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The Perfect Human Diet—More Food Nonsense

Just to avoid confusion, by, "Perfect Human Diet," I do not mean a diet of humans, but a diet for humans. I'm not an advocate of eating long pig.

And, before we go much further, I want to state up front there is no such thing as a perfect human diet. The idea that there might be comes from the title of an article by Karen De Coster, "Searching for the Perfect Human Diet."

Karen, like so many others these days, is an advocate of what is called the Paleo diet, and her article is promoting a film with the same name as the title of her article.

About that film she writes: "The film moves effortlessly though various themes, discussing the groundswell of interest in ancestral health. The film focuses on (1) the hard scientific evidence of what was previously unknowable, and that is that our ancestors ate a diet that today is called 'paleo' or 'primal', and (2) how our species declined in health when domesticated grains and plant foods became our major source of protein. Hunt notes that this knowledge is a game changer."

That "knowledge" is also made up of wholecloth. The reason why the "evidence" was previously unknowable is because it hadn't been made up yet. It is not only fiction, but a contradiction of all sound historical facts about the history of human health and longevity. The maximum life-span of those living in paleolithic times, as far as can be determined, which is not very well, was middle thirties. Before the development of agricutlure and animal husbandry, starvation and malnutrition were common. In the few remaining uncivilized areas of the world where food-gathering is still practiced, life-expectancy is seldom over 40. Because the 'Paleos' like to argue that the difference in modern life-spans is due to medicine, not diet, I must point out that no medicine cures starvation or malnutrition.

But let's suppose everything being said about the so-called Paleo diet were true. Is it the, "perfect human diet?" The major problem with claiming that any diet is the perfect diet is that no two people in the world are alike, and that no diet that is perfect for one person will be perfect for any other person.

I've already addressed some of what is wrong with the paleo diet in my article, "Eat Like A Caveman," as well as why no diet can possibly be the perfect diet in my article, "Food Fools." The whole Paleo thing is just another fad which like most fads, many, especially women, are being taken in by. In general it is mostly harmless, but no deception is completely innocent.

In this article I want to address two related diet issues, one as an absurd illustration, the other a symptom of statism made possible by the same kind of faith in pseudo-science that makes the paleo diet believeable by the gullible.

Carried To Extremes

Diet has always been a major target of every kind of movement intended to influence people, from religion to pseudo-science, and almost every kind of fad for fanciful diets involves the prohibition of something. The Catholics, at least periodically, are encouraged to give up meat, the Paleos give up carbs, the Vegans give up all animal food products. The most extreme form of diet ... gives up all food and water depending entirely on sunlight for nourishment. Those who follow this diet either cheat, or die, after which they have no more health problems, or any other kind of problems.

The only point that can be made here is, if giving up eating things is good for you, why wouldn't giving up everything be good for you?

There Are No Authorities

There are no authorities on diet, because no one can know what the correct diet is for anyone else, though there is an endless supply of both self-styled and academically approved experts in the field of diet, all of whom contradict each other.

One such expert, who denies he's an expert, is Steve Cooksey. He has a blog called Diabetes-Warrior.net. Cooksey claims on his blog that following the paleo diet cured his diabetes, and he uses his blog to provide information about the diet he uses for others who might like to try his method.

There is another group of phony diet experts in North Carolina who are licensed by that state's government; The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition, to be exact. They do the same thing Cooksey does, they provide information about diet, but that diet is the one the government approves.

Apparently Cooksey's information is more popular with some people than the government dietician's information, and they don't like it. So, they are getting the government to threaten Cooksey with fines and 120 days in jail if he doesn't change his blog so it doesn't compete with the government hacks, I mean dieticians.

Of course there is endless discussion about first amendment rights and government oppression, which of course it is. But none of it would matter if people didn't continue to believe there really are authorities on what is the correct diet. There aren't. It is, and always will be true, that one man's meat is another man's poison.

—(04/30/12)