OPINION: Here’s food for thought

ONCE again, the food world has been turned upside-down with recent studies from the UK showing that polyunsaturated vegetable oils are bad for us and we're better off frying food in (wait for it) lard.

Yes, lard. And butter.

I always knew it … my dad lived to a very fit 84 and, being a Depression-era child, grew up on a diet of bread and dripping.

Like a lot of other non-experts, I believe that the enormous amount of hidden sugar we consume, and not fat, is responsible for the current obesity epidemic.

There is sugar in just about everything, and yes, the natural varieties are necessary; added sugars, not so much.

But the food industry has a lot to answer for; companies that market breakfast cereal in such a way to make us believe a product is suitable for athletes and necessary for growing children while keeping very quiet about the massive amount of sugar it contains do us a real disservice.

I can remember having a party on the occasion of my 13th birthday; my parents bought a crate of Coca Cola in the small, sea-green glass bottles.

The crate was wooden (oh, how I wish I'd kept it, it'd be worth a small fortune now).

It was the first time I had ever tasted Coke, and the next time I had it I was 16.

As I lived on a dairy farm, we drank water and milk.

Kids now drink soft drinks and fruit juices in boxes on a daily basis that deliver a massive sugar hit in a short space of time.

Diet soft drinks are even worse; I firmly believe we shouldn't ingest anything we can't pronounce.

There's no doubt that the more processed the food, the unhealthier it is.

Margarine vs. butter; canola oil vs. olive oil … I could go on.

But can anybody explain to me what is happening to our fruit?

After a very unpleasant illness struck me two years ago, on the advice of a specialist I cut just about all fruit from my diet for 18 months.

I've only just started to reintroduce some varieties and can't help but notice that many are actually too sweet to eat.

Take grapes, for example.

I bought a half kilo of seedless red grapes a few weeks ago and they were so sickly sweet, I ended up throwing them out.

A terrible waste of food, granted, but I actually couldn't bring myself to finish them.

Even one or two a day was too much. Apples are similar; the more modern varieties are sweeter than I remember.

Is it because I limited the amount I ate for so long and my taste buds adapted, or are we actually getting too much fructose in fruit?



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