Carbs often get a bad rap — but they're not the enemy. In fact, they're extremely important for our bodies, and are vital sources of energy. However, that hasn't stopped diet companies from touting the benefits of low-carb or even no-carb diets. We're certainly not here to diet-shame anyone, but as chef Ruby Tandoh pointed out, praising diets like these often ignores that eating carbs may be the only viable option for some.
In a series of tweets, Tandoh wrote about the problem with coding certain foods as "morally/nutritionally 'superior'" over others.
"CARBS ARE A CLASS ISSUE," she wrote. "cheap carbs are vital fuel for low-income communities: low/no-carb diets are about coding money/status – not health."
CARBS ARE A CLASS ISSUE. cheap carbs are vital fuel for low-income communities: low/no-carb diets are about coding money/status – not health— Ruby Tandoh (@rubytandoh) April 18, 2017
funny how the food that's morally/nutritionally 'superior' (aka. a protein-heavy, chia-filled diet) is also what the masses can't afford— Ruby Tandoh (@rubytandoh) April 18, 2017
Tandoh wrote that she isn't here to police anyone's diets — especially if you happen to not be able to eat carbs on account of a medical condition — but she does want to point out that food choices can be loaded with more meaning than we think.
if you can't have carbs cos you have a genuine medical condition, i do sympathise - more power to you! - but truly you don't need to tell me— Ruby Tandoh (@rubytandoh) April 18, 2017
i'm not here to police ur individual diets. what i care about is the diet industrial complex laying down one-size-fits-all no-carbs bullshit— Ruby Tandoh (@rubytandoh) April 18, 2017
my parents would never have been able to feed me + my siblings w/out bread, pasta, rice, potatoes – all the cheap, hearty stuff we relied on— Ruby Tandoh (@rubytandoh) April 18, 2017
As Tandoh said, there are a lot of implications in demonizing certain foods like carbs. There aren't any "good" or "bad" foods, and your nutrition is much more complicated than that. Plus, it's not just about carbs. Many of us have probably eaten foods often deemed "unhealthy" — be they ramen noodles or frozen mac and cheese — simply because we couldn't afford anything else. We don't deserve to be labelled as "unhealthy" for trying to nourish our bodies with whatever was available. If you've ever marveled at how expensive a salad is in comparison to, say, a fast food menu item, you know what we're talking about.
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