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The main error in nutrition

Monday 11 th March 2024

The main error in nutrition is making nutritionism the base to determine the best way of nourishing our body. I think that the guide we should take as a reference should be grounded in food, and not in their nutrients.

Nutritionism is the study of the nutrients contained in food. Wikipedia says, “Nutritionism is a paradigm that assumes that it is the scientifically identified nutrients in foods that determine the value of individual food stuffs in the diet. In other words, it is the idea that the nutritional value of a food is the sum of all its individual nutrients, vitamins, and other components.”
The implications of this approach are:
  1. Only the persons that have studies about nutritionism know how to properly feed ourselves. Then, it considers that anybody who has not a profound knowledge about this subject is unable to discern what is good to eat.
  2. Human nutritional sciences are university studies that include subjects such as human anatomy and physiology, biology, biochemistry, microbiology, psychology, toxicology, pharmacology, statistics, pathology, food quality and analysis, dietetics, food processing and biotechnology, environmental studies, marketing, sanitary and food legislation, among others. It is then considered that it is needed at least 3 years of studies on science of a high level of difficulty in order to know about correct nutrition.
Nutritionism has reach a point in our occidental world that we believe that the reason we must eat certain food is because it contains certain nutrients that are needed for certain parts of our body: milk because contains calcium for our bones; meat and fish because of the proteins for our muscles; blue fish for the omega 3 for our brain; carrots for the vitamin A for eyes; oranges for the vitamine C to strengthen our immune system; and the list goes on; there are many myths about food. That way, they can justify the reason why we must have any kind of product: coffee, chocolate and wine because the antioxydants they contain; soy because the phytoestrogens for women in menopause; artichoke to detoxify the liver… and they can sell yogurts to us for regulating the level of cholesterol; cereals fortified with vitamins and minerals for the children to grow strong; whole bread and biscuits for the bowel movements; sweeteners such as saccharine to loose weight; and any kind of food supplements of vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc.  But they don’t take into account the harmful substances for our health that these products contain: the caffein of coffee, the theobromine of chocolate, the alcohol of wine, the goitrogens and other anti-nutrients of soy; and that any kind of product destined to a specific health problem is, in fact, a drug, and therefore, producing side effects.
Observing nature, we realise that the animals know perfectly what is their best food for them and they enjoy a perfect health, if they have not been exposed to processed food, as pets do eat. Wild animals don’t need to study a long and complex degree in order to learn how to be nourished; they simply follow their instincts. Then, could we, humans, do the same, this is, follow our instincts? Yes, but in a very special conditions, which are never met in the occidental world:
The same way as wild animals, we should have at our availability natural food, so we could only choose among the ones found in nature in their pure state.
  1. Food should not have been processed in any way: neither cooking, nor grounded, nor extracted from other food such as oil or sugar, nor frozen, etc.
  2. Food should not have been modified in any way. Nowadays, most of the fruits and vegetables have been modified, either by artificial selection, or by hybridisation or genetically. For instance, current banana is very different to the wild one, the original banana had very big seeds inside; nectarine is a hybridisation of peach and plum; and most of corn and soy are genetically modified organisms.
  3. We should have never eaten any of this processed or modified food. Once we have tried it, our taste is disrupted and we can not trust our instincts anymore. For example, once we have had a sugary product, we don’t really appreciate the sweetness of fruit in the same way; if we add salt or pepper to certain food then we don’t like it without condiments.
Since we are babies we are given processed or modified food, so nobody can trust their instincts.
Supposing that adult humans need to take milk for their bones while any adult animal drinks milk, nor need to have it, is a mystery… how can be explained, according to the theory of nutritionism, that gorillas or elephants have such strong bones if they don’t drink milk? How can herbivores develop muscles if they don’t eat any protein rich food; how can a gacela run so fast? From where carnivores extract their vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc., if they don’t eat vegetables? The answer is that is not needed to ingest a high amount of a certain nutrient in order to satisfy its needs. Carnivores get all the minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fatty acids and proteins from fish or meat. Herbivores get all the nutrients from vegetables. The same applies to frugivores, granivores, etc. In order to obtain all the nutrients, humans don’t need to be omnivores and eat all kind of food. Every species simply has to be fed with the adequate food for that species. Why humans should be different? If we calculate according to the theory of nutrients, numbers does not match.
Like medicine, the present nutrition has a materialistic vision of the humans and food; they are studied like a car, mechanically, divided in parts and components. But humans and food are living beings, much more complex than a machine. We don’t only have a physical part, but also an emotional one, which has been found even in plants. And to believers, we have an spiritual part as well. We can study every part separately, so it is easier to study, but just at a theoretical level, and we will marvel at the perfection of living beings; but we will never succeed to completely understand their functioning.
We will get much more information if we study living beings as a whole, in a holistic approach, observing their behaviour in natural environment. In nutrition matter, we can get to know the answer to the main questions that are raised in this matter - what kind of food constitute human nutrition - simply looking at animals in nature.
We observe that there are herbivores, carnivores, frugivores, granivores and insectivores. Which category does the human fall? If we compare humans from the anatomic and physiological point of view, it is obvious that we are more similar to primates, which are frugivores - they feed on fruit. Yes, we can eat a large variety of other food if fruit is scarce, this is why it is said that we are omnivores: leaves, stalks, roots, nuts, eggs, animals, etc., but it is not our ideal food, and we will bear the brunt of it in our health. The farther a food is from a produce that we can collect from nature, the more treatments have been needed in order to be possible to ingest it, the worse for our health. For instance, nuts are not as good as fresh fruits, because we need a nutcracker in order to eat them; cooked vegetables, such as artichokes, are not as suitable as vegetables we can eat raw, such as lettuce; and this one is preferable to a food that even more, we can not pick up with our own hands, but we need tools to chase, such as meat and fish.
If we abandon the mechanistic and dominant view of humans towards nature, and we take a global, holistic and humble approach, we will realise that nutrition science is very simple. We don’t need long and difficult studies. It is enough just one session where we imagine that we are isolated from our occidental world, and we are placed in a natural environment, surrounded by trees, plants and animals of any kind; and we ask ourselves how we could feed in a easy, quick and effortless way, that gives us big pleasure and satisfies us. We don’t need to be nutritionists, every person should be able to know how to nourish yourself. We only need to connect with nature. And I am a nutritionist, so I am shooting myself in the foot.

More about: nutritionism , nutrients , nutrition
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