Monday, February 2, 2015

The Big Problem: Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Athletics

Obviously - this is The Conspiracy Times after all - I am one of those folks that mistrusts big industry and believes in collusion. Big Pharma has convinced most of the world that cholesterol will kill us and statins will save us. BigFood has managed to get 90% of the First World population addicted to cheap, nutritionally barren processed food-like substances made almost entirely of corn and soy - which coincidentally frequently raise certain cholesterol components and almost always cause Metabolic Syndrome (the real cause of heart disease). 

The upcoming, and no doubt highly profitable new big business is Big Athletics (often represented by smaller companies but frequently subsidiaries of Big Food and Big Pharma) who are hooking the few remaining healthy First World adults not savvy enough to decipher the marketing jargon onto processed food-like substances in the form of gels, energy supplements, recovery drinks, work-out bars, etc. While these various and universally over-priced food-like substances almost always contain some minor trace elements such as zinc, magnesium, L-carnitine, among others, the staple ingredients in these food-like substances are invariably corn and soy. That's right corn and soy - those highly subsidised big agriculture crops that have ruined our food supply - converted, using the magic of big industry, into maltodextrin, glycerin, glycerol, sucrose, fructose, various sugar alcohols, and other highly palatable (I know it does not sound palatable but humans do find sugar in any form highly palatable, some even say addictive) food-like products. 

Big Athletics is doing just as good a job as Big Pharma and Big Food in creating demand for products - manufactured almost exclusively from the over-supply of corn and soy - that does not really exist. I perused a few Big Athletics products to produce this blog post (not too many, the web sites were universally nauseating) and discovered that there was a whole range of products that I should - according to Big Athletics - be consuming in order to fuel my regular fitness activities.

Let's take my physical activity today for example. I did a weight training workout for which I should have consumed, at a minimum, various bars, shakes and powders post workout to restock muscle glycogen and repair damaged muscle tissue (the whole purpose of weight training is damaging muscle tissue). But, that's not all I did today. I also walked about four hours which put me in the "over three hour" nutritional requirement category. [Shockingly enough I not only did a weight work-out but walked for two hours before I ate anything today] Apparently, along with taking a bunch of electrolytes, I should have consumed various sugary bars, gels, and powders. 

What I found most confronting was the requirement for all kinds of other sugary bars, gels, powders and drinks for exercise lasting under three hours. Really! This is quite a marketing coup. Big Athletics has somehow managed to convince people that they need all kinds of manufactured food-like substances to do under three hours of exercise! Frankly, if I couldn't do three hours of hard physical work without needing calories in any form, I'd be looking at training my metabolic system to burn body fat, not plugging it up with more sugar. 

Just like Big Food, Big Athletics loves to disguise sugar by using various chemical names (maltodextrin, xylitol, etc.) and/or by dividing the total sugar content using several different names for sugar (e.g. organic date paste/evaporated juice, etc.). It's not clear, however, that this classic subterfuge is even necessary as Big Athletics has been so successful at creating demand by convincing consumers that exercise is only possible when fuelled by glucose.  This is nonsense, just as cholesterol causing heart disease is nonsense. It is, however, pervasive nonsense and requires a healthy dose of skepticism and some diligent research to dispel. 

Currently, just as it is heretical to question the anti-fat lobby, it is heterodox to suggest that an athletes' first order of training should be to adapt their metabolism so they can fuel endurance activities with body fat instead of taxing their metabolic systems and setting up a cycle of chronic inflammation by ingesting copious quantities of sugar, in all its myriad forms.  

Athletes, do yourself a favour, do a modicum of research (not sponsored and/or promoted by Big Athletics), question everything, and ultimately realize that  Big Athletics = Big Food = Big Pharma = Big Problem.

30 kms, no powders, pills, gels, bars, goops or even food.

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