David Katz argues that fixating on a single food or ingredient, and whether it’s good or bad, misses the big picture; that we should pay attention to the whole diet instead. It’s one thing to be told not to eat eggs, but results very much depend on whether you’re replacing them with oatmeal or with donuts.
It does nothing but play into the designs of Big Food, which is delighted to reshuffle their very short list of favorite cheap ingredients into new versions of junk and profit from our preoccupation du jour. If we fixate on cutting fat, we can have low-fat cookies. If we fixate on carbs, we can have low-carb brownies. If we fixate on fructose, we are privileged to trade not up but sideways to equally sugary but now “high-fructose corn syrup free” versions of the same rubbish. If we focus on sugar, we have the opportunity to keep runnin’ on donuts, but now sweetened with aspartame. If we focus on aspartame, well, then it’s back to sugar.
If we fixate on gluten, we can have gluten-free junk. If grains are bad, there are innumerable ways to eat badly without them, just as there are with them. If meat is the enemy, there is a whole universe of variations on the theme of vegan junk food to explore.
This is not theoretical. We have been inventing new ways to eat badly for literal decades, with the profound ills of modern epidemiology to show for it.