Some of you may remember when I had to do a research report on Weight Watchers (read about it here and here). Well, it was exactly five months ago today that I purchased those Weight Watchers-branded Blueberry Muffins and Lemon Crème Cakes, and I want to follow up on the experiment I conducted.
I bought the processed muffins and cakes to bring into my class as a visual during my presentation. I wanted my classmates to see the endless ingredient lists, which began and ended with things like hydrogenated oils and refined sugars. However, after the class, instead of returning the food for a refund, I opened one muffin and one lemon crème cake and put them on a plate and left them on the counter. Someone – I won’t mention any names – thought they were up for grabs and took a bite out of the lemon crème cake. Needless to say, he was pretty disgusted with the taste and didn’t go back for more…
After that I moved them into an empty cabinet and they’ve been sitting in there, untouched and uncovered, for exactly five months. Today I pulled them out and took photos to show you how much they’ve changed:
Or rather, how much they haven’t changed! Not a trace of mold, no trail of ants, no flies, and no rotting or foul smells. They’ve hardened a bit, but that is the only difference between the food five months ago and the food today.
Why? Because they are so highly processed. And if the food is staying so in tact outside the body, who knows what it’s doing inside the body! But my guess is it’s not being metabolized properly. More likely it’s being stored as fat. It contains very few nutrients that are actually needed by the body, so provides little nutrition or fuel. Michael Pollan, in a recent interview, said “don’t eat food that’s incapable of rotting. If the food can’t rot eventually, there’s something wrong.” The blueberry muffin and lemon crème cake would be wrapped up in the category of “incapable of rotting”. Pollan calls these things “edible foodlike substances,” not actual food.
The muffin and cake are representative of thousands of other food products that are available in the grocery store nowadays. Obviously it’s difficult to avoid ALL processed foods. It’s doable, but probably not all that realistic. But if we can just focus on purchasing the foods that rot, we will be doing our bodies a huge favor. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meats, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, fresh homemade pie… all of those things will eventually go bad and decompose. And when eaten, our bodies will be able to break them down, benefit from all of their nutrients, and dispose of the waste that is not needed. These types of foods are supportive of health and much less likely to contribute to fat storage and other imbalances.