Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fed Up with Food Fear-Mongering



If you haven’t heard lately that carbohydrates and sugar are deadly poisons, consider yourself lucky. As a registered dietitian who stays immersed in both research and popular diet/food trends, a day does not go by that I don’t see single foods or nutrients being demonized and falsely labeled as evil, disease-causing, or even toxic. 



That’s right, eating a slice of bread will now KILL YOU (or at least eat through half of your brain) according to numerous supposed health and fitness authorities—including doctors, registered dietitians, personal trainers, and nutritionists—as well as your run-of-the-mill diet gurus, countless bloggers-turned-nutrition-experts, and, of course, big and small media outlets, reporters, and writers. And, if that single dietary constituent somehow doesn’t kill you outright, you can be sure it will hold you hostage, force you to eat it to the exclusion of all other foods, mercilessly addict you, make you obese, and THEN kill you.

Vilifying individual foods or nutrients in the name of feigned health promotion, or food fear-mongering as I call it, is a big, big problem. It does NOT make people healthier, nor does it promote the healthy relationship with food that is so crucial for long-term success with dietary health and weight control. For reasons I will discuss in a minute, I believe that food fear-mongering makes people much less healthy in body and mind, more likely to engage repeatedly in cyclical dieting and other unhealthy eating behaviors, and far less likely to be able to derive pleasure and enjoyment from eating.

But first, let’s make sure we're clear about a couple things. As a dietitian I’m well-aware of diet and weight-related diseases. I understand that limiting certain foods and nutrients (trans fat, excess added sugars, for example) and emphasizing others (fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, for example) all the while taking into account the context of an entire diet and lifestyle can play a huge role in positive health outcomes. I agree that there are better and worse food choices when it comes to our eating habits, but I also realize that diet and health are never black and white, don’t exist in a vacuum, and are not nearly as simplistic as the gurus and "experts" who tell us that fructose is POISON (context and dose-dependence be damned) would have you believe. 

I mention this because the last thing I want is people taking from this post that I think loads of sugar is good for you or that I’m a staunch advocate for eating wheat by the bushelful every day--that's just not the case. But what I do hope will be taken from this post is that consuming sugar or wheat or ice cream or pretty much ANY FOOD (barring you don't have an allergy or intolerance) once in a while will not have a significant negative impact on your health, if done in moderation, let alone be the sole cause of your death!

So let’s do a quick recap: sure, there are health problems related to overconsuming just about any food. Sure, we’d be better off with much fewer sugary treats and junk processed foods and much more whole, unprocessed real foods, all in moderation. Sure, there are probably plenty of people who could lay off some of the wheat or sugar in their diet, lose weight (as a result of creating a caloric deficit), and feel much better as a result. But deeming wheat a “dietary poison” and blaming it for all our ills...WHY??

Alright, before we go any further, I want to show you some of the food fear-mongering I see and hear on a daily basis. I’ve compiled a list of actual, recent examples—from popular diet book quotes to tweets to conversations to news media headlines (the names of misinforming "experts" have not been spared, identities of misinformed laypeople have)—that will hopefully bring you up to speed on the food fear-mongering hysteria that is going on. I must warn you, it is obscene—pure theater at times—and there is death. So. Much. Death (and carnage)!

Does eating grains destroy your brain? More from Dr. David Perlmutter on his new book, Grain Brain.” (followed by link to promotional website for Dr. David Perlmutter’s new book) 
Tweet by Professor Tim Noakes (@proftimnoakes, exercise science professor, author, and paleo-diet proponent).

Does eating bread, pasta, or potatoes make you feel better if you’re in a bad mood? You might be a sugar addict! #thesugardetox to the rescue.” 
Tweet by Brooke Alpert (@bnutritious, Registered Dietitian and author of The Sugar Detox).
You might have also just been hungry, but what do I know? In any case, the resolution to this problem—buy the book of course!

Brain attack from grains!” (followed by link to promotional website for Dr. David Perlmutter’s new book). 
Tweet by William Davis (@williamdavismd, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly).
Is this real life?

Whole grains are the worst possible foods you could put in your mouth” 
Tweet by Jimmy Moore (@livinlowcarbman, Atkins/Paleo/low-carb diet advocate*, author of Cholesterol Clarity). 
That's funny, I could think of a few worse foods, Jimmy, and I bet you could, too, if you didn't have an extreme low-carb image to sell. 

“Freed from the tyranny of wheat and freed from snacking, cravings, and needless tummy fat!” (followed by link to Wheat Belly testimonial)
Tweet by William Davis (@williamdavismd, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly).
The tyranny of wheat! Lol! Move over Stalin and Mussolini, Wheat is after your spot in history!

How Grains are Killing You Slowly” 
Blog post headline by "Wellness Mama" (wife, mom, and "real food crusader"), recently promoted on Twitter by a low-carb-advocating Registered Dietitian.
Fear-inducing and completely nonsensical.

“4 Common Foods That KILL 15 Million People Per Year” 
Blog post headline by Kris Gunnars (personal trainer, student, and “authority” nutrition blogger).
In this post, Gunnars inferred from his reference that sugar, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and vegetables oils are directly causing the 15 million deaths (since the top two causes of death worldwide are lifestyle and diet-related). Really?!

“Things as simple as carbohydrates are devastating for the brain and...things like Alzheimer’s are preventable” (followed by link to Robb Wolf’s (author of The Paleo Solution) Paleo Solutions podcast) 
Tweet by Professor Tim Noakes (@proftimnoakes, exercise science professor, author, and paleo-diet proponent).

“Wheat incites violence! ‘An hour-long prison riot involving up to 50 inmates was triggered by a disagreement...’ ” (followed by link to an article about a sandwich-provoked prison riot)
Tweet by William Davis (@williamdavismd, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly).
I sure hope Doc Davis was trying to be funny with this one!

" 'Sugars and trans fat are the KILLERS and can create poor heart health. Inflammation is a ticket to poor heart health.' --@SinatraMD"
Tweeted by Dietitian Cassie (@dietitiancassie, Registered Dietitian and purveyor of dietary supplements, low-carb advocate). Quote by Dr. Sinatra (@SinatraMD, author of The Great Cholesterol Myth, and BIG-TIME dietary supplement salesman).
It's all in the dose, though that's never mentioned. Call me optimistic but I don't think anyone's going to drop dead on the spot from either "killer" substance. 

“ ‘Gluten represents the greatest and most under-recognized health threat to humanity...’ David Perlmutter, Grain Brain 
Tweeted by Tom Nikkola (@tomnikkola, personal trainer, Vice President of Business Development for a dietary supplement manufacturing company, and low-carb proponent).
As a pal of mine so eloquently said a while back, that's the kind of statement that gets you a book deal. And indeed it did.

“Right. Eat more grains and sugar. Enjoy killing people with your advice.” 
Message I got in response to my Butter Coffee blog post.
I could almost smell this man's fear of grains and sugar through my computer. Sad, really.

“Gluten is our generations tobacco.” 
Quote from David Perlmutter in his book, Grain Brain.
Another classic alarmist authority quote--sensationalism at its best.

“Sugar is addictive and ‘the most dangerous drug of the times’ ” 
News headline from The Telegraph quoting Paul van der Velpen, a Dutch health official.
Is that so? Any heroin, meth, cocaine, or alcohol abusers and their families want to weigh in on this one?

"Thanks @Dietitiancassie 4 teaching me this months ago! '@Drudge_Report: Sugar is most dangerous drug of the times...' " (followed by link to The Telegraph article mentioned above)
Tweet by Identity Withheld. 
Clearly showing how easily these fearful messages are absorbed by laypeople. 

“She dodged the dietary poisons, lost 69 lbs!” (followed by link to Wheat Belly testimonial) 
Tweet by William Davis (@williamdavismd, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly).
The "dietary poisons" obviously being wheat in this case. Sigh.

*Note: I point out whether someone is a "low-carb advocate" not because I have any issue with eating low or lower-carb--if that's what you like, go for it--but rather because my observations indicate that many of these food fear-mongering messages seem to be coming from those whose views are decidedly "anti-carb."   

Whew...now that we’ve got those out of the way...

If you’re still with me and not engulfed in a fit of laughter, let’s move on and talk about what I believe to be the top two reasons food fear-mongering is so prevalent:

1. A sensationalistic message sells--we've known this forever. 
Even more profitable? A feigned revelation about the dangers of a certain food spread by an alarmist “authority” in the field. As evidenced by the examples above, many of the extreme food fear-mongering messages come from people with something to sell you—in the nutrition field, that usually equates to a book, a diet/service, or dietary supplements.

2. People need something simplistic to blame for their weight or health problems
Instead of realizing that most diet-related chronic diseases result from a combination of repeated suboptimal nutrition and lifestyle choices and caloric excess over time, it is far easier to point the finger at one food entity, slap on the blame, and then attempt to abstain from that food completely. It is unfortunate but many people just CANNOT grasp, let alone utilize, the concept of moderation with eating, and by putting unnecessary limits on their diets, they can stay on the straight and narrow, though usually not for long. 

I don’t fault individuals for this: moderation and balance with diet is not easy to come by as I've explained before. Indeed, I feel that demonizing single foods is actually a symptom of our culture’s desperation and desire to get healthier. At the same time, however, the food blame game is another embarrassingly obvious example of how we seem to be continually grasping for eating truths and absolutes in a society devoid of a food culture, yet overflowing with food.

This makes people all too vulnerable to food fear-mongering messages, and with no shortage of these terrifying warnings, an extremely harmful situation arises. 

So why is food fear-mongering so damaging?

1. Food phobias are created.
An authority figure saying that sugar is poisonous exploits people’s ignorance about diet, human physiology, and the long-term development of chronic disease and teaches them to fear food—this is no joke! I have seen the effects time and time again in my practice—people who are actually AFRAID to eat! They have listened to the simplistic, horrifying messages that x, y, or z food will maim you, induce mold growth on your upper lip, liquefy your insides after a bout of burning inflammation, and ON and ON and ON and have frantically boiled down their diet to a few fanatical food options. Then they wonder why they are tired all the time, sick, depressed, obsessed with food, and aren't getting any real pleasure from eating. Their dietary restrictions are totally unnecessary, but have been put in place because of false fears implanted by alarmist authorities trying to make a buck. This angers me to no end!

2. Food fear-mongering creates VAST confusion
How do I know this? Because I get asked the silliest things all the time, by well-meaning people who really think they’ve got things figured out with nutrition, but have really been duped by fear-mongerers. A few real examples:  

I was recently asked with disbelief: “Do you STILL eat grains?” I apparently missed the boat—eating grains was SO pre-Wheat Belly!

Since I do eat grains in moderation, I was once accused of “trusting in corn and wheat” (In Wheat I Trust???) and also informed that my stomach is a “gluten bomb” as a result.

Discussing the health benefits of legumes with someone a few weeks back incited this response: “Legumes = lectins = leaky gut = leaky brain. I’ll get my carbs and protein elsewhere.” This was a completely nonsensical, obviously fearful response. (Side note: the presence of lectins and phytates in whole grains and legumes is often used by low-carb proponents to deter consumption of these very healthy foods. I wrote about the lectin excuse here).  

Someone confidently and proudly told me the other day, “I rarely eat fruit due to the high sugar content.” She surely got Robert Lustig's "fructose is poison" memo.

I love playing dumb when I encounter self-made nutritionists so I can see what advice they have for me, and sure enough, I got schooled with this gem a couple weeks ago: “Nuts are dangerously inflammatory and should be avoided AT ALL COSTS.”

These instances make me want to laugh, cry, and pull my hair out all at once. And the worse part of this immeasurable confusion? Once this degree of food fear and brainwashing is ingrained, I’ve had little success helping people like this back to reality.   

3. Food fear-mongering messages are terribly counter-productive to creating health.
Because alarmist messages attract attention, people who are not educated in the science of nutrition and are actively looking for that one causative reason for their lack of health will easily take these messages at face value, not question them, or even realize that they should question them. They believe what these health authorities tell them and start to completely shun wheat or sugar or whatever the fearful food of the year may be. Eliminating a food or nutrient may provide a short-term benefit to their health in some way, but more likely than not, the avoidance tactic will not last, and old behaviors will return, leading again to a suboptimal health status. No progress is made as a result of food fear-mongering messages. No real, sustainable, healthy eating behaviors are developed. Time is wasted. Money is often wasted. Consequently, YES, PEOPLE ARE HARMED.

Final thoughts:

Promulgating these vastly oversimplified food fear-mongering messages (most of which lack support in the overall body of research evidence) as universal diet recommendations is not only incredibly irresponsible but also completely absurd.

I’m fed up with it. I see the devastating effects food fear-mongering has on individuals as well as how it contributes to our defective, unhealthy culture of eating. 

If you feel the same way I do, I challenge you to speak up when you see food fear-mongering happening. Make it clear that you DO NOT appreciate simplistic, fearful, out-of-context dietary messages and put a voice to your thoughts about how damaging they are. 

Food isn’t toxic. What IS toxic are fear-inducing, one-dimensional dietary messages being spread in the name of profit.







31 comments:

  1. What, exactly, do you consider moderation? Moderation for you may be excess for me and visa-versa. What if your body was producing antibodies to proteins of wheat and causing chronic inflammation and autoimmunity? If you were eating wheat in moderation, how would you know if it was wheat? What if you are one of the 70% who don't have celiac or gluten sensitivity but develop leaky gut from wheat consumption. It can take years to diagnose celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and many suffer undiagnosed. If you have chronic inflammation, arthritis or diabetes, why not try giving up wheat for 2 or 3 months and see if symptoms improve? It did for me. I am now drug free, recovered diabetic, and I've lost 110lbs to date. I am going on 5 years wheat free.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Moderation is a tricky concept for sure. Check out my post "The Everything in Moderation Conundrum" for my thoughts on that topic.
      Definitely do what is best for you--it's true wheat doesn't work for some people. My point here is that the hysteria of imminent danger or death by consuming one particular food is ridiculous, creates completely unnecessary and damaging food fears, and distracts from creating healthy, balanced eating behaviors.
      Big congrats on the health achievements!

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  2. Fantastic article. As a fellow RD, it pains me to see this rampant fear-mongering and shaming of foods in our society. Those tweets... feel free to check out my own blog at thejoyfulRD.com if you get a chance. - gemma

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    1. Thanks for commenting Gemma. Food fear-mongering is so destructive--it's really a sad situation. I will check out your blog!

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  3. Great post. When I first started listening to all the "dont eat this, do eat that" you know what I ended up doing? Binge eating. On those forbidden foods that I missed. I got fed up & decided to eat with "health" in mind, eat with moderation, and what happened? The binges stopped. I bet I am not the only one who jumped on the "no wheat" wagon or the "peanut butter is bad" and ended up forming bad relationships with these wonderful foods. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Carolyn, if you only knew how many people have experienced the exact same thing you did--I hear about it every day. Again, I can't speak enough about how damaging food fear-mongering is for this very reason. Developing a balanced relationship with food takes time and a heck of a lot of work, but it is SO worth it!
      Thank you for your message.

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  4. Great post. I have often thought food fads must drive dietitians crazy: how can they get that many people to hop on the latest bandwagon, while the "eat moderately, common sense, avoid excess salt, fat, and refined sugar" that dietitians promote never seems to make the same kind of inroads.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Katherine. Fads are easier to adopt, short-term, and usually provide some instant gratification--that's why so many jump on that bandwagon.
      The balanced and moderate eating message requires time, thought, support, and some damn hard work to get it right in our food-filled, fast-paced, "eat more" society. Those who take the time and put in the work realize, though, that the end results truly justify the means.
      Cheers

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  5. This fad is also dangerous for people who really do have a medical reason for being gluten free. I've typed out several comments to this post but they keep getting wiped out because Blogger won't recognize my Word Press ID for some reason.... so I'm posting anonymously now and linking this post on Jezebel to explain what I mean: http://jezebel.com/5991724/will-everyone-please-eat-gluten--please-because-you-are-literally-killing-me-kind-of Please note I didn't write that post. . My own blog is much less interesting at http://firmlyonthegroundattimes.wordpress.com.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Interesting insight from the Jezebel post. I agree that food fear-mongering can lead people to avoid gluten who really don't need to. As the example in the post you referenced describes, this could potentially make it more dangerous for those who DO have Celiac or a true intolerance if restaurant servers, for example, start to take requests for "gluten-free" less seriously. Another potential negative consequence of rampant food fear-mongering.
      Thanks for your insight!

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  6. Wow, a nutrition article that is reasonable and not chock full of fear mongering. Well done!

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  7. Awesome article! Fear (and guilt, other emotions...) don't belong in the diet. Fearing a food is stress on the body and mind! On the flipside, I think some of these messages may be true for some people, but they can be re-worded in a different way. It's all about finding the foods that work best for the individual and eating an overall balanced diet. Some people truly cannot tolerate gluten, but they most likely can tolerate other grains.

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    1. Hi Lauren,
      Thank you for your comment! I agree--fearing food is a major stress! It's also great that you point out rewording--I would fully support a message like "too much sugar may have detrimental effects..." along with the science to support the argument. Or "gluten is very harmful to those with celiac disease." The problem is, the "boring" messages don't sell or attract the same flood of attention. Making blanket, fearful statements is how the gurus roll--creating fear is a classic marketing technique. I hope more people are able to see food fear-mongering messages as falling right into this money-making ploy.
      Thanks again!
      Cheers

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  8. I love this post, Lindsay. While I don't eat animal foods for ethical reasons, everything else falls under the "everything in moderation" category for me. I recognize that certain food intolerances and allergies demand avoidance--and as someone with chronic GI problems, I totally understand moderation with certain trigger foods--but when it comes to advice for overall healthy eating, I still stand by a moderate approach. And I think the research we have supports that. This fury about grains and sugar simply does not ring true to me, and I don't understand the conflation of quinoa and buckwheat with Wonder Bread at all.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Gena! I still stand by a moderate approach as well. Life demands flexibility and moderation--why do we think our diets can be pigeon-holed into oversimplified extremes?

      Cheers!

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  9. This may be the most sensible, articulate, and concise article on food fear-mongering I have ever read. Kudos! Healthy Hausfrau! Sehr gut!

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    1. Appreciate the kind words!

      Danke schoen!
      ;-D

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  10. Thank you for writing this.

    I feel that for some, this goes beyond fear-mongering. It's self-righteous moralizing. I am increasingly frustrated with diet lectures from family members who are following a couple of woo-promoting nutrition gurus and quacks. They have latched onto the "toxins" hysteria and beliefs that certain foods and diets are the great sources or cures of illness (Forks Over Knives, Gershon therapy, eat a ton of garlic when you have a serious bacterial UTI instead of taking medication, etc.)

    I understand why it may be comforting to feel that we have control over illness through the things we eat...but not only can these diets prevent sick people from receiving the care that they need, this type of belief system comes dangerously close to blaming sufferers for their own illness. I wish I could combat this, but the truth is, no argument or research will convince them otherwise, and I've taken to changing the subject or hiding their feeds.

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    1. You are most welcome. Thank you for your comments, and I hear your struggle. You are absolutely correct that the quack & guru woo can and oftentimes does cause harm, as unnecessary, unsubstantiated therapies/diet changes/etc are promoted at the expense of receiving proven care. It is so unfortunate, and so hard to reach people who get swallowed into the pseudoscience.
      Thanks again

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  11. Just to be clear, you're very against all the anti-fat and meat fear mongering as well? It seems like you should be given your very hard stance on some of the bloggers that you call out here.

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    1. Hi Brian,
      Thanks for commenting. I'd love to hear why I should be given a hard stance?
      To be clear, I don't condone any unnecessary food fear-mongering--carbs, sugar, fat, meat, whatever. I included examples of what I see everyday...and right now the fear-mongering is decidedly anti-carb. If I were writing this post in the 90s or early 2000s, you can bet I'd be including a lot of anti-fat fear-mongering examples.
      Cheers

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    2. I think a lot of the anti-carb hysteria is a knee jerk reaction to all the anti-fat hysteria that we still see today. It doesn't make it right. And I agree with you, the language many of these people use should be tamed down. But there is a lot of evidence that many of these carbs are just not necessary for everyday life. They're great for a treat (cake) or a special dinner (pizza or spaghetti). So enjoying wheat once in a while will not be a "killer." But for many people, eating the number of servings that the USDA recommended (6-11 per day) could very well be sending many of these people down the path of obesity or diabetes, whole grain or not. And I believe that is the reason the low carb sympathizers are so strong in their language. The common theme in general nutrition says that you can eat as many "healthy" whole grains as you like. In reality, enjoy them sometimes, but most times substitute vegetables for the grains, and you'll do much better. (That's my opinion, at least, but everyone needs to figure out what works for them and not just blindly follow.) I'm not making excuses for them, but I find it helpful to try and find their point of view.

      Your article was well written, and does bring up a very relevant point. But I would have liked to see the fairness reach across to other types of foods that have been lambasted by other special interest groups, or poorly done studies. You may have seen my post on Fooducate, where pulled one of Hemi's old articles.

      (And what I meant by hard stance was that you have taken a very hard stance against the aforementioned bloggers. I did not write that sentence well. It should have said: It seems like you should be against any inflammatory messages regarding any food, since you've taken such a hard stance against the low carb crowd.)

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    3. Anti-carb hysteria may be a knee-jerk reaction as you say, but it comes down to more of the same...blaming one nutrient or food group for all our ills. Chronic disease and obesity are just not that simplistic.

      Here's a quote from an excellent post by Dr. David Katz in which he talks about the dire mistake of vilifying or exonerating foods and nutrients (in his article, saturated fat). Please read the full post if you haven't seen it already--I've posted address below.

      "If we focus only on cutting saturated fat, we can find new ways to eat badly. We have, over the years, done exactly that. Of note, we can do the same when cutting carbs, or gluten, or fructose, or sugar, or meat, or grains, or salt, or wheat, too. Diet never was, and never will be, a single ingredient enterprise. The whole recipe matters."

      From "Scapegoats, Saints, and Saturated Fats: Old Mistakes In New Directions"

      http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131024131921-23027997-scapegoats-saints-and-saturated-fats-old-mistakes-in-new-directions

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  12. I had a perforation in my bowel in 2006. I had documented sepsis and unexplained inflammation in the intestinal tract. I've had sinus and respiratory issues with inflammation. In 2012 I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis- more evidence of systemic inflammation. I tested positive for celiac disease in 2012. Science hasn't figured out conclusively yet what causes inflammation in the body. I will do WHATEVER I can to save my life - be it diet changes, traditional medications, complimentary treatments. I know I am gluten intolerant from the celiac testing I had done. What your article fails to address in more detail - which would be much more responsible journalism - is that many people actually do have food sensitivities contributing to inflammation and disease that are medically proven. There are also countless reputable randomized controlled trials (RCT) research studies about the benefits of particular diets for a number of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. PLEASE present both sides of the story. Yes, there is food fear mongering BUT there are MILLIONS of people who require medical investigation and treatment for medical conditions that REQUIRE dietary changes. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is HORRIBLE with the rise in obesity and obesity related diseases at epidemic proportions. There is very good reason to take a hard-and-fast look at foods in America. Fear of dying from foods isn't a bad thing when lifestyle choices are horrendous in the US.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I'm well aware of people who must prohibit certain foods from their diet in order to get relief from their symptoms and avoid worsening disease states. I am a registered dietitian. I work with such people every day.
      These people are not at risk from food fear-mongering. They know what foods they cannot and/or should not eat and avoid them. The people at risk from irresponsible health "experts" who promote food fears are those who tolerate a multitude of foods, yet give them up needlessly for reasons based on faulty science or extreme extrapolations of research that should not be applied to everyone. I understand that you are coming from a difficult place with your health history, but your point bears little relevance to my argument.
      Best,
      Lindsey

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    2. Thank you so much for this. Last year I researched a bit about the paleo diet and knew some people who did it and based on food fears I figured I HAD to eliminate carbs from my life or I would gain tons of weight (I was already fit & healthy at the time), get tons of inflammation, cancers, and probably die an early death. Looking back, my fears seem laughable but the low-carb misinformation is just downright WRONG. It's actually been proven that our ancestors ate small amounts of grains like barley thousands of years before agriculture! After eating paleo and giving up my mostly vegetarian lifestyle in exchange for tons of meat, eggs, oil and other fatty, cholesterol inducing foods I gained about 15-20 lbs in a matter of months and felt awful... Now I eat a vegan, plant based diet (although I'd be fine just eating a typical health-conscious diet-I learned more about the animal products industries and decided I wanted to greatly reduce the amount of animal products in my life for ethical reasons) and i focus on the GOOD things that go into my body. Every morning, I have a big green smoothie with leafy veggies like kale and spinach and delicious fruits like bananas, mango and berries and some healthy fats/protein like hemp or chia seeds and eat tons of fresh fruits and veggies along with legumes, nuts, avocados, etc... and I feel so so so good! And I've lost about 10 pounds in a few months (although I think we should focus on overall health before weight) and I'm eating lots of (natural) carbs in fruit and then I'll usually have a healthy whole/sprouted grain with my dinner (ex. a piece or two of ezekiel bread toasted, quinoa, brown rice-etc.) but limit my grain intake simply because I'd rather be eating the foods that really are SO full of nutrients like fruits and veggies- and I don't think grains are BAD, I just don't eat tons of them :) Super long response, sorry, but I think we should be teaching a positive, responsible way of living (including indulgences on occasion ) to have a healthy population. Also, heavy meat consumption is not good- many paleos despise modern agriculture and resent corn, soy and wheat corporations for getting subsidies from the government when meat, dairy and egg companies receive roughly 2/3 of farm subsidies every year and corn/soy/wheat receive about 30% of farm subsidies. no one can afford to eat all pasture raised meat nor hunt their ancestor's game (definitely NOT cows)- it's irresponsible and unkind to eat in a way that makes a lame attempt at trying to live the way humans did 30,000 years ago and is based off of under-researched pseudo-science.

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    3. Well-said Olivia! So glad to hear you saw through the senseless, fear-based pseudo-science and found something that works for you!

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  13. Finally, some common sense! A lot of the people you quote from above are cranks and quacks with no medical credentials - at least one of them is a religious fanatic who asks if Jesus are grains. Pah.

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  14. Thank you so much for this article!!
    I appreciate your take on all the misleading information out there- specifically "healthy mom" blogs.
    As a person who struggles with an eating disorder-this is helpful and encouraging (as opposed to fear based and impractical). Thanks!!

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  15. Great article. I don't know where that Wellness Mama gets off talking about HEALTH when she appears to be morbidly obese. Everything on her blog is pseudoscience bull.

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