In my efforts to expand my knowledge of all things dietary in my pursuit of godlike abs and immortal levels of immunity, I follow a lot of health nuts on social media. This includes the “normie” doctor types who do weird stuff like…tweet health information that’s backed up by years of empirical data. But I also follow a variety of others such as vegans and vegetarians, and their arch-nemeses the carnivores and ketovores.
I admit that I follow more of the latter two than the former two. Not that I have any particular bias towards their dietary beliefs. In fact, I spend a fair amount of time razzing both of them for their oddly religious dedication to their lifestyles. They all seem to be convinced that theirs is The One True Diet, the way and the truth and the light which leads to the enlightenment of good health.
But the main reason I follow more Keto/Carno types is that they seem to be funnier. Even the ones who drop the crusty old “Vegan by proxy” joke (Cows eat plants and I eat cows, lol!) are funnier than the average vegan.
Part of the reason for this is that the plant-based types seem to spend most of their time signaling how virtuous they are with their cruelty-free lifestyles. The meat-eaters apparently tell jokes because they don’t have much to virtue signal about. I mean, killing and eating an animal may be a perfectly natural thing, but I don’t think anyone would believe that it demonstrates that you’re a paragon of all things good and decent and right. But there is one thing the ravenous gobblers of animal flesh do seem to virtue signal about. And that is the apparent diabolical nature of sugar and carbohydrates.
Recently, when one of them, who will remain nameless, (mostly because I forgot who it was and don’t feel like doom scrolling my Twitter feed to remind myself) stated that snacking was a diet killer. This is not necessarily a false statement, but I asked him if snacking on an apple or a handful of nuts between meals to curb appetite might actually be a good thing.
One of the acolytes of Ketoism simply tweeted “An apple is 10% sugar” in response to my apparently impertinent question. This tweet had a note of finality to it, as if that ended the debate. Like he was saying “Fruits have sugar. Checkmate, loser!”
I remain unconvinced by these anti-fruit fanatics. I’ve written before about how fruits are actually fine. And nuts too, although that didn’t appear so controversial to the disciples of the meat diet. So I stand by my position that a healthy snack between meals is fine. I do it often, and I have sixty fewer pounds than I once did, which backs up my stance.
In defense of the low carb warrior elite, though, it is worth noting that adopting one of their diets does often help people manage various medical conditions. The Ketogenic diet was apparently created by a doctor treating childhood epilepsy, after all. And it does help people lose weight, for one very simple reason.
Adopting any low carb diet pretty much requires that you eliminate all junk food from your diet. Things like potato chips and crackers and candy and other snack stuff are usually high in carbs, so if you eschew carbs, you must eschew these things. Now, I’ve mentioned before that the real problem in these foods is probably the added fats and oils, not the carbs. But the Ketoists appear to have blundered into a good habit, even if they may have done it for the wrong reason.
But one of the things that Keto-types pontificate about the most is the sinister horror that is…grain. Carbohydrates from grains appear to be the Antichrist of their religion, a horrible beast that will one day slouch toward Bethlehem to be born and bring about the end of days through insulin resistance and diabetes. I’m just a bit skeptical of this position.
I’ve discovered in the process of counting calories (another diet practice which the devourers of animals scoff at) that it is entirely possible to lose weight and be in good health without giving up grains. This was particularly comforting to me, since it also meant that I didn’t have to sacrifice grains in their distilled and fermented forms either. Although I have noted before that those libations can be a problem for the diet if we consume too much.
So let’s start with that hellish combination of flour and yeast that the Keto universe clearly thinks is the earthly incarnation of Beelzebub. Bread. Yes, bread. Based on the tweets of the Keto/Carno peeps, bread appears to be the archdemon of gluttony himself. Apparently, bakeries are infernal engines of iniquity to the Ketobros.
But at the risk of being decried as an infidel, I have to say, bread really isn’t that bad. One slice of bread, of almost any kind, is going to have about 100 calories. From what I’ve seen, the nutrition in bread is not overwhelming. Each slice will have a smattering of vitamins and minerals, with most vitamins and minerals present in the 5-10% range. So it’s not a superfood, but it’s fairly well rounded and the calorie cost is low. Naturally, the less processed kinds, like whole wheat, have more nutrients.
So you can have Texas Toast with your steak and you can have sandwiches at lunch and you will not be condemned to eternal suffering. There’s a reason Dante Alighieri never found a circle of Hell for people who ate too many carbs. Which is good news for him, because literally every Italian would end up there unless they ate Keto pasta. Also, you won’t get fat eating bread. Bread just isn’t that heavy on the old calories. Assuming you don’t eat the entire loaf.
So bread is allowed for lunch and supper, but what about breakfast? It really seems like a disproportionate amount of Keto sins are committed at breakfast. Take biscuits, for example. I mean real biscuits, not those things that peculiar British people call biscuits but sensible Americans call cookies. I dealt with the effects of cookies and other desserts in another piece, so I see no need to go into it here.
The buttermilk biscuits commonly eaten in America at breakfast are really not all that different from a slice of bread in terms of calories and nutrition. In an ironic twist, the thing that can make them unhealthy is when we do Ketoish things to them, like drowning them in meat gravy. This is one of the things that contributed to obesity in my home state of Georgia. But by themselves, biscuits are fine.
And that bit of breakfast bread we acquired from our former colonial masters, the English muffin, is just fine too. Each will have maybe 150 calories, with a little better nutrition than normal bread. Instead of maybe 5-10% of the RDA of most nutrients, these have anywhere from 15 to 30% of certain vitamins, like thiamine, and minerals, such as iron, manganese and selenium. They’re not terrible at all. If anything, they are actually a benefit of British imperialism.
But most importantly, they form the base for America’s greatest feat of cultural appropriation. By taking a bizarre form of bacon from the Canadians (face it, it’s really just ham), Hollandaise sauce from the French, and the English muffin, we created the single greatest brunch menu item ever: Eggs Benedict. This, amongst various other reasons, is why I’ll never go full Keto and give up bread type things. Even if this dalliance with carbs would ultimately result in me being cast into the abyss by Keto adherents during the final reckoning, it would probably be worth it.
Other breakfast breads are pretty good for you too. Such as the thing made by residents of that large city on an island in the frozen wastelands far to the north of Virginia. You know, the one with all the buildings and the statue in the harbor. I’m talking about bagels. These have 250 calories each, and much better nutrition than bread or English muffins. Not only do they have the nutrients in other breads that I mentioned above (only in greater quantities), but they also have a decent amount of calcium and magnesium.
There’s also an option for people who think they’re better than other people. Something we borrowed from the French, a people who mastered the art of looking down their noses at other cultures (mostly the British) long ago. So if you wish to practice this sort of egotism, croissants are a good choice. They have 200 to 250 calories or so. Their nutritional value is not as good as a bagel, but better than bread. But what you sacrifice in nutrients, you make up for in narcissism.
But if you hate the French (I.E. you’re British) you can thumb your nose at them by doing something very American. And by that I mean, adding ham and cheese and eggs and bacon and other things to the croissant. I remember getting an extensive lecture from my high school French teacher that this was anathema to the French. At least, I assume it was extensive. I was in my teens, so, as usual, my mind wandered about five seconds after she started talking.
But enough about breakfast and my lazy high school habits. There are a few more lunch and dinner breads I should go into, like rolls. Your typical roll has about 75–150 calories, and roughly the same benefits as bread. Or, if you’re in the glorious holy lands south of the Mason-Dixon line, you can have cornbread and hush puppies on the side. These have 200 calories each, but are not much better than bread in terms of nutrition. But they are sort of…awesome. Especially with cane syrup. Having said that, one must be careful when eating these things alongside a larger meal. The calories from side dishes can add up if you’re not careful.
Now, one thing many of us do with breads is add a healthy dollop of butter to the thing. Keto proponents often post the ridiculous amounts of butter they choose to add to their meats, all while pretending this is healthy. It may be Keto heresy to say so, but it’s really not heathy. Another thing I’ve touched on before. It’s just extra calories with few nutrients. If you must put something on that bread, try jelly. It’s not great for nutrition either, but at least it’s got fewer calories than butter. And I know, that’s Keto heresy too, because jelly has (gasp) sugar.
I don’t want to come off like I’m hating too much on the Keto/Carno types. I mean, I guess I’ve just spent several minutes of my life laying waste to them. But if that diet works for them, it’s fine. If you are one of the devotees to the denomination of Ketosis or Carnivorism and are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I wish you all the best. Especially if you have some medical condition which you have only been able to treat with this form of diet.
But for the rest of you, you don’t have to take a pass on the breads and grains and things. Especially if you love them. Diets work best (in my opinion), if you don’t have to give up too many of the things you love. Despite the protestations of the Ketovores, consumption of grain will not bring final judgment on you or the rest of civilization. These things may not be the healthiest things you eat (I identified what those things are in another piece), but they are perfectly fine in reasonable quantities. You can have bread, rolls, and sandwiches and the world will not come to an end. Nor will your life. It might even last a little longer.
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