Dietary Delusions

You Need to be a Better Thinker


After conducting research for a prior post titled: “zombie post,” it occurred to me that so much time and effort was lost because so many researchers and scientists carried a bias into their work. Repeatedly, well educated people were able to assume truths that were, in fact, only guesses and then see only the results which they wanted to see. We ended up with dietary guidelines that have been detrimental to the health of so many. We are now starting to scratch away at the entrenched dogma of the so-called “heart healthy” – low fat, low cholesterol diet myth. It seems to me that we all need to be better thinkers, not only as regards our dietary choices, but for our lives in general.

So, why is it so difficult to just eat right and lose weight and be healthy? Well, it probably isn’t if you can adjust your thinking. Much of what we deal with in our modern civilization is just taken for granted by the majority of people. We tend to ignore the details of daily routine. We need to ask ourselves why do we need to eat this or that, why should we exercise in any particular fashion or why should we be content to take a drug to fix our problems. If we can critically think about the underlying causes and consequences of our situations, I think many people would be making different (better) decisions.

I fear thinking has become a lost art. Even when good, critical thinking happens, it seems to be an isolated event. People seem to always want the easiest answer, which someone else derived for them. Just think, (yes really) what might be different today if people had examined Ancel Keys’ data from his Seven Countries Study and said, “Wait, there is more data here that doesn’t support your conclusion.” At best, he had some data to show an association, but nothing to show cause and effect.

Now to the dietary point.

Many people have adopted an orthodox view regarding their healthy diets. While striving for a healthy diet is probably a good thing, it is important to understand why our choices qualify as “healthy”. I do not think the U.S. government’s definition of “healthy” is proper. Much of the mass media and academic world seems to hold that delusion in a tight embrace.

For that matter, why does the label of paleo, organic or low carb make something healthy? These are the things that we need to question. Much of what we encounter on a daily basis is presented in a way to generate money for the presenter. Bad science withers in the light of day, but flourishes in the dark. I say, carry a big flashlight.

If there comes a time that a theory seems to be true, we still need the mental agility to be ready to adjust our thinking should new information arise. At this stage there is so much that is not yet understood about human metabolism, so it is easy for bad science to gain traction. Be a critical thinker, seek out new information and don’t let a belief become a delusion.