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Why Some Information Being Taught is Not Necessarily Correct
By Don Bennett, DAS

As I have a lot of experience with this, I'll share with you what I know. But let me preface this by saying if you hear in my descriptions a health educator who you're following because you believe them to be honest, sincere, and well-meaning, know that they could be, but they can also be teaching info that's not totally accurate because this is what they've been taught, and they learned it as a student and not as a researcher (researchers question everything, students tend not to question what they're taught). And also know that they might not be well-intentioned. I've worked with just such people (until I discovered their real motivations), and it's sad to say that they exist even in the raw food arena (where there's big money to be made, the marketers will exist).

Most health educators I know were not self-taught; they learned from someone else, either personally or through their writings. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with this approach to learning, but if what is learned contains some incorrect info, then what is taught to people, who may go on to teach others, is the same misinformation. Some health educators teach by philosophy. Again, nothing wrong with this approach if it's a sound philosophy based on the science of health, unless the philosophy is misinterpreted. Natural Hygiene (NH) is a good example. Some people who follow it take it to mean that anything that does not appear naturally in Nature is not to be consumed. And while this sounds like it makes good sense, it doesn't take into account that the food most people are eating is lacking in certain nutrients that the body requires for optimal health. So do you adhere, dogmatically, to a philosophy which works fine in the type of world we used to live in, or do you allow for reality. So some NH advocates will not take nutritional supplements because they aren't natural and because they've been told, incorrectly, that if they eat the foods we're biologically adapted to eat, and we don't cook them, and we eat enough of them, we'll get enough of all the nutrients we require. But since, in reality, this is not so, those who steadfastly follow this misinterpretation of NH will not take supplements, and if they're an educator, will teach this information to others. To get a good handle on what NH is actually about, see this page.

And there are some health educators who have been teaching something, like the above misinformation, for a long time. And they are solidly on record as saying these things. So when it becomes apparent that this info is incorrect, they find that they've painted themselves into a corner, and can't do a 180 on the issue for fear of losing credibility. In-other-words, they can't say, "I was wrong". There are other reasons for not correcting what they teach, and you can probably guess what they are. But the bottom line is that they continue to teach something that, in reality, is incorrect.

And then there are those "health educators" who tailor their programs and recommendations to gain the most market-share. And like most business people, they are very good at creating a public perception of being sincere, honest, forthright, well-intentioned, and caring to the degree that all their followers will vigorously defend them (except for the ones who eventually see them for who they really are). Often these followers have experienced health improvements from following their recommendations, and this cements their devotion. What they don't realize is that when someone moves from a typical Western diet that has created ill-health, to a healthier diet, improvements will always occur. But many of these healthier diets are not the healthiest diet, and will not give the person the best odds of avoiding a serious condition of ill-health in the future, yet this healthier diet is often touted as the diet that will allow them to achieve optimal health. You may have recently heard of "the death of the all-raw food diet". This is one example of pandering to the public; of telling people what they'd rather hear. This model generates the most subscribers and the highest profits, but at the expense of people's health.

How can you tell who's who?

Do they have an online forum where people's views are censored, and well-meaning, respectful people are banned? Meaning, are they not open to discussion? If they defend their positions by silencing those who have contrary information, instead of participating in open-minded, honest discussion because they want to teach accurate information, that can be a red flag. If their approach sounds easy-peazy and wonderful, that too bears further investigation. And naturally if they can't or won't provide reasons that support their contentions – reasons that make sense – this also should invite close scrutiny.

So, what's being taught that may not be correct?

If you eat the foods we're biologically adapted to eat, and you don't cook them, and you eat enough of them, you'll get enough of all the nutrients you require, so no need for nutritional supplements. (It's a lovely notion, and one that I'd love to believe, but I can't because it's not true.)

You can eat some cooked food too; it's really not that bad.

You should eat some cooked food if you want optimal health.

All men should consume X amount of calories per day, and all women should consume Y amount of calories. (I discuss the fallacy of this here.)

You will fail to thrive eating just fruit. (This does happen, but it's not the fault of the diet per se, it has to do with the poor nutritional quality of the foods that are part of the diet, but there's a way to make the diet we're designed to eat work so that we do thrive, and not merely survive.)

The recommended level of physical activity. (Way too high.)

Fasting solves all nutrient deficiency issues. (Not all, just some.)

The appropriate amount of fat in the diet. (Some teach too much, some teach too little; you can't necessarily go by a percentage because the body doesn't require a percentage, it requires an amount, and because amounts will vary for the same percentage based on different levels of activity.)

You must eat lots of greens. (I discuss this in my blog.)

So because of all the conflicting info, take a multi-educational approach when on your learning journey. Ask a lot of questions. Shine the light of day on all contentions, on all programs. Time-consuming? Yes. But it's also an investment in your future health.

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