2008 Lent Fast

My wife and I picked a difficult Lent fast: giving up foods full of junk carbohydrates.

Junk carbohydrates are a feature of foods with disproportionately more carbohydrate content than other healthful substances. Example junk carbs include simple carbohydrates (enriched/white flour, white and brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, et al), fruit juices, and white potatoes. Disallowed foods include:

  • Almost all bread products
  • White rice
  • Virtually all snack foods or desserts
  • Fruit juices
  • French fries
  • Most barbecue sauces, many of which I call “meat syrup” because of their vile sweetness. (Do you like maple syrup on your bacon? Why put equally sugary junk on roasts? Yuck!)
  • And many others.

Foods with junk carbohydrates only as accents are OK. Generally, I want to see the junk carbs follow behind an ingredient that I intuitively know is sparsely used in the food. Examples are a sauce thickened with a little flour, 85% dark chocolate in moderation, or salted peanuts that have a little corn syrup. Even Nature’s Own Double Fiber Wheat is OK in moderation: it has more wheat gluten (4th ingredient) than white flour (5th ingredient)!

Even though junk carbohydrates are counterproductive in a human diet, it is hard to give them up! You don’t know how addicted you are to them until they are out of your diet.