EST. May 2000 (AD)


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The 'Science' Behind Food And Nutrition - What You Need To Know

Hmm, what should I have to eat? Do I need to eat food to survive? How many burgers a day should I consume? Is soil a food or not? Wow. What a lot of questions. All that thinking makes me feel hungry. But what should I eat? Uh-oh: we're back to square one!

As you can see from the paragraph above, food is a complicated business. It's easy to get confused, even if you didn't start your day off with a pull on the ol' tequila bottle. So for those of us who did, here's a special HW report on food and nutrition.

What are the basic food groups?

It is important that you eat the right amount of each type of food each day. To help you do this, here is a breakdown of the five basic food groups:

- Fast - the 'fast' category includes red meats, meats packaged in greaseproof paper, all forms of fried potato, sweet pies, sugared milk drinks and most cheese-style toppings. 90% of your food intake should be from the 'fast' family. You will be able to source this type of food from brightly-coloured roadside restaurants.

- Vitamins and minerals - the only man-made food group. Naturally-occurring foods lack vitamins and minerals, which is why these are essential. Try to eat 2-3kgs of mixed vitamins per day.

- Beans - these are tiny foods that mimic the shape of a kidney. They are an excellent source of glucose. Without them, you will lose your body hair.

-Fungi and forest ferns - gather these regularly. Pickle them for the winter months. Arrange them in dishes when your in-laws visit.

-Rice - microwave rice, boil-in-the-bag rice, pilau and egg fried. All forms of rice, basically, except brown. Do not eat brown rice. It has been dyed this unappetising colour to show it is unfit for human consumption.

There are also what we term 'fruits' and 'vegetables', which are uncategorised as a food source. Eat them if you want, but be sure to compensate with plenty of meats and potato, ideally in a thick, creamy sauce.

How often should I eat food?

You should be aiming to eat food at least twice a week. It is unpleasant and difficult to get used to but make time for it. Fibrous roots and chewing gum are a good way to get children comfortable with the concept of food.

I have found something that looks like food. Should I eat it?

Some household items, like candles and soap, look a lot like food. Nowadays, manufacturers use synthetic chemicals to mimic food smells, like fruit and chocolate. A useful rule of thumb is: if it smells interesting, eat it. You do not want to miss out on a new experience.

What happens to food once I eat it?

Food is broken down by your body in a process known as 'respiration'. The small pieces of food then circulate in your bloodstream. As they move around, each organ will take what it needs to survive. If you eat too much of any one type of food, it will be stored on your back, in a hump like a camel's.

What is organic produce?

Organic produce is food that is grown here on earth. Most of the food you eat will be grown in this way. Because our planet is very highly populated and land is scarce, about 30% of our food is grown on other planets, where kindly, alien life-forms nourish our earth seeds with their powerful brain rays.

Is genetically-modified food good or bad?

People are afraid of genetically-modified food but if we look at it scientifically, there is really nothing to be concerned about. This kind of food was invented in the 1970s. Back then, we only had figs and casserole to eat. As you can imagine, people grew tired of subsisting on such a limited diet and the human race began to die out. Fortunately for us, scientists created all other foods for us to enjoy.

So to summarise: genetically-modified food is bad.

My child wants to be a vegetarian. What should I do?

A vegetarian is someone who eats the flesh of other human beings in order to survive, or just because it tastes good. I would advise you to pack up everything you can into the back of your car - it helps if you have an SUV or other large vehicle - and drive. Try to cross a border by nightfall. Ideally, your escape should take place while your child is at school.

What is food hygiene?

Before science was invented, superstitious people thought the air was full of invisible spirits that could make you ill. These spirits, or 'germs' as they were called, were thought to float down onto food and infect it. Food hygiene was a primitive ritual created to protect people from these so-called 'germs'. Now, most people know better but these kinds of superstitions can be dangerous. If someone you know tries to discuss food hygiene with you, firmly ask them to leave. If they persist in the discussion, pretend to faint. Lie on the floor with your eyes closed until they stop talking.

My bread has green fur on it. Is it safe to eat?

There is no scientific reason why this would occur. Perhaps someone has added a tasty topping to your bread. Eat it. Go on.

What is a diet and should I try it?

A diet is used by people in the public eye to remain in the public eye by altering their body shape. It is similar to plastic surgery. You can do it if you want but people will laugh at you behind your back.

What does the old saying 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' mean?

In the old days, fruit was collected and displayed in gilded halls by wealthy merchants, rather in the way that rich people today collect art or antiques. If someone was unable to pay his medical bills, the doctor might take as payment instead something from his patient's precious fruit collection. Or the merchant might just have the doctor killed. Either way, it seems perplexing that this saying is still in common use.

Fun food facts

- An artichoke is a small, mouse-like creature. Their hearts are a delicacy in most parts of the western world. You may have sampled them on pizza or in a pasta sauce!

-The heaviest food in the world is ice. That's right - just plain old frozen water! But beware. It is also the most fattening thing you can eat.

-In terms of nutritional value, the best thing to snack on is a sheet of regular printing paper. Next time you get hungry, give it a try!

© 2007 Emma Rowley



Emma Rowley is a Londoner. Maybe that's why she loves London Town.