For reasons that really don't bear rehashing, I spent the last two years getting told to go on diets. Every kind of diet. No "nightshades." No acid. No gluten. No dairy. Low-FODMAP (bans dairy, gluten, soy, legumes, and half of all fruits and vegetables.) Low-fat. "Eat nothing but bone broth that you made yourself, and if you don't simmer it for six hours, it's no good." "Microwaving food destroys its nutrients." At one point I had successive doctors tell me to go on a low-fiber diet and a high-fiber diet.

Every single diet-pusher, whether doctor or rando, said or implied (usually explicitly said), "If you don't do this, you'll never get better. Don't you want to get better?"

This was especially infuriating given that I was so underweight that I had symptoms of malnutrition. And also that in two years of dieting, there had never once been any indication whatsoever that my illness was caused by diet or that changing my diet was helpful. I eventually came to the conclusion that Americans are fucking insane about food and that a primary manifestation of sexism is controlling women by controlling what they eat.

Anyway, I am not dieting now. But now that I am slightly less likely to hit NEON RAGE APOCALYPSE at the word "diet," I clicked on a link and fell into an internet rabbit hole of diet advice. Like the evolved forager that I am, I bring you my findings for amusement, analysis, and mockery:

- A comparison of wild fruits and vegetables with cultivated ones, concluding that eating fruits and vegetables is unhealthy because they are unnatural and not what the cavemen ate.

By that reasoning there is literally nothing we can eat unless we get air-dropped into some untouched stretch of rainforest to forage for wild bananas.

- Eating fruit makes you fat.

- Humans did not evolve to eat fruit.

We're PRIMATES. Monkeys love bananas.

- Corn causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

- Corn causes ADHD.

- Corn causes autism.

- Corn causes cancer.

- Broccoli causes cancer.

- Hot water causes cancer.

The last one, from a study saying that drinking hot beverages can cause cancer, had the best response: David Spiegelhalter, a professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Britain's University of Cambridge, said: "In the case of very hot drinks, the IARC concludes they are probably hazardous, but can't say how big the risk might be," according to the Australian Financial Review. "This may be interesting science, but makes it difficult to construct a sensible response."

- A Breatharian – as defined in the book A Year Without Food – is a person who chooses to live mostly, or completely, from Pranic nourishment. Israeli author Ray Maor claims that once Breatharians have trained their body to absorb this energy from the air and sunlight, they are no longer dependent on food. Many of them continue to taste food for enjoyment, but do not need it for survival, he says.

Umm.

- Brian J. Ford has suggested that ketosis, possibly caused by alcoholism or low-carb dieting, produces acetone, which is highly flammable and could therefore lead to apparently spontaneous combustion.

The Atkins diet will make you burst into flame!

- Our ancestors NEVER ate a carb. They ate meat and fat and that was it. On that diet, they grew, improved their lot, invented the wheel, survived in caves and hinted in groups.

Bad history aside (even in the Arctic, people ate seaweed and lichen), anyone who's ever lived in a small town or attended school knows that a major human activity is indeed hinting in groups.
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monanotlisa: Diana as Diana Prince in glasses and a hat, lifting the rim of the latter rakishly. HOT! (Default)

From: [personal profile] monanotlisa


"I eventually came to the conclusion that Americans are fucking insane about food and that a primary manifestation of sexism is controlling women by controlling what they eat."

Hah! Yes, this.

Every nation has its own neuroses, of course; the Germans are no less neurotic than US-Americans. But...not quite that food-related, thankfully (I'm a lot more US-American than my countryfolks in that regard, though I try to relax).

Speaking not of women but of controlling other people's bodies, one of the things that drove me batty as a teen was folks telling me about my acne, "Just cut out chocolate, sugar, and fats!" And I did manage to not speak my mind and say, "FUCK YOU THERE IS NO SCIENCE SUPPORTING ANY OF THIS CONTROLLING BULLSHIT." But it was a close call.



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recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


HINTING IN GROUPS AHAHAHAHA.

I also want to point out to that last one that the computer they are using to spin this bullshit is something that would not have happened without major cultivated carbohydrates (these being the major basis of every VAST civilization ever, and vast civilizations being the basis of the surplus population that allows for mass-scale technological innovation . . . etc). But it's not worth it.

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luzula: a Luzula pilosa, or hairy wood-rush (Default)

From: [personal profile] luzula


Israeli author Ray Maor claims that once Breatharians have trained their body to absorb this energy from the air and sunlight, they are no longer dependent on food. Many of them continue to taste food for enjoyment, but do not need it for survival, he says.

Ahaha, thank you for this post. It is hilarious.

Also with the "microwaving destroys nutrients", yes it does (to an extent)! So does any other kind of heating.

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taelle: (Default)

From: [personal profile] taelle


Oh good, so the reason I never mastered hinting in groups is obviously that I am not an ancestor but a more evolved version... (and not because I never got the memo everyone else got, as I previously supposed)
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)

From: [personal profile] twistedchick


The only time that I'm aware of when hot drinks are bad is when they're so close to boiling that they scorch and scar the esophagus, which can make it over-sensitive (and it's painful, too.) But that's all.
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


Yes, I have a vague recollection that the documented association is specifically between scalding drinks and esophageal cancer.

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the_rck: (Default)

From: [personal profile] the_rck


Thank you. I needed a good laugh today.
isis: (food porn)

From: [personal profile] isis


Is hinting in groups like fainting in coils?

As a runner (and as a woman) I am also pummeled with diet advice, but I appreciate Matt Fitzgerald (a running coach whose books include Diet Cults, which you might enjoy if stuff like the above entertains you) who advocates what he calls "agnostic healthy eating", which doesn't exclude or demonize any type of food, but which emphasizes foods of higher nutritional quality.
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (Default)

From: [personal profile] cofax7


The Atkins diet will make you burst into flame!

HAH.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


I had a breatharian roommate once! Well, that's not precisely accurate, but I spent a year in a group living situation in which one of the members of the group was a guy who checked off most of the items you can imagine for "weirdo hippie roommate". In addition to having a bunch of books on breatharianism (they talked a lot about how you can get different nutrients from exposing your body to different colored light), he would also lecture us on the evils of eating cooked food, walked around half naked most of the time (to absorb sunlight?), and claimed to be half Native American despite being blond and green-eyed. (I guess I can't categorically say that the last one was bullshit, but given everything else about the guy ...) He also somehow managed to sleep with my sister during the couple of days she stayed with us.

So any mention of breatharians automatically makes me think of that guy. He was actually a nice guy in spite of all the weirdness, but wow.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

From: [personal profile] davidgillon


I quite liked the advice I got after the acute pancreatitis episode, while being told what to do to avoid further attacks until they could whip my gall-bladder out: "Try and limit fat intake, fruit's good. But we've had people go onto a completely fructivorous diet and still have attacks".

A little realism never hurt anyone.
callmeishmael: Wrex with cake (food)

From: [personal profile] callmeishmael


One of my anthropology professors said "modern dieting is secular food taboos" and things made a hell of a lot more sense once I looked at it that way. (Though I still get angry at all the "paleo" diet bad science bullshit.)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)

From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid


That's a good way of approaching it. You identify your people by what they eat.

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mrissa: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mrissa


It's a lot like track and field, right? Most people who run relays also run solo. Most people who hint in groups practice on their own as well. Just to keep their game up.
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)

From: [personal profile] lilacsigil


Australia is exactly the same. It's fucking depressing. It wasn't much fun being a fat kid in the 80s and early 90s but I bet it's a lot worse now.
shati: TEDDY BEAR version of the queen seondeok group photo. (Default)

From: [personal profile] shati


I eventually came to the conclusion that Americans are fucking insane about food and that a primary manifestation of sexism is controlling women by controlling what they eat.

The only good food theory!

Youtube recommends me raw vegan videos constantly (um, because I keep clicking on the recs). The Raw Till 4 diet where you don't eat cooked food, just raw fruit, until after 4 pm is my favorite (why?? why 4 pm??) but the concept of monomeals, "cooked food addiction," and the potato cleanse are fascinating at 2 am. I think they are at least cooked potatoes.

And then I realize I'm watching a lot of adults tell an audience that appears to be almost all teenage girls/young women to eat nothing but raw fruit so they can be "healthy" (measured by thinness) and then it's gross. The really pervasive sense of "You're not eating how I think you should, so you caused every health problem you have by consuming [in these cases, animal products]" is even worse -- I've seen more than one video telling a Youtuber that his cancer was his fault.

And at this point in my life I've seen explanations for why I shouldn't eat literally every food. Including, like, spinach and broccoli (cancer is new, though, I think what I saw was thyroid problems).

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ekaterinn: (Default)

From: [personal profile] ekaterinn


It's crazy here. A friend of mine's 11-year-old son has high blood pressure. He's also overweight. So far the doctors have just told her to put him on a diet. He's ELEVEN.

And my best friend's six-year-old daughter is also overweight for her size and already has body image issues. :( Thankfully, all my friend is doing about that is encouraging her to participate in exercise with the rest of the family (she's not as fast as her siblings but she has hella stamina) and complimenting her on her body and clothes.
telly: (Neutral - blueberry cupcake)

From: [personal profile] telly


Hot water causes cancer.

But ice water is ALSO bad, it solidifies the fats in your stomach (and probably also gives you cancer)! Or so I was told by several coworkers who are into "alternative medicine."

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princessofgeeks: (Default)

From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks


I DON'T EVEN.

Thank you for your sanity. I love reading your journal.
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)

From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid


Not just America!

The what-cavemen-did diets are just annoyingly bad evolution combined with with annoyingly bad history/archaeology and dangerously bad nutrition advice.

Anecdata: For a couple of hundred of years anthropologists etc. thought Indigenous Australians did not grow grains. But it turns out that they did. Despite having a nomadic culture with few permanent settlements. Rethinking Indigenous Australia's agricultural past.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


Gosh it's like grains are super-dense in caloric and nutritional content for their size and this is SUPER IMPORTANT or something . . .
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)

From: [personal profile] cyphomandra


Hinting in groups makes me think of primitive charades ("It's mammoth! No? Arrgh. First syllable?")

Some of the diet criticism also shades into that judgmental medical thinking you get when anyone poor is discussing their daily budget, where everyone focuses on details and moral failings ("well, you shouldn't have a pet. And no internet access, we never had it when we were kids") and not at all on any structural societal factors that they might possibly be involved in perpetuating. But yes, lots of misogyny too. I saw a reference recently to raw food enthusiasts claiming that stopping menstruating was a good sign, because your body was no longer having to remove toxins. Horrifying.
orcofnewyork: (Default)

From: [personal profile] orcofnewyork


Hinting in groups sounds like an afternoon with my mother's aunts and cousins, oh the passive aggressive hints and jabs!

How sad is it that I've heard almost all of these crackpot diets? Too many crazy diets out there. Breatharian is new to me though, who knew humans could totally photosynthesize!
brownbetty: (Default)

From: [personal profile] brownbetty


These people romanticising our 'primitive ancestors' have never been even slightly close to nature, I can only conclude.
graydon: (Default)

From: [personal profile] graydon


The whole primitive-condition-of-effortless-health trope makes me want to smack people with the we-can-deduce-diet-by-tooth-damage literature. ("Stone-ground"; this means your food has rocks in it.)
conuly: (Default)

From: [personal profile] conuly


Why do people in caves need wheels? Primitive wheels are only useful if you have beasts of burden. If you have beasts of burden - horses or oxen - then you either are a farmer or a herder. Either way, you don't live in a freaking cave.

Also: We gathered in groups. Hoo-boy, did we ever.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)

From: [personal profile] redbird


Or if you've invented the wheelbarrow. Which is an agricultural technology, absolutely, but doesn't require domesticated animals.

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swingandswirl: (batman wtf)

From: [personal profile] swingandswirl


The only food advice I've ever found sensible is Michael Pollan's: Eat real food, not a lot, mostly plants. Between that and the Ratio guy whose name I'm blanking on (Ruhlman? I think?) I'm doing pretty okay, I think.

/shudders/ I commend your bravery, going into the uncharted wilds of the online diet community. I had enough of the offline version of that bunch when I lived in California. They never did understand why the type 2 diabetic going raw vegan and/or doing a juice cleanse was maaaybe not the best idea...
kiezh: Text: Apparently it was going to be one of those days when people made no sense whatsoever. (mina de malfois says people make no sens)

From: [personal profile] kiezh


No one in the Diet Wars ever seems to consider the psychological and physical cost of making the act of eating into a war zone. (Hey, you know what we DO have scientific evidence is Bad For People? Living under constant stress! Gee, I wonder if making every single interaction with food terribly fraught and dangerous is... really stressful to the bodies involved...) None of them seem to value positive sensory experiences, either.

Speaking as a depressed, chronically ill person with digestion issues: they can all go screw themselves. Food is for a) sustaining the body, which works differently with every body, and b) pleasure and social bonding, when possible. Not for finding yet another way to be miserable and Wrong.

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