Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Thought for Food

I try to keep an eye on the news for anything with a 'paleo' angle.....I think it is called confirmation bias!

I read today that Blueberries can reverse memory loss. No doubt we will see cereals and other foodstuffs with added blueberries (I think you might already be able to get this), or blueberry drinks. Marketing will want to drive blueberry health your way - principally adding blueberry to processed foods. You will also get blueberry pills in time.....and I firmly predict the blueberry cash cow will result in one of two headlines:

1) Blueberry cereals/drinks/pills do not protect against memory loss
2) Excess blueberry consumption causes illness 'x'

Also, there has been a story about the benefits of nuts in the diet. Now bar the hazard of choking on nuts, nuts probably cannot kill you. Before someone mentions it, I should add that peanuts are legumes - trivia fans and pedants take note! Nuts in the paleo diet (Pecan, Brazil, Hazelnut, Almond and Walnut), are both fruit and seed.

No doubt there will be a redoubling of efforts to get us to eat more nuts. As always this will come from a marketing effort to place nuts in to processed food - and eventually to bottle 'nut goodness' with the aim of making a pill. 'Pill-ation' of nuts will then undoubtedly lead to a scare and thus it will be found that:

1) Nut cereals/drinks/pills do not protect against whatever they are currently held to do,
2) Excess nut consumption causes illness 'y'

Finally, in the news is this story linking circadian rhythms and diabetes. (I have just finished reading 'Lights Out' and hope to blog about it soon - save to say that if you ever think you have found a new angle on Paleo living, visit Conditioning Research first as Chris is a Paleo-Amundsen and will undoubtedly have found some useful stuff about it already! You may also want to check out Dr Briffa's site for similar broad content.)

The long and the short of it is that the media latch on to a variety of health revelations. These revelations appear to have their roots in a paleo concept and are subsequently verified by 'science'. But the underlying driver of these revelations are implicit in paleo living. Blueberries? Check! Nuts? Check! Cycling with our circadian rhythms? Check!

And that is what I want to reaffirm. Paleo would appear to put us ahead of the health curve. The best that science can do is play 'catch up'. The best that marketing can do is shoe-horn this benefit in to some processed offering and trumpet the news. The best the meeja can do is sensationalise each health item as a revelation....until such time as they can perform an about turn and sell another load of papers to an increasingly confused and worried readership. This will come on the back end of a particularly un-paleo implementation of whatever health benefit was originally proposed.

For the rest of us, de-industrialise your diet and exercise. Go low-tech. That real food and primal activity is of benefit is indeed a revelation - but only amongst those who have forgotten their animalistic roots.