Saturday, April 21, 2012


I had two trains of though collide today, resulting in a funny moment. 

First, let me say that I think about food and nutrition a lot.  That, you already knew.  I read a bunch, I tinker with my menu here and there, I like to see what others are doing and trying.  All good stuff.   The thing I try to avoid, however, is overthinking these things.  Analysis Paralysis as it's been called.  What comes to mind in regards to food is called Nutritionism - the belief, or even obsession, that the health benefits of food derive from their individual nutrients.  In other words, it's the person asking:
Where do I get calcium from in my diet?
What foods are high in Vitamin K, or this or that nutrient?
Am I getting enough Fiber in my diet?
Is there a lot of arterycloggingsaturatedfat in there?
And on and on.  I suppose this is the whole basis behind the government food recommendations where they say to eat this or that many servings from various 'food groups'.  And there's nothing wrong with thinking about these things, it can just become quite absurd in a hurry if you know what I mean ... take this classic for an example:
You don't eat dariy products? ... then where do you get your calcium from?
Right.  Early humans didn't eat dairy and I'm quite certain they didn't fret one iota about where they were going to get their calcium from.  Zoom out on the old nutritional microscope and let's look at our diets for what they are - FOOD.

Alrighty then.  Here's how I kinda got caught in the nutritionsim trap myself today. 

The first train.  A few weeks ago I was looking at salt in the store and came across something called NuSalt.  It's a 'salt substitute' made from potassium chloride.  I thought to myself, I add plenty of salt to my food, but perhaps I'm upsetting the sodium/potassium balance by not consuming enough potassium.  So I purchased some and have used a shake or two on some of my dinners.  (Interestingly, my family rarely used table salt on our foods growing up ... probably a good thing as we had our share of 'conventional' foods)

The second train.  Two weeks ago I ditched chocolate, which I was consuming after my lunch.  After every lunch.   To compensate for the calories I started adding in some buffalo jerky, but that wasn't quite enough.  A couple of banana's rounded out the meals nicely though.  On top of the banana's I started sprinkling an Asian salt blend that I had received as a sample at the store.  Kinda good.  Like peanut butter and chocolate.  Well, not really. 

Trains collide.  Today I had the day off so I ate lunch at home, finishing, as usual now, with a couple of banana's.  As I'm eating the first bite of banana, contemplating how the taste of NuSalt goes with it, I realize that I just added potassium to a BANANA!

Yep, I think I can stop using the NuSalt for awhile. 

You just have to laugh at yourself sometimes. 


The Primalist said...

Ha! Good job :P

Just had a thought about your bananas replacing the chocolate.. you're probably consuming way more sugar eating the bananas than the chocolate (well, I guess unless you were eating really sugary chocolate, I stick to 85%+). Not a criticism or anything, just an observation. I used to eat bananas 3-4 times a week, and I recently cut them out to try to decrease sugar (I've got a sweet tooth, and the bananas probably weren't helping). Funnily enough, I was eating them mostly for the potassium :P Go figure.

Aaron said...

Great point.

Looking into it, I'm roughly getting the same amount of sugar from two banana's as from the chocolate (I was eating way too much chocolate in the end there), but far fewer total calories.

Like you, I certainly have a sweet tooth, and between the sweet potato's and the banana's I'm eating I need to pay attention. Perhaps I'll just add banana's on workout days.

So this leads me to two more lines of thought. First, maybe it's not the sugar that was affecting my eyesight. And second, I wonder how differently (if at all) sugars are utilized by our bodies depending on if they come from whole foods or are added into a food as cane sugar, honey, HFCS, dextrose etc. Nutritionism would tell us there is no difference, but I suspect it might not be so simple.

The Primalist said...

Agreed. Instinctually I'd say natural sugar from whole foods (fruit, honey) is healthier.. Saying its all the same just reminds me of the fallacy of a calorie is a calorie, regardless of what it's made of.

Still curious about your eyes..could it have been the caffeine?

Aaron said...

I think you're onto something with the caffeine. The combo of theobromine and caffeine long term may have been adding up. I don't take any other stimulants so maybe that's why I'm seeing clearer now.

I will closely monitor my vision in the future to see if I can figure out this little puzzle.