Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fat Free Sugar Free Gluten Free

Big agribusiness wastes little time responding to the latest report of some issue that is caused by the food we eat.

Decades ago, the mantra was "we are what we eat". Don't want to get fat. Then don't eat fat. Agribusiness responded quickly with "no fat" products. The packaging of the product made the message clear. Buy this product; it has no fat.

Then it was discovered that the human body didn't know how to handle trans fats. Soon agribusiness responded by creating products without trans fats. That message was right on the food package in bold letters.

Guess what. Food doesn't taste good without fat. To make it taste good, the food industry added sugar. Good for the sugar industry. Not too good for the human body. Fat out. Sugar in. 30 years later, there is an obesity epidemic. Causation or correlation for obesity and sugar. Might be. Where are the studies. In an article at Mother Jones, Gary Taubes' notes that the sugar industry might be a culprit.

That article and others like it may be the reason for some products to be advertised as "sugar free". Check the ingredients and discover that Splenda (or an equivalent artificial sweetener) is added to give it a sweet taste.

To meet the latest findings from medical studies, now agribusiness creates foods that are gluten free. Many people are gluten intolerant (I am one of those one in a 100) or celiac. Agribusiness came to the rescue and made gluten free products. Check out the labels on processed foods and there it is: "gluten free".

Not to be left out, there is the "low sodium" or "no salt added" words on many products.

Agribusiness knows how to make food taste good and feel good on the tongue. With numerous unpronounceable ingredients, they can make a product that has "no fat, no trans fat, no sugar, low sodium and no gluten". And people will buy it.

At one time, Breyer's was the only ice cream brand that I bought. With three ingredients, it was perfect and it tasted like ice cream. Not any more. The answer about Breyer's history is found in this Wikipedia entry:  Today, my desserts at home are Greek yogurt over fresh fruit. Sometimes, I sweeten it with pure maple syrup.


  1. The limiting case of what you are talking about might be "low fat" peanut butter. I tried it -- once and only once. It had so much sugar in it that it didn't even taste like peanuts.

  2. From the "no fat" craze, the most bizarre creation is No Fat Half and Half. What was once half milk and half cream has become half skim milk and half sugar with lots of unpronounceable ingredients.

  3. I'm mostly gluten-free here since the fall, but can't buy a lot of the products on the shelves because they add things like honey, fruit juice and molasses which I'm also not digesting well. Ironically if they'd just use cane sugar it would be fine for me. My cupboard is overflowing with all my special new baking ingredients.

    1. Perhaps my digestion can actually tolerate a gluten free product. However, I have no desire to find out. What did agri-business do to the flour to make it gluten free.

      Not sure how bakery products are made without gluten. Long time ago when I made rye bread, I added gluten to get a satisfactory product. No doubt there are some other additives (unpronounceable names) that are added to make the bread taste and feel like the bread with gluten.

      And regarding sugar. Maple syrup is the only sweetener I use. And that is rare. Guessing the current maple syrup in the fridge has been there for at least six months.


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