Make mine an Artificial … and make it a double

Close-up of glass with whisky

There’s a sucker born every minute.

That was my thought when I saw the NBCNews.com piece Taco Bell and Pizza Hut Chuck Artificial Ingredients.

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have announced they’re getting rid of artificial colors and flavors, becoming the latest national food retailers to “go natural.”

Instead of “black pepper flavor,” for instance, Taco Bell will start using actual black pepper in its seasoned beef.

Taco Bell also said it will remove trans fats and high-fructose corn syrups from most of its menu by the end of the year…

Chipotle recently said it had nearly finished removing genetically modified ingredients from its stores. Subway, the subject of an online campaign to remove an ingredient in its food also found in yoga mats, also updated its ingredient list. And in February, Nestlé pledged to replace “vanillin” in its Crunch bars with natural vanilla flavor, along with other changes to remove artificial colors and flavors.

Ahhh, the power of marketing!

But the reality is that the food from Taco Bell and Pizza Hut wasn’t healthy before and it won’t be healthy when it’s all natural. That’s because “naturalness” has nothing to do with health, no matter how much the food-phobes insist that it does.

Who are the food-phobes?

They are the quacks and charlatans who create communities of fear around food, cringing and whingeing about everything from artificial flavors to genetically modified foods.

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are following Chipotle into attempting to convert these communities of fear into customers. As PT Barnum once said, you can’t go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

The ultimate irony, though, it that most of us would not be here if it weren’t for technology and artificial ingredients and treatments. For most of human existence, natural has been synonymous with deadly not healthy.

Deadly viruses and bacteria are all natural.

Famines are all natural.

Nutrient poor plants are all natural.

Droughts, floods, earthquakes and tornadoes are 100% natural, too.

For hundreds of thousands of years not a single individual died from artificial anything, but human beings died in droves. They died in childbirth; they died of bacterial and viral illness; they died being mauled and eaten by wild animals; they died of exposure to the extremes of weather and they died in natural disasters.

In 2015, in first world countries, the deaths rates prior to old age have never been lower and lifespans have never been longer. Nonetheless, people have convinced themselves that if they returned to the natural lifestyle of their ancestors they will live longer and be healthier, in direct contradiction to the unassailable fact that those ancestors were neither healthier nor longer lived.

Why? Because they have transmuted the entirely human fear of illness and death into a fear of chemistry. They don’t understand chemistry so they are afraid of “artificial” chemicals.

They are living in a world of fear of their own making by conveniently ignoring the fact that it is “artificial” ingredients and treatments have ensured that they are still here to be afraid.

I’m 56 years old, and my story is typical. I could honestly tell you that as an adult I have rarely been sick. I can only recall two times that I ever was sick enough to miss work: the first was when I had breastfeeding related mastitis and my temperature soared to 104; the second occurred because I was exposed to chickenpox and was not immune since no vaccine existed when I was a child. I missed work to protect the patients, not to protect me.

But I can also tell you that I have rarely been sick because I have relied heavily on profoundly artificial treatments and preventatives. Indeed, without them I would probably be dead.

I never faced the scourges of smallpox, diphtheria, pertussis, rubella or polio because I received vaccines.

My vision is poor because of nearsightedness. In paleolithic times I would have died being eaten by a predator or falling off a cliff that I failed to see. Instead, I have always had 20/20 vision because of glasses, made from that artificial ingredient glass. More recently, I have maintained 20/20 vision through plastic: contact lenses.

I gave birth to 4 healthy children, and never had to worry about dying in childbirth.

I was able to limit the number of pregnancies I experienced by the use of contraceptives, and therefore further reduced the risk of dying of pregnancy related complications.

When I was 40, I developed an all natural benign brain tumor that affected my vision. In nature, it would have ultimately killed me, but not until I had suffered excruciating headaches for years. Instead, I had a single treatment with radiation and it shrunk to the point where it no longer caused symptoms.

At 45 I developed all natural narrow angle glaucoma. Narrow angle is much less common than typical (wide angle) glaucoma, and is due to a structural defect in the eye. A laser was used to open channels between the anterior and posterior eye. It took 5 seconds and cured the problem. Without it, I inevitably would have become blind.

At 45 I also developed high blood pressure, now well controlled on anti-hypertensive medications.

At 50 I developed gallstones. Within months I had my gallbladder removed through the laparoscope, a procedure so simple that I went out to dinner the following night.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Nature has thrown me a bunch of health curves and I’ve caught them all with the aid of “artificial” chemicals and procedures.

As far as I’m concerned, if you are gullible enough to believe that the problem with Taco Bell and Pizza Hut was the artificial or GMO ingredients in their products, instead of the all natural fat and sugar, then Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are entitled to trick you that their products are now healthy because they are natural.

In the meantime, make mine (food, vaccines, medications) an Artificial … and make it a double!

  • guest

    My allergies are natural. I curse nature.

  • Wombat

    The fact that the idea that something – anything – can’t be both good and bad, only one or ther other (nature good, artifical bad – rather than the much truer ‘they’re both quite mixed bags, really, it all depends’) is not only accepted, but worshipped enough to create an entire MOVEMENT hurts my brain every time I think about it.

    It just flies in the face of reason… not even reason, but simple common understanding. I know it is so true (I see it more and more every day on FB and the like, ugh) especially right now, but it still saddens me a little to repeatedly acknowledge that this is a real thing, not satire or a crazy level ‘what if’.

    Blegh.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      It’s amazing when people jump down your throat for saying “Well there’s pros and cons to x.”

      Or even more ridiculous when you say, “I don’t think I understand the subject or have studied it enough to have an informed opinion,” on a complex issue like economics and people start raging and calling you lazy and stupid when you admit that the subject is a difficult one for you to grasp well or don’t know enough about. I’m admitting that I don’t know and don’t want to spread bullshit! Isn’t that a good thing?

      • Wombat

        Agnosticism really falls in the second one for me. I usually just shut up about religion because it’s almost always going to just result in someone going “WHAT, can’t you just commit and be an atheist! You’re entertaining the possibility!>!!!1!!”

        Well… yeah. I’m entertaining the possibility that we will learn everything we know about gravity is wrong tomorrow and all fly off into space too. Doesn’t mean that I think it’s remotely likely, or that I am devoting any amount of my life to it. I’m merely saying “I don’t know, I don’t know enough to find out, and I really kinda doubt anyone else can either, tbh”. There’s a little of “I don’t really care to know” mixed in for good measure with the organized religion, but I think I might care to know about gravity ceasing, especially in advance! c:

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Oh for…

          Religious zealots and intactivists have far too much in common, you know? Or I guess any extremist.

          Delphiniums guide to not being a religious dickwad: You can mention your religion. If they want to know more, tell them about it. If they’re really serious about it, get them in touch with missionaries and invite them to church.

          Not interested in joining or learning more to decide if they want to join or they’re comfortable where they’re at? Well this is a nice time for a polite philosophical discussion where I may learn how others in the world think! Always a plus! The more you understand about how others think, the better you can understand how to appreciate the value of all humans. Once you learn to value those different from you, you find it very hard to buy into blind hatred.

  • RattieMattie

    The only reason I’m even remotely happy about many of these companies going the “natural” route is that I’ve developed some nasty adult allergies to food colorings. Specifically red 40 and Caramel Coloring, and I now have to carry an EpiPen for anaphalaxis. They put Red 40 and Caramel; Coloring in EVERYTHING, and any chance to reduce my reactions is something I am happy about. If it weren’t for the allergies I’d be on the artificial wagon as hard as anyone. What I miss most is Twizzlers and Dr. Pepper, but I’ve had severe reactions to bbq chicken, to hand soap in a restroom, to all sorts of things. My body has decided that artificial dyes are the enemy. : /

  • sdsures

    Admittedly, when I first saw the title, I thought of synthehol from “Star Trek”. ^_^

  • Ardea

    I don’t think a bean and cheese burrito from Taco Bell is all that bad for you, as far as fast food goes.

    On the other hand, one of my former students posted a video on facebook today for the following recipe:

    A chicken strip on a stick, coated in Kraft macaroni and cheese and then rolled in crushed flaming hot Cheetos and then baked. I really find the concept kind of nasty:

    https://www.facebook.com/foodbeast/videos/10153291754584281/

    • Ardea

      Baked? I meant fried.

      • Who?

        That’s a horrid thing to do to perfectly good chicken. Why the mac n cheese and the cheetos? Ick.

  • Marie_M

    I’m in love with the artificial. The chemicals. The Big Pharma. The genetically engineered. Specifically I am so into glycerol, phenol, meta-cresol, zinc chloride, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, sodium hydroxide, hydrochloride acid, water for injections and insulin aspart (rys) that I infuse this stuff subcutaneously 24/7 and have been entirely reliant on it simply for survival… for 17 years now. But I guess if I’d followed an entirely organic, natural diet I would probably never have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the first place. Maybe I should try cinnamon instead, huh?

  • DelphiniumFalcon

    Okay serious post this time.

    A teacher in Australia made some infographics showing what thousands of years of selective breeding by humans have done for peaches, corn, and watermelons.

    http://www.vox.com/2014/10/15/6982053/selective-breeding-farming-evolution-corn-watermelon-peaches

    Still want your all natural, non-human tampered with foods? I’ll pass and take my tasty GMOs.

    • Megan

      Cool!

  • Lindsay

    I’m 18 weeks pregnant and go to my high risk OB for ultrasounds every 2 weeks. I’m taking Lovenox for blood clotting. I’m also starting P17, a progesterone shot to increase my chances of a full term baby. My mother-in-law’s take on all of this life-saving medication and intervention? It’s not natural and I should stop it all and hope for the best, like her daughter who is also 18 weeks with a low risk pregnancy. Yeah, the baby and I would both die, so no thank you. I’ll stick with all my unnatural interventions and thank God every day for such wonderful interventions and a very intelligent doctor who would rather not have a dead baby/mom on his hands so he takes no chances. Oh, and we are trying to schedule a cesarean. The horrors!!!

  • DelphiniumFalcon

    Sort of on topic and sort of not but I had to share what my husband found after we had an especially fun time mocking way out there woo. We’re pretty sure it’s a joke. Pretty sure.

    Behold! Healing computer viruses naturally with crystals!

    https://grahamcluley.com/2015/05/magic-crystals-viruses/

    • Cobalt

      Magnets work even better.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work?!

        • Cobalt

          You just place a few strong ones over the computer’s memory. The virus is instantly gone. So is everything else, but hey, it works (or at least it used to, hardware may have changed since I wiped out my Dad’s computer as a kid).

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Remember the days when you could wave a magnet in front of a CRT monitor and really make it look mucked up? Good times.

            From what my husband has told me from his A+ certification classes, hard drives are little bit more hardened against magnet damage. A regular hobby magnet probably wouldn’t do much but you could make a sufficiently powerful electromagnet out of household items and cause some havok.

          • Nick Sanders

            Haha, when I was a kid, I ruined a pretty expensive TV with magnets because I liked the “pretty colors” it made.

  • mreed12

    THIS is marvelous, and probably the best post on the subject I’ve ever read. Honest, straight-forward, real-world experience and common sense and science! Thanks

  • Gord Bestwick

    There you go bringing intelligence, fact and rational thinking into things again. Next thing you know it you’ll provide peer reviewed research by credible scientists. Dang you and your backing things up with facts!

  • Michi Me

    I personally try to stay away from High Fructose Corn Syrup as much as possible. I don’t drink soda if it’s an ingredient because it makes my stomach hurt and I think it makes some food taste different. I don’t give a hoot about the rest of the unnatural stuff but HFCS is my no go.

    • Gord Bestwick

      I think in Mexico they use actual cane sugar in their Coca Cola. (I know it is one country in that area)

      It would be interesting for you to do a blinded study and see if when put to the test you could actually tell which was which!

      • Michi Me

        I know I could tell when I was in Japan in 2010. Japan Coca cola used sugar cane in the drink at the time but I know it didn’t taste like American Cola. American CC with HFCS tasted too sweet to me. The Japanese stuff tasted more like a old fashioned Cola.

      • Megan

        Not a controlled study I know, but hubby and I did blind taste tests of regular and “throwback” soda once (we’ve done it with generic PB and Jif too – we’re nerds like that!) and we could both tell the difference taste wise and could identify them correctly. I am not a huge soda fan in general but I think sugar-sweetened soda does taste better.

      • kristina

        I can taste the difference big time. But I wonder if a large part of it is that Mexican coke comes in glass bottles. I’m the freak who can taste the difference between cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles and (yuck!) Styrofoam. I cannot STAND the taste of anything in Styrofoam. My coworkers made me do a blind taste test once because they all thought I was full of it.

        Bonus of living in the south? 711 carries Mexican coke. Delicious!

    • Sue

      In reality, HFCS has about the same percentage of fructose as sucrose from cane sugar (55% vs 50%). The HFCS is “high” fructose in the sense that it is higher than other corn syrup, not higher than sucrose.

      The real issue with HFCS is that it is in disguise (ie not labelled as “sugar”) and that it is subsidised to be cheap and therefore added to too many manufactured foods.

      The best attitude to sweet soda is to avoid them altogether or consume as an occasional indulgence – whatever they are sweetened with.

      Sweet soft-drinks in Aus tend to be sweetended with sucrose from cane sugar because the agricultural economics are different here.
      Most people know, however, that “sucrose” on the label means sugar.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        In reality, HFCS has about the same percentage of fructose as sucrose from cane sugar (55% vs 50%). The HFCS is “high” fructose in the sense that it is higher than other corn syrup, not higher than sucrose.

        In terms of chemical composition, that is correct. However, HFCS is a mixture of the two components, whereas sucrose is a single molecule. These are absolutely NOT the same thing at all. A mixture of vinegar and ethanol is not the same as ethyl acetate. Even assuming the ester is hydrolyzed in the stomach, there are differences in the physical characteristics before it gets there.

        This is where the difference between sucrose and HFCS is proposed to be – in the sensation it gives in the mouth. In terms of sweetness, they are comparable (HFCS is a little sweeter), but that doesn’t address issues of satiation, for example.

        • Sue

          Thanks, Bofa. You are right – sucrose is a disaccharide that is broken down into glucose and fructose with digestion.

          My point is that HFCS is not exceptional because it is about half fructose – it’s exceptional because it is sugar disguised by the name, and very cheap in the US.

        • bbb0420

          Do you mean that sucrose gives a greater feeling of satiety than HFCS?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Do you mean that sucrose gives a greater feeling of satiety than HFCS?

            It seems to. However, more importantly, they can behave differently in this regard, and other factors that depend on physical composition, and therefore can create different results. So it’s not as simple as “HFCS and sucrose are both half glucose/half fructose and so are the same”

  • Bombshellrisa

    I hope it doesn’t change the taste of their hot and fire sauces. That sauce is so yummy. We buy it at the grocery store and use it at home.
    I

    • I love it with scrambled eggs!

  • Into soul winter I fly

    Is it true corn syrup is more likely to cause fatty liver disease than cane sugar?

    • Gord Bestwick

      I’ll field this one!

      A quote from the results of this study that pretty much sums it up:

      “the apparent association between indexes of liver health …. and fructose or sucrose intake appear to be confounded by excessive energy intake. Overall, the available evidence is not sufficiently robust to draw conclusions regarding effects of fructose, HFCS, or sucrose consumption on NAFLD.”

      To put it in a way that doesn’t make you need a drink: Not likely. Not a zero chance, but not likely.

      Source:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25099546

      • Sue

        The “Fructose is Poison” brigade like to characterise fructose as specially “toxic” because some of it undergoes a metabolic pathway in the liver, where it can either end up as glycogen (the storage molecule for glucose) or into triglycerides (fat). In significant excess, it can contribute to fatty liver, but not unuiquely.

        HFCS, though, has almost the same percentage of fructose as sucrose does. The main difference (as I said above) is that HFCS is sugar-in-disguise when it appears on a processed food label, and it is agriculturally subsidised in the US, so it is very cheap for a processed food additive.

        Outside the US, most nations use cane sugar (australia and the pacific, central and south america, asia or sugar beet (europe).

      • Into soul winter I fly

        Thank you. So basically non alcoholic liver disease is caused by overeating/drinking?

        • Gord Bestwick

          I would say that overeating is vastly more likely to be the cause.

          Now to be clear on this though, it is the caloric content of the food (sugar, carbohydrate, fat) and the fact that food today is so abundant that it makes overeating extremely easy.

          A more graspable way of putting what was said in that study would be this: We can’t rule out 100% that the use of fructose and sucrose are causing it, but since people today eat so much food and this food is of such high quality that it is unlikely that the sugar is the cause of NAFLD.

          If you have any specific question, I’ll do my best to answer it.

          • Into soul winter I fly

            Do you think there will ever be approved drugs for SEID like there is for fibro?

          • Gord Bestwick

            Hmmm. I didn’t know much about the specifics about that, but I did a quick read.

            The best I can grasp right now is that we don’t entire understand the specific causes of SEID, as there appear to be many.

            I would say that eventually there will be a treatment, but I wouldn’t look for one any time soon.

            I would put it on par with the search for a cure for Cancer. Cancer is merely a name we put on many different things that look the same, which is why it seems like such a hard thing to treat. I think SEID is the same. Similar symptoms, many causes.

            Cheers

          • Into soul winter I fly

            I heard in a YouTube video that if you don’t eat for a certain amount of time your body will resort to eating itself. It said 3 days is the amount of time it takes for the body to eat itself. How long can I go without eating before self eating starts? Is there anything I need while I’m not eating, lets say potassium? How can I do fasts for weight loss and money saving as safely as possible? Or do we really have a minimum of calories we need a day? How can I make it so that my body will eat its fat but not its organs and other important things? Thanks.

          • Gord Bestwick

            First, I must caution you against doing anything based on advice from the internet. Even from me. Please consult a doctor or a health professional if you have any health issues. I mean it. Seriously.

            But, what do we need and how often?

            Well, keep in mind that you body is constantly consuming the glucose in your circulatory system. By not eating (fasting) you will first develop a form of hypoglycemia, which can damage your brain. Some people develop it quickly, others take a bit more time.

            The best and safest way to “not eat” is to not not eat. Your system needs food, and our digestive systems are best set up for continuous use.

            If you are looking for ways to lose weight, I’d like to suggest that you consider whether or not you *should* lose weight. As I have no idea what you are in terms of body type, shape and amount of fat, you need to get some objective person to give you an idea. Remember, there is such a thing as too skinny. Please, if you are already thin don’t lose more weight. Be healthy.

            The best, safest and most effective long term way to lose weight is to do it slowly. 1-2 pounds a week is the best rate. Not only will you not have to needlessly suffer with hunger and all that, but you will be more likely to keep it off long term because you are training reasonable eating habits.

            Without going into too many specific 1 pound of fat = ~3500 calories. So, the idea if you want to lose 1 pound per week all you have to do is expend 3500 more than you take in. (Per week)

            There are other factors that can affect your weight, but that is the general idea.

            You need to figure out how many calories you need to function in a day. Remember, just “not eating” is a terrible and unhealthy way to lose weight that can cause a myriad of problems. (And can kill you) If you wake up and just lay there and breath, an average height, average weight person needs about 900 calories (give or take).

            There are things like metabolic efficiency, caloric availability and a bunch of other things that you shouldn’t bother to tinker with.

            I’d suggest this: If you have a smartphone get an app like “Lose It” and do a food diary. You will learn where your nutrition is coming from and then you can make subtle changes.

            Anyways I’ve rambled, and I know I didn’t directly answer the question that you asked. Was this helpful?

          • Into soul winter I fly

            Yes.

          • Into soul winter I fly

            -What is this report saying?

            http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/hpcdp-pspmc/35-1/ar-02-eng.php

            -What do you think of the exercise diagnostic test for CFS aka SEID? Could the results be influenced by deconditioning which tends to happen to people with SEID after they’ve been sick for a while. The tests are called VO2 max and they have to do it for 2 days and tilt table test.

            http://www.cortjohnson.org/blog/2013/07/30/busted-exercise-study-finds-energy-production-system-is-broken-in-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/

            What do you think? It just kills me the amount of quackery in rge SEID community and I hate to hear it still being called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis because there is no basis and I agree with that medical board in the states who said there is no evidence for the term ME and decided to call it SEID. One studied I read about suggested Post Exertional Relapse Syndrome which I also like.

  • yentavegan

    Speaking from experience, once I entered menopause it mattered not if the sweetner was sugar, HFCS, honey, agave etc…I gained weight. I rid my diet of all these ingredients and lo and behold my health improved.

  • Kesiana

    I am ALL for replacing high-fructose corn syrup with real sugar… but my mild allergy to the former has a bit to do with that. XD

  • Cobalt

    Interesting reading from Taco Bell about the ingredients in their beef:

    http://m.tacobell.com/m/nutrition/foodfacts/the-truth-about-our-ingredients

    • Karyn Croushore Hodgins

      Interesting how that has changed. I worked at Taco Bell during high school…. 1988-1991…. when we cooked ground beef, we actually took 20 pounds of ground beef and cooked it and then added taco seasoning, like you would if you made tacos at home. Now it’s all boil in a bag… same thing with the refried beans, we started with dry beans and went from there. Now they are powdered.

  • Kazia

    I usually buy “natural” foods because they often taste better to me. I prefer cookies and soda made with real cane sugar over high fructose corn syrup. Artificial sweeteners give me the runs (and they taste terrible) so I avoid them at all costs.

    But I’m not under the impression that my food choices are healthier than other stuff. Cookies and soda are just not good for you, period. HFCS or pure cane sugar are both sugar, and should be limited.

    • carr528

      Every single artificial sweetener I’ve tried, from Splenda to Stevia, has a nasty aftertaste to me. I just started cutting the sugar in things I made. You can cut half of the sugar out of a chocolate chip cookie recipe and never notice the difference. Another reason I make a lot of my own food rather than buying it packaged. (Except for Doritos. So bad for you, but so good!)

      • Kazia

        I think Stevia is the only one I can handle. And if there’s a lot, I can definitely taste it. I don’t actively avoid it, but I don’t seek out foods that contain it. Xylitol (which is often in gum) does it to me too.

        I’ve never been able to understand how people can drink diet soda. One sip and I want to puke!

        If I don’t make my own desserts, then I just eat a little less or go for stuff that has less sugar anyway. I strongly prefer dark chocolate that’s not too sweet, for example. I eat plain peanut butter, go for less sugary cereal and so on. I drink way too much juice though.

        • Medwife

          I bet there are “tasters” and “non tasters”, or maybe something like cilantro, which to some people tastes like soap. Because I’ve tried diet sodas and there would be no chance of getting used to that taste.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I think you’re right and I don’t know what it is that I’m tasting. Most of my family, extended included, can’t taste the difference between diet and regular soda but my dad and I and a couple cousins on his side can tell instantly. But we can both taste the soapy cilantro flavor too.

            You’re right though. There is NO getting used to whatever is causing that taste in diet soda. Just…blech.

            I don’t really have much of a drive for soda anymore anyways. I produce kidney stones like crazy so I don’t need any help making more.

          • Comrade X

            OK, diet soda tastes like ass to me too (and gives me headaches to boot), but coriander is frigging delicious and doesn’t taste anything like soap.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            See that’s what makes me wonder if it’s a different type of super taster because other people I know who hate diet soda also love cilantro.

            Someone make this a high school science project!

          • deafgimp

            Basically, cilantro has aldehydes in it. Soap has aldehydes. As a result, people can associate cilantro with soap and dislike it because soap is not meant to be eaten. This is one way how we manage to keep ourselves alive and not eat stuff that is toxic to us.

            The way to enjoy cilantro if you don’t already is to dissociate it from the soap. A Japanese study from about 5 years ago showed that if you crush cilantro it allows enzymes to convert the aldehydes to something else, so you don’t smell the soapiness. Crush your cilantro and toss it with some pasta or put it on tacos that way, and eat it many times. That should go a long way towards changing your palate. I think that people need to eat foods 8-10 times when they dislike it to start before they can change it to liking it or tolerating it. Maybe it’s half that.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I didn’t know that’s why it tastes like soap! Good to know! Thank your for dropping in and giving an explanation. I need to send this to my best friend. You can’t get anywhere near her with a cilantro sprig.

            I don’t mind cilantro on tacos or in salsa, I just can’t eat it plain so I must have somehow stumbled onto what you advised when I was a kid. Didn’t know that’s what made the difference.

          • Nick Sanders

            I like coriander seed, but I can’t stand the leaves.

          • Comrade X

            It’s not a curry if it hasn’t had 37 Metric Fucktons of fresh torn coriander leaves added to it right at the end, you infidel! 🙂

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        I can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeteners either. I’d prefer to eat full sugar full fat versions of food and watch my portion size rather than eat big portions of low-calorie foods.

      • Sarah

        Very true. I do find American recipes in particular tend to use a lot of sugar. When I use them, I try cutting the sugar by a third or half and it invariably still tastes good. And I have a pretty sweet tooth!

      • Kerlyssa

        It gets worse when used in baking, somehow. Fudge made with Splenda is the devil’s own turds. Diet soda, on the other hand, isn’t bad.

        • SuperGDZ

          Artificial sweeteners don’t have the same chemical structure as sugar and don’t respond to heat (for egby caramelizing) or cold (eg by lowering the freezing point of ice cream so that it doesn’t freeze rock hard). Any recipe that requires sugar for texture, structure or any taste other than pure sweetness will be ruined by substituting artificial sweeteners.

          The same goes for HFCS or liquid glucose – if a recipe specifically calls for either of them (usually in addition to sugar) then there is likely to be a reason other than sweetness.

          On the other hand, an awful lot of baking and desserts are revoltingly sweet which masks (to my taste) the flavours of the food, and can benefit from cutting the sugar in the recipe.

      • Medwife

        I agree. Every single one is intolerable, in any amount. Earlier in my pregnancy I wanted mint gum to help with nausea, and it took forever to find one without a sugar substitute. If I was diabetic I think I’d just go without entirely.

  • carr528

    Why would anyone use artificial black pepper when real black pepper is so easy and inexpensive? Of course, I say this as someone who hasn’t eaten at Taco Bell since the early 90’s.

    Now, I love me a good Pizza Hut pizza. Doesn’t beat homemade though.

    • araikwao

      Black pepper *flavouring*?? You Americans are weird.. 😛

      • Pantaloones

        Says the guy spelling ‘flavor’ with a ‘u’ 😉 I kid, I kid.

        • araikwao

          Ha ha, touché!!

    • Nick Sanders

      This is the same company that got caught using so little beef they couldn’t even call it “taco meat filler”.

      • Cobalt

        The textured vegetable protein may very well have been healthier. It definitely had a less sloppy texture.

        • Nick Sanders

          My point was that if they are that cheap, “black pepper flavor” instead of black pepper becomes a lot less surprising.

          I like the chicken better, anyways. 😛

          • Cobalt

            The chicken is too salty. I liked the old soy based crumbles with natural beef flavor added. That stuff was scientifically engineered perfection.

      • Carl G Craver

        The lawsuit over their taco meat was dismissed as frivolous.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/29/taco-bell-beef_n_5232605.html

    • Gord Bestwick

      It is cheap when you purchase it in the quantity that a normal person uses at home.

      When you buy it at quantities in the thousand of tonnes per year of it, shaving a few cents per pound here and there through replacement can make a staggering difference to the bottom line.

      (Note: I’m presuming the quantity. They must sell a staggering amount of that, and I’m using those numbers as example)

    • Medwife

      If they were actually interested in health they’d get rid of the soda fountains. (Can you imagine the uproar?)

      • “Something something something LAMESTREAM MEDIA something something JOB CREATORS FREEDOM MICHELLE OBUMMER.”

  • Allie P

    “Artificial” almond flavoring is made in a lab. “Natural” almond flavoring is made from peach pits. Is it really so much better?

    • Gord Bestwick

      Nope. It isn’t. 🙂

    • Comrade X

      Natural almond flavouring is also harder to make because of the danger of cyanide contamination.

    • deafgimp

      No, because peaches and almonds are closely related. If you break open a peach pit, you find what looks very much like an almond. My posts often don’t go through if I put a full link in, so hopefully this will work. Honey nut cheerios don’t actually have almonds in them and haven’t since 2007. They use it from peaches and maybe plums, I can’t remember what they told me. This is why people who are allergic to nuts often aren’t allergic to almonds as almonds are not nuts. They can also be allergic to peaches if you’re allergic to almonds.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peach#/media/File:Prunus_persica_pit.jpg

  • Liz Leyden

    Without artificial radiation, my father would’ve died of lymphoma in his 20s. The radiation led to calcification in his heart and aorta that led to the surgery that ultimately killed him, but he got 40 years of life that he wouldn’t have had without the radiation.

    If I’d given birth 100 years ago, neither I nor my kids would have survived very long. Without artificial drugs and surgical procedures, my daughter would’ve died about 36 hours after birth, assuming she survived delivery (transverse lie). The same access to medical care is the reason I didn’t die of all-natural eclampsia 10 days post-partum. When my body naturally failed to produce adequate breast milk, artificial formula kept my babies from starving.

  • Liz Leyden

    In similar but unrelated news, Similac will sell GMO-free formula by next month.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/26/business/similac-advance-infant-formula-to-be-offered-gmo-free.html?_r=1

    • SporkParade

      Right now, I’m on the hunt for baby food pouches that DON’T advertise themselves as non-GMO. It isn’t as easy as I would have expected.

      • Mattie

        why specifically non-GMO? I’m sorta ambivalent about it, if it’s in it that’s fine, but if it isn’t that’s also fine (or am I just being dense and you’re being sardonic) lol

        • SporkParade

          I think you misread. I am a big fan of GMOs and prefer not to buy products that advertise themselves as non-GMO because they feed into the cultural perception that genetic engineering is dangerous and scary.

          • Mattie

            Just mis-typed, I’m on holiday and think I left my brain at home. I understand, I’m totally ambivalent (I don’t think GMOs are bad, in fact they’re actually doing a lot of good) but if something is GMO free I’ll eat it, just as I would if it had GMOs. I can totally see why you’d want to not buy in to the fear, and I would never buy ‘special’ GMO free stuff but I like an easy life so I’ll get what’s available and I like the taste of.

          • Gord Bestwick

            I think the point that is being made is that when you purchase things that are “GMO Free” or “Non-GMO” you are helping to encourage companies that want to take advantage of the woo peddlers, and also encouraging the woo peddlers by not taking an active stance against their idiocy.

            Unless I have no choice I won’t even buy “Organic” food from a store. If I see a local farmer, yes, but I will actively avoid food sold at a premium for something that is shown to have more potential danger of food poisoning me.

          • Lea

            Good on you, Gord. I do the same thing for the same reasons. My husband took some convincing though since he’s of the mindset of Mattie.

          • Gord Bestwick

            I appreciate where Mattie is coming from. However, there are times that we need to take a side on issues.

            However Mattie, I would suggest that if you have a GMO free and a “Conventional” product side by side you pick conventional. We as consumers need to actually show that you don’t need to pander to the zealots and idiots.

          • Mattie

            I’ll pick whatever is cheapest, usually that is the GMO/non-organic stuff, not positive but I think GMOs are mainly used in animal feed (in the UK) so it’s not such a big issue anyway, if I were to live somewhere where there were options I’d go with the regular version as I don’t think they’re poison lol the only thing I am really careful with is buying free-range eggs and chicken, and where I can afford it other meat that is raised more kindly. I never buy organic meat as they don’t treat the animals with antibiotics if they need them and that’s cruel (or so I’ve heard anyway).

          • SporkParade

            I’ve heard the opposite, that organic farms hate volunteers because they tend to do things like report the farms when they treat sick animals with antibiotics. I’ll buy organic if it’s better quality and not significantly more expensive (which happens surprisingly often). But non-GMO just rubs me the wrong way for some reason.

          • Gord Bestwick

            I do agree on the meat. And I do find *proper* free range eggs (Like Farmer Joe down the road that also keeps some chickens around his property free range) have a richer taste to them; which makes my custards taste much better.

            Unfortunately, there is little differentiation by the general public between local farmer and organic. I have no problem directly supporting a local farmer, unless they are selling certified organic.

          • Comrade X

            “Organic”, “All-Natural” and “GMO Free” are three labeling-gimmicks I will actively try to avoid.

          • SuperGDZ

            I also avoid food ostentatiously labelled as organic, unless it’s cheaper or there literally is no other option available.

          • deafgimp

            Oranges in the US may not survive without being genetically modified. They have a disease that we’re losing a battle against. If people want their OJ, they will probably have to accept that it’s from a GMO.

          • Mattie

            wow, that’s interesting, and rather GMO than diseased fruit/no fruit

  • As much as I like junk food, natural ingredients taste better to me in general. I’m thinking in my experience, though. Real avocado guac rather than garlicky avocado flavoring, natural cheese, donuts with actual fruit inside…

    • Gord Bestwick

      You know, I’ve been doing a bit of a psychological experiment on myself lately. I’ve been asking myself “What makes Brand A of food better than Brand B”.

      It turns out that it is usually a function of what I consider “normal”, and has less to do with the specific quality of the ingredients,

      However, I’ve also started to extend this concept to artificial vs natural. And I’ve discovered that this has more to do with how close to full ripeness the ingredients were picked and processed when you talk about fresh “Natural” ingredients.

      Anyhoo, I’m rambling.

      • That’s an interesting premise, I’d be interested in finding out more the next time I have a meal using only natural ingredients. Fruit is the only thing I really focus on as far as ripeness.

        My disdain seems to come from artificial flavors mimicking something I enjoy the taste/texture of naturally. Fruit flavors, juice, cheese, and dips are the worst offenders imo.

  • fiftyfifty1

    “But the reality is that the food from Taco Bell and Pizza Hut wasn’t healthy before and it won’t be healthy when it’s all natural.”
    Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are healthful enough. Sure, their food is high in sodium, but most people don’t have CHF or salt-sensitive HTN. With or without the articicial ingredients, a meal of tex-mex or pizza can be part of a healthful well rounded diet.

    • Mattie

      Yes, truth. I don’t know if pizza hut in the US is better (tasting not healthier) than pizza hut in the UK, but coming from Italy basically all take-away pizza in the UK is repulsive. The pizza I had in NYC (not pizza hut) was actually really good 🙂

      • NYC-style pizza is awesome. If you ever get the chance, try out Chicago-style, too.

        I really like the takeaway pizza, but then I think of it as something entirely different from the traditional stuff.

        • Mattie

          Yes, I eat UK take-out pizza, but it’s just not nice. Pizza-hut pizza always seems to taste the same, no matter what toppings you get, the cookie-dough dessert is amazing though 😀 and their garlic bread is yummy. It’ll do, seeing as I can’t last 2/3 of the year without eating pizza at all.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Mmm…Chicago-style pizza! Stuffed pizza is the best. Not to be eaten on a daily basis, but yummy.

          • Medwife

            That sounded like such a good idea, but then I had some Chicago style pizza and I couldn’t even finish one slice, and I still felt kind of gross. It’s just so… much… cheese…

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            The trick is to get it with “healthy” things inside. Spinach stuffed pizza is a favorite of mine: the spinach cuts the cheese enough to make it yummy rather than overwhelming. Also, I must admit, I’m going by my memories of what it was like when I was in college. I’m going back to Chicago for a conference soon and I’m hoping to find that I still like it, but we’ll see.

        • Bugsy

          Love, love, love NYC pizza. Granted, I’m originally from NYC, probably something to do with it. 🙂

          We just got our first NYC pizzeria up here in Vancouver. In the past week, we’ve eaten twice there. It’s like being home!

          • Awesome! 😀

          • Amy M

            I grew up in NJ, so we had NYC style pizza, and I love it. Now I live in MA, and some good NYC style pizza can be found in Boston, but once you get out to the suburbs, its a lot harder to find. And I think there might be one decent bagel place in the whole state. 🙁

          • Bugsy

            I totally get your pain. We do have decent Montreal-style bagels up here, but until this pizza joint just opened, I spent a few years mourning true pizza.

    • I think it’s when considering the amount of cheese, grease, and condiments on these huge servings of food that it’s unhealthy. I’m not against them, I love Pizza Hut and T-Bell, but have to admit to feeling a little like an unpopped pimple after eating a meal from there.

      • Mattie

        That is the best explanation of the ‘post pizza-hut’ feeling ever 😀

        • Haha! I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets the Pizza Hut sweats.

      • fiftyfifty1

        Huge servings? The Taco Bell I go to serves dinky little tacos, and smallish burritos too. The medium Pizza Hut thin crust + a salad will leave a family of 4 with plenty of belt room at the end of the meal.

        • I could have phrased that better, the amount of cheese, grease, and condiments on those servings is huge.

        • Cobalt

          My Taco Bell servings are huge. I can eat six of those dinky tacos easily, and have been known to eat way more than that.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ah yes, the dreaded self-imposed huge servings. A phenomenon I am not entirely unfamiliar with myself…

    • Liz Leyden

      I haven’t had Taco Bell since the one in the local mall closed last year, but the Fresca option (salsa instead of sour cream and cheese) was relatively healthy.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    But the reality is that the food from Taco Bell and Pizza Hut wasn’t healthy before and it won’t be healthy when it’s all natural. That’s because “naturalness” has nothing to do with health, no matter how much the food-phobes insist that it does.

    This is the paragraph that nails it for me. Seriously, how many people have avoided Pizza Hut because they only use pepper flavoring and not real pepper?

    Getting rid of the tran-fats is not going to make Taco Bell not Taco Smell, or give you diarrhea, which are the usual things you hear about it.

    This is just an attempt to ride the marketing tail of Dominos and their “Our pizza sucked” campaign. But at least Dominos had a point – many people did avoid their pizza because it sucked (that wasn’t the only reason, of course). The only reason to have Dominos in the day was because of their 30 minute delivery. It sucked, but at least you could get it in 30 minutes. Once they abandoned that, what was the use?

  • Somewhereinthemiddle

    Damn it. Now I want Taco Bell.

    • Mattie

      I can’t GO to Taco Bell, I’m on an all carb diet! (always time for mean girls)

      • In 2000, after 19 years in Israel, I spent 6 weeks in the U.S. Oh boy, I thought, now I can eat all the things I loved and which I’ve missed for so long. Within 48 hours I had to go back to eating Israeli-style: everything was too salty, too sweet, or too fatty.

        • Poogles

          There was a foreign (asian) student in my speech class in college and one of the speeches she did was describing how she went home on break and her first reaction to her mother’s food was that it needed more salt – then she realized it was the same as it always was, she had just become used to the massive amounts of salt in most American food.

    • Kelly

      That was one of the things that sounded good when I had morning sickness (gross I know) so now my three year old calls it Mommy’s place. It is so embarrassing. My husband laughs so hard.

      • Somewhereinthemiddle

        Pretty much the only time I give in to the Taco Bell craving is when I am pregnant so I am *right* there with you. Solidarity fist bump.

        As a fun FYI, I one day bought Taco Bell for my husband, myself, and my son and I ate it *all* before they were able to get home and have any.

        • Kelly

          That is hilarious. We could be friends. I have cried because someone ate my food.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Seems completely reasonable to me. 😉

        • demodocus

          I avoided taco bell like the plague. Apparently, my little passenger had a thing against peppers in any form. Still does, actually.

  • Jessica

    Ten days ago my husband woke up complaining of a dull ache that made it uncomfortable to sit. He thought he had pulled a muscle. Over the next few days the pain progressed, and he thought maybe it was hemorrhoids. I finally took him to an urgent care clinic six days ago, and within hours we found ourselves consulting with a surgeon, getting a CT scan, and getting a prescription for antibiotics. He was diagnosed with a perianal abscess and told he needed surgery the next day.

    Within 24 hours, he was in the hospital having the abscess drained under general anesthesia. Just prior to the surgery there were subtle signs that the infection might be spreading: he looked pale and unwell and his temperature was around 99 degrees, despite some Ibuprofen. After the surgery, his temperature spiked to 104 degrees, he developed tachycardia, his blood pressure soared. He was admitted to the hospital, and dosed with three different broad spectrum antibiotics via IV over the course of 36 hours. He was monitored via a telemetry unit the entire time he was there. Rather than dying of sepsis my husband got to go home after three nights in the hospital.

    We are eternally grateful that technology allowed my husband to survive rather than die from an “all-natural” abscess at the age of 34.

    • Mattie

      What a scary time, I’m very glad he’s doing better and thank goodness for medical science and fast, local healthcare.

    • moto_librarian

      So very glad that he is okay!

    • Mishimoo

      Oh wow! So glad that he’s okay.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Oooohhh a perirectal abscess….dangerous! In medical school we sometimes learned through case studies, and in this case the wife of the dean volunteered to tell her tale. She had a severe perirectal abscess, and here are the 2 major take away points that are burned into my brain to this day:
      1. Perirectal abscesses can smolder forever and then all of a sudden make you deathly ill really quick.
      2. You can store up to *2 quarts* of pus in the perirectal spaces. No joke.

    • Gord Bestwick

      Oh I’m sure you could have just rubbed some coconut oil on that, and wave a crystal around it. It would have cured it! /sarcasm

    • Fallow

      I had one of those once, that became recurrent and created a fistula. Your husband is a tough guy if he endured that pain for four days before he got he checked out. It’s horrible misery. I’m glad to her he’s doing well now.

      • Empliau

        Isn’t that what the king had in All’s Well That Ends Well?

        • Fallow

          I didn’t know about that, so I googled. I guess so? Wow.

      • Liz Leyden

        I had one that formed a fistula and had to be surgically repaired. It recurred 2 years later, soon after I found out I was pregnant. Repair #2 had to wait until after the babies came.

        • Fallow

          I developed mine when I was pregnant. Truly obnoxious! Mine has yet to be fully repaired, due to lots of boring reasons. Boy, are fistulas an irritating thing to deal with while pregnant.

  • Dr. W

    As long as we are talking about horrible, artificial, anti-life things; then I can tell my favorite joke in all of medicine:

    I’ll never forget the first time I took antibiotics…

    It was like something inside me died that day.

    • Empliau

      You win the interwebz today. I’m going to borrow this joke!

  • Megan

    Humans have been using “artificial” tools and trying to solve the problems inherent to living in nature ever since humans have been around. There was never a time when humans just sat back and allowed the ravages of nature to have its way. We were not always successful but have always tried using tools and “technology” (whether it be a spear or a car) to better our lives and make things easier. I’m not sure what ancestral world with nothing “artificial” these “all natural folks are talking about. I don’t think it ever existed.

  • Dr. W

    My favorites are the folks who smoke pot all the live long day and say, “Duuuuuuude it grows in mother Earth.” Yeah, so does Anthrax. Alcohol is all natural and has caused more suffering than the crusades.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Heck, the oxygen crisis in the precambrian era was entirely natural…and caused a massive extinction event. As did the all natural asteroid a bit later…

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Though I will say that all natural tobacco appears to be more dangerous than all natural marijuana.

      • fiftyfifty1

        How so?

        • Mattie

          I think because all natural tobacco is toxic and all natural marijuana is relatively harmless and can in fact be useful in managing pain. One of the UK tv channels actually did a live experiment on the effects of pot vs (I think) skunk, basically the pure stuff and the stuff cut with other stuff and it showed that the less nice effects basically didn’t happen with the purer stuff. Personally I wouldn’t touch any recreational drug, but people that do should be fully informed 🙂

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Marijuana appears to have less association with cancer* and is less addictive. Nicotine is nasty stuff when it comes right down to it.

          *Possibly related to the fact that most people smoke a joint on the weekend, not 2 packs per day.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            *Possibly related to the fact that most people smoke a joint on the weekend, not 2 packs per day.

            Ya think?

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            It might also be less carcinogenic.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Hard to make that claim without having a comparison of the amount of smoking that is done.

            Breathing in smoke is bad, regardless of what is burning. You are always going to find nitrogen heterocycles and acroleins in burned vegetable matter, as well as other nano-mesoscale particulates. It’s things like these that are far and away causing health problems. You would have the same problems if you were smoking 2 packs of dried lettuce leaves.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Smoking anything is bad for you, but nicotine is a carcinogen in its own right. And a poison. But all natural.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But it’s not nicotine that is causing the majority of the problems for smokers (aside from the addictiveness, which is getting them to smoke more), it’s the tar.

            Nicotine is a bigger problem with chewing tobacco, because it is absorbed better (like, under the tongue) and it is an irritant (which is what is causing mouth sores).

          • Cobalt

            People that use wood stoves as a primary heat source also have higher cancer, asthma, and bronchitis rates. Smoke is bad for lungs, period.

        • Bombshellrisa

          You don’t have to necessarily smoke it to use it?

  • JJ

    Yes! I am so much happier using chemicals in my life. I love fluoride, sunscreen, and diet pepsi. My son loves his allergy medications and my husband loves his contacts. I love having lots of food around that is safe to eat. Trying to live all-natural sucks the fun out of life!

    • Houston Mom

      I love my DEET mosquito repellent!

      • Mattie

        DEET makes me heave/vomit, and believe me I would give my right arm to not be dinner for mosquitos.

        • Ash

          do you have the chemical repellant picaridin where you live? I’ve found it as effective as DEET.

          • Mattie

            just googled and thanks! I’m gonna have a look next time I’m in the supermarket 🙂

          • Jennifer Nicole

            I love telling people about picaridin, and I sound like a commercial ad when I do it. XD

        • Houston Mom

          It made me feel pretty bad the first time I used it but now it doesn’t bother me. We have St. Louis
          encephalitis, West Nile, dengue fever and now chikungunya reported in our area. Just had 12 inches of water dumped on us last night so the mosquitoes will be out in full force this summer. I was a real chemophobe for a long time but after mosquitoes testing positive for chikungunya last summer, I am all for the DEET.

    • Amy
      • JJ

        Ouch! Even if sunburns did not cause cancer the PAIN!!!

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    I’m terribly sorry, but I am going to have to make this joke: A friend of mine who has a BRCA mutation has a T-shirt that says, “Of course they’re fake. The real ones tried to kill me.”

  • MLE

    My new entirely unfounded theory is that a lot of people have replaced smoking to relieve stress with eating to relieve stress. Combine that with prolonged periods of sitting, and hey presto you’re overweight.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      That might not be the only factor. Stress produces high steroid levels. Steroids lead to weight gain, even without excessive eating (plus they increase hunger, so encourage eating.) Then there’s sleep deprivation, another cause of increased weight. I’m sure there’s even more to it. The whole obesity thing is not going to have a simple answer.

      • MLE

        Did I mention my theory is not comprehensive? The more layers we add here, the harder it will be for me to invent a panacea and cash in.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          I’ve always wanted to do a clinical trial on weight loss where you basically put people up in a resort with lots of time to rest and relax with no pressure to get up early or skip sleep, yummy food that wasn’t explicitly low fat or sugar (unless requested), some stress reduction counseling, and some fun forms of exercise…in short, allow people to live the lifestyle that rich people do for a few months and see if they lost weight. I’m almost certain that you’d see both weight loss and improvement of parameters associated with obesity/poor health (i.e. hypertension, high blood sugar, etc). And I’m pretty sure it’d be an easy study to recruit for. The only downside? No insurance company in the world would be willing to pay for it as a standard therapy.

          • momofone

            I’m willing to sacrifice myself for this in order to help mankind.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I’m pretty sure it would be an easy to recruit for study.

    • SuperGDZ

      The average weight gain after quitting smoking is about 6kg, good for around 2 BMI points in the average adult, so the sharp decline in cigarette smoking has almost certainly played its part in the obesity epidemic. Perhaps one of the reasons the rise in obesity has levelled out is that there are more people who have never smoked relative to the number that have quit.

  • Amy M

    We hear: The typical American diet is so full of crap and that’s why Americans are all fat, diabetic and have heart problems. Does diet play a role in developing those conditions? I don’t know, I imagine it does, but at the same time, people who lived in the paleolithic era (and ate “paleo”) probably didn’t develop similar issues because they didn’t live long enough to do so. The majority of Americans with those problems are middle-aged to seniors. Same with cancer—the American diet doesn’t cause cancer. More Americans die of cancer today because more Americans live long enough to get cancer. Where and when was the golden age, when people ate the perfect diet and never had any health problems?

    I have been led to believe that eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates is healthier than a diet of cheetoes and pepsi. That’s probably true. Even though eating sugar doesn’t cancer, sugar still plays a big role in tooth decay, so minimizing it has value. But its impossible to eat your way to perfect health—genetics and enviromental factors don’t care what you eat.

  • Amy

    It’s also a quality thing, though, too. For example, chocolate made with natural vanilla, cane sugar and a higher percentage of cocoa just plain TASTES better than the typical offering from Hershey’s or Nestle’s. Processed food in the US is on the whole way too sweet– less sugar generally translates to better flavors. And so on and so on. I personally stick to less-processed food made with all natural ingredients (and usually made in my own kitchen) because I enjoy eating it more, nothing to do with health benefits. Sometimes, that does mean the food will be healthier– vegetables that I eat raw or lightly blanched minutes after picking them from the garden, for example. Other times, not so much– my husband’s pulled pork slow cooked on the smoker for eight hours, or the coffee-infused brownies I make from scratch.

    • Cobalt

      Taste is so personal, though. For example, I really dislike the taste of candy made with actual licorice, but can joyfully eat an embarrassing quantity of Twizzlers.

      I generally prefer “whole foods” tastewise, but frequently can’t justify the expense.

      • Mattie

        Yeh taste is totally personal (twizzlers are amazing, red vines are like licking the devil’s left foot, to me) but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pizza hut/other chains replacing (for example) black pepper flavouring with actual black pepper, they can afford to and it will probably taste better.

        Out of interest, from personal experience I found that fresh/from scratch food made with ‘real’ ingredients is more filling than the more processed stuff. I’m talking ‘ready meals’ rather than snack or ‘time savers’. Do you think that would make it cheaper overall?

        I am a big fan of snacks and time savers, and those are somewhat processed (no making my own crisps or never using a tin of tomatoes or tinned soup for a quick meal) but things like cake mix, or ready meals are just less good and more expensive than cooking (although quicker). But definitely I don’t do it cause it’s healthier, could not care less about the “toxins”.

        • Cobalt

          If I need a meal to be more filling, I add noodles. Cheap, easy, super processed wheat based noodles. Or rice. If we’re having a budget surplus, I’ll add cheese, because it’s the most delicious food ever.

          • Mattie

            when you say noodles, do you mean like ramen or pasta? Just interesting as my family only ever have pasta as a main meal never as a side (I grew up in Italy so a lot of things like pasta and pizza are mains on their own). Cheese is definitely the best thing ever, and I do love the variety of local cheese the UK makes, it’s cheese lovers heaven haha

          • Cobalt

            Pasta, like macaroni or spaghetti. Ramen doesn’t store nearly as well.

        • just me

          Twizzlers are gross and red vines are heaven. And I love me some red licorice rope as seen in Wayne’s World.

          • Mattie

            I like strawberry laces, they’re technically liquorice I think but they taste of strawberry 🙂

  • Cobalt

    The people who promote this “natural is always better” ideology need to go spend some time in actual natural conditions. No manufactured tools (knives, weapons, tent, cookware, etc), no artificial chemicals (bug spray, soaps, medicines), no equipment designed or built in a factory, none of that evil plastic. Just what is immediately available in nature.

    I’d even go easy on them and drop them somewhere the weather is likely to be nice and natural foods are abundant.

    • Amy

      Of course, any place where natural foods are abundant is likely to put people at higher risk of all-natural tropical diseases and of coming into contact with some pretty scary venomous predators. 🙂

      • Cobalt

        True. Nature balances pretty well, overall. More life = more death.

    • Liz Leyden

      Isn’t that the premise of “Naked and Afraid?”

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        But without the TV cameras following them around and calling for backup if things go badly wrong.