Monday, March 23, 2009

addressing controversies

It seems that I am stirring up some controversy with my assertions that A)Calories don't matter; and B)White rice is better than brown. This is good. I wanted to challenge the ideas that have been thrust upon us by the food industry scientists. These ideas are all explained fully in my book "The Asian Diet: simple secrets for eating right, losing weight, and being well. htp:// . Let's start with A.

As I posted before, no one measures the calories that we excrete. Not all the food we put in our bodies is absorbed. Only that part which we absorb will turn into energy or become stared as fat; and that amount will vary from person to person. Just because a muffin gives off 200 calories of energy when set on fire (that's how they measure calories), that tells us very little about how many of those calories any particular person will absorb.

They used to think the same thing about vitamins. That the form didn't matter, it was just the amount. Now we understand that vitamins are absorbed differently depending on the form in which they are ingested. The same is true for calories. One the blogs, I see a lot of people assert (as they have been taught) that "A Calorie is a Calorie". This is not true and is an idea put forward by those who's products tend to give off less heat when set on fire (ergo assigned less caloric value). Calories from natural sources will be easier to absorb nutrients, deliver a more steady release of energy to the body, and will be eliminated more efficiently.

and for B. White rice is brown rice with a thick hull around it. It is kind of like eating a walnut and not taking off the shell. Of course, nature had to put some nutrients into making that shell, but those are not for us. They have a poor bio-aviliabilty and will slow the metabolism because they are more difficult to digest. White rice is the best, most hypo-allergenic, easily assimilated, and energetically neutral of the grains (all foods and herbs have properties- warming, cooling, moistening, drying, etc... white rice is completely neutral).

Brown rice was popularized in the macrobiotic movement which started with studies in Japan. Brown rice in Japan in partially milled, which is to say that they've knocked about 3/4 of the hull off. The stuff we get here is completely unshucked. So unless you're going to mill it yourself, it's a tall order for our digestive systems to process.

But what about the vitamins? You should get all the vitamins you need from the vegetables; and veggies should constitute the bulk of your diet. The Japanese armada was feeding its soldiers white rice and they started getting a disease called beriberi that comes from a lack of vitamin b12. They switched to brown rice and the beriberi went away. The thing is: That's all they were feeding the soldiers. B12 is found in virtually every fruit and vegetable. So as long as you are eating produce, you won't have to worry about beriberi.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's crazy that anyone still believes 'a calorie is a calorie.' I mean, look at what they serve you on an airplane these days. It's all fat and carbs. There may accidentally be a protein thrown in for good measure, but not usually. It's stuff like cheezy crackers and cookies. Empty. Bereft of nutritional value for anyone eating well, which is pretty much anyone who can afford airfare. Meh!