Cliff and I watched an interesting (and clearly low budget) documentary a couple nights ago called “Fat Head.” It’s a movie responding to the documentary “Super Size Me.” As we all know, “Super Size Me” is about Morgan Spurlock’s journey through fast food eating and how it effects his body. I’m sure everyone knows the story: he eats McDonald’s for every meal for 30 days. If they offer to super size him, he must accept. He has to try every item on the menu at least once (I sort of want to try this experiment…because it sounds tasty :)). He must attempt to walk as much as the average American. The ending is a pretty predictable: he gains weight and feels like crap.
The movie was a pretty obvious stab at McDonald’s and the fast food industry in general. I’ve seen the movie and definitely thought it was interesting. But, I don’t agree with getting rid of McDonald’s or fast food. I personally think we live in a free country, so people have the right to choose what they do or don’t eat. That’s what’s so great about this country. We’re filled with McDonald’s eaters, Vegans, Omnivores, you name it, we got it. I think McDonald’s and the Big Mac exist because people order it. People like it. McDonald’s would change it’s menu if people weren’t interested in ordering fatty hamburgers. But that’s why people go to McDonald’s-the fries!!
Anyway, back to the first movie, “Fat Head.” This guy was clearly anti-Super Size Me. He made arguments on the other side of things that we’ve all probably heard before. It was interesting to have seen both sides. I enjoyed the movie because it actually got into the science of how our body stores fat. It talked about cholesterol and how it always gets a bad rap, but little do most people know cholesterol is already in the body. It’s made by the body, we need it or we’ll die. Cholesterol in the body helps maintain cell membranes as well the manufacturing of hormones. A good chunk of the cholesterol in our blood is made in the body, just a small portion actually comes from the food we eat. I’m sure most of you have heard of LDL and HDL cholesterol. They’re actually not technically cholesterol. They’re carriers of cholesterol in the blood stream. LDL’s and HDL’s transport cholesterol in and out of cell’s. When the cholesterol in the blood increases, the amount of LDL’s increase which can increase the likelihood of plaque buildup in artery walls (that’s why LDL’s are considered bad). HDL’s are good because they take cholesterol out of the arteries and to the liver where they’re disposed of. Interesting stuff!
Anyway, the movie also chronicled this particular man’s journey through fast food eating. He wasn’t limited to McDonald’s though, he ate any and every type of fast food. He basically proved that you can eat fast food all day long and lose weight. This is kind of a no brainer. You could eat anything all day long, but if the calories you ingest are lower than the calories you burn, you’ll lose weight. That certainly does not mean it’s healthy.
One part of the movie I thought was interesting were his interviews with doctors and scientists about carbohydrates (by carbohydrates, I’m referring mostly to breads, cereals, etc. not so much fruit). Carbs usually have a high amount of sugar in them which can bring your blood sugar up. If the blood sugar goes up, insulin is released to bring it down. If there’s too much sugar, the sugar gets converted to fat and stored in fat cells (since there’s nowhere else to put it, unless you’re using it for energy). The thing they mentioned in the movie was the lack of carbohydrates eaten by humans historically. Most carbs are not really found in nature, they’re processed and manufactured. Obviously, there are a few found in nature, i.e. potatoes. But why suddenly was there a boom of cereal, granola, snack bars, bread, pasta, etc. when we never needed them to survive before? I read up a little on cereal and found the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were invented on accident when Will Kellogg was making food for hospital patients (maybe to fatten them up?). Maybe cereals, bread, etc. are so available because of the wheat industry here or even corn (which most of these products rely heavily on).
Anyway, I thought the fact that carbs are generally not found in nature was an interesting point to consider. Personally, I eat carbs all the time. I realize their importance especially when training for a marathon. My body actually needs that sugar for energy. But, I also think carbs in general are a super easy option when you’re hunger. I know when I’m hungry, I usually eat a snack bar or bowl of cereal. I feel a little more aware of it right now and am going to try to incorporate more protein and vegetables into my diet and concentrate on fruit for carbohydrates. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cutting carbs from my diet. I will still eat my cereals, oatmeals, rice, etc. but maybe not as much. I’m definitely not advocating the “eat any protein” diet because I don’t think eating steak or bacon at every meal can be healthy for you. I guess my point is more moderation, specifically carbs because I eat a lot of them!
My breakfast yesterday morning was the start of my “carb moderation” project (diet? I don’t know). I had a protein shake and yogurt with a little granola. A higher amount of protein is a great option in general because it keeps you full longer.
I like the 14 grams of protein. What I don’t love is the 12 grams of sugar. This is a flavored greek yogurt so they all have a significant amount of sugar. The plain yogurts do not, but obviously, they taste like sour cream. 🙁
I got a free bag of 18 Rabbits granola from Whole Foods. It was pretty tasty!
The smoothie I made was delicious! It was definitely different than the usual strawberry-banana mix. Here’s what I used:
- handful frozen cherries
- half a banana
- 1/2 cup of vanilla coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- dash of chia seeds
- scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
This was really good! As my husband said, it tasted like ice cream!
What do you think about carbs versus proteins? Do you eat a lot of carbs or try to stay away from them? Any good smoothie recommendations out there?