entire industries would disappear such as sugar farming, wheat farming, etc. But that’s the point. If we didn’t need these things, who cares? We wouldn’t need them.

    It’s sort of like the fear of what life would be like if we threw away our crutches and wheelchairs and walked instead. It would be disruptive, but it would be a hugely good thing. Just think of all the good things that would come from the collapse of the “food” industry as we know it. Wish it would happen.

    I’m not betting on anyone in the US suddenly becoming intelligent or doing the right thing for their health. That would be too disruptive.

    1. Plus it would mean the loss of face for a lot of people, particularly in the scientific, medical and political professions. Another reason to ignore anything that disrupts the status quo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s