What is “healthy” ice cream? Is it healthier without the fat of a “real” ice CREAM? We can use knowledge about the chemistry of our foods to help us choose better foods when we feel hungry.
Modified comment on “Does Healthy Ice Cream Taste Good?“, reported on Morning Edition 14 March 2011, where I discuss what healthy eating is and how our chemical needs dictate what we want when we eat.
Updated 21 May 2011
Researchers at the University of Missouri tried to make an ice cream healthier by adding fiber, antioxidants and probiotics (bacteria that can survive freezing). This was a very short report that left out other critical information, e.g. milk instead of cream? Sugar or sugar substitute?
My Comments Posted at NPR
The reporter never answered the question. We are going to find out that the healthiest ice cream is the full fatted type made up of cream from organically grown grass-fed cows, eggs, unrefined sugar/molasses/honey/agave nectar for sweetener, and organic fruits for flavoring. No, I am serious here.
There is already increasing evidence that the fat in milk is needed to get the full nutrition of milk. There is also evidence that most organically grown foods have the best nutritional content. There are a lot of hints that the problem of “red meat” in the diet is due to the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in the grains fed to cattle, but that has not yet been tested adequately, (as is the idea that cream is bad for you or that cholesterol causes heart disease). Thus, if the added chemicals in red meat are bad for you, it also contaminates milk, a product of hypodermal glands.
So what is the problem with real ice cream? A lot of people will point to weight gain and the inability to stop eating it when you’ve had enough. They do not bother to ask “enough of what?”. We need to examine why we eat or crave certain foods. The assumption that we eat to fill an empty stomach really needs thorough re-examination. The jury is out when it comes to that conclusion (no good experimental evidence for it), but that hasn’t stopped the medical profession from promoting some really bizarre and desperate measures, like lap band surgery (see a report on “Surgery Not ‘A Magic Pill’ For Obese Patients” at NPR’s Morning Edition for 1 Oct 2011). Granted, the morbidly obese sometimes are rapidly put into very dangerous health states so that removing the fat in liposuction seems to be a necessary step. However, these dangerous health states are always assumed to result from the obesity and not because something else is causing both conditions.
We need to reconsider our nutrition needs as based upon the chemistry of the food. When we think of a food to eat when hungry, it is because of its chemistry. Our taste buds are geared to sensing the chemistry of food (shown in many neuroscientific tests). Our guts are organized so that cells are specialized for digesting foods down to specific chemical compounds, transporting particular ions or compounds, rejecting others, and providing narrow conditions so that digestion can be done efficiently by other cells.
So why do we think about a particular recipe when hungry but should be thinking about a particular nutrient? Our unconscious brains are doing the latter and telling the conscious brain to come up with something that will satisfy that need. All we have stored in the conscious memory are particular recipes, e.g. ice cream, not individual chemical elements like calcium. However, the decision to continue eating ice cream might not be based upon how full the stomach is, but on what the unconscious brain keeps telling the conscious brain–it needs more calcium. All the conscious brain can remember at that moment is what it had decided the last time we were “hungry” for calcium–ice cream. Our unconscious memory may include how our needs for particular nutrients were satisfied, not the exact food we ate to do so.
If we do not teach the brain that there are lots of other sources of calcium that can be eaten when you keep feeling hungry, then it will never learn how to carry out the analysis it needs to do to satisfy the unconscious brain. Furthermore, without conscious thought about what we need to eat at the time, we never learn that our craving for calcium is driving our food choices, and that something is very wrong inside the body that we can’t get enough calcium from the foods that are high in calcium. There is a reason children need to be taught what to eat.
The same thing occurs with fat. In some cases, some of us cannot lose weight or gain too easily because we cannot metabolize the fat we have within us. Our hunger for fat may be driven by demands by the liver to keep eating it for storage (adipose), not knowing that those storage areas are full but cannot process the fat. Furthermore, fat is often a component of “comfort food” and emotional processes must be considered in any understanding of what we eat.
Most overweight people will lose weight when trained to think about food differently and to try many different kinds of foods. Many people just do not know how to cook/prepare their own foods. Very many Americans do not have the time to cook/prepare their meals, so fast food takes over. As a result, the number of fast food suggestions offered by the conscious memory banks will reflect our history of eating. Lifestyle changes are successful only with education, and that involves teaching the conscious brain to think about alternatives to what you think you are craving.
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© Copyright 2014 by Martha L. Hyde and https://marthalhyde.wordpress.com.