My brother once opined that we’d be much more advanced as a species if cognitive dissonance had immediate physical symptoms. Think of how much stupidity we’d avoid if, for instance, when some economic simpleton said something like “our country just needs to borrow more money to spend so we won’t go broke,” they immediately got one of those “brain freeze” headaches like when you eat ice cream too fast. Unfortunately, instead of holding their heads in agony and pleading for mercy, they get awarded Nobel prizes.
Besides wiping out nearly the entire economics profession, this genetic upgrade would also lay barren huge swaths of the nutritional science landscape. Today’s SJ-R Health section focused on the very real food-health connection and an anti-inflammatory diet, but only the last sentence mentioned that “foods labeled ‘low-fat’ often remove fat and replace it with pro-inflammatory carbohydrates.”
Like the low-fat menus being force-fed to school kids now, which remove the fat their brains and bodies need to be healthy; then fill them up with grains and other carbohydrates; then wonder where all of the childhood obesity, diabetes, ADD and autism is coming from. That ought to make someone’s brain hurt.
You’d think it couldn’t get dumber, but you’d be wrong. Besides removing saturated fat, which we need, and forcing in carbohydrates, which cause metabolic havoc, there is the third pillar of dietary dissonance – salt restriction. The experts lecture us constantly to remove salt from our diets because they absolutely know it will raise our blood pressure and make our hearts explode. Don’t they?
No they don’t, according to the results of an eight year study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (cited by a reader on my brother’s web site). Not only did they find no difference in hypertension onset among low-, medium-, or high-sodium level diets among nearly 3,700 participants; in fact, the participants with the lowest sodium intake were much MORE likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
The study wasn’t designed to explain this phenomenon, but one of the authors posits that since sodium is an essential nutritional requirement (much like fat and cholesterol), diets that limit sodium intake “activate some of the systems that conserve sodium and they are known to have a negative influence on cardiovascular outcomes.”
So, when an expert tells you that you need to cut back on fats, eat “good carbs”, and throw away your salt shaker, just smile and realize that a merciful creator or evolutionary anomaly is keeping them from dying of a massive migraine. Then finish your bacon.