Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Silver Bullet School of Nutrition.


This is a previous post from "A Curate's Egg" but one which rightly belongs here and, in part, answers Kris loves Chocolate's question about which food are the healthiest for us.

I am not a fan of the ‘silver bullet’ school of nutrition.

By silver bullet, I mean the belief that some foods that are super foods.

Granted, some plants will kill you. That does not automatically mean that, in an effort to maintain even-handedness in the universe, there are some plants out there that are designed to save you.

But people seem to like wonder foods. Every year we hear about some berry, root or leaf from some exotic location that the native people know about and it keeps them happy, healthy and fucking like a hamsters, until they die of sexually induced exhaustion well into old age.

Oddly, these wonder foods seem to be most often sold by some multi-level marketing crowd.

Always, my first question is always the same: If this product is so good, why aren’t the pharmaceutical firms growing it, refining it, and mass producing it? Quinine was an example of where that did happen.

The problem with some of these wonder foods is that they are not supposed to cure a specific (and hence measurable) illness, such as malaria, but are generalists. They will stop cancer, aging, heart disease or some other intangible thing. Yes, death rates are measurable but you must keep an eye on causality. What’s that? The Hellarwi tribe never got heart disease AND the ate the wacko berry every day. Great! Perhaps the fact that they spent the day running around on foot and didn’t have an ounce of fat on them played a part too.

And the small matter of crocodile induced mortality.

Mind you, the crocodiles who eat the Hellarwi live to a ripe old age.

If you drink $40 worth of exotic berry juice a day and never get cancer, how do you prove it was the berry’s doing?

Perhaps you just weren’t going to get cancer anyway.

1 comment:

  1. I tried gogi berry juice at a health fair once. For 3 weeks I felt like I swallowed shards of metal which were slowly making their way through my digestive system.


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