Pop diets and science

Discussion in 'Open Forum With Harold McGee' started by phatch, Dec 10, 2005.

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  1. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
    I was wondering your view on the various pop diets. Atkins, South Beach and so on. My brother is a higher up at Basic American Foods and was commenting on a big drop in potato sales a year or two ago and how it was attributed to these diets.

    These diets do make scientific claims, but little to no peer reviewed claims. It's obvious they have an economic and dietetic impact on people. Most here, being foodies and chefs aren't impressed with these diets.

    On the other hand, many here do have diet restrictions from diabetes, heart issues, allergies and more. Myself, I have to watch sodium for Meniere's. It strikes me that a diabetic diet bears some strong similarities to Atkins in their use of carbs and glycemic index, yet diabetics often have trouble losing weight for other reasons.

    I'm interested in your summary of these issues.

    Phil
     
  2. harold mcgee

    harold mcgee

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    I think your point about your own sodium watch is the key here: there are many reasons for having dietary restrictions of one kind or another, some very clear-cut, and some not. (I’m allergic to crustaceans, and it’s dungeness crab season!) Also, versions of high-(fill in nutrient of choice), low-(ditto), don’t-mix diets have been cycling in and out of popularity since the middle of the 19th century. And while some diets may be good for helping people lose weight (if only because it makes them keep track of what they’re eating), that doesn’t necessarily make them good diets to live on over the long term. In my opinion, a good diet for life includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and pleasure in eating whatever it is we do eat.

    Harold
     
  3. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I must confess Chef Jim pointed this out to me and I have to say that is a great quote!
     
  4. chefzadi

    chefzadi

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    I absolutely agree. Also the sensual aspects of eating add to the sense of fullfillment. Cook your shrimp with the shell on, the head too. Take your time shelling them, suck on their tasty brains.

    After dinner go for a walk. When your shopping for groceries don't circle the parking lot looking for the closest space. Take the stairs.

    Hey, sound too simple to work? It at least helps.
     
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