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Boycotting the carb boycott

I was grocery shopping a few days ago, and I passed some freshly baked rolls with sunflower seeds on top. They were displayed along with a whole wheat baguette and some multi grain slices of rich bread topped with chopped nuts.

Welcome back, old friends.

It's been a while since I've seen beautiful bread and rolls displayed as a tempting centerpiece in grocery stores and restaurants. For too long, bread has been the bad guy, suffering from the current phase that puts fats and meats into the good category and all forms of carbohydrates (especially bread) into the bad category.

It's true that big portions of over processed white bread can lead to a variety of problems, especially for those with insulin problems, but it's time for us to stop using bread as a scapegoat and stop obsessing about carbohydrates.

Common sense should tell us that steamed broccoli is healthier than chicken-fried steak despite the fact that it's a carb.

The anti-carb/anti-bread fad reached ridiculous heights, and even had hungry "dieters" at fast food restaurants turning up their noses at the buns that accompanied their double bacon cheeseburgers. They took their fat and cheese laden burgers without the bun, choosing either a giant lettuce leaf or a styrofoam bowl to hold it all, and often adding a diet cola to the order.

History should have taught us -- fad diets don't work.

Medical experts have told us for years the key to weight loss, and health, is diet and exercise. We must burn off more calories in a day than we consume, and it takes some work. It seems ironic that some people work harder at trying to get around this fact than they would if they just followed a moderate, balanced diet and added some exercise sessions to their week.

Take the cabbage soup fad diet, for instance. On a given day, dieters can have as much of the soup as they want (hurrah) but can have only a water cracker for breakfast, a lettuce salad and a steak for lunch, and a huge slab of ham for dinner. Sound good? No wonder people lose weight. If they can maintain the diet, they get so sick of the soup and end up consuming so few calories it's guaranteed to take off the pounds.

If I were to go on a diet, I'd like to try the blood type diet. Those with Type O, Type A and Type B blood are encouraged to eat either meats, vegetarian meals or both plant and animal products as long as they're laden with dairy items. Since my blood type is AB, I guess I could have anything I want, so that's why I like this diet.

Then there's the three day diet and the seven day diet, the combining foods correctly diet and the grapefruit diet. None of these diets has exercise as a component, which may explain why people are tempted to try them.

In the end, a healthy diet comes down to the wisdom of our mothers and grandmothers who knew the secret all along -- everything in moderation.

So, pass the whole wheat rolls.

Web posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005


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