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Do burgers taste of grass? - David Cooke

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March 1st, 2011

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06:51 pm - Do burgers taste of grass?
I'm in the mood for a bit of a rant.

One of the fallacies that really winds me up is the "if you eat fatty foods you get fat" one. Seriously, how is this kind of metabolism supposed to work? You eat fat and your body extracts it and stores it on your belly (or hips)? I suppose when you eat protein it gets made into muscle, and any sugar you eat is spun into candy-floss and stored in your skull?

Burgers (supposedly bad because they have fat in 'em) are made of cow. Cows are made from a little cow and a lot of grass, recursively. Ultimately cows are made from a lot of grass and homeopathically small (bugger all unless you're really unlucky) amounts of proto-cow. Yet everyone knows that burgers don't taste of grass. Clearly, digestion and metabolism are more complicated than "store the appropriate bit of the food in the appropriate (or inappropriate) part of the body".

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 1st, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
The logic is that - weight-for-weight - fats are the most energy-dense member of the three [fat|carbohydrate|protein] food-groups.

So if you eat a given *weight* of food, the fat-richest option will contain the greatest number of calories - and any 'excess' calories [in whatever form they are ingested] will in turn be mutated by the Glycogen cycle and laid down in your body's fat-stores.

What do I know? well, my first job after graduating was programming an animal-feed mill to produce the contractually-specified protein/carbohydrate/fat component-ratios in pig-feed at the lowest-possible ingredient-cost. |d|i|g|i|t|a|l| PDP11/23 meets Animal Nutrition.
[User Picture]
Date:March 1st, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
I mentioned this the other day. Advertisers like to sell 'low fat' or 'fat free' food because a lot of people are under the impression that it won't make them put on weight. If you eat an excess of anything, it can make you fat. Likewise, if you undereat even with fatty foods, it's likely that you won't end up getting fat. It's more convenient for people to think of metabolisms that way, because the truth isn't what they want to hear.
[User Picture]
Date:March 1st, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
I only recently noticed how, if you look at the actual energy content of "low fat" food, it's surprisingly close to the full-fat stuff. I think I saw only about a 20% difference between half-fat and full-fat milk.
[User Picture]
Date:March 1st, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
I generally dismiss any sort of nonsense that's to do with "dieting". I've found that despite using the term, "diets" have very little in common with the nutritional term on which it's based.
[User Picture]
Date:March 3rd, 2011 10:48 am (UTC)
Of course fat gets first broken down into fatty acids in your digestive system. If your blood sugar levei is low, these are converted to glucose. If your blood sugar level is high, glucose will be converted back to fatty acids, and fatty acids back into triglycerids for storage ... body fat.

So, yeah, fat does not directly go into your fat cells, it runs through your metabolism like any other nutricient. But out of all nutricients, fat packs the most calories per weight unit ... so if you want to cut down on your calory intake, reducing the amount of fat is the easiest way.

This means generally reducing the fat content of your food is usually a good idea, as long as you replace it with something that has less calories :) And that's where a lot of misleading advertising happens. Of course, gummy bears have 0% fat. But that doesn't mean they're more healthy when they consist of 95% Sugar :)

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