I have to say that I didn’t see this coming. When I transferred from a major in Animal Sciences to Dietetics while I was at Purdue back in the early 2000’s I would not have predicted this would be the state of America’s mindset on nutrition. I thought we’d still be arguing about whether or not eggs were good for us or if we should only eat the white. Still plugging away at the importance of whole grains over refined. Getting folks to eat some fruits and veggies each day.
But we’ve leapfrogged. We skipped over a bunch of things I find to be much more important than the issues we’re discussing in the media and at the water cooler. Rather than focus on actually getting in fruits and vegetables each day we’re more worried about how they’re grown… and then continue to not eat them? According to a recent report, only 4%, yes I said 4%, get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. But we’re worried that they may have had chemicals sprayed on them? Seems to me that the chemicals shouldn’t bother us since we aren’t eating them anyways.
I know I’ve written about this more in length in my recent post titled “Putting the cart before the horse” (or it was titled something close to that, I’m too lazy to go check). So today I’d like to focus instead on educating you guys. I’ll keep it short and sweet because with a million and one things vying for your attention in this crazy world we’re living in today, that’s really what I have to do. Who the hell has time for an article longer than a few paragraphs when we won’t watch a YouTube video if it’s longer than 2 minutes?
So akin to the title of this bad boy, I’ll tell you why the ingredient isn’t the issue, it’s the dose. You see I get the following almost every day: “Alec, what do you think about artificial sweeteners? I hear they cause cancer so I try to avoid them.” Or I might get something like this: “I don’t like the extra cost of organic vegetables, but I pay it so that I know I’m not putting any chemicals in my body. What are your thoughts?”
And you know what? Those are good questions. If I’m not in my position with my knowledge, I’m probably asking the exact same things. I mean, shit, chemicals?! Chemicals are bad! I saw these pictures of rats that were given aspartame (an artificial sweetener) and they had these massive malignant tumors on them. They looked like little monsters!
And you know what? Those are normal reactions. If I’m not in my position with my knowledge, I’m probably saying the exact same things. And yes, I copied and pasted and then changed a couple of words there. Told you I’m lazy.
But here’s the truth. It’s okay to consume these chemicals.
…. And I just caused some butt hurt right there for some of you. I know. And that’s okay. I don’t need to change your mind. I’m just presenting the evidence. The science.
But back to the aspartame example. Yes, it actually can cause cancer. However, the amount of, oh… let’s use diet soda as our example. The amount that you’d have to drink would be somewhere near 100 or so cans per day over the course of a long time before it would become an issue. And I forget the exact number of cans, but its a crap ton. For some reason 88 cans rings a bell, but I’d have to go back and look at the study’s results and conclusions again… which I’d do, but I have other stuff to do today. However, if you want it linked later just let me know in the comments section.
Look, bottom line is this: too little water is deadly. Too much water is deadly. Yes, you can drink too much water and die. It’s a condition known as hyponatremia, or low blood sodium. This can lead to a swelling of your cells which can cause complications that can lead to death. You may have heard of it with marathon runners afraid of dehydrating. They then over hydrate and it’s caused some deaths. Another famous example is a woman who was participating in a radio contest for a Nintendo Wii entitled “Hold your wee for a Wii”. Clever? Sure. Deadly? Sadly, that too.
So instead of fearing a certain food, ingredient, or chemical, think about the insane amounts you’d have to consume before any damage would occur. You should be more concerned about reapplying sunscreen when you’re at the beach, refraining from smoking or inhaling second hand smoke, and wearing your seat belt anytime you’re in the car. Just look up the stats on those vs. aspartame and the story writes itself.
Think I’m wrong? Spot on? An idiot? Just let me know in the comments section!