Eating Like Hypocritical Toddlers

I had a friend whose 4-year-old son would eat only white foods. As many mothers can relate, this is not an unusual phase for young kids to go through. For a year, she gritted her teeth and served him nothing but pasta, rice, potatoes, white bread, and chicken breast.

I was thinking of this recently when I encountered yet another rant against “white” foods, the evil food du jour. You know, that whole glycemic index thing. Avoid white bread, white potatoes, white sugar, pasta, white rice. They’ll make you fat and lead to heart disease and foggy brain and no sex and who knows what else.

It’s like toddlerhood in reverse.

I love whole grains. Always have. I actually prefer whole-wheat bread and whole-grain pasta. (I do confess to a weakness for sugar, white and otherwise.) For diabetics, refined carbs can indeed pose a problem. And people in America and the rest of Western civilization probably eat way too many refined starches. (I do have to wonder why there aren’t more fat people in eastern Asia, given the vast quantities of white rice they eat.)

But I can’t help but notice that even as the diet books trumpet the glycemic index and your sister-in-law refuses to eat any vegetable with eyes, the “frozen treats” aisle in the average American supermarket keeps getting bigger. And bigger. And bigger. Any day now, “ice cream novelties” will engulf the entire store. Call me suspicious, but I have the sneaking feeling that maybe just a few of the folks who shun white aren’t counting the white sugar in Fudgesicles.

Come to think of it, the friend’s kid who would eat only white foods did make exceptions for things like, say, chocolate and red licorice.

I guess we never really outgrow toddlerhood.

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