A post about food again–one that I meant to write about 2 months ago–but didn’t have time to.
This post actually came out of a kind of experiment I did to myself as I decided to eat something new.
In specific, I was at the store buying a bunch of Clif Bars–and I saw that there were these clif “builder” bars with 20gm’s of protein in them.
I’m a protein fan. When I want to lose weight, I cut out most extraneous carbs and focus mostly on protein and fruits/vegies (there are carbs in there–but mostly “fibrous” carbs that take longer to digest)–and that tends to work with me to slowly lower my weight. This kind of “dieting” tends to happen every spring (late-ish in spriing)–and this long winter had made my desire to shed some of my body’s previously sensible decisions to create extra insulation so that I didn’t freeze to death even more prominent in my mind.
So I thought–heck–let’s try one of these builder bars. This is the one I got:
I like chocolate-mint flavored stuff and I thought it might not be so bad.
Taste-wise–it wasn’t bad–at least not initially. It was chewy and dense–but I expected as much. It did tend to leave me with a strange–what I would describe as “chemically”–aftertaste–but that’s common with a lot of food products these days–especially processed ones.
Later, however, I didn’t feel so well. My body was not particularly happy with me–it just felt off. Not quite a Mc. Tummy Ache–but something like that.. I’ve come to recognize this feeling–and it usually occurs when I eat something heavily processed. I’m pretty sure I felt it when I was younger and ate processed foods–but it wasn’t as strong or I just wasn’t paying as much attention.
Now that I’m older–I listen to my body–and it wasn’t that happy.
In contrast, I should note, I have long eaten an equivalent 20 grams of protein for lunch–and that was in the form of a can or sardines in mustard sauce. This thing….
I had never had sardines from cans until a couple of summers ago when I was looking for new sources of protein and decided that maybe something like canned tuna would be good. These sardines were in the same aisle–and so I bought some.
I ended up really liking them and also discovering that sardines are not endangered like other fish species and that the harvest of them is a lot better than in most other cases.
Now–I should note that this is also a kind of processed food, but the processing is different. It is generally just a combination of a few ingredients and cooking.
Eating sardines also never gave me any kind of weird digestive signal. It was just food to me.
And I think that’s what I’m getting at here.
My body likes food. It doesn’t really like “food products,” however.
Looking at the ingredients and nutrition facts of these two different products makes for an interesting comparison:
For the Clif Chocolate Mint Builder Bar:
In terms of specific vitamins and minerals: 100% of Vit C, 25% of Calcium, 25% of Iron… all of which is also good.
In terms of the specific scientific nutrients, it looks like something good to eat.
However–when you look at the ingredients.. things change a bit..
Ingredients: Soy Protein Isolate, Beet Juice Concentrate, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Palm Kernel Oil, Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Rolled Oats, Cocoa, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Organic Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Flavors, Organic Almonds, Rice Starch, Cane Syrup, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Cocoa Butter, Organic Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Colored with Beet Powder, Carnauba Wax.
Its not that these ingredients are all horrible–in fact, there are a lot of organic ingredients in there. The fact that they are organic is a good thing.
However–the combination of these things together and the way they are combined–especially the “Soy protein Isolate” and “Soy Protein concentrate,”–this is not how our body evolved to work.
It evolved to eat foods–and foods were usually weird mixtures of compounds and structures—rather than extracts and isolates.
In comparison–here is the nutritional information for my sardines:
It has a similar amount of the main components–namely 21gms of protein, 9gms of fat, but only 5gms of carbs. Similarly, it has 50% of calcium and 25% of Iron, but only 6% of Vitamin C.
This makes sense in that fish don’t usually contain any vitamin C in them–and the vitamin C that is there is most likely from the mustard sauce added to it.
In terms of the ingredients–they are a lot simpler:
Ingredients: Sardines, Mustard, Water, Vinegar, Soy Bean Oil, Corn Flour, Turmeric, Salt.
These ingredients are relatively “old” in the sense that you could produce and consume them a thousand years ago–and people did.
In the end–my body seems to consider the sardines to be food–and the Clif Builder Bar to be something else–and that’s why I’m sticking with my sardines. I don’t begrudge anyone their clif bars–far from it–but I would tell people to listen to their bodies and pay attention to how they feel after eating various things. We live in an age where there are lots of things that can be purchased and consumed that the human body has never eaten before–and the variety of such things has grown tremendously over the last 30 years—as has the growing, worldwide level of obesity (note–one should be careful of those statistics, however, as they rely upon the BMI index–and that number is not nec. the most accurate way to determine real health-damaging weight levels.. ).
So think about what you eat–but listen to your body when you eat.. as it will probably try to tell you stuff..