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放轻松,吃点儿“不健康的”食物又何妨

更新时间:2017-11-10 11:58:12 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Relax, You Don’t Need to ‘Eat Clean’
放轻松,吃点儿“不健康的”食物又何妨

We talk about food in the negative: What we shouldn’t eat, what we’ll regret later, what’s evil, dangerously tempting, unhealthy.

我们总是从负面角度讨论食物:这个不该吃,那个吃了会后悔,这个是邪恶危险的诱惑,那个不健康。

The effects are more insidious than any overindulgent amount of “bad food” can ever be. By fretting about food, we turn occasions for comfort and joy into sources of fear and anxiety. And when we avoid certain foods, we usually compensate by consuming too much of others.

这种做法的隐患比放纵自己饕餮任何“不好的食品”还要糟糕。我们在为食物而苦恼的同时,也把本应充满安慰和欢乐的时刻变成恐惧与焦虑的源泉。当我们力图避免某些食物的时候,却往往通过摄入过多其他食物来补偿。

All of this happens under the guise of science. But a closer look at the research behind our food fears shows that many of our most demonized foods are actually fine for us. Taken to extremes, of course, dietary choices can be harmful — but that logic cuts both ways.

这一切都是以科学的名义进行的。但是,如果仔细审视那些导致我们恐惧某些食物的研究,便会发现很多被严重妖魔化的食物实际上对我们来说没有害处。当然,极端的膳食选择可能是有害的——但是反过来也成立。

Consider salt. It’s true that, if people with high blood pressure consume a lot of salt, it can lead to cardiovascular events like heart attacks. It’s also true that salt is overused in processed foods. But the average American consumes just over three grams of sodium per day, which is actually in the sweet spot for health.

就拿盐来说吧。的确,如果高血压患者摄入大量盐分,会导致心脏病等心血管问题。盐在加工食品中被过度使用也是事实。但是美国人平均每天摄入的钠只有3克多一点,这实际上是最适宜健康的量。

Eating too little salt may be just as dangerous as eating too much. This is especially true for the majority of people who don’t have high blood pressure. Regardless, experts continue to push for lower recommendations.

吃盐过少可能和吃得过多同样危险,对于大部分没有高血压的人来说尤其如此。无论如何,专家们还是一直在推行更低的建议摄入量。

Many of the doctors and nutritionists who recommend avoiding certain foods fail to properly explain the magnitude of their risks. In some studies, processed red meat in large amounts is associated with an increased relative risk of developing cancer. The absolute risk, however, is often quite small. If I ate an extra serving of bacon a day, every day, my lifetime risk of colon cancer would go up less than one-half of 1 percent. Even then, it’s debatable.

许多建议避免某些特定食品的医生和营养学家,都不能很好地解释它们的风险究竟有多大。在一些研究中,大量摄入加工红肉制品与癌症的相对风险增加有关,然而绝对风险通常很小。如果我每天坚持多吃一份培根,我这辈子罹患结肠癌风险的增长还不到0.5%;即使这个风险都不是板上钉钉。

Nevertheless, we’ve become more and more susceptible to arguments that we must avoid certain foods completely. When one panic-du-jour wanes, we find another focus for our fears. We demonized fats. Then cholesterol. Then meat.

不管怎样,必须完全避免某些食物的说法越来越容易影响我们。一个日常生活中的恐慌消失后,我们又会把另一样东西当做恐慌的焦点。我们妖魔化了脂肪,然后是胆固醇,接下来又是肉。

For some people in recent years, gluten has become the enemy, even though wheat accounts for about 20 percent of the calories consumed worldwide, more than pretty much any other food. Fewer than 1 percent of people in the United States have a wheat allergy, and fewer than 1 percent have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that requires sufferers to abstain from gluten. Gluten sensitivity (the catchall disorder that leads many Americans to abstain from gluten) is not well defined, and most people who self-diagnose don’t meet the criteria.

尽管小麦占据全世界卡路里摄入量的20%左右,比其他任何食物都要多得多,然而近年来,麸质成了一些人的敌人。在美国,只有不到1%的人患有小麦过敏,只有不到1%的人患有乳糜泻——这是一种自身免疫性疾病,患者需要戒食麸质。关于“麸质敏感”(导致许多美国人戒除麸质的疾病的统称)并没有明确的定义,大多数自认为患有此疾病的人并不符合标准。

Nonetheless, at least one in five Americans regularly chooses gluten-free foods, according to a 2015 poll. Sales of products with gluten-free labels rose to $23 billion worldwide in 2014, up from $11.5 billion worldwide in 2010.

尽管如此,根据2015年的民意调查,至少有五分之一的美国人经常选择无麸质食品。2014年,带有无麸质标签的产品全球销量从2010年的115亿美元增长到了230亿美元。

Gluten-free diets can lead to deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamin B, folate and iron. Compared with regular bagels, gluten-free ones can have a quarter more calories, two and a half times the fat, half the fiber and twice the sugar. They also cost more.

无麸质饮食会导致身体缺乏维生素B、叶酸和铁等营养。无麸质贝果的热量会比普通贝果多出四分之一,脂肪含量是两倍半,纤维含量是普通面包圈的一半,含糖量却是普通面包圈的两倍。它们的价格也更贵。

The hullabaloo over gluten echoes the panic over MSG that began roughly half a century ago, and which has yet to fully subside. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is nothing more than a single sodium atom added to glutamic acid — an amino acid that is a key part of the mechanism by which our cells create energy. Without it, all oxygen-dependent life as we know it would die.

对麸质的大惊小怪,和大约始于半个世纪之前、至今尚未完全消退的味精恐慌有些相似。味精,或谷氨酸钠,只不过是在谷氨酸中添加了单个钠原子;谷氨酸是一种氨基酸,而氨基酸是细胞能量制造机制的核心部分。没有氨基酸,我们所知的一切依赖氧气的生命都会死亡。

A 1968 letter in The New England Journal of Medicine started the frenzy; the writer reported feeling numbness, weakness and palpitations after eating at a Chinese restaurant. A few limited studies followed, along with a spate of news articles. Before long, nutrition experts and consumer advocates such as Ralph Nader were calling for MSG to be banned. The Food and Drug Administration never had to step in; food companies saw the writing on the wall, and dropped MSG voluntarily.

1968年,《新英格兰医学杂志》(The New England Journal of Medicine)上发表的一封来信揭开了疯狂的序幕;作者声称在中餐馆吃饭后感到麻木、虚弱和阵阵心悸。接下来是一些有局限性的研究,以及一连串的新闻报道。不久后,若干营养专家,以及拉尔夫·纳德(Ralph Nader)等消费者维权人士开始呼吁禁止味精。根本用不着食品与药物管理局(The Food and Drug Administration)介入,食品公司看到大张旗鼓的宣传就自愿放弃了味精。

Many people still wrongly believe that MSG is poison. We certainly don’t need MSG in our diet, but we also don’t need to waste effort avoiding it. Our aversion to it shows how susceptible we are to misinterpreting scientific research and how slow we are to update our thinking when better research becomes available. There’s no evidence that people suffer disproportionately from the afflictions — now ranging from headaches to asthma — that MSG-averse cultures commonly associate with this ingredient. In studies all over the world, the case against MSG just doesn’t hold up.

许多人仍然错误地认为味精等于毒药。当然,我们的日常饮食中并不需要味精,但我们也无需浪费精力去回避它。我们对它的厌恶表明,我们容易误解科学研究,而且在更好的研究成果出现后,我们总是要过好久才能更新自己的想法。反味精文化通常将味精同各种疾病联系在一起——从头疼到哮喘——然而没有证据表明这些病痛在哪些人群中的发病率出奇地高。在世界范围内进行的研究并不支持反味精的说法。

Too often, we fail to think critically about scientific evidence. Genetically modified organisms are perhaps the best example of this.

对于科学证据,我们往往不会加以认真思考。转基因生物或许就是最好的例子。

G.M.O.s are, in theory, one of our best bets for feeding the planet’s growing population. When a 2015 Pew poll asked Americans whether they thought it was generally safe or unsafe to eat modified foods, almost 60 percent said it was unsafe. The same poll asked scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science the same question. Only 11 percent of them thought G.M.O.s were unsafe.

从理论上而言,要想为地球不断增长的人口提供食物,转基因生物是最好的办法之一。2015年的一项皮尤中心(Pew)民意调查询问美国人,他们认为吃转基因食品总的来说是安全的还是不安全的,几乎60%的人表示这是不安全的。同一项民意调查向美国科学促进会(American Association for the Advancement of Science)的科学家询问了同样的问题。只有11%的人认为转基因食品是不安全的。

Most Americans, at least according to this poll, don’t seem to care what scientists think. In fact, Americans disagree with scientists on this issue more than just about any other, including a host of contentious topics such as vaccines, evolution and even global warming.

至少从这次调查来看,大多数美国人似乎并不关心科学家怎么想。事实上,美国人在这一点上与科学家的意见有更大不合,超过了大量有争议性的话题,比如疫苗、进化论,甚至包括全球变暖。

If people want to avoid foods, even if there’s no reason to, is that really a problem?

但就算给不出理由,如果人们想要避开食物,真的会成为一个问题吗?

The answer is: yes. Because it makes food scary. And being afraid of food with no real reason is unscientific — part of the dangerous trend of anti-intellectualism that we confront in many places today.

答案是:是的。因为这使食物变得吓人。无缘无故就惧怕食物是不科学的,这是我们当今经常见到的反智主义带来的危险趋势之一。

Food should be a cause for pleasure, not panic. For most people, it’s entirely possible to eat more healthfully without living in terror or struggling to avoid certain foods altogether. If there’s one thing you should cut from your diet, it’s fear.

食物应该带来快乐,而非恐慌。对大多数人来说,在不用终日恐慌或奋力躲开某些食物的情况下,实现更健康的饮食是完全有可能的。如果非要说你的饮食中有一项需要去掉,那应该是恐惧。

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