This seems to be the universal response given to a person that tries to explain that a certain kind of food can potentially be harmful to your health.
Anytime someone chooses to omit something from their diet, or even just cut back on it with the intention of not only improving their overall health, but also to simply become more aware of the foods that they consume, there is inevitably an idiot critic that offers the geniously ignorant statement: “Everything in Moderation”.
Why is it ignorant? Let’s start with an analogy.
You could eat a spoonful of concrete everyday, and it probably wouldn’t kill you. It probably wouldn’t even affect your health noticeably (at least at first). Now lets fortify that concrete with some vitamins and protein. Lets also add some stuff to make it taste pretty decent. Hey! It’s a little bit good for you now, right!? No. Those additions don’t change the fact that it’s concrete.
I wish that someone would do an experiment where they take a lot of the foods that people generally think are OK to eat “as long as it’s in moderation”, remove all of the nutrients from them, and then analyze what’s left. I would not be surprised if a lot of what is left over could be considered poisonous to the human body. Not just on a level where if a lot of it were to be consumed, but on any level.
I’m always baffled when I hear about new studies about certain foods that are found to contain dangerous levels of something bad, and then the suggestion of what to do is to “CUT BACK” on your consumption. That it’s OK if it’s enjoyed “IN MODERATION“. I understand that whatever form of media that happens to be discussing the topic would refrain from stating that you probably should just not eat that food. I can see CNN or The Wall Street Journal getting in big trouble with the meat industry, or potato farmers if they were to state that you should completely avoid a particular food item based on a new study. Remember when Oprah was sued by the cattle industry for talking about the dangers of mad cow disease?
But, you and I do not own huge companies that stand to lose profit if we were to suggest to someone that they shouldn’t eat something. Most of us do not work in media or have a reputation to worry about. We have nothing to lose if we were to tell our friends that they should stop eating a certain item because we read that it very likely will have negative effects. For some reason, though, we all have this notion that because we are at the top of the food chain, and are able to eat anything we want, we should. Even if the negatives outweigh the positives.
One big example of this is the recent worry about high levels of mercury in fish, particularly salmon. Every time I see a report on the news about this, they try and weigh the reasons for eating fish. Their reasons that we should keep eating it are Omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. I will not argue, Omega-3’s are essential for brain development and cardiovascular health, and protein for maintaining muscle. But, while fish is the easiest source of the more complete omega-3’s, one can easily get enough of it from eating eggs and nuts, particularly flax seeds. Most studies pertaining to o-3’s showed benefits mainly for developing infants, and patients with psychiatric disorders that have actual damage to brain cells. In terms of protein, almost all food has protein in it. Even rice. As long as you eat a healthy diet containing a wide range of fruits and vegetables, you will get plenty of protein. You don’t need as much as you’ve been led to believe.
There are many, many foods in which the negatives outweigh the positives. If your excuse for eating something that arguably probably isn’t the greatest thing for you, is that it’s OK as long as you eat it in moderation, you’re most likely mis-informed and only trying to justify the fact that you simply like the taste of it.
Another example is red meat. Everyone has heard that you should limit your consumption of red meat. I’m not going to get into the reasons for why you should limit it (because that would be a whole different blog in itself), but if the suggestion is to cut back, it’s implying that it HAS TO BE a part of your diet. And because of that, the only solution is to just eat less of it. So, rather than simply eliminating the dangers that the food poses altogether, the solution is to not eat as much? Why? I understand if your absolute favorite thing in the world is steak, and you’re willing to sacrifice your health a bit to indulge in the pleasure of it. But otherwise, if your reason for not knocking it out all together is just because you’re not willing to make some selective choices when deciding on what to put in your body, then your lifelong health is going to suffer for a stubborn reason. If your reason is that you think you have to eat it because it is on the “list” of things to eat because it has “stuff” in it that you need, again you’re probably mis-informed. Whatever the food item that is in question, i’m sure there are dozens of other things that offer the same nutritional benefits, if not better.
It seems these days, with conflicting reports coming out every few years on whether something has proven harmful or not, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. My point is, though, just keep yourself informed, and don’t make stupid statements when you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Isn’t it strange that while food is the most essential thing to human survival, it is probably the thing that people know the least about? Stop being stubborn, get off your high-horse at the top of the food chain, and actually put some thought into your food choices.