I must be in a bad mood lately. It seems like everything I read about diabetes these days just makes me mad.
There was a blog post on Diabetes Daily over the weekend about fast food. Everyone knows that fast food is bad for you. I don’t think there is a single diabetic out there who will not admit that cheeseburgers and tacos make their sugars hard to control. But I also believe that there is not a single diabetic out there who does not occasionally indulge in fast food from time to time, whether it be for convenience sake or simply because all that fat tastes really good.
This blog post was titled: Fast-Food Employees Share Behind the Scenes Secrets. In it, there are quotes from three separate people who worked in three separate restaurants. The first is from Taco Bell. The beans look like cat food before they are re-hydrated…it says. And the meat turns to gel, it says. The quote from Kentucky Fried Chicken discusses how they reuse old chicken to make the barbeque chicken. And the quote from Wendy’s talks about how they re-hydrate the chili and use it over and over. At the end of the post the writer suggests we should all just eat real food.
I used to work in fast food restaurants. My first job as a teenager was in a Whataburger – a hamburger restaurant in Texas and Oklahoma. All the food we made was fresh. We cut vegetables daily. We made the burgers to order. We cleaned the oil in the fryers at least once a week.
I also worked in a Wendy’s. I never saw anyone reusing the chili, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
I know fast food is not always the freshest food in the world. I think most people are aware of that. The key here is the phrase fast food. Fast food is not food that takes hours to cook. Fast food is convenience food. Sometimes you give up quality for speed. If you don’t know that, then you probably live with your head in a hole.
Sometimes you just have to do what is best for you in that moment. If that means a fast food restaurant, then that’s what it means.
Not only that, but most of the so-called secrets the writer was discussing are things I’ve been known to do in my own home. I make a big meal and save leftovers to be used later. I have been known to use baked chicken left over from one meal for another meal. I have been known to add water to things like leftover rice, beans, or meat to re-heat and serve again. As long as you use leftovers within five days, and cared for it properly, there’s nothing wrong with leftovers. I would prefer not to get leftovers from a restaurant, but, again, when you buy convenience foods you understand that the food might not be as fresh as you might like.
But what really bothered me about this blog post was the phrase: Eat Real Food.
What, exactly, is real food?
Do you realize that most of the fruits and vegetables sold in the grocery store is genetically modified in some way? That most grains and pre-packaged foods are filled with genetically modified grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats filled with chemicals from antibiotics to steroids to who knows what? Is that real food?
Everyone seems to think that the only way to live a long life with diabetes is to eat a low carb, high fat diet. But a study recently came out suggesting that following a diet high in protein for a long period of time may lower your weight and keep your sugars controlled, but it also shortens your life. More than 70% of the study’s participants who followed a lchf diet died before their counterparts who ate a more conventional diet.
Here’s the thing: no one seems to know what is healthy, what isn’t healthy, what is better for blood sugar control, or what will lead to a long life. No one diet seems better than another because they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
I want to control my diabetes. I want to live a long, healthy life. But my body is different from yours. My body responds to different diets in a way yours might or might not. So stop telling me how to eat. I will eat my way. You eat your way.
And if you want a cheeseburger…go have one.