Most modern deaths are caused by diseases which barely affected anybody 200 years ago. And the science says that between them, sugar and seed oils are responsible for almost all of those deaths.
The twin innovations of commercial sugar production (which made food addictive) and seed oil manufacture (which made food cheap to construct) has completely transformed our food supply in that timeframe.
Almost every packaged food now contains significant quantities of sugar or seed oil or (more usually) both. But far worse than that, it almost impossible to tell from that packaging (other than the fact that there is packaging, that is) whether a given food is safe or not.
I propose a simple way to tell the difference. Introducing, the Real Food Tick of Approval. The rules are very simple:
- All whole food qualifies for the Tick
- Any packaged food which contains more than 1.5 grams of fructose per 100 g does not qualify
- Any drink which contains fructose (at all) does not qualify
- Any packaged food or drink which contains more than 1.5 grams of Omega-6 fat per 100 g does not qualify
- All other food qualifies for the Tick
To see how this works in practice, check out my free, foods database. In it I have applied these rules.
The database is not perfect, it is using an automated formula (which tries to use fibre content to guess which are whole foods) to do the coding. This means it doesn’t properly take account of Rule #1 (at this stage), so there will be obvious errors – but you get the gist.
Most things coloured green would get the Real Food Tick. And the application of a little nouse would eliminate the obvious exceptions (for example Apricots in Intense Sweetened Liquid)
Most of those coloured yellow or red would not qualify. But there are whole foods which are particularly high in fructose (for example a Pink Lady apple) or Omega-6 (for example Peanuts).
Neither of these whole foods are coloured green but Rule #1 says they should qualify. With those I would suggest, they still deserve the Tick (because they are whole foods), but it should be a yellow tick rather than a green one, merely to indicate that more than one serving of these foods should not be consumed.
I’d love to hear your thoughts (in the comments below) on the proposed Real Food Tick.
Graphic based on an Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Join the discussion 14 Comments
Makes sense. I like it. I hope it takes off and Australia and New Zealand support it.
What a great idea, I love it!
Brilliant David, a tick that we can actually trust.
this is a great idea, David. how does one launch it ? publicize it ? etc.
I would definitely support it!
It should be noted that the wrecking of the modern food supply by “Big Food” was more the fault of incompetence in modern nutrition “science” than the “greed” of food companies.
That is, the influential false claim that saturated fat in “real foods” like meat, eggs and dairy – and the faulty low-fat diet recommendations it spawned – massively boosted the popularity of unhealthy manufactured foods that exclude saturated fat but include added sugar: http://www.news.com.au/finance/sugar-trap-heart-foundation-critics-say-tick-deals-with-nestle-uncle-tobys-mcdonalds-aldi-too-sweet-to-ignore/story-e6frfm1i-1226265842672 ; http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303678404579533760760481486
Incompetent organisations including the Australian Heart Foundation, the Dietitians Association of Australia and the Australian Diabetes Council to this day continue to recklessly promote the false claim that saturated fat causes heart disease: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/535 ; http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/smart-eating-for-you/nutrition-a-z/saturated-fats/ ; http://www.australiandiabetescouncil.com/living-with-diabetes/healthy-eating.aspx ; http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/fats/Pages/saturated-fats.aspx
Similarly, the University of Sydney and other industry-friendly entities continue to promote the false claim that added sugar is harmless in modern doses: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/a-spoonful-of-sugar-is-not-so-bad/story-e6frg8y6-1226090126776 ; http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/quickquizresearch.pdf ; http://www.gisymbol.com/category/products/sweeteners/ ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDaYa0AB8TQ&feature=youtu.be
The bottom line is that, just as everyday people need to be careful about what we eat, we need to be careful who we trust to provide dietary advice.
Amusingly, the ultimate response of the various incompetent organisations that have been key drivers of the low-fat diet – and so of global obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease – to the growing push back to “real food” won’t be to admit they were dangerously wrong for decades but to claim that they’ve always been in favour of real food.
I agree with the idea, as people are not used to using their brain in relation to foods they choose this would simplify healthy eating.
Fantastic idea, sounds like the technical elements needs a little work but the theory & purpose spot on. A shift is needed from where packaged foods currently sit. Its not perceivable that we can ever go back to everybody eating unpackaged foods due to our convenience lifestyle & something like this would help the masses defog the jargon… so long as it was led by official & scientifically researched backing (without prejudice or pay-ff from other organisations).
I think it’s a great alternative. At least it takes sugars and unhealty oils into consideration and may just assist people to realise that real food is what our bodies best survive on!
Great idea, David, what a comprehensive and useful guide. You work so hard!!!
I have one query……….you have a low Omega 6 level for salmon.
I did read an article by you recently about farmed fish, of which most of our salmon is sourced from. It was in the article about men’s lower sperm count.
You said that farmed fish, like grain fed beef is high in omega 6 because of the stuff fed to them.
Are you going to include farmed fish and grain fed beef in future updates to this excellent list?
Wandered through the supermarket today and there were ticks jumping off everything. Is there something other than a tick that is not already being used that would stand out more?
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This is a great idea. I highly suggest you start a petition on change.org. 🙂
I don’t think I understand – everything is coloured green?