For The Love Of Food

by | Apr 15, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This is probably the best week of the year so far for food and health writing. Taubes’ provocative piece on sugar and its possible role in cancer is a must read. Also check out the latest consensus on saturated fat, the power of exercise, and the lovely ingredient found in processed ice creams.

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Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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9 Responses to “For The Love Of Food”

  1. Brian says:

    It’s so hard to take this trendy vilification of sugar seriously. Describing sugar as “evil” is possibly the farthest one could get from a stance of scientific objectivity.

    The scientific community has told us not to eat eggs because of cholesterol; oh wait, eggs turned out not to be so bad after all. Scientists told us to eat less saturated fat; oops, that turned out to be incorrect too. What’s the likelihood that the anti-sugar bandwagon is going to turn out any differently?

    As far as I can tell, the only rational thing that can be said about sugar (at least as it pertains to fat loss) is that it is calorically dense and makes caloric restriction more difficult. Drinking a sweetened iced tea provides as many calories as a steak, but the latter is much more satiating and makes it easier to stay on a “diet.” Same goes for vegetables. No human being could eat the pounds and pounds of vegetables that it would take to achieve a caloric surplus and theoretically gain fat.

    I highly recommended the writings of Lyle McDonald for perspective on this particular issue.

    • Darya Pino says:

      I agree. I imagine that sugar, like all things (saturated fat, cholesterol, etc.) is perfectly fine in natural forms like fruit and it is really just the high-dose processed kind that gets us into trouble–at least at high quantities. I seriously doubt anyone who has ever lived to 100 yrs did so without taking a bite of dessert in his/her entire life.

      • Brian says:

        Yes, it seems like quantity is a very important element here. The NY Times article covers a lot of ground, but something that jumped out at me was that one criticism of the referenced fructose toxicity studies was that the subjects were given dosages of fructose far higher than anybody would ever get in their normal diet.

        The argument was made that even with lower doses the same metabolic symptoms would still appear over time. But how do we know that’s true? Based just on the information in this article, that conclusion seems like conjecture. If I drink one glass of wine each day for 30 days, the effect on my body would be quite different than if I drank 30 glasses in a single day.

  2. With all this anti-sugar zealotry/anti-carb, I think we are in the grips of yet another food fad. Most of these trends have a core truth in common–eat more real food, be it whole grains or meats or fresh vegetables, and cut out all the processed crap. But then it’s like they have to reduce it to some magical formula, “Just don’t eat any carbs/sugar/meat/dairy/fill in the blank and you will magically lose weight and never get a serious illness.” Then comes the processed food products to go with the diet. Personally I’d rather chew on a sugar cane than eat a low carb breakfast bar. I have a long-term interest (almost obsession, at times) in nutrition but I’m starting to think we would do better to ignore all new studies and just head to the farmer’s market.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Sounds like a true Summer Tomato fan :) I totally agree, but think articles like this will be our ammo to show people and say, “See, it’s only when we process the foods that they’re dangerous.” Farmers markets FTW!

  3. Jamie E says:

    I volunteer at a farmer’s market that our food bank put together in a low income neighborhood four months ago. I have to say that New York is not alone in making the process as difficult and costly as possible. Unlike the other markets the food bank has, we have to charge each of our vendors quarterly just to set up. Not only has this made it difficult to tempt new vendors to the market but now the city is taking a hard look at the other markets and placing a fee on them too. They have also started to nickel and dime the market to death. Do you want to put signs up during the market to announce where it is? Assess a fee per sign! It is not like we leave them all week either; we set them out as the market begins and put them back in the truck at the end. If we had not had a grant to start this market the fees would of killed it straight away a couple months ago. There is some fear that once the grant is gone that the market will be too. I have great hope that our customers will continue to grow and save the market from that fate.

    Thanks for posting this story. It is somewhat comforting to see we aren’t alone (though I think I’d prefer we were :) )

  4. JustinS says:

    It took me until today to find smoked paprika, 4th store was the charm. I couldn’t wait until tomorrow morning to try it on the eggs after smelling and tasting it. My review can be boiled down to one word, awesome. I have so many ideas how I’m going to use the smoked paprika now. Thanks for this awesome idea.

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