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Myth or Science

Food Industry Tricks

Pseudo-Science. Ever wonder why "science" says a food is bad one day and good the next? These seeming contradictions are the result of sophisticated disinformation campaigns by the various food industries. Their goal is to dispel the real science by creating the impression that the science is not as decisive as it is and to confound, confuse, or create doubt among the public and even leading institutions. “Scientific” tests, even ones that are otherwise reputable and sound, are framed using built-in logical errors.

These campaigns have been underway for decades and are now being used by most food industries—not just farmed animal, fishing, dairy, and egg industries but also the olive oil, vegetable oil, wine (see here and here, among the many), and coffee industries, among others. For detailed example, see I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

To make their products seem healthful, the producers of these unhealthful foods often take advantage of witting and unwitting doctors, scientists, and others, many of whom are also confused. Tobacco advertisements similarly showed cigarette endorsements by doctors, scientists, and even Santa Claus. They further employ "astro-turf” groups that appear to represent qualified or objective experts but are a cover for industry views.

"Big Tobacco" used the same “junk science” tricks to mislead the public about the dangers of cigarette smoking, even when most scientists were certain about the dangers. Such "scientific" marketing is now a big business, for hire on any issue. These pseudo-science tactics sound plausible and fool most people. This page will help you quickly evaluate whether the "research" being cited is real or cooked.

Addiction Science. The tobacco industry also quietly made its products even more addictive, and the food industries are at work on this, too. Beware of artificial flavors and colors, which are often designed by laboratory experts to be as addictive as possible. It helps to understand the neuroscience behind food cravings and addictions; if you only have time for one of those, I recommend The Delay of Death.

You can then learn how to liberate and restore yourself, your brain, and your taste buds to Nature's design rather than the chemists'. You might also enjoy learning more about human anatomy and digestion to understand what foods our bodies were designed to eat.

Silenced Critics. For many decades, the meat and other food industries have been strong-arming critics, even the US government and Oprah, in order to silence them. They gutted the "McGovern report's" first U.S. dietary guidelines in the 1970s, then also had the Senate Committee governing nutrition abolished, with jurisdiction over it's nutrition issues moved to the pro-industry Senate Agriculture Committee.

The Scientific Jury Is In!

So what DOES science--REAL science--tell us about the healthiest diet? After several years of research, I was startled to discover that science has reached general agreement on the following major points. Mainstream nutritional authorities agree; even the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics admits, albeit quietly, these nutritional, health and environmental conclusions:
(1) Optimal human nutrition comes from plants. "A plant-based diet is nutritionally sound for all people of all ages, including children and pregnant women;"

(2) We don't need to consume any animals. Animal parts or products do not supply any additional, known nutritional needs (except B12, which comes from bacteria, not animals per se; but take a supplement, because the down side of animal consumption is too high);

(3) Disease is correlated with animal consumption. Eating animal parts or products is highly correlated with all our top diseases, even when "organic," pasture-raised, cage-free, etc.;

(4) Lack of disease is correlated with plant consumption. Plant-based, whole foods diets are highly correlated with a lack of these top diseases (warning: eating non-whole, refined plant foods are correlated with diseases, too; these include
  • sugars, including most juices (when pulp is separated), honey, maple syrup, agave, etc., all sweeteners except fruit;
  • flours, even gluten-free ones;
  • vegetable oils (yes, including olive oil);
(5) Eat green to be green. A plant-based diet has far and away the highest sustainability rating for the environment and is the #1 thing you can do to stop runaway climate change (better than buying a hybrid car and abandoning airplane travel).

A Word About Grains. Don't overdo grains, even whole grains. Although hardly conclusive, too many grains may also contribute to disease, if only because they take up stomach space that could be going to nutrient-packed veggies and greens. I'm watching these developments and will post major new developments.

Sources. I cite the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as they are the world's leading dietitian organization; many other citations are in my Health, Environmental, and the Myth Resources pages.

I study all sides of every issue! I searched pro-meat, pro-egg, pro-dairy, pro-vegetable oil, pro-"paleo," pro-raw milk/grassfed beef, etc. websites and found several seemingly "scientific" links, but none--not one--met the standards of science and logic. They were all the cooked, pseudo-science.

The Science to Come

Scientists are still debating why meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, and non-whole plants (flour, oils, sugars) make us sick, but the correlation is undisputable. Some are "less worse" than others, but all are best avoided. As I already mentioned, even whole grains like brown rice, are contested, though general agreement has not been reached. On the plus side, scientists may find that eating insects is beneficial. Stay tuned!

Resources & Scientific Citations

Please check out the Top Six Slick Tricks these industries use to fool the public. I also recommend that you review the sampling of resource citations on food industry tricks.

Top Six Slick Tricks Used by the Food Industries

Beware of “research” that employs any of the following tactics, which violate the principles of logic and sound science. The first two cover 99% of the junk science, so memorize those, and you’ll be hard to fool.
1. Ingredient Trick
     One or more isolated ingredient(s) are the subject instead of the intact food; this is the logical fallacy of composition.
     • Example of this logical error used to trick you into thinking something is bad for you: soy isolates are a processed food and processed foods are bad for you; therefore, all soy products are bad for you.
     • Example of this logical error used to trick you into thinking something is good for you: choline is good for you and eggs contain choline; therefore, eggs are good for you.
     Both premises are often true; the conclusion may also be true but the premises do not prove it. A clear example of the fallacy of such arguments is to say that “Antioxidants are good for you, and poison hemlock contains antioxidants; therefore, poison hemlock is good for you.” (In case you don't know, poison hemlock is lethal to humans.)

2. Comparison Trick
     The food or group is compared to an even worse food or group, not to a better one.
     • Family farm eggs are compared to industrial, conventional eggs; or grass-fed beef is compared to industrial, conventional beef; neither is compared to a diet without either food source.
     • Meat-eaters and compared only to other meat-eaters, not to vegetarian or vegan populations as a separate control group. This failure leads to studies that show, for example, that red wine/resveratrol or coffee/caffeine enhances life expectancy. The test substance might benefit people eating an omnivorous or other unhealthy diet because it acts as a “medicine” for them, yet has other unhealthy aspects itself. The solution is not to drink wine or coffee as a medicine but to stop eating the unhealthy diet that is the cause of the disease you are trying to correct with the wine or coffee.

3. Lab Animal Testing
     Only laboratory animals, not humans, have been tested. Researching on animals to draw conclusions on human metabolism is not considered a credible outcome.

4. Short Time
     It is limited to a short period of time, such as 3 weeks or 6 months as opposed to 10+ years.

5. Small Populations
     It uses a few subjects or a small population (e.g., Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii) instead of larger groups or populations as a whole; this tactic suggests cherry-picking.

6. Amount
     It uses only to high amounts of a substance/food that would be impossible for a human to consume instead of on normal amounts of intake to “prove” something is bad that might not be (such as 1.5 grams per day of a intact soy food vs. 96.4 g/1000 kcal's of protein soy isolate). Or it uses only very low amounts of a substance/food to “prove” something is good for you that might not be.

Reclaim the facts and restore real science!
   • wake up from the advertisers’ disinformation campaigns;
   • liberate yourself from dietary habits that harm your health; and
   • align your dietary habits with your environmental and animal-loving values.

© 2012, Mary Rooker  *   Please obtain permission before reproducing anything from this website. Thanks!
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