Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Put more thought into 'clean' eating

American eating habits are terrible. We have so much food that we are able to eat for the sake of eating, rather than for nutritional purposes.
Foods are crammed with chemicals, preservatives, additives and genes that technically aren’t supposed to be there. Some of these, when consumed without moderation, lead to health problems including heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
It makes perfect sense why there would be movements to replace our artificial, highly processed diets with more natural ‘clean-eating’ diets.
These movements range from those seeking to reduce or eliminate specific ingredients such as sugar or cholesterol to lifestyle overhauls such as the Paleolithic Diet, which is based on the supposed diets of primitive humans in hunter-gatherer societies, or Raw Foodism, which prohibits consumption of cooked or processed foods, as well as veganism and vegetarianism.
Many of these lifestyle changes are undertaken with good intentions. I certainly commend anyone with the willpower to cease eating animal products to protest animal cruelty, or to avoid indulgent diets for the sake of their personal health.
I would, however, like to make some points in the defense of our modern eating habits. Many critics fail to understand the reason our food is so detached from nature.
Plants are doused in pesticides to ward off parasites, infections, fungi and other types of blight. Crops and domesticated animals are genetically engineered to produce as much food as possible. This helps avoid famine and makes sure that we all have plenty to eat.
There is an unnecessary stigma surrounding the genetic modification of food sources. Generally speaking, everything you have put into your mouth since birth has been genetically modified by humans.
Since the beginning of civilization, agriculturists have been selectively breeding plants and animals to better suit our tastes and needs. Recently, this modification has intensified with the direct manipulation of DNA. There exists, however, a scientific consensus that this manipulation bears no health risks.
As for specific ingredients, certain nutrients such as proteins cannot be removed from a human diet without serious deficiencies. Others, such as carbohydrates, while not known to be essential to survival, have not been carefully researched. It is not advisable to avoid eating them.
Many clean-eating diets have yet to be thoroughly studied by nutritionists and dieticians, and many are incredibly controversial. Anyone considering undertaking a diet of any type should think carefully and critically and do plenty of research before doing so.
This article is by no means suggesting we should just accept whatever we are given as food. Our eating habits ought to be critiqued. They deserve to be critiqued.
Clean-eating diets make too many assumptions about what is and isn’t healthy. They take attempts to improve our health and our diets to unrealistic extremes.

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Put more thought into 'clean' eating