We Know What a Healthy Diet Is. Now Can We Stop Arguing About It?


I am disappointed with what he said about 2/3 through where he quoted Pollan’s bit. Pollan’s bit is “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” Two-thirds of that (the “eat foods” part and the “not too much” part) is completely useless. Implied in the question of “What should you eat?” is that it should be food and not too much, or too little of it. How does something so vapid catch on like it did?

ETA: And for that matter the “mostly plants” part isn’t that useful since there are so many plants in the world and I suspect that most plants in the world aren’t good for humans to eat. And even the ones that are only have parts of the plant that are good. A tomato is good to eat but most of a tomato plant consists of the non-tomato part. Can you eat the non-tomato part of a tomato plant and get any benefit?

I think you might be reading too much into it lol

Because it’s so different from what most people do.

A lot of people drink a lot of empty calories, they eat a high proportion lot of animal products, and they eat too much food. That is a fairly typical diet, and it leads to many typical problems.


Holy crap you’re alive!


He did say a while back he was backing away from the forums, but it’s nice to see he hasn’t completely divorced himself from us. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Thanks, guys. It’s nice to be missed.


We will keep arguing about it, sorry. haha

How healthy?


I don’t know about the speaker, but I set the bar for “healthy” pretty low. Basically if it isn’t unhealthy then I consider it healthy.


haha yep!

See, for most of my life I’ve been eating mostly unhealthy foods. But all my blood tests always came back “above average” at worst, for overall health. No issues whatsoever. I am living proof that one can be perfectly healthy without eating healthy. :sunglasses:

That vid was vague. We need details about the details!


Thankfully these bodies are designed to take a lot of abuse and keep on tickin’; I certainly haven’t been kind to mine over all these years either. They’re better than a Timex.


Are you originally of a different culture or language? Pollan’s mantra seems to be pretty universally understood by North Americans.

Eat food: only things you can identify as food from site, name, etc.
Mostly plants: eat mostly vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, etc. Grains would also qualify.
Not too much: this one needs no explanation. But…eat what you need and no more.

I’m sure reading the book (I haven’t) would inform us much more on exactly what he means. Over all it seems to be a useful universal mantra to eat by.

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“Shut up,” he explained.

Yeah, like Soylent.
That’s what I love about Soylent…it strives to be chemically identical to the kind of diet he describes even though I’m sure his knee-jerk reaction to Soylent would be that it is an abomination…


It’s hard to speak for another, but we can be fairly certain he didn’t mean something like Soylent, notwithstanding it’s actual merits as food or not food.

It’s not so much, or only, chemical composition he’s getting at with his maxim. It’s in large part the degree of processing. And that’s a bar Soylent won’t ever be able to clear completely. Again, whether that matters or not is up for debate. But it is clear it’s a challenge for RA, with the relatively high glycemic index and load that is due mainly imo to the processed carbohydrate base they have to use.

I didn’t mean that I literally didn’t understand what Pollan was getting at, rather I meant that his advice is meaningless and shallow. If you ask someone what you should eat and they reply “Food and not too much” do you really think you’re getting useful advice? I think just about everybody would know before asking the question that they should eat food and that they shouldn’t eat too much or too little of it.

This reminds me of the baseball pitching coach whose advice to his pitchers was “Throw strikes but don’t give them anything to hit.” It’s not advice at all. Every pitcher already knows you’re supposed to throw strikes but not give them anything to hit. The question is, how?

By the way, when Pollan says that people should eat food, he means food in its original state (even though most food thought to be in its original state today has actually been changed from how it was before). To Pollan and the foodies to whom he’s preaching, food that has been “processed” in any way, including Soylent, is not “real food.” I think the people online that despise even the idea of Soylent are the same ones that think Pollan’s advice is great but to be sure go onto the websites and/or message threads and ask them.

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Incidentally, I’m left handed. So “how” is of little consequence to me. I can throw a curve ball without even trying. /notsohumblebrag

I dunno, I think his suggestions are due to him being unaware of Soylent. Vegetables usually provide the micronutrients that an unhealthy diet that meets macros would miss, so to him there is no other way. I think if he knew Soylent’s recipe he would advocate it, or at the very least equate it to “normal” health standards.