You might wonder how I got off on some much whining about the nutrition “experts”. After all I’ve now spent over six months working very hard (and succeeding) on my own excess weight which, at least partly, does involve my own mindfulness about nutrition. Why wouldn’t I welcome the advice they’re giving?
Well, first, they’re full of it. I needed information to achieve my goals, so I started looking for it. But the trouble is I’m too logic and live in a fact-based reality and so almost instantly I found inconsistencies and blatant errors in what the “conventional wisdom” is. And I can find and actually read real scientific studies and have at least reasonable knowledge of scientific methods, statistical analysis and biochemistry. And when one sees the pop press gurus mangle what little scientific evidence there is, frankly, they’re mostly as ignorant as religinut creationists are. Sorry, I can’t accept sloppy and incorrect “advice”.
Second, they are so arrogant and holier-than-thou. They have all the answers and people who are fat are stupid slobs, who unless they go born-again to nutritionist dogma deserve the punishment that fat can cause. This is their personal arrogance, not just know-it-all (which actually according to my first point they don’t know diddly) but it is their smug superiority.
Third, they are so steeped in dogma and political correctness, plus trendy in the bubble, just as bad as rightwingnuts. Corporations are bad, thus food from them is bad; organic (another business that makes profits too) is good, because it’s natural (show me one single food item grown in a local sourced organic cooperative that isn’t the product of thousands of years of human selective breeding, even before GMO techniques, breeding is breeding; heirloom tomatoes still are NOT “natural” and you don’t even know what our paleo ancestors ate). So their ideas is political opinion, not science. And often they contradict science seriously, like thinking human beings digestive system is evolutionarily optimized for eating green leafy vegetables – NONSENSE!
Fourth, they don’t help. This bugs me the most. I need accurate, correct, and useful information. Frankly, in some cases, McDonalds gives me better information than Mark Bittman or Michael Pollan. Fad diets have ‘fad’ in the title for a reason – they’re today’s news and tomorrow’s obsolete idea. Too many nutrition scolds are either selling books or consulting services and so have just as much vested interests as McDonalds or Conagra. Why should I believe they’re objective any more than I believe a food corporation is?
Now, note I’m not actually knocking the scientists. Their papers are usually cautious in their language and tentative in their conclusions, as good science should be. It’s the pop nutritionist that are so certain in their pronouncements. And rarely do any these gurus have much in the way of credentials (where’s your degree in biochemistry, Mark Bittman?) Yet, they’re ready to tell all the rest of us dummies what to do. The scientists, OTOH, are trying to understand a very complex problem.
So when it came to me trying to lose weight and now with the much harder challenge of trying to keep it off, these nannies have not only been of little value, in many cases my approach is do to exactly the opposite of what they say since they are so often and so badly wrong. But I’m no expert (it’s a lot easier to point out other peoples’ flaws than to supply truth yourself) and I need REAL, CORRECT, MEANINGFUL, and PRACTICAL information, not preaching.
And it’s the PRACTICAL part where they fail the most. There is a simple reason people don’t eat kale and quinoa – they suck! Meat tastes good (esp. properly prepared), sweet things taste good, in fact, food (which kale are quinoa are not) tastes good. Cooking is fun, exploring recipes (or restaurants) is fun, dining is social and fun. So taking all the fun out of it is a really useless approach, guaranteed to fail with most people.
In fact, I think the nutrition scolds share a common trait with the anti-sex rightwingers (not to mention they share many characteristics of climate deniers or creationists). The Rick Santorum’s of the world think sex is the original sin and thus must be denied, so of course they: a) oppose any policy that lets sex be fun, and, b) they are in favor of any policy that establishes penalties for sex (anti-abortion, anti-birth control). The nutrition scolds are just the same. Fat is bad, therefore enjoying eating is bad. In order to be healthy I must suffer the self-mortification of bad-tasting food that resembles sawdust. For them eating is a moral act and if you enjoy it it must be bad. Only suffering and self-denial is good.
Well, sorry, fellows – that’s a hard sell. People like sex and so the anti-sex crowd is failing to shove its policies down our throats. And personal nutrition is even more free (Bittman, just try and outlaw sugar, when you condemn as poison, hyperbolic speech if I ever heard it). If you truly want people to lose weight and get healthier then the carrot is going to work a lot better than the stick. Don’t try to sell me kale smoothies – I’m not buying (and I’m trying (and, did I mention, despite ignoring most of your advice, succeeding) to control weight).
It’s really simple – eat less (anything, there are no magic or evil foods), exercise more. Now stick with that message and you might get somewhere with the public. No kale, quinoa, whole grain, vegan silver bullets. No bullying, no scolding. Encouragement and provable facts only and drop all the attitude. But, you guys, really don’t care do you, just keep making your bucks with your charlatan ways while denouncing profit-seeking corporations. Get lost, hypocrites.