When the forest becomes lush, it is relatively easy to get lost and end up surrounded by darkness. However, there is almost always a path that circumvents the foliage and leads to an open place where it is easier to orientate. Today, Nutrition resembles an impenetrable forest populated by ogres, witches and demons who periodically change their disguise and transmute into saturated fats, added sugar and salt, for example, to captivate with their charms and ruses to visitors.
For this reason, proposals such as real food or "real food" are perceived by much of the population as a farollillo able to light the way or as crumbs of bread that spread Tom to return safely home.
Perhaps this explains the good reception that this movement has had in Spain. A lifestyle based on avoiding the ultraprocessed products and in claiming the food of our grandmothers, says the dietitian-nutritionist Huelva and main promoter of Real Food in Spain, Carlos Ríos, who has almost half Million followers in Instagram, and tens of thousands on Facebook and Twitter respectively. "Most of them, millennials between 20 and 35 years old," reveals Rios. In turn, this trend has also provided shelter to some supporters of the lifestyle that prevailed in the Paleolithic, when cereals, dairy foods and refined sugars were not consumed.
Each time we consume fewer vegetables, fruits and legumes
However, it cannot be said that it is a new movement. The concept emerged in the first decade of the 21st century when Brazilian epidemiologist Carlos Monteiro propelled several studies to highlight that the degree of food processing could be as relevant as its nutrient content. Thus, in an article published in 2010 in World NutritionMagazine, Carlos Monteiro and Geoffrey Cannon, of the Center for Epidemiological Studies in health and nutrition at the University of Sâo Paulo, Brazil, said: "The most important factor today is Know what is done with the food and nutrients originally contained in them, before they are bought and consumed. In other words, the big issue is food processing; Or more precisely, the nature, extent and purpose of processing, as well as what happens to food and to us as a result. "
However, Monteiro wanted to make clear at the time that it did not imply that the only healthy diets were the only consistent in raw food ("No one will suffer as a result of the really occasional consumption of chips in the bag, cookies or Burgers, "he noted in the year 2010) but what was really troubling was the proportion of highly processed products that the population had become accustomed to ingest in their day-to-day.
The latest research gives him the reason: it is because the new symbol of social status is to be very busy (as the study notes Conspicuous consumption of time: When busyness and Lack of Leisure Time become a status symbol, realized by the Columbia Business School and Georgetown University), because companies are increasingly betting on implanting intensive work and eating in a plis-plas or for whatever reason, the nutrition reality is that the consumption of processed products has been shot.
To show a button: According to the study added sugars and ultra-processed foods in Spanish households (1990-2010), published in 2017, during the last two decades the consumption of added sugar has passed in Spain from 8.4% to 13%. For their part, the fresh food, which two decades ago contributed 60% of the calories, now only provide 40%. In other words: we consume less and more vegetables, fruits and legumes and more processed meats, dairy derivatives and packed food.
However, it has not been until the year 2017 when the "Royal food" has claimed its place in Spain through social networks. According to the dietitian-nutritionist Carlos Ríos on the web that has created to popularize the real Food, "the ultraprocessed keep humans in the MATRIX, in a perfectly designed environment for these to continue to consume ultraprocessed Without resisting "and adds that" the outrageous is the purchase of health professionals, scientific societies, teachers or consensus of experts, which are influenced by this lobby of the defendants to recommend these products to the population so Direct or indirect. "
To know if a product is healthy you have to look at the amount of ingredients on the label
Obviously, this discourse has been in public opinion, especially among those who detect a black hand in the direction that food has taken. According to Rivers a BuenaVida, the scientific societies are not denounced with sufficient firmness the impact of the ultra-processed products but, on the contrary, their attitude remains very condescending: "still today it is argued that there is no Good or bad food and the problem appears when the calories that are fed outweigh the ones that are spent with physical activity. But these scientific societies do not report, instead, that ultraprocessed products make you ingest more calories because of their addictive potential. "
"In fact, the food industry does not conspire to kill us, but it offers its product to make money. And the more you do it is with the ultraprocessed. But if consumers decide to buy another type of food, the industry will have to pivot to adapt to this demand, "reflects Rios in relation to the rise of what is called fake food or fake foods (in Instagram has also become popular label #foodporn To name the tendency to photograph food with a high caloric content.
But... how is it possible to distinguish the beneficial products for the health of the harmful ones? Rios gives a hint: that the list of ingredients that details the label does not exceed the five ingredients and none of them is sugar, salt, flour or vegetable fat.
Homemade food is not always synonymous with healthy
However, despite success in social networks, the discourse of "Real food" arouses some suspicions. Much of the articles published by various dietitians-nutritionists of proven independence, have revealed some gaps in this movement. Some have criticized the excessive number of exceptions that invalidate the rule that processed products are bad by definition, for example, tofu, fried tomato canned (whose content in lycopene is superior to fresh tomato), gherkins Pickles in vinegar, olive oil, ground coffee, packed gazpacho... Also, other experts have been forced to intervene in some Facebook forums to clarify that making a recipe at home does not have to be synonymous with healthy, setting the example that the pastries not to be homemade has a lower calorie density.
Perhaps for this reason, the aspiration of real food to become something like the Lesser Osa (Ursa Minor) in order to guide the disoriented diners towards a new nutritional constellation has not finished finding their Arcadia happy for different Reasons.
Eduard Baladia, head of the Center for the analysis of scientific evidence of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, notes, for example, that the most positive thing about this movement has been to establish an easy rule to remember (eating fresh food) which, without a doubt, can lead to healthy attitudes and patterns. "It must be taken into account that most nutritional recommendations are complex," he admits.
Not all the defendants are bad
"The problem is that there are processed foods that are healthy, like the fifth-range salads," he says as an example to signify that the dividing line that separates the hell from the Sky (nutritional) leaves many interesting foods out of play . "For example, to think that bread is a terrible thing for health to produce in an industrial way does not conform to reality. Wholemeal bread, although not homemade, is equally compatible with health, "he recalls.
"Real food is nothing new, but something that has been talked about for years, but now has found an amazing environment in social networks," appreciates Baladia. "Although it is absolutely true that the consumption of processed products has grown, it cannot be held responsible for everything that is going on. Overweight, cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, etc. are multicomponent diseases, which means that any risk factor, by itself, cannot be considered the cause, he clarifies. However, "it is true that the huge offer of insanely processed is a public health problem that needs to be dealt with from politics and not focusing solely on individual responsibility," he adds.
With regard to the heartfelt yearning that many Internet users profess for their grandmothers ' food, Baladia alleges an objection: "The dishes they prepared, being very rich, fit the needs of their time. I mean that then there were no elevators and it was walking everywhere, and even more important: there was no unlimited unlimited offer now. If the dishes of our grandmothers were sold today in the supermarket, surely we would have the same problem, because in large part would be too energetic for the current lifestyle, "he predicts.
"so that we could only eat fresh food, there shouldbe a lot of change, especially those that affect us as a collective," Baladia understands. For example, we would need a time that most people do not have to cook and eat otherwise. Also, "We should regulate the advertising of unhealthy food, especially that which aims at children, to prevent marketing departments to condition both consumers with their messages," he proposes.
For their part, other nutritionists remember that eating only fresh produce, only occurs in some agrarian societies in the third world, since in the cities of those same countries, most citizens have to resort to processed foods, so General, very unhealthy, they provide many calories in exchange for little money.
Authorities should be involved and act independently
So what can be done? In the first place, eat more fresh foods, whenever possible, especially vegetables, as it is proven that their frequent consumption protects from many diseases. "At this point there is not only consensus, but also several reviews of literature that have sufficient evidence", Baladia sentence.
In turn, more and more dietitians-nutritionists believe that the authorities that watch over public health should help citizens make healthy decisions, irrespective of the conflicts of interest that causes many Scientific societies are financed (directly or indirectly) by the multinationals or by the organizations of which they are part. For example, although associations of dietitians-nutritionists and consumer organisations have attempted to implement the nutritional traffic light, the pressure exerted by the agri-food industry has caused the request to be Rejected up to two occasions in Brussels.
The British proposal to amend nutritional labelling in the European Parliament so that citizens receive clearer information about the content of processed products from three colors (red, amber and green) that report a rapid Peek of the content in added sugars, total fats, saturated fats and salt from any food (which would result in a significant number of red lights in the containers of much of the ultraprocessed products), was rejected after the Confederation European food and beverage Industries press the nice thing so that the traffic light never gets red.
and regulate the use of unhealthy ingredients in the sale of food
Baladia suggests other Community measures that could contribute to better regulating the consumption of unhealthy processed products. One of them could be to choose a system similar to that of Chile where, in order to fight against obesity, legislation has been adopted that impose limits on producers. It is clearly indicated on the front of the packaging if the product in question is healthy or unhealthy. For this reason, since June 2016, when this law came into force, the packages of biscuits – to put a case – have stopped showing labels like "100% natural", "rich in fiber" and other marketinianas tricks, to be stained obligatorily, when this is the case, By three black seals: high in sugars, high in calories, high in saturated fats. That "high", framed in a octagon that reminds of the signs of stop, informs unmistakable way to the citizen that what is going to be eaten exceeds long the recommended amount of salt, sugar and fats and of its possible repercussion in the appearance — or in the aggravation — of Many chronic diseases.
Systems like Nutri-Score (a five-color semaphore that measures the nutritional quality of food and beverages) have also shown in several studies to have beneficial effects on consumption patterns.
"Another possible measure — proposes Baladía — could be to tax the use of food and unhealthy ingredients." Finally, another thing to change is the size of the portions. Gradually, less-healthy products resort to economic incentives for consumers to access larger sizes of unhealthy food, so that acquiring two servings will spend much less money than acquiring one. "Making these Cyber Monday of unhealthy food, whether it be fast food chains or brands selling their products at the supermarket, does not contribute to the solution," understands Baladía. "In the end, it's about helping the consumer choose healthy, fresh or processed products," he summarizes.