Nutrition is the New Politics

After the 2004 election I became post-political. I’ll discuss it in depth in a future post, but in short it means that I’ve withdrawn my interest in supporting a system where we are mobilized to vote for the lesser of two evils. Neither side listens to the other and a lot of effort is expended defending mediocrity. I no longer debate politics. Now I believe I need to add nutrition to that list.

A few weekends ago I had multiple discussions regarding nutrition with different people here in Seattle. I’m not going to repeat the debates, but needless to say they left me drained. Just like political debates of 2004. One guy actually dismissed my questions by saying he was a real scientist and what he knew was right and there was no debate. Despite what ends up being the true cause of obesity, I knew he was wrong to say both that he knew and that there was no debate. Anyone that has read Good Calories, Bad Calories knows that this debate is over 100 years old and there is still not a consensus.

Stop it!

It could have been an interesting discussion, but I could see it would have been a waste of energy. I listened to everything he had to say and even learned a few things. He was mostly dismissive of my contribution. Then we parted ways. Could he have learned something from me? Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps he does have all the answers. I’m not a scientist.

I have no desire to debate nutrition. People much smarter than me don’t agree. One of the reasons my health got better is because I was willing to admit I didn’t have the answers and perhaps I was wrong about certain things. I continue to carry forward a belief that some of the things I believe today about nutrition will ultimately be proven wrong.


Add yours

  1. I’m with you bro. When somebody asks me why I do or don’t eat this particular or type of food, or why I exercise this way and not that way, I will usually oblige them and give them some reasons. But if they then want to debate about it … well, they’re barking up the wrong tree. I point out that I’m merely answering their question and have no desire to challenge their views or change their mind.
    As you pointed out, I look to learn about Nutrition and Exercise from people who are a lot smarter and have way more experience than I do. And we all certainly benefit from these people debating the topics – but it’s just not my cup of tea. Like your title suggests, it can become too ‘political’ or personal for some people.

  2. I don’t know what you said but you must have really pushed this guy’s buttons.

    I recently did the same with an acquaintance by inquiring about when he had the time to go to and graduate college when he had told me that he was in the Army’s special forces unit years prior. He was flustered by his own lack of consistency in storytelling (i.e. lying). He got sort of violent over this.

    I now realize unless you know someone well (like a good friend) it is not worth even questioning other people’s ideas/behavior. Who knows why he was like this? You cannot convince someone who is emotionally wedded to an idea; it is part of their SELF. Therefore you can’t win.

    You may have as well argued how much he loves his mother or something intimately personal and unquantifiable. The “real scientist” should have known that science in of itself is based on change and uncertainty.

  3. @Thomas – The moment I recognized he felt superior to me and thought he had all the answers, I stopped contributing my knowledge to the conversation. I just listened and asked a question or two. It is a strategy that is highly effective when communicating with “no it alls”.

  4. kinda scary to think a scientist has all the answers already… I expect GOOD scientists to have a lot of questions, and be open to constantly re-examining the answers as new information comes in… but I guess like politics, that’s called “flip flopping”

    I sometimes like to just listen. Makes for really good discussions 🙂

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