Holly Sauerkraut, It’s a War of Diets!

Warning: This is a rant. I’m on my soapbox.


Confused much?

To quit sugar or not to quit sugar? Is butter a friend or a foe? Is salt the source of all evil? Such is an existential angst of us living in the ‘first’ world.

Not a day goes by without media reporting on the great Diet War between nutritionists, dietitians, chefs, anthropologists and celebrity-turned-new-age-nutrition- know-it-alls. And chef Pete Evans seems to be just about everyone’s sacrificial lamb for being ‘health nut’ about Paleo/primal-style eating.

Paleo seems to be particularly in the crosshairs these days. Anthropologists have their knickers in the knot over Paleophiles proposing that Space Age kids should eat the way our Stone Age elders did. Nutritionists and dietitians are guarding and defending their food pyramid, nutritional guidelines and “tick” programs just the way those relics deserve. And quasi-scientists are having conniptions over ‘lack of evidence’  over one claim or another.

This is not about defending Pete Evans (he’s made some dubious claims, but the guy ought to be congratulated for his passion for healthy eating) or Paleo, but one has to wonder why almost 500,000 people follow him on Facebook including doctors, nutritionists, naturopaths and university professors such as Prof Grant Schofield? Are these half a million people simply brainless sheep who have fallen for another ‘celebrity fad’? No, these are people who have followed the standard food pyramid to the T, but their digestive, hormonal or autoimmune conditions never improved. The story I relate to.

One has to wonder why those who promote eating wholesome and nutritious foods get regular bashing, and yet not a single voice of outrage was raised when, for example, a donut frenzy recently came over Perth. The Heart Foundation was silent as was the Dietitians Association of Australia. Nothing. Nada. Total silence.

And here is the reason why that is so disturbing:

Australian obesity rates are climbing faster than anywhere else in the world.

63% of the population or 14 million people are obese or overweight. 5 million people are obese. Over quarter, or over 1 million, of our children are overweight or obese.


The sad irony of these frightening numbers is that the more we worry and talk about food, the unhealthier and unwell we become. Michael Pollan calls this “American paradox’. Clearly, it is Australian paradox too.

So please, STOP. Stop your sanctimonious ridicule and one up-man-ship. Stop throwing ‘evidence’ around like it’s the Ten Commandments. Anyone who knows anything about science will know that it proves nothing. Scientific evidence only suggests, indicates, proposes, provides clues. Science does not have forgone conclusions.

That smart man Albert Einstein had this on a poster hanging in his Princeton office

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts

So c’mon AMA, DAA, Heart Foundation, scientists, chefs, nutritionists, instead of bitching about each other and trying to prove which diet is ‘the best’, why not declare war on obesity? Why not join your smart heads together to try and figure out how to reconnect people with real food and real eating?

Or how about supporting Obesity Policy Coalition to influence food manufacturers and supermarket giants or lobby to stop junk being promoted to children as food?

Or even better, get really pissed off when governments shut down agencies tasked with reduction and prevention of obesity in this country.

How about you do that instead?

Rant over!

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