Thursday, 26 June 2008

What is in a real treat? Hint: it's not junk food

Hurrah!! for eating close to the earth!

While the general level of understanding about food choices and the importance of healthy eating is certainly increasing, there is a hold-over from the Clean Your Plate Era that I believe just needs to die. 

Every time I hear someone tell me all about how they're improving their diet this, making healthy choices that, moving more, being conscious of this and that but...

...they like a treat now and then... 

My teeth meet and grind a little. Grrr.

How... how? 

How has the lowest-grade, nutrition-free simple salty-fatty-sugary flavour with artificial colours, flavours, emulsifiers and extenders and preservatives crap managed to get such a sweet, cute word? 
'Treat'... wheee. 
 It sounds light, delightful... Why is it attributed to such nasty grub? fresh, local, juicy and perfectly-ripe strawberry. That I could see is a 'treat'. 

A package of six different kinds of sugar, artificial colours made to look like drawings of surreal strawberries, and artificial flavours made to smell or taste like something else entirely, with bha and tri-sodium phosphate? That is supposed to be a treat? 


Is it just the 'fun' packaging?

A couple of years ago, I got over pop. And candy. However much you might be attached to the wonderfulness of candy, I suggest you stop eating it for 3 weeks and then go back to your absolute favourite kind first.

Just try it.
What you'll taste when you try it again is chemicals. Candy is not sweet and delicious... it's just sweet.

A friend noticed that people are no longer satisfied with naturally sweet foods, but prefer sweetened foods. I thought it was an important insight. 

If your palate doesn't experience fresh, ripe raspberries as sweet without sugar (or those ersatz chemical engineering feats called 'sweeteners'), there is something wrong with the palate not the raspberry...and the palate needs to be re-trained. 

So, once and for all... if it's not made out of nutritious food that nurtures and sustains a human body, could we just stop calling it a treat and call it what it really is:

Junk food.


  1. I am working on giving up diet Pepsi, which somehow seemed to me a "treat" for lunch. I truly believe it makes me want to eat more than I need - thus, no diet Pepsi. (Mostly, it is because I'll eat something salty to balance the sweet.)

  2. Hasn't it been proved that artificial sweeteners trigger your appetite? So how can sugarless products be any better for you than the junk with 6 kinds of sweetener?? Perhaps you're right and we should just try to find actual real foods and eat them for a change.