Oh that’s pure! When you hear that, you immediately think it’s good, whatever “it” is. Gold, a golf swing, silicon, maple syrup, a diamond, a selfless deed, an emotion. Water. Yet, when we think of food, we completely disregard the goodness of pure, clean food and instead opt for processed food with added color, addictive flavorings and enhanced shelf life. Why the double standard? It’s Mojo update week 14.
Disappointed but Smarter
I thought I was in good shape to continue losing weight this week. After all, I ate 19 clean meals out of 21 for a 90% rate, and I was even with 2 “fun foods” and 2 activities. My formula put me in the weight loss category, but I gained 1/2 a pound. What gives?
Last week, while great on the eating measure, was not the same as other weeks. Due to work there were two nights that I slept less than 5 hours. Ouch! I lived on coffee, minimal exercise and missed a few days of drinking my standard 16 oz. glass of lemon water each morning.
My initial thinking was that the weight increase was water weight. After all, I typically run on Saturday but I didn’t. I drank a lot of coffee and daily smoothies throughout the week. I had minimal alcohol during the week. I assumed I was overly hydrated, but I was wrong.
Body Composition Analysis
We have a scale the measures body fat composition. It’s and older model and reviews say they aren’t 100% accurate, but I use this as a trend measure as opposed to thinking it’s a perfect measure for any particular day. But yesterday, my body fat measurement shot up over a whole percentage point which was very unusual. With a little bit of research, I believe dehydration was the cause.
It took me a while to figure it out, but here’s the bottom line. When a person is hydrated, the electrical signal from the scale passes quickly through water that present in hydrated muscle tissue but meets resistance when it hits fat tissue.
more water = faster signal = shorter time = lower fat percentage
less water = slower signal = longer time = higher fat percentage
On further study, it turns out that dehydration can decrease fat burning capacity, which explains why, when eating all real foods for the week, I had a slight gain. So, this week I’m going to keep calm and hydrate (and get more sleep.)
All this hydration analysis led me to think more about water, purity, and led me to the following question.
Why do we spend so much time and money filtering out impurities in our water, only to bring them into our bodies through processed food?
Some rough calculations from 2015 data showed we spent nearly $10B in the US on operating water plants, providing billions of gallons of drinkable water every day. We also spent over $14.2B in 2015 on 12 million gallons of bottled water. We all know that clean water is required for us to live a healthy life. So we invest in making it pure for us to drink.
On the other hand, the US food processing industry contains 21,000 companies and is responsible for $750B in revenue (global processed food sales are over $2 trillion, the US accounts for roughly 37%). So in the US, we roughly spent 30 times the amount to process our food than we did for clean water. And we spent this to deliver the right color, texture, addictive flavorings or shelf life, not for increased nutrition or health.
Food for Thought
I realize some of the processing is needed. Meat needs to be butchered, fruits and vegetables need to be harvested. And not everyone has access to fresh, local ingredients, so we have to make food transportable. But thinking about purity for a minute, and things that are pure are good or highly valued, I don’t understand why we accept that our food needs to be highly processed, and impure.
Finally, there’s this from Medical News today, published August 2017.
Processed foods are bad. They are a major contributor to obesity and illness around the world.
How do we know?
Every time a population adopts a Western diet high in processed foods, they get sick.
It happens within a few years. Their genes don’t change, their food does.