Anyhoo, the Harvard study analyzed "data collected over 20 years from more than 120,000 U.S. men and women in their 30s, 40s and 50s" and came to the conclusion that the mantra Moose has been repeating to herself over and over for the past five and a half months -- Eat less, move more, and you will lose weight -- is kinda true but also kinda simplistic. Yes, calories are important, so paying attention to how many you consume and how many you burn still matters. The study shows, however, that "some foods clearly cause people to put on more weight than others, perhaps because of their chemical makeup and how our bodies process them."
“All foods are not equal, and just eating in moderation is not enough," said Dariush Mozaffarian of the Harvard School of Public Health, who led the study published in last week's’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
report on the study in WaPo:
Every additional serving of potatoes people added to their regular diet each day made them gain about a pound over four years. It was no surprise that french fries and potato chips are especially fattening. But the study found that even mashed, baked or boiled potatoes were unexpectedly plumping, perhaps because of their effect on the hormone insulin.Stein's next paragraph focuses on the better news from the study about particular foods that seem to help keep weight off, should that happen to be your goal:
[W]hile it was no shock that every added serving of fruits and vegetables prevented between a quarter- and a half-pound gain, other foods were strikingly good at helping people stay slim. Every extra serving of nuts, for example, prevented more than a half-pound of weight gain. And perhaps the biggest surprise was yogurt, every serving of which kept off nearly a pound over four years.
Her second reaction was to look around the kitchen and get a grip, realizing she had already quit potatoes, mostly, months ago, and was getting along quite well without them. Oh, nuts! Oh, yogurt! Oh, couscous! she rhapsodized. You are my new best friends, and you are better to me than potatoes ever were. With you I feel light and strong and full of energy. I have no cravings, no hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. As dog is my witness, with your help, I swear, I'll never eat potatoes again!
Well, it's possible she didn't entirely have her grip, but you know how Moose is. In any case, kids, the results of the Harvard study are worth pondering, even if you aren't prepared to go all nutri-Nazi in an effort to reach or maintain a healthy weight. The study's release follows by just a couple of weeks the launch of the USDA's latest effort to encourage healthier eating, the MyPlate campaign, which replaces the dopey food pyramid that no one ever understood or used. A WaPo story on the MyPlate rollout is here. A nice history of government nutrition guidelines, first issued in 1916, is here.
Clean Plate Club, launched in 1917 to encourage citizens not to waste food due to limited supply during World War I. The Clean Plate Club was terminated after the war but was restarted in 1947, when food was again scarce at the end of the Depression and World War II. Moose swears there was a Clean Plate Club in her elementary school in the mid-60s in southern Indiana and blames it entirely for her inability to leave a morsel of food on her plate, ever. Goose says there was no such program in her school -- and feels no compunction at all about leaving the table with half a meal left on her plate, which may or may not prove Moose's point. Note, too, on the poster for the Clean Plate Club anchored to this paragraph that potatoes are prominent on the list of foods citizens are encouraged to eat more of as part of the war effort. Moose insists that potato-eating was still considered patriotic in southern Indiana in the 60s. Goose cannot explain why Texas appears not to have been on board with the program.
Consider this an open invitation to share stories about food, family, ideology, and your own adventures in embodiment. Was there a Clean Plate Club in your school growing up? Do you have vivid memories of being kept at the table until you had consumed everything on your plate? Have you broken up with potatoes -- or made peace with them or some other food you have loved too much? Do you think the Tea Party will manage to demonize MyPlate.gov as yet another nanny-government overreach that interferes with Americans' god-given right to have fries with that, dagnabbit? Is this blog successfully avoiding fat-shaming as we search for ways to write about these issues? We sincerely hope so, but let us know what you think.
Have at it, darlings. My skinny-a$$ed typist has to get up off it and go for a little run. Peace out, and have a healthy tomorrow. ;-)