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Plants and plant compounds are not essential or magic

Posted Nov 10 2009 10:03pm

Show me a randomized intervention that shows the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Such trials have been done and they have not shown a benefit. Same as the trials to limit fat consumption.

It's "lets see what (olive oil, resveratrol, blueberries antioxidantss - insert name of magic chemical here) does in a test tube or in mice. Look, one of our many experiments shows something! Humans must have evolved to be dependent on this substance to optimize their health.

Look, I don't read everything but I read a lot. I am not interested in dying early. The minute I see plausible evidence of some magic supplement working or an essential plant that is not commmon to all humans, I'll be the first one to promote it.

Analogical reasoning (wolves eat leaves, therefore,,... ) is not enough. We need a plausible biochemical explanation combined with robust epidemiological evidence (rare) or real proof from an intervention.

To overcome the inherent implausibility of a particular compound or plant being essential or uniquely beneficial to health, there must be a high standard of proof.

Similar to the level of proof there that there is extraterrestrial intelligence. It's implausible, so good evidence is needed. If we believe, as I do, that the key to health is avoiding neolithic agents of disease and that the common element of all healthy populations is animal products, how can it be that any plant that was not universally available is essential to health? It is not impossible, but in the scientific sense it is highly implausible if you accept my other premises.

I am not really that interested in what is possible - more so in what is very likely to be true.

Part of this is philosophical as well, applying the 80/20 rule to health. I think the idea that one should micromanage dietary constituents based on speculative reasoning about magic special compounds is not only wrong, it is a big waste of time. There are many other things to occupy your time with.

Counting, measuring, weighing and titrating food and and researching supplements and special foods? I have zero interest in that, as I'd rather practice my guitar or read a good book.  

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