We Are What We Eat!
This post was originally posted on Liberal Youth’s blogging platform The Libertine on the 25th of September 2012.
So said one delegate speaking on the Good Food Shouldn’t Cost The Earth motion at Conference on Sunday 23rd September.
Now that has some truth; what we eat has a significant impact on how healthy we are.
The motion before Conference spoke of how important it was to eat healthily, and for government to promote healthy eating behaviour and give us citizens the ability to make informed choices about what foods we consume.
It should have been an interesting debate but it wasn’t. The debate was sidetracked by the farming and agricultural parts of the motion to promote sustainable food production, as well as one speaker who devoted his whole speech to arguing for legislating for the “traffic lights” system to be used on all food labels.
I know Liberal Reform were keen to see this motion voted down because of the “consultation on fiscal measures such as the taxation of heavily sugared drinks” and the “adopting a timetable to achieve a minimum of 30 per cent organic food.”
I’m against those things for the same reasons as Liberal Reform are but I also have another reason which I’ll come to in a moment.
What surprised me most about a debate on a motion which was primarily about healthy eating to try and combat the problem of obesity and obesity-related diseases, was that exercise was not mentioned once.
Now, I’m borderline obese but incredibly fit. I’ve got a lot of fat on me but my gym says that I’ve got one of the highest, if not the highest, target in the whole entire club. That means, all the machines I work on are tougher for me than anybody else in the club.
I also had bloodwork done recently and all came back normal. In fact, as my GP remarked, that my cholesterol was excellent and that those levels were rarely seen in the West of Scotland. I don’t live in the healthiest parts of Scotland.
What matters most in healthy living is not necessarily what you eat but how your body processes what you eat.
Science is only just beginning to delve into this. Research being done in the UK by Professor Jamie Timmons is showing that with just 3 minutes of high intensity exercise a week, you can dramatically increase your body’s insulin sensitivity i.e. reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Research being done predominantly in America is showing that if you ‘calorie restrict’ or fast at least 2 days a week, you can also reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
This research is showing that if you fast 2 days a week (by eating 500-600 calories on a fast day) or fast on alternate days a.k.a. alternate day fasting, then you can eat foods that are high in saturated fats or loads of sugar and not see any rise in cholesterol or blood glucose or any other health indicator related to those so called “unhealthy” foods.
As someone who tries to put the science to the test and uses it to improve my health, why should I be punished by taxing the foods and drinks I eat on feed days (non-fasting days) because other people are choosing not to regulate how their bodies process these foods?
A party that claims to make evidenced-based policy has just passed a motion that fails to even ask the question of “how do our bodies process the food we eat and how does that affect our health?” We failed to ask if there are there other ways of regulating how our bodies process, through exercise or other means?
When it comes to healthy eating and exercise, one size does not fit all, yet we as a party, have just passed a motion that tries to say that one size does fit all.
The party that claims individualism, has just passed a motion, claiming that when it comes to how our bodies process food, we are all the same. It was almost like I was watching the Labour party conference, instead of the Liberal Democrat party conference.