Two recent articles in The Times have, from different viewpoints, highlighted the growing consensus that cutting out carbohydrates from your diet is a very bad idea indeed.
Tony Turnbull’s December article preached that to give up pasta for any reason betokened incipient insanity and stated, as an aside, but assertively, that pasta is not in itself fattening.
Peta Bee writing in the ‘Body and Soul’ section in January argued, from the health and wellbeing standpoint, that eating carbohydrates in moderation has definite health benefits and excluding them altogether is an absolutely stupid thing to do with serious consequences for one’s health (chronic insomnia and increased risk of developing diabetes to mention but two.)
She even said that white bread, though not as good for you as wholemeal, was still a valuable fibre and calcium source. This coupled with the recent rehabilitation of butter as a safe food is music to my ears.
I have been banging on about these precise subjects for over thirty years and rather than feeling resentful that someone has finally jumped on my stalled bandwagon, I welcome it with open arms.
Let us not stop at carbohydrates. We need to stop our children from giving up any type or group of food. Human beings evolved to literally eat anything they could lay their hands on, which amounted to a very varied diet indeed, with very little meat, probably more fish and shellfish, a lot of fruit, nuts and roots and some grain.
Our bodies have evolved to thrive on this diet we have lost the ability to synthesise some vitamins because we did not need to; they were omnipresent in our diet.
This is not the case in many modern, restrictive diets. Our bodies have evolved to thrive on fresh food in its season because that was all that was available and we tamper with this natural cycle at our peril. Our bodies play host to multitude of micro-organisms that have evolved in concert with us; they need this variety of foodstuffs to thrive, and when we do things that stop them thriving, we get ill.
So the alarming number of young people giving up dairy, gluten, meat, sugar etc is a cause for panic. Young people always think they are invulnerable and we need to show them that to give up any food group for spurious health reasons is barking mad.
There are many personal reasons for adopting a restrictive diet: Ethical and ecological considerations, religious belief, and informed, balanced, medical advice are all perfectly valid and individual reasons for choosing not to eat something. To exclude major segments of our natural diet simply because unproven nutritional or dietary theories assert they will be beneficial is not a good idea.
It is coming to light that many young people with anorexia, bulimia or orthorexia are trying to hide their condition behind a twin smoke screen of adopting a vegan diet and photographing plates of food they are pretending they are going to eat, then posting the pictures online, so much cooler than actually eating it. They will be making themselves very ill in the long road.