COLUMN: Amid conflicting reports, here's what should we eat to avoid obesity

Thursday, June 2, 2011 | 4:29 p.m. CDT; updated 8:08 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 2, 2011

Perhaps I should not publish my own theory of obesity since I am not a nutritionist or scientist, but here goes.

Banister’s Obesity Theory: People are so confused from conflicting reports about what foods are good for them and what foods are bad for them, they just do not care anymore and eat whatever they want, whenever they want, in whatever portions they want. Not too scientific, is it?


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Think about it though. Ever since my childhood – the first one – I heard all the terrible things in store for people who eat certain foods. Also early in life, I heard that the foods we thought were good for us were no longer healthful. The number of foods considered unhealthful continued to grow, and the dangers to our health by eating these foods continued to increase.

After a decade or two of being told not to eat certain foods, new research would counter the claims, and all of a sudden we would hear foods we once thought good for us – but were told they were really bad for us – were good for us again. People just do not know whom or what to believe.

One of the latest examples of contradictory research comes from scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health who identified that a natural substance in dairy products, a fatty acid found in milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, may substantially reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, this same fatty acid is not linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

While the results of this research require further study, the study leads me to believe that the foods my grandma and grandpa ate (and they lived to be 98 and 96 respectively) are the foods we should be eating today. There was always plenty of milk and cheese in the refrigerator, ice cream in the freezer, and real butter on the kitchen table.

Additionally they consumed eggs and meat at every meal, and a plentiful supply of fresh cooked vegetables. What they did not eat were highly processed foods and fast foods, and nearly all of their meals were cooked at home. Grandma always said she believed a little fat was good for us. According to the Harvard scientists, it seems my grandma knew what she was talking about.

Denny Banister, of Jefferson City, is the assistant director of public affairs for the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.

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Robin Nuttall June 2, 2011 | 4:42 p.m.

Yeah, and I bet your grandma and grandpa did not eat any cicadas either!

Seriously, of course you are correct. Real food from local sources is the best way to go. But the other thing to remember is that grandma and grandpa did huge amounts of physical work every day. They ate a lot and they worked a lot. Somehow through the generations we have retained the ability and desire to stow away enormous amounts of food but we no longer work on a farm all day or operate a hand wringer washer or a butter churn. For Americans today, a part of smart eating is also physical effort and fitness.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger June 2, 2011 | 5:19 p.m.

You're correct to point this out Robin. Why Mr. Banister didn't address this obvious notion is rather appalling, but not surprising coming from the Farm Bureau -- and who wrote that headline, anyway?

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