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Just Add Fat
Greg
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:35 pm
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This isn't a recipe, just an interesting bit about human food.

Inspired by my smart-alecky slur on fondant in the Tales of Happy Valley, I was snooping around, reading up on the issues about the glycemic load in food. Food's glycemic load is at the forefront of the nutrition industry these days because it wasn't too long ago that real scientists (not to be confused with doctors) took a first serious human nutrition and its effects.

To put it simply, the glycemic load is how much of a blood-sugar spike a given food will cause to your body. Sudden increases in blood sugar are very bad. They lead to diabetes and heart attacks and they are accumulative throughout your life. That candy cane you ate when you were 10, accompanied by its neighbors over the years, will kill you when you are 60. The next time you see a candy advertised as a "fat-free food" think of it as "kiss your pancreas goodbye." Hard candy kills.

The most interesting trend I've seen is that the best way to reduce a food's glycemic load is to add fat.

That leads to some interesting and profound observations. It popped into my head while I was writing that bit about serving bacon (fat) with Ophelia's pancakes (carbohydrates).

Throughout all of recorded history, humans have traditionally mixed fat and carbohydrates in their recipes. Bread and butter dates back through the millenia. The Bible speaks of milk mingled with honey. The triremes of ancient Greece carried animal fat mixed with sugar among the provisions stored in their amphora. Nancy butters her pasta. (I'd never seen that until I watched Nancy do the Italian thing in the kitchen.) We put butter on our pancakes and even in our oatmeal. We cover a high-carbohydrate cake with a high-fat coating. We mix fats and carbohydrates and freeze them under agitation to produce ice cream. We coat sweet candy centers and sweet dried fruits with fatty chocolate. We coat greasy (fatty) doughnuts with a glaze of carbohydrates.

And our brains crave these combinations. There's just something about high-carbohydrate foods that makes them more appealing if they are accompanied by fat.

Now I'm wondering how all these gastronomical traditions evolved. Even a hundred years ago, people will limited in their ability to measure blood sugar levels, so it's not reasonable to assume that people living in the courts of Hammurabi had a clue about this stuff. Yet that's how they ate, and they passed those recipes on down through the generations.

Was it a matter of instinct, some idea preprogrammed into our brains to prefer fat in combination with carbohydrates?

Or is a matter of evolution--those who ate the good stuff lived longer, had larger families, and passed their recipes on down to us along with their genes?

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Re:Just Add Fat
Liss
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:01 pm
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Excuse me, I think I need a Krispy Kreme now.

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Re: Just Add Fat
Sheba
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 2:26 pm
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Greg wrote:
Or is a matter of evolution--those who ate the good stuff lived longer, had larger families, and passed their recipes on down to us along with their genes?


Interesting topic . . . =)

I have come to believe that our bodies will "crave" exactly what they need at times when our bodies need certain substances. About a year ago or so I heard of story that validated this theory . . .

There was a little boy (I forget exactly where) who craved salt. He'd eat salt by the handful if left to his own devices. This of course worried his parents, so they limited his salt intake and made sure he didn't have access to salt outside of what they added into family meals. Unfortunately, this little boy died because he did NOT have salt in the amounts he was craving. They came to find that he had some type of problem that caused him to crave salt and actually NEEDED the extra salt.

I have often pondered the dietary differences between those in Europe compared to those of us in the United States, the mortality rates between the two locations and the mortality rates. I honestly believe many of our health "problems" here in the United States stem from our diets, what we eat and exactly "how" we eat.

I've been lucky to witness this "first hand" because my husband is of the first generation of his family born here in the United States, his parents/family are from Latvia. Much of their "family activities" revolve around food . . . and a lot of it. From a "USA perspective" these people eat "way too much", yet they are all what we'd consider "in good shape" and in very good health for their age. I've also heard that many of these folks (who are still back in the "old country") smoke like chimneys and drink like fish yet they are all in good health. This leads me to believe that many of the health problems here in the USA stem from our diets . . . perhaps from all the additives added to our foods.

So, in light of the above . . . one could assume that the "old ways" are still the best ways. =)

Regards,

~*~ Carrot ~*~

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Re:Just Add Fat
Liss
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:36 pm
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Pregnant women sometimes crave things like dirt or clay. Obviously this is because they lack certain minerals.

When I was pregnant just before Ivy, I was having severe financial problems and was probably malnourished. I craved nectarines. I had a miscarriage with this pregnancy. At that time we decided we really did want to have a baby, and I continued to crave nectarines. Come to find out, nectarines are high in folic acid, which is essential for women *before* they become pregnant.

Amusement: When I was pregnant with Ivy I craved jalepeno peppers. I had never eaten them before. I even ate them while breastfeeding. Couldn't get enough. I love them now.

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Re:Just Add Fat
Sheba
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:49 pm
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Liss wrote:
Amusement: When I was pregnant with Ivy I craved jalepeno peppers. I had never eaten them before. I even ate them while breastfeeding. Couldn't get enough. I love them now.


I love them too Liss! Good Stuff! I just love hot peppers . . . =) I'll eat any hot pepper except a habanero (a pepper that will make you wish for mercy! lol) An awesome jalapeno pepper is the Mrs. Renfro's brand, the best jalapeno I've ever tasted! =)

Regarding "pregnancy cravings" . . . I do remember being told something I thought was odd at the time. I was told that if I started having ideas of drinking bleach to call the doctor immediately! I have yet to figure that one out . . .

Regards,

~*~ Carrot ~*~

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Re:Just Add Fat
Liss
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 5:01 pm
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Yep! I have a jar of Mrs. Renfro's in my fridge! hehe

I use my food processor to mush them up real good and I make a 7-layer taco dip...I mix it in with the beans.

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Re: Just Add Fat
Eveningstar
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 10:32 pm
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Carrot wrote:

There was a little boy (I forget exactly where) who craved salt. He'd eat salt by the handful if left to his own devices. This of course worried his parents, so they limited his salt intake and made sure he didn't have access to salt outside of what they added into family meals. Unfortunately, this little boy died because he did NOT have salt in the amounts he was craving. They came to find that he had some type of problem that caused him to crave salt and actually NEEDED the extra salt.

I have the salt intake issue, too. Apparently I'll turn blue without salt. My brother always teases me about how I even add salt to watermelon. Whenever I take about five minutes covering my roast beef with salt, he asks if I want some roast beef with it. And I usually also get the jokes about how salt can make you go crazy.
Re: Just Add Fat
miros1
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Post Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 9:15 am
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Carrot wrote:

There was a little boy (I forget exactly where) who craved salt. He'd eat salt by the handful if left to his own devices. This of course worried his parents, so they limited his salt intake and made sure he didn't have access to salt outside of what they added into family meals. Unfortunately, this little boy died because he did NOT have salt in the amounts he was craving. They came to find that he had some type of problem that caused him to crave salt and actually NEEDED the extra salt.


I'd have taken the kid to the doctor for some blood work before limiting the kid's salt. Eating salt like that is definitely not good and probably a sign of some sort of problem.

Quote:
Regarding "pregnancy cravings" . . . I do remember being told something I thought was odd at the time. I was told that if I started having ideas of drinking bleach to call the doctor immediately! I have yet to figure that one out . . .


Any cravings of non-food items, such as dirt, clay, toilet paper, laundry starch, etc., should be checked out by a doctor. This is called "pica" and can lead to various types of poisoing (such as lead poisoning from clay) as well as remedying whatever nutritional problems you might have. Probably your doctor had just had a patient poison herself with bleach, so he was most worried about that particular form for pica.

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Re:Just Add Fat
Greg
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:42 pm
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I ran across another interesting reference while searching for "Smart Milk" (with the as-yet-unsatisfied goal of finding a site where someone has figured out how to get Smart Milk to stick consistently).

At http://www.mcdonalds.co.nz/food_milk.htm they boast of Mega Milk, a supposedly "smart milk" that contains 40% more calcium and 25% less fat than cows' milk, and hence is allegedly better for growing children. However, in light of what scientists are learning about the devastating effects of a high glycemic load on growing children, it might not be so smart after all.

Human milk, which really does have 37% more fat than cows' milk, evolved over millions of years as the ideal food for babies. I'd think twice before letting someone tell me that his notion (in this case, an obsessive aversion to fat) can improve on that. You might be saving your child from dying of a heart attack at age 80 at the expense of condemning him to die of diabetes at age 40. The megadose of calcium might be forcing early growth of bones and teeth at the expense of many painful diseases related to excess calcium in children's diets.

Reduced-fat milk can also lead to overweight children. The high concentration of carbohydrates in skim milk results in a rapid incease in the child's blood sugar level. (That's the "glycemic load.") That causes the release of a megadose of insulin. The high dose of insulin remains in the blood after processing the sugar, resulting in lowered blood sugar, which causes a craving for more carbohydrates. So the child is hungry again, and wants more to eat even though he has consumed enough energy already. All you have accomplished is to teach the child to over-eat.

The increasing percentages of overweight children these days, as well as the very disturbing reduction in scores in IQ tests and the SAT, might be directly traceable to the modern aversion to fat in the human diet.

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Re:Just Add Fat
Liss
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 4:08 pm
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So what is the opinion on 2% milk? That is what we always buy. Should I buy separate milk for Ivy that is whole milk? My kids have a genetic propensity to be overweight. My son is 10 and *is* overweight. Ivy hit a growth spurt and lost her baby fat, but I don't want her to backslide and gain too much weight. She likes her milk.

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Re:Just Add Fat
Greg
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:35 pm
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I don't know. I haven't had time to dig deep enough into this whole thing to find any real guidelines about how much fat is effective in controlling the rise in blood sugar, or where the breakpoint occurs.

We can't rely too much on the statistics from just human milk since nowadays most babies are weaned between six and nine months, and even historically most babies were weaned by 24 months. I did find one interesting reference that said that measurements of modern human milk ranged from 1.8% to 8.9%.

The high end is from Danish mothers and some in China whose culture leads them to have a very healthy diet especially right after their babies are born. It's interesting that these cultures are among the longest-lived of the human species. The low-end is from terribly malnourished mothers. (Ref: http://www.westonaprice.org/children/humanmilk.html )

I'd guess the most important thing for children is to assure that they don't get trained to eat when they're not hungry. That is, teach 'em that food is food, not medicine or something you do when you're bored. And, of course, teach them that the solution to thirst is water, not milk, and especially not sugary soda pop. (Sugary soda pop is hard candy in liquid form. If I had the whole thing to do over, based on what I've read recently, I wouldn't have the stuff in the house.)

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Re:Just Add Fat
Eveningstar
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:21 pm
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Greg wrote:
I'd guess the most important thing for children is to assure that they don't get trained to eat when they're not hungry. That is, teach 'em that food is food, not medicine or something you do when you're bored. And, of course, teach them that the solution to thirst is water, not milk, and especially not sugary soda pop. (Sugary soda pop is hard candy in liquid form. If I had the whole thing to do over, based on what I've read recently, I wouldn't have the stuff in the house.)

Good point. I've noticed that whenever guests in my house announce that they are bored, they either ask for some food or just look in the pantry and help themselves. I live in a house of no soda, no sweets, and no dairy products, so I am reduced to chewing on dry pasta and giving myself stomach pains. Worst of all, I do this when I have nothing "better" to do. Long ago I'm sure people wouldn't have dreamt of eating because they had nothing to do. They'd have been tomorrow's chores.
Re:Just Add Fat
Liss
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:37 pm
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I do know that once they are weaned, the doctors recommend that you feed them whole milk for a year. Something having to do with needing the fat for brain development.

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Re:Just Add Fat
Greg
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:13 pm
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Yup. Docosahexanoic acid. It's a fatty acid comprising 25% of the mass of your brain and available only from milk and animal tissue.

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Re:Just Add Fat
Sheba
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:52 pm
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Liss wrote:
Yep! I have a jar of Mrs. Renfro's in my fridge! hehe

I use my food processor to mush them up real good and I make a 7-layer taco dip...I mix it in with the beans.


Now I'm hungry! lol

Perhaps you would share the 7-layer taco dip recipe with us? :pray: Please? pretty please? hehe

(if you do please start a new thread in this recipe section so we don't lose it in this "fat" thread . . . =)

Regards,

~*~ Carrot ~*~

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