• January 2 is National Science Fiction Day! While this post isn’t related to the traditional science fiction genre, I would like to devote this day to the many forms of science fiction when it comes to food and nutrition.

    Unfortunately, many people just do not know that nutrition is a science. It is not a hobby or a passing fancy. When it comes to nutrition people have all kinds of wild and crazy things to say about it. In honor of the New Year and Science Fiction Day, I bring you my FIVE Top Nutrition Science Fiction topics.

    If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat.

    I am never quite sure whether to consider this science fiction or dark comedy.

    There are many things that we have in our world that we cannot pronounce. This pretty much means nothing other than…you cannot pronounce it.

    Just because it isn’t the language you speak doesn’t make it harmful to you – including the language of chemistry. Many people can’t properly pronounce foods they already eat such as pho, quinoa, Worcestershire sauce, and chipotle.

    Would you skip sinigang, kaldereta, tocino, guinataan or siopao? Maybe. But it would be a shame to skip these various Filipino dishes just because you can’t pronounce it.

    Then there is:

    • 3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione – better known as coffee
    • Dihydrogen oxide – water
    • Diferuloylmethane – curcumin (where turmeric comes from)
    • Cyanocobalamin – better known as vitamin B12
    • Phenylalanine – an essential amino acid (something we must consume to build certain proteins in our body) found in breast milk and other protein foods.

    And how about these: Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic?

    A few things people CAN pronounce and in some of our foods. Don’t eat this stuff.

    So let’s stop the nonsense of this “if you can’t pronounce it don’t eat it” mantra. It means nothing in relation to whether a substance is harmful or healthy.

    Try this: educate yourself on what some of the ingredients in your food are and their purpose rather than just blowing it off as something harmful.

    Detox and those Pesky Toxins

    First of all – what in the world are you doing that you feel you need to detox? Breathing? Eating? Hanging around Portuguese Man-of-War, scorpions and rattlesnakes?

    If the food you eat is cause for an occasional detox, then change the diet overall, not just a handful of days several times a year.

    If the concern over what you are breathing in the 21st century is so concerning, know this: the air we are breathing today is cleaner than ever. Air pollution still exists of course, but we now have many environmental standards that ensure cleaner air (inside and outside). The Clean Air Act of the 1970’s has done quite a bit improve this.

    The lungs, liver, and kidneys are the detox organs in the body. The skin, which releases sweat, doesn’t do much in the way of detoxing. That sweat is pretty much water and some electrolyte minerals – not toxins. Seriously, if this was the case, then the cure overconsumption of alcohol or other drugs would be a sauna. It isn’t.

    Detoxing is a real thing. For people with substance abuse or addiction issues. Detox from alcohol, heroin, and meth. Not food.

    Detoxing is a wholly unnecessary act and not something most people have to worry about. If you feel you should “detox” then start eating more fruits and vegetables and have some water. Good enough.

    Certain Foods are Full of Chemicals

    Similar to the “if you can’t pronounce it” fiction, we get people who constantly refer to certain foods being “loaded with chemicals” or things are “full of chemicals”.

    Well…yes, they are. Everything is a chemical. Water is a chemical. Toothpaste is a combination of many chemicals. You are a whole complex bunch of chemicals. You inhale chemicals and exhale different ones. You have chemical reactions going on inside your body constantly.

    So this idea that we shouldn’t have chemicals – is just plain silly. Good luck trying to not have any.

    Not Eating Carbs

    Are we still doing this? Are we still demonizing “carbs”? First of all, carbohydrates are a nutrient, not a food group. They are in pretty much all foods. Really.

    Remember photosynthesis? The process of the interaction of the energy from the sun (light) and water within a plant and the release of CO2? It is okay if you don’t remember anything about it except the term “photosynthesis”. Most people don’t.

    Basically, the plant just made energy in the form of carbohydrate. Not just rice, bread, pasta, and potatoes (because bread and pasta aren’t plants, but made from plants). But those same carbohydrates are also in the fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes and ANYTHING that is a plant or comes from a plant.

    Carbohydrates are not just sugar, but also starch and FIBER! Even people who claim they “don’t eat carbs” are eating carbs. Unless the diet is ALL meat and fat (not just mostly meat and fat, but 100% meat/poultry/fish/fats), then carbs are in there. No argument. That’s a fact.

    Dairy products contain carbohydrates since the animals eat plants. Eggs contain virtually no carbohydrate.

    No Sugar Recipes

    On Pinterest, I come across recipes all the time claiming no sugar ice-cream, no sugar cookies, no sugar brownies, etc.

    But I find that the “no-sugar ice-cream” contains coconut sugar.

    The sugar-free cookies have maple syrup (which is sugar).

    The no-sugar smoothie has a banana in it.

    If it is coconut sugar, maple syrup, fruit including dates or bananas IT HAS SUGAR in it. See the carbohydrate thing in #4.

    Nothing wrong with sugar in these items. Maybe they could claim “no added sugar” but not really. Coconut sugar is sugar. Maple syrup is sugar. So, no.

    I did a video on this – sugar is sugar. No healthier just because you think it so or it isn’t white and granulated.

    There is so much science fiction today – make sure it stays in the book, the television or the movies. Not in your diet.