What's with the fear of man-made products/foods

Seeing a few of these threads pop up lately when people are going “all natural” and “organic” and “no added sugar” it seems like there is some general fear about man-made/enhanced things that I’m not sure are based on fact but rather fear of the unknown.

I’m in no way making a statement about what is safe to eat and what is not, but I think assuming that everything that is man made or engineered is bad is kind of silly, just like assuming that just because something grows in nature is inherently better for you, is just as strange.

Since people are not open to discussing this in their threads lets discuss it here. Why do you make the choices that you do when it comes to specific foods/medicines/diets, and what FACTS do you base them on? For example if you don’t eat meat for ethical reasons, we don’t need to hear about it, but if you don’t eat meat because you can show consistent studies that show its unhealthy, show us!


Since this is definitely targeted at me with my “no added sugar” recipe thread. Here are a bunch of studies to get folks started, along with some conclusions. Strongly recommend reading the studies and coming to your own conclusions. I’m not trying to get anyone to act like me, just sharing what I read.

" Conclusions and Relevance Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality."

“Each 150 kilocalorie/person/day increase in total calorie availability related to a 0.1% rise in diabetes prevalence (not significant), whereas a 150 kilocalories/person/day rise in sugar availability (one 12 oz. can of soft drink) was associated with a 1.1% rise in diabetes prevalence (95% CI: 0.48–1.7%; p<0.001) after all control variables were incorporated into the model.”

“A 1 mmol/mol increment in HbA1c was significantly associated with an increased rate of decline in global cognitive z scores”

Glycerated hemoglobin levels are associated with cognitive decline later in life.

Endurance athletes show elevated amounts of time outside normal ranges of blood glucose.


“Our results suggest that the Warburg effect creates a vicious cycle through Fru1,6bisP activation of Ras, by which enhanced fermentation stimulates oncogenic potency.” i.e cancer cells are enhanced by sugar via the Warburg effect

(I’ll continue to edit as I collect the rest of the studies I’ve read)


The way I look at it is: you need to fuel training, and for me that largely means sugars in gels etc.
I tried real foods and it just dosnt work for training, especial if its hot (they go off)

The rest of the time, I try to eat clean, but still with the odd treat.

Also I still drink (friday/saturday)

I avoid fad diets … I nearly went this route when I was 20stone (280lbs /127kg) but i did a diploma in Sports nutrition, which saved me from that downward spiral

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All well and good, But most of these studies concern themsleves with the population as a whole and ignore the impact of large volumes of endurance training.

And most the population are fat and lazzy




This one is of particular note, although it’s really the only one out there I could find on athletes:

Particularly this line

“Many studies have also demonstrated the linearly increasing risks associated with hyperglycemia, regardless of diabetes status, with lower limits between 4.0 and 6.0 mmol/L.1,28”

I haven’t dug into the study cited off that one yet.

At the end of the day, if I can swap added sugar for regular food, there is probably minimal to no downside, while reducing a potential risk factor. For me, that’s a no brainer.


and anyone can google

Just providing how I came to the conclusion that I did :man_shrugging:

YMMV and no one has to live like I do.


So if we post studies, lets also add what they are about or trying to prove. Don’t just link a handful of studies in a post without mentioning anything about them.

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My perspective on this is colored massively by my cultural background. My family is from Portugal and, as an American, I associate a lot of family/cultural traditions with food. One of the country’s most famous food items are called Pasteis de nata, which are cream tarts, obviously a lot of sugar, butter, flour and eggs associated with this one. I personally couldn’t give those up entirely. Cured meats are another part of our heritage, I don’t eat them a lot, but I certainly enjoy them in moderation.

I can appreciate the dangers of overconsuming stuff and their impact on health, but at the same time I’m not willing to dismiss foods in their entirety, especially when they can be so connected to the cultural/human experience.


“Most of the stuff we can buy in supermarkets and the like is downright poisonous.”
Can you prove this? Seems more like fear mongering than factual.


Fear? No, I think of it as control. If I may an analogy. Eating a lot of processed food without paying attention can be like putting diesel into an engine optimized for unleaded fuel. Over thousand and thousands of years wars were fought over salt. This summer in Italy I was reminded the word salary comes from Roman times when soldiers were paid in salt. Clearly salt is important for humans, indeed my dad nearly died from hyponatremia before his cancer diagnosis. But these days we have some processed foods that over do it. Ditto for other stuff. I’d rather have some control over my fuel than to over-indulge by accident. Your body, decide for yourself.


Since when does bread make up most of what we can buy in a grocery store? And since when is this actually “poisonous”?


Honestly I mostly just enjoy cooking, so pretty much everything I eat starts from whole ingredients. I shoot for a Mediterranean type diet heavy in fruit, veggies, legumes, nut and olive oil, and avoid (not eliminate) cured and red meat; that choice is based on some scholarship (linked) but also on the fact that it tastes good and makes me feel good. I lived in Italy for several years and really enjoy cooking and eating that cuisine; I eat a lot of pasta, which some might feel is a 'poisonous" refined food. As in most things, moderation is key.

I appreciate the simplicity of the Michael Pollan axiom on diet, and try to abide by it:
Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.


I eat a variety of foods, but generally speaking I try to buy whole foods - that is, things that don’t require an ingredients list on the package. I eat a variety of meats, dairy, vegetables, fruits, etc…but processed foods are things I try to avoid

For me, the reason for this is fairly simple - whole foods tend to be significantly less calorie dense than processed and packaged foods and it prevents me from overeating. It also allows me to more easily track my calories because the caloric information on packaged foods is incredibly broad and must be taken with many grains of salt. Whereas when I buy some olive oil and saute some chicken in it I can measure and know exactly what I am eating and how many calories it contains.

This isn’t to say I don’t eat processed food, or food I haven’t prepared myself - I had a slice of pizza with my lunch yesterday and am meeting some friends for a curry for lunch tomorrow - but when I am shopping for myself I see no reason to buy more heavily processed prepared things as the convenience they offer comes at a price that I’d rather avoid

Edit: I eat a ton of processed stuff on the bike - including gels, bars, whatever else - but even this I temper with whole foods when I’m doing low intensity. So endurance I’ll eat fresh fruit or sweet potatoes, but higher intensity I’m doing pretty heavily processed stuff


You said most things in the supermarket are poisonous. I asked for proof, not an example of one food that you have not shown to be poisonous.


in that study, 2/4 elevated blood glucose of the athletes were spending substantial time exercising where it is known elevated BGL are expected, and two were barely exercising. There isn’t any correlation between the high and low BGL athletes in terms of added sugar consumption or carbs, in fact athlete 5 had one of the lowest added sugar consumption rates even though they had one of the higher BG levels


Agreed that the specific study has issues and raises more questions than it answers, and that the response to carbohydrate among the population is incredibly heterogeneous. It’s still being studied whether time in band has any long term effect.

It’s just the only study of its kind I’ve read around athletes, so I figured it was worth posting alongside the other stuff.

Carbs are an important part of endurance sports and I have no desire to get rid of carbs. I’m just trying to minimize my potential risk profile.

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I also can’t read the labels on most medicines, does that mean I shouldn’t take them, they are man-made after all.

You have not proven your point about grocery store items being poison, just proved you don’t understand their ingredients. I don’t either, but I’m also not claiming they are good or bad for someone

Originally, food was processed for preservation - So that it will last longer during transportation and storage. Think of the days before refrigeration, our only option was to cure or can or some other method of preservation which generally includes adding salt to reduce chances of food going bad and increase taste.

In the 50’s everyone decided that they didn’t have time to cook, along with the proliferation of the microwave oven. This is when the food market changed from agriculture and ranching to manufacturing. Companies realized that they could buy the raw materials (whole foods) that people are supposed to eat and create ready to eat dishes with them and sell them for a profit.

Once food processing companies started popping up, they had to compete with each other. They did this with flavor, people wanted to buy the best tasting foods that would last on their shelves for a long time and were fast and convenient to prepare. Like most things in a largely capitalistic economy, this started to grow and get out of hand.

Remember, in the 50’s we didn’t know very much about a healthy diet.

What makes food taste good?

  • Fat
  • Sugar
  • Salt

The same three things that we all know need to be moderated for a healthy diet. Well General Mills doesn’t give a sh** about your diet or health, they are looking to make a buck. This is accomplished by making the most delicious product to sell the masses.

Fast forward to today, we finally have decent nutritional markings on processed food to help us make informed decisions and we all (especially this group) are a bit more health conscious with more reliable and proven guidelines on what should constitute a healthy diet.

Remember, all of the food processing companies are not in business to make you a healthier person, they are here to sell product and create profits. They can take large amounts of food, and stretch them out to feed even more people, last longer, and be delicious; but they have to add things that people wouldn’t normally consume to make that happen.

So when looking for an excuse to eat those pre-packaged, processed foods that last for months on end; just realize that it is purely out of convenience and you are only bull shitting yourself.

But damn potato chips do taste good!