Help me debate this guy on nutrition?

Don’t get me wrong, John is a good friend and probably one of the smartest guys I know. And you can’t argue with success – he’s lost probably a good 70 pounds in the past few years. And he says that his doctor says his numbers (cholesterol etc.) are all excellent. But the thing is, he’s so damn smug about the whole thing. John’s Unified Theory of Nutrition is, as he will gladly tell you, the only sensible diet, ever, period, bar none, end of discussion.

He’s only partially tongue-in-cheek when he says this.

Being that I’ve just embarked on a supervised weight-loss program, backed by a team of doctors and researchers, John has no problem tearing holes in it. The thing is, since JUTN is internally consistant, there’s little arguing with it. And perhaps it is quite sound, but it feels a little like trying to argue with a Moon Hoaxer. Even if he’s a correct zealot, he’s still a zealot.

So what do you think?

Here is John’s Unified Theory of Nutrition:

  1. Doctors are idiots. They can’t think for themselves, they only parrot what other doctors have said.

  2. The so-called Mediterranian Diet is great – if you are Mediterranian. People of any other race can’t handle it.

  3. No other animals eat carbs. We’re not designed for it. We didn’t evolve in bakeries, and so if it needs to be cooked to be edible, it’s not food. (He explained this to me as he pulled a glazed ham out of the oven.)

  4. No refined sugars. Ever.

  5. We didn’t evolve to eat pineapples in Winter. No out-of-season foods. Ever.

  6. No-carb does not mean living like a T-Rex. Vegetables are allowed. (I do, however, notice a major lack of greenery on his table.)

So, how would you argue with this guy? Or do you agree with him?

He’s so wildly off base that I probably wouldn’t even bother. He doesn’t sound like the type to actually listen to facts.

Wow. I don’t think I’d bother arguing with him. I’d just smile and nod, and say “You’re absolutely right, John. The way I’m eating now is probably gonna kill me one of these days; on the other hand, if everyone ate like you, we’d all live forever, and just imagine how crowded things would get. I’m just trying to do my bit to keep the population explosion under control”.

IMHO, people with really whacked out ideas cannot be debated.

I can’t imagine our digestive systems care what season it is.

Internally consistent doesn’t mean correct. I don’t even know where to begin with this theory. An important first step would be forcing him to take a basic biology class and learn what evolution means.

Just agree with him. It’s more expedient and you should never argue with an idiot. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

I just took a Nutrition class in college, and our professors (we had 3!) stressed over and over and once more to eat A WIDE VARIETY OF FOODS. FROM EVERY FOOD GROUP.

Eat different foods from the different groups and you’ll likely end up with all the vitamins and minerals you need. You need carbs for energy or you’ll start burning protein for it, which you don’t want to do. Most Americans already eat plenty of protein in their regular diets, you don’t need to load. If you start nixing foods, you’ll be missing out on something useful for your body.

It is hard for the average person to lose weight. You’d have to have a 500 calorie deficit every day for a week to lose one pound. The most healthy way to lose weight is by eating a wide vareity of nutritious foods, exercising, and having patience. If your weight is a problem, seeing a nutritionist or doctor can be extremely helpful. They know more than you!

Yes, John, but not the same exact physiology. A wolf and a giraffe are similar also, and yet they don’t have identical diets.

This is just dumb. Where do the other doctors get it from then?

Humans don’t have races, and if we did, “mediterranean” wouldn’t be one of them.

We’re not designed, but if we were, we wouldn’t be designed to eat carbs. This much, at least, is true. That doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t eat carbs, of course.

Not a bad idea, all things considered.

Whuh? We didn’t evolve to eat pineapples at all, we evolved to eat whatever was available on the African plains. No pineapples there.

Can’t argue with the vegetables.

I agree.


Prior to reading his Unified Theory, I’ve heard bullets 2) thru 6) coming from doctors hawking a new book or their radio talk show program. Technically, rule #1 voids everything that follows it.

I would pretty much not argue with him. Arguing is exactly what would get his rocks off.

Since most people don’t keep the weight off, tell him you are studying his long-term behavior and trends to validate your position, which you will expound on at a later date.

When he blimps up again, conclude his diet was prone to disaster.

By designed, of course, he meant evolved. He’s no creationist.

This is the central point of his diet. And it does strike me as having some amount of logic. What other (wild) animal eats grains? The idea is not without precedent, but is of course controversial, and most nutritionists denounce it.

Oh, I forgot rule 7) Fat is good. Butter that steak. Wash it down with a tall glass of whole milk.

And rule 8) Wine is good, in moderation. Beer is bad, because it comes from grains.

In fact, it’s not so very different from my diet. Less fatty protein, certainly. And whole grains are not only OK, but essential. These differences are the very lynchpins of JUTN, though.

I think you need your own countervailing wacky nutritional theory – one based on nuts, maybe, or a fanatical rejection of refrigeration. Or maybe you could tell him you’re only eating foods that begin with the letter “o,” or cause hives in people of Ashkenazi descent, or are mentioned in Mother Goose. After all, that’s about where the guy is, mentally.

What other animal wears clothes? Lives in houses? Uses telephones? Builds machines? Writes? Reads? Posts on the SDMB (well, apart from Giraffe, of course)?

Really, this “we weren’t evolved/designed/created to X” is one of the dumbest arguments I’ve ever heard. Anyone who uses it should strip, go live in a tree and eat raw squirrels.


My BIL is considering publishing his patented 7-bean diet. He figures he can sell a couple million copies before people catch on. :wink:

I didn’t mean to characterize him as crazy or stupid. As I said, he’s one of the smartest guys I know. But even smart guys can get attached to wonky ideas.

As has been said, you’re probably not going to get much out of arguing with this guy. But, if you’d like to, here are a couple other data points:

  1. Every predator eats vegetables, grains, and whatever other food its prey was digesting at the time of the catch.

  2. Many vegetables are high in carbohydrates. Does he really mean no-carb?

  3. Even if we didn’t eat grains in the wild, that doesn’t mean that they’re bad for us. The health benefits of oatmeal are well-documented, for instance.

If you really want to get his goat, ask him to find any dietician/nutritionist/etc. who has a track record of getting people in shape with this sort of idea.

No strawberries in winter? What’s the point of living? :falls over dead:

Seriously, I live in a civilized society. We have refridgeration. And we EVOLVED to make fridges and freezers so we can eat our damn strawberries in the winter! The mere thought of giving those kind of treats up is giving me fits. If I wanted that I could move back to a poor village in India and be lucky to even see a strawberry.

Look. One of the benefits of modern society is to make ourselves comfortable and happy. Of course I’m a hedonistic type, but I don’t believe in an afterlife, so this is all I’ve got, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to enjoy the one life I get.

You’re missing the key issue here. What you need to do is abandon the phrase “John’s Unified Theory of Nutrition” and replace it with “John’s Nutrition(al) Unified Theory.” Then you can have fun calling his plan J-NUT. Be sure to refer to it often, out loud, to him and his other friends. :smiley:

No. He means no grains. As in wheat, oats, corn, and sorgum.

Dieticians sort of agree, especially when it comes to refined grains.

And I’ve floated my own untested hypothesis about the evils of corn here, with some small acceptance by you guys.