Daily Reads: Food Logic

Lack of critical thinking about food has long been one of my biggest peeves. I rant to my students every semester about why they shouldn’t worry about gluten unless they have celiac disease; that the paleo diet is based on pseudoscientific reasoning about human evolution; and why their blood type has nothing to do with what kind of food they should eat. So I truly appreciate today’s Daily Read from Alan Levinovitz. Writing for Slate, Levinovitz compares diet fads to religions and laments the fact that no amount of facts and logic will dissuade people from their uncritical faith in charlatans like Dr. Oz and the Food Babe. He deconstructs how these folks make abundant use of sophisticated nonsense to manipulate people and scare them into compliance with their absurd dictates about “unnatural” foods and insidious “chemicals” and “toxins.” Levinovitz sounds pretty discouraged about the possibility of changing people’s minds; yet he ends by making a compelling argument for improving people’s critical thinking skills by educating them about such persuasive techniques and logical fallacies. Perhaps there is hope yet.

The Logical Failures of Food Fads

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