Thursday, 8 January 2009

The Silver Bullet School of Nutrition.


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. ah, but you already know the answer, don't you?


    sad as it is, money does the driving, and that is nowhere more noticeable than in the states.
    Confound it there are some dieases that are so borderline ready to be cured that it would take a monkey with a note in its paw to solve, but, since only 10 out of 100000 suffer the ailments, there is no profit in working on it.


    These clowns use a really pat answer, too.
    If there wasn't profit, why would the drug companies work on the problem at all?
    It's a go along with the pat answer I hear from some doctors and most hos[pitals.
    If they weren't paid that much money, why would they do the work?

    How about because they WANT to do the work?

  2. Thanks, Lee.

    By the way, he suckered my sister into buying a bottle and she told him only one bottle just to see if it had any effect. Of course, the next line was, "Oh but one bottle only lasts you one week, you must give it at least a full 90 days to see the actual benefits of it!" She still said, "no, only one bottle, at $40 (turns out it was actually $45) a bottle, I can't afford to buy anymore than that." He seems to back off. Several days later he calls her with another long spiel, this time trying to get her to drive an hour and a half south to meet him at one of their "meetings"..because of course, it's not enough just to BUY the product from him, his goal is to get you to become a distributor just like him. That's the only way he can make any money. She's a kind Christian woman, but I'm pretty sure he heard something along the lines of "F--- NO." I hated to tell her "I told you so"...but I told her anyway. :-)

  3. Objection, your honour! I put it to the jury that the polyphenolics in wine, notably red wine, will cure and/or alleviate all illnesses know to man.

  4. Oh this is so one of my favorite subects. These super foods pah..makes my blood boil. Twelve months later they change their bloody minds. Complete load of old twoddle. Feed their gizzards to the lizards that what I think!

  5. LOL! I get your point, but I do think that some foods are better than others at giving us extra vitamins: e.g. kiwis (the fruit) are full of the stuff. But they are definitely not superfoods...

    However, the obvious exceptions are wee drams of single malt whisky (too keep colds at bay) and dark chocolate. Every knows that these are super superfoods!

  6. That should be: to keep colds at bay... Mmm.. maybe just another dram?

  7. My food is from Royal Canin and mum gets a really good rate at the local pet & garden shop. I'm as fit as a fiddle, I always feel on top of the world, I've got a shiny black nose and I can run rings around mum & Uncle Hugh. So, bugger all this 'wonder' food, I reckon all you folk should start eating what I eat;)

  8. Ah, but Henry, is it new age dog food, full of peas and rice and carrots to please your owners or is it just made of things dogs should eat?

  9. Lee - it is proper stuff - mum wouldn't feed me new age crap. Trust me, if you ate it your nose would be black, moist and shiny and you'd be running circles around everyone within a week or two, I'm sure;)

  10. I can get that way by snorting Vegemite...

  11. Lee, I am laughing so much at the thought of you snorting Vegemite. Now that would be a sight to behold. Hee Hee. Can I have some?

  12. I suggest you stick to to what works, in this case Royal Canin.

  13. Good post Lee, I like your little joke about the crocs who eat the Hellarwi people living to a ripe old age.
    I know the powers that be are always coming up with some new super food, then changing their minds months later.
    I do however believe that plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eating by the guidelines set by the healthy nutrition pyramid, some variety in your diet and the occasional treat makes good sense and will keep you healthy. ♥

  14. So maybe if we eat the crocs...I sense a good marketing opportunity here!

    You know, I ate wacko berries for years, never lost weight. Hmm. Later, someone told me it was peyote. Guess that explains the weird dreams....

  15. I agree— there are way too many variables to know if some "wonder food" is effective or not. Also, you have to realize that everybody is different and reacts differently to different foods— so pinpointing something is very difficult to do.

  16. I remember the blueberry thing -and I got quite upset that I couldn't get blueberries out here (this was in 2003). Now of course they are everywhere and I think they are horrible. But the point is that I was well and truly sucked in by the advertising campaign which was superb.

    A mix of most good nutritious food is the superest super food of all

  17. I am still waiting for the drug store to stock Placebos in the vitamin aisle.

  18. As far as I'm concerned all food is wonder food.

  19. I agree completely. Buy food with only one ingredient on the label and eat it. Lots of different colors. Raised without too much garbage.

    end of subject.

    someday they'll have tested everything for everything and will come back with the reply... "it's all good. Just leave the multi-ingredient packages on the shelf."


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