I was a dedicated reader of Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist column in the New York Times, and now that he has ended that, I regularly follow his blog and other writing. (His cookbooks are also really great!) He explains important ideas about cooking, food politics, and nutrition clearly and always with a sense of humor. As a super-interested party with no science background, he and Michael Pollan are my favorite writers on these subjects.

One of his most recent articles sums up why it is best not to get most of our calories from processed foods. I thought it was worthy of a re-post! Follow the link at the bottom for the full article in the New York Times.


All Calories are Not Created Equal

by Mark Bittman, from http://www.markbittman.com

One of the challenges of arguing that hyperprocessed carbohydrates are largely responsible for the obesity pandemic (“epidemic” is no longer a strong enough word, say many experts) is the notion that “a calorie is a calorie.”

Accept that, and you buy into the contention that consuming 100 calories’ worth of sugar water (like Coke or Gatorade), white bread or French fries is the same as eating 100 calories of broccoli or beans. And Big Food — which has little interest in selling broccoli or beans — would have you believe that if you expend enough energy to work off those 100 calories, it simply doesn’t matter.

There’s an increasing body of evidence, however, that calories from highly processed carbohydrates like white flour (and of course sugar) provide calories that the body treats differently, spiking both blood sugar and insulin and causing us to retain fat instead of burning it off.

In other words, all calories are not alike.

Read the full length article here.