Olivia Alonso |
Madrid (EFE) Once again, he assures, they reproduce the “historic confrontation between Health and Agriculture” on healthy eating.
This is what Sánchez said in an interview with EFE on the occasion of the publication of his new book “What happens with nutrition?” (Paidós), in which he emphasizes that “whether it is the PSOE or the PP, Health advocates for public health and Agriculture often has to defend the interests of the industry.”
Also a popularizer of nutrition on social networks, with hundreds of thousands of followers (@Midietacojea), suggests that legislation can be touched in many areas: composition, advertisements, labeling or marketing.
And he denounces the “composition makeup” applied in the past five years when it was ordered to reduce 10% of saturated fat, sugar and energy in ultra-processed foods.
“It sounded great, but nothing noticeably changed: soft drinks went from having 33 grams of sugar to having 30; cookies from 26 to 24 and sweetened yogurts from 13 to 11”.
For this reason, it encourages us to look at other countries, such as the Scandinavian countries, which control messages or prohibit ultra-processed advertising for children; Chile, where it is necessary to warn of its great content in sugar, saturated fats or energy; or Japan, which has made them disappear from school canteens.
With his new book, Aitor Sánchez aims to clarify the great current debates on food, with a review of “fashionable” diets (intermittent fasting, paleo or vegan), an analysis of dispensable foods and a praise for the essentials, among those that place legumes, vegetables and fruits.
Sins of the Spanish diet
The consumption of ultra-processed foods in the adult diet is not very worrying for the also researcher and university professor. “We are one of the countries in Europe with the least consumption,” he assures, but warns about the high intake of alcohol, sausage, white bread or refined flour, and the lack of vegetables, legumes and fruits.
However, it warns of the high consumption of ultra-processed foods in childhood through packaging – “very comfortable for families” -, such as baby food, follow-on milk, children’s snacks or ultra-sweetened dairy products.
In addition, he stresses “these products take up much more” in the diet of a child weighing about 13 kilos than in that of an adult, for whom eating a croissant at mid-morning “is salvageable throughout the day.” “But, if a child eats cereal porridge for breakfast, at mid-morning he has a petit-suisse and eats three sausages, how do you compensate for that? If it is already half of his diet!”
Supporter of “banishing the idea of five meals a day, because there is no scientific evidence to support it”, the nutritionist does not believe it is necessary to go to the extreme of intermittent fasting; a diet that he does not see as dangerous from a physiological point of view and limits himself to considering “a tool” that can be useful for some and not for others.
Widely used to reduce weight, Sánchez explains that if daily food intake is restricted to 6 hours, since in the other 16 you fast, it is logical that “you put in less energy than if you were eating for 18. It is a way of reaching the caloric restriction, but there are many others.
Sánchez does not believe that there is a recommended number of intakes per day – “an athlete does not need the same energy as a sedentary” -, and recommends that “the body also submit to the stimuli of being hungry to avoid oxidation: “it is good take energy from the fridge in which the body keeps it from time to time”.
Nor does the dietician consider the principles of the paleo diet very justified (not eating foods that were not available to our ancestors), since he points out that food in the past was healthy because the raw material was: “they did not have sodas or donuts” , but rejects “defending meat over legumes. You have to turn to the data.”
“In meat, fish, eggs, legumes and dairy there are healthy foods and others that are not. Fresh meat?, cool!, but not processed or sausages; fresh fish?, good!, but no hake sticks; fresh egg you can take, but egg flan not; Chickpeas, tofu and soybeans? Great! But not vegan burgers every day, and dairy products? Well, you have cottage cheese or curd, but not sweetened yoghurts”.
This is how Sánchez summarizes the principles of a healthy diet, in which he recommends avoiding ultra-processed foods due to their content in processed flour, a certain amount of salt, sugar, unhealthy additives or poor quality fats.
Bread, enemy to fight?
The researcher warns that, in general, the quality of bread, from a nutritional point of view, “is not the best we could have” and it seems to him that it is a food with a lot of prominence, which displaces other more interesting and ” it is very superfluous because it is flour”.
Two dairy a day
“The latest recommendations are correcting the atrocities of the past” and now no more than two dairy products a day are recommended, the researcher points out, explaining that “Spain is a bit outdated due to pressure from the dairy industry.”
“It is unjustifiable to continue saying that you have to take three dairy products because they are also displacing other foods that are healthy. Every time you add a dairy for dessert you are surely removing a fruit”.
Bet on the fermented: yogurt, kefir or squir, and reject cheese -a dairy that concentrates a lot of milk, a lot of casein, a lot of fat, a large amount of salt and a lot of energy intake-.
The dietitian stresses that “it is not good” and regrets that “many doctors have done a disservice to public health” by recommending “a glass of wine as heart-healthy.”
In his opinion, the perception of the risk of alcohol consumption is very disconnected from reality, in a country with almost two million people who drink excessively.