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Date: 06/26/13 02:19 PM

18 Responses to ASK AN EXPERT: Mike Pollan Explains Processed Food

  1. Profile photo of ElectricEye
    ElectricEye Male 50-59
    2729 posts
    June 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm
    Link: ASK AN EXPERT: Mike Pollan Explains Processed Food - Processed food: what it is, what it does, and how people should approach it.
  2. Profile photo of Likewise384
    Likewise384 Male 18-29
    22 posts
    June 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm
    LOL Xanthum Gum a mystery ingrediant. This guy far from an expert if he thinks that is not in ANYones kitchen. It is a VERY common ingredient in baking.

  3. Profile photo of DrProfessor
    DrProfessor Male 18-29
    3894 posts
    June 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm
    This guy doesn`t explain how or why it`s bad for you. He just trots out `scary` nonsense arguments.

    This is what I gather:
    -If it has unfamiliar ingredients, it`s bad for you
    -If it is made by a machine and not a human, it`s bad for you
    -If it has a lot of ingredients, it`s bad for you

    None of those are logically coherent. I want you to tell me what it is about the food that is unhealthy and how it interacts negatively with the body. Unfamiliar ingredients don`t mean a thing--they could be unfamiliar and super healthy for all I know.

    Don`t scare me, inform me. If you can`t do that, go home.
  4. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36850 posts
    June 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Xantaum gum is used if you`re allergic to gluten.
    It is a natural carbohydrate.
  5. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36850 posts
    June 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    More than 5 ingredients?
    My home made pinto beans has more than 5.
    My world famous Sour Cream Pound Cake has way more.
    My keylime pie has the fewest, and though delicious it`s not good for you so counting ingredients is stupid.
  6. Profile photo of chalket
    chalket Male 50-59
    2712 posts
    June 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm
    Gerry, don`t be an idiot. He is referring to PROCESSED FOOD, not food you prepare in your own kitchen. You`re smart enough to know the difference.
  7. Profile photo of DrProfessor
    DrProfessor Male 18-29
    3894 posts
    June 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm
    @Chalket--so what? Processed just means that it was cooked with the aid of machines. Does using a mechanical mixer make it suddenly bad for you? Just because there isn`t the loving, greasy touch of some chef`s hands?

    The point Gerry is making is that the number of ingredients themselves don`t matter. The big scary label "processed" doesn`t matter. Unless you can specifically explain what it is about the food that has a negative impact on health, your arguments are nothing but fingerpointing and scare tactics.

    It`s the same with GMO`s. Just because something is modified doesn`t mean it`s inherently bad. In fact, they`ve genetically modified rice to produce vitamins that were lacking in certain third world countries, and gave them the seeds for free, to help combat health issues there. Nothing wrong with that.

    I do believe we should make certain that the modifications don`t cause the food to be a danger to the human body...but that doesn`t mean we sho
  8. Profile photo of DrProfessor
    DrProfessor Male 18-29
    3894 posts
    June 26, 2013 at 6:58 pm
    cont`d-- ...but that doesn`t mean we shouldn`t ever produce modified foods. We just need to have strict safety guidelines, in terms of human consumption and potential ecological impact.
  9. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    June 26, 2013 at 7:01 pm
    There are a lot of ingredients that we don`t keep in our pantry that are actually good for us and helps keep us healthy.

    Colecalciferol, Iodine, Pyridoxine, Ascorbic acid and others are all essential to our diets to keep us healthy, but you don`t keep them in your pantry as ingredients.
  10. Profile photo of Sleepyhallow
    Sleepyhallow Male 50-59
    1983 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 1:18 am
    @CrakrJak ~ But those "ingredients", also called "nutrients", are found naturally in food that is MUCH LESS processed or even natural and raw foods.

    You don`t need some factory process to ensure you eat a balanced and nutritious diet, for crying out loud.
    Humanity did pretty well for the few hundred of thousands of years that passed before the advent of ConAgra Foods.
  11. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 3:05 am
    DrProfessor: I`m beginning to wonder if you`ve actually watched the video.

    Pollan`s video paints with a broad brush, sure (it is, after all, all of 90 seconds long). But the basic point he`s making is solid: Generally speaking, foods that are highly processed tend to be low in fiber and low in antioxidants and high in calories, sodium, sugar, and artificial ingredients that *may* not be good for you. As Pollan states, highly processed foods have also been designed to be addicting (as anyone who`s ever opened a bag of Doritos knows), which compounds the problem by encouraging the consumer to overeat.

    Personally, I have no problems at all with this video and welcome it as a response to the nonstop BARRAGE of TV and magazine ads and fast-food marketing that have encouraged Americans to eat more and more hyper-processed foods.

    Really: In a country that`s suffering from an obesity epidemic, Pollan`s message is the one you`re choosing to complain about?
  12. Profile photo of DrProfessor
    DrProfessor Male 18-29
    3894 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 5:47 am
    I certainly watched the video. I realize that the food is bad for you, I just think that he could have used much more honest means of conveying that information. Especially if, as you pointed out, he`s only taking 90 seconds to do it. Cut out the irrelevant bits!

    ~00:19 "...that I call `ultra-processed` or `hyper-processed`" -- Sounds scary. Doesn`t mean anything.

    ~00:25 "...tend to be cooked with ingredients that no *human* has in their pantry" -- Doesn`t prove they`re bad. Suggests chemists and robots and labs, OH NOES.

    "...high in calories, very little fibre, very little antioxidants" -- Lots of things are high in calories. Fair-ish point, though. However, a lack of fiber is common in perfectly healthy food. Hell, fiber doesn`t do anything except scrape your bowels clean. Antioxidants...have we reached a point where food isn`t good without them? I remember when it was chic to be like "hey, this ACTUALLY HAS antioxidants&q
  13. Profile photo of DrProfessor
    DrProfessor Male 18-29
    3894 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 5:54 am
    ...cont`d, ad nauseam, I realize.

    "Makes you feel good, and then you crash" ...don`t even get me started on the laundry list of things that do this. Hell. You could even technically say that a normal meal makes you feel good...until you stop feeling good and full, and then you feel kind of bad because you`re hungry. Specifics, *please*

    00:58 "The most important question is...who`s cooking? has it been prepared by a human being, or processed by a corporation?"

    Utterly specious. A corporation could produce some healthy ambrosia if they wanted. Sure, they often produce crap, but this is still a logical fallacy.

    "...if it`s the latter, you`re probably STRUGGLING (in big letters across the screen) with chronic disease and type 2 diabetes." corporations = diabetes, I guess.

    "The thing to pay attention to is the degree to which it has been processed." Okay. Define processed. Define what about the food is bad
  14. Profile photo of DrProfessor
    DrProfessor Male 18-29
    3894 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 5:58 am
    are you vomiting yet? Continued, even further:
    He`s not saying "look out for trans fats, your body has a hard time processing them and they clog your whatsits." or "xanthan gum is stored in your frontal lobe and causes you to kill your family in homicidal rage." or "there`s a lot of calories in this and very few vitamins, minerals, or anything. it`s going straight to your ass and arteries."

    Nope. He`s saying:
    "The way you can tell this is to look at the ingredients. are there more than 5? Are they unfamiliar (and scary??)? Then it must be super duper quadruple processed. RUN! SCARY! CORPORATIONS! NOT GREEN! NOT ARTISAN! NOT FREE RANGE!" etc. etc. etc.

    I know the stuff is bad, I just want to hear that from a scientific standpoint, not an empty propagandist standpoint.
  15. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 6:13 am
    Sleepyhallow: What you may not realize is that a lot of nutritive ingredients in our foods are mandated by the FDA, in America. Such as the iodine in salt and the vitamin d in milk.

    Our foods have to meet certain standards, even the so called "junk foods" have to meet up to labeling standards enacted by congress and enforced via the FDA.

    That doesn`t mean there aren`t bad ingredients in foods, but this guy isn`t being specific about them. He lumps everything together and calls it all bad which is a lie.
  16. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 7:13 am
    @ DrProfessor: Reading your response brings to mind the word (advance apology) *sophomoric*. It`s a bit like a watching a 16-year-old, after being advised to take an umbrella because it looks like rain, going on for ten minutes about how it`s illogical that the weather can *look* like anything, and appearances can be deceiving, and it`s proven that water is beneficial to human health, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    Really, is this so difficult?


    WHOLE POTATOES
    Not highly processed; low in sodium; low in fat; high in nutrients and fiber (especially if skins are eaten); inexpensive; not generally addictive.


    PRINGLES POTATO CRISPS
    Highly processed; high in sodium; high in fat; low in nutrients; expensive; highly addictive ("Once you pop you can`t stop").
  17. Profile photo of Squrlz4Sale
    Squrlz4Sale Male 40-49
    6230 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm
    @ DrProfessor: I`m feeling some compunction here and am concerned I was too harsh. I do understand your point: You aren`t disagreeing with the overall message but would have preferred a more science-based presentation.
  18. Profile photo of DrProfessor
    DrProfessor Male 18-29
    3894 posts
    June 27, 2013 at 10:10 pm
    I get what you`re saying squrlz, and there was a small sting to it but I understand how I could have come off that way. I guess it`s a matter of expectations, for me.

    I wouldn`t have ranted so hard if it wasn`t presented as "ask an expert."

    It should have had more..expertise. Why bother getting an expert if you`re going to use the most casual, layman`s explanation?

    It`s not that big of a deal to me, really, I just get long-winded online. Head up my own ass and all :p

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