Todo lo que sabes sobre nutrición puede ser mentira. | Aitor Sánchez | TEDxMalagueta

Todo lo que sabes sobre nutrición puede ser mentira. | Aitor Sánchez | TEDxMalagueta

October 7, 2019 100 By Ewald Bahringer


Translator: Adelina Bordea
Reviewer: Sebastian Betti How wrong, how wrong,
how wrong people eat. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it. We dietists and nutritionists
had to be invented — And this happened because
things started getting quite bad — in order to calm what was happening. Actually, mankind has been all the time
eating what it was at hand, right? Hunters, gatherers, then
we started farming, raising animals in order to kill and eat them. But actually, regardless of some
deficiency diseases, people was still guided by thirst, hunger, and ate whatever
it was around, and they were good. But things went wrong because
human beings started killing themselves. I don’t mean killing each other,
which we’ve always done pretty well. Now we’ve started killing ourselves. To such an extent that,
in the last 20 or 30 years most of the deaths in the world specially, in recent times,
are early and preventable deaths. That’s why I say
people is killing themselves by eating, by drinking,
by smoking, and in car accidents. It sounds shocking, but people
are killing themselves after all. What we should ask is: why do we
keep eating this way knowing that it’s killing us? That’s really what I want to
address in this talk because what we’ve been told
about what “healthy eating” is, is not truly accurate. The reason is very simple. We have several tenets in nutrition,
some believes that somehow perpetuate and explain that
we should eat in a specific way. For example, tomorrow I’ll get up
and I cook rice with vegetables and a bit of shellfish, and you say:
What is he doing? A nutritionist eating rice in the morning? But if instead of rice
boiled in a pan, is puffed rice, I put it in a mug, I pour some milk
and I put chocolate on it, it would be completely normal, isn’t it? Then, let’s say that
we’ve been taught about diet through very peculiar glasses and
we can only see a bit of the information. We see a very biased sector. The problem is that if, when we are living
our daily life, those glasses tell us what is healthy and it’s not really true. Some people think that
dietist-nutritionist’s work is to tell people what they should eat. Precisely, I try to prove that
it’s just the opposite. So I take off those glasses from people
to show that, hey, maybe you don’t have to eat as you’ve been told
and you should get out of the Matrix. And maybe, it’s just about
eating whatever you want if and when it’s healthy, isn’t it? Obviously. This is very difficult because that
apparent freedom to eat whatever we want is not so real because we
actually eat what they taught us to. We grow up in a culture, we’ve been raised
and this impregnates some invisible ideas, like those myths, like those tenets. Somehow, they’re invisible thoughts sometimes very difficult to be noticed,
they’re not always palpable and they tell us what “we have” to eat. Some time ago, it was very useful
to identify some acting ways, such as racism, sexism
or any kind of abuse or slavery, so I propose you to name
this invisible context that oppresses us and makes us eat
what is supposedly keeps us healthy and refer to it in that same way
during the whole talk. We’ll call it “dietarchy”, OK? The healthy eating model
that tells us what to eat. That means, it puts us
in a bubble and tells us “eat this or that way,” which are
a series of invisible thoughts that are there day after day. People who think
“eating healthy is expensive” or “I bet eating healthy
must take a lot of time.” Everything you drink due to
the advertising that is not controlled generally by the governments,
the bad formulation of the food we find in the supermarkets
and the main problem, the environment that surrounds us. The human being has a fixation and it is
that we love the surrounding environment. It usually eats whatever is nearby,
no matter of the information it has. That’s why you haven’t eaten fruit today.
Because in your context was none. If there were fruits
at the auditorium’s exit people would have eaten fruit. And everyone knows fruit is healthy. But eating behavior and health behavior goes much further than information.
It depends on the context. Dietarchy, among many other things,
also modulates people’s context. That’s why we drink with no consideration
when we’re at a party. That’s why we go to
a birthday party and eat cake. Maybe, without even considering
we may not feel like eating cake. Our diet doesn’t follow
logical nor scientific criteria. That’s why we’ve ended this way. Otherwise, there would be no explanation
why other countries have directly recommended their population
to eat food that is not healthy. A very easy example is: do you
really think the basis of human nutrition are cereals for breakfast
and flour bags? Probably not. Do you think it’s a good recommendation
to say “hurrah for wine” and “consume beer in moderation,
bacon in moderation, cold meat in moderation, sweets
in moderation, buns in moderation”? It could be one of the perspectives,
but is the human being so different that a country like Spain recommends
something completely different than Australia? Is the metabolism different? No, maybe they’ve decided,
through their policies not to promote unhealthy food. When someone is going to give
a public health message is a very good idea to have
few conflicts of interests with those things
they give the message about. And I mean this. Because if you’re giving
a message in the media about health or diet and it comes up that people
sponsor your congress it’s probable you’ll end up telling lies to the population like “you can drink
light sodas every day.” Or if you’re maybe working with
a pharmaceutical company or with the biscuits industry,
you’ll maybe end up saying you have to take Omega 3 supplements or maybe that kids have to
eat cookies every day and this is obviously not true. It’s scientifically false, like other
statements that are made every day and they are very, very
deep inside our culture. Everyone has heard this: “Dairy products are essential,
you have to eat bread every day, wine is good for your hearth,
beer helps to rehydrate.” These are four issues that
are objectively false. Because the scientific data tells us
that all four are objectively false. At this point, if my thesis
about the dietarchy was true someone for sure must have started to ask in a defensive way:
“What is he saying? We won’t be able to eat anything.
Why I cannot have dairy products? Why I cannot have wine?
From time to time it cannot be bad.” I didn’t say the opposite.
I’ve just read four sentences that say dairy products are essential,
we have to eat bread every day, wine is good for your heart
and beer rehydrates. The bad thing of when
a dietarchy’s idea is put in our minds is that we start accepting it despite scientific data, despite common sense or despite our own experience. Do you know anyone who lives
without needing oxygen? See? Oxygen is essential
for the human being. Dairy products are not
essential for the human being. It’s common sense.
I just needed 20 seconds and it can easily be seen,
with no major scientific study. And also, the worst of all
is that we ignore the experience. Everybody has experienced alcohol.
Or at least a lot of people. But if you repeat a hundred times
“beer hydrates” there’s people that, despite they
feel dehydrated when they drink alcohol will accept this as a true thing. “But beer hydrates.” That’s a lie. If beer hydrated, university students
would wake up quite hydrated on Sunday morning. And they don’t. They wake up with a dry mouth. (Applause) Beside installing ideas in the system,
dietarchy perpetuates and defends them. This is why we react
in such an energetic way. When a scientific disseminator,
a doctor appears in the media and tells truths like
“dairy products are not essential, Harward does not recommend eating
more than two servings of dairy a day,” it’s not justified for you to have to take
juice, cookies and milk for breakfast. People fight back and ask: “Why I cannot have
four servings of dairies? Why I cannot have milk every day? Who says I cannot have juice? Well, I’m not lying to you,
I’m telling you the truth. Maybe, you should be a bit skeptical
and ask yourself who put those false ideas in your mind. It makes no sense having cereals,
juice and milk for breakfast every day. It makes no sense,
but we’ve accepted these ideas. Perhaps we should show that skepticism
to those who installed the virus on us and not to those who want to shake us up
the foundation of our beliefs. That’s the real problem: that unscientific
thoughts have been installed on us thoughts that aren’t supported
by scientific evidences but which we’ve believed as right. Why? Because they were in the invisible things that have been part of our food culture. I’m going to show you
how it was installed one of the programs of dietarchy and how recently it’s starting
to be uninstalled with a case in point. It’s the recent case we’ve
been through with the sugar that you’ll know that 10 or 15 years ago
went completely unnoticed, there wasn’t much talk about sugar, but now it’s become
public enemy number one. Is sugar essential? Of course not.
We can go back to the oxygen test. If sugar was essential, humankind
would not have been able to survive until we discovered the
sugar cane or sugar beet. In any case, we could discuss
if beyond indispensable, was necessary, not sugar, but glucose. Glucose is a compound, a molecule
that’s in the carbohydrates. It’s one of the carbohydrates, but
it can be taken from many sources. You can take it from sugar,
bad choice, and you can take it from fruits, veggies, vegetables,
legumes, cereals, roots… When that food that you want
to install assumes that, the fact it isn’t healthy
and it’s been discovered, there’s a need to
start avoiding the topic. And there’s when the reasoning starts: “Yes, I must be unhealthy,
but the fault is yours because you aren’t choosing well. You had too much sugar today. You could have brought
a banana from home.” When the surroundings is predisposed to consume unhealthy food, it’s very hard; the “it’s your fault, you’re
not doing anything” reasoning or the “it’s others’ foods
with more calories fault like cooking oil. There’s a reflection to be made here,
and that is that we cannot evaluate a food just because it contains sugar or not
or that sugar itself is bad. Food needs to be evaluated
as a whole and, in this case, ultra-processed foods,
that often have sugar in them, have one thing in common
and it’s that they change our behavior. They’re tasty and they create us,
in some way, dependency. You cannot usually have
eating enough sweet foods. So they blame us telling us
“you’ve eaten too much cereals. I said 25 grammes,
not pouring for 25 seconds.” OK, it’s just that you’re selling it in a
format that lets people to have too much. Or that reasoning
that many time’s been said: “excess of everything is bad.” Well no, not everything. And things in the same excess
are not as damaging. We’re still waiting for someone
with diabetes type 2 because he had too many Brussels sprouts. And that’s not happening. So we play with foods
that can create a high dependency and we demand people
to consume them in moderation. That’s quite tricky. It’s like “smoke just
one cigarette and that’s it.” This is not going to happen. If, in addition, these foods
that use this argument get normalized around us,
in your institutions, in the public health,
we find them in hospitals, in the mass catering,
in our kindergartens and in the scholar menus,
people end up accepting them. Why? Because it is
completely normalized. For example, if labelling facilitates
that a food can evade, somehow, its content of sugar, it’s going to use it. That’s the cocoa powder effect, that I call brown painted sugar. Cocoa powder contains
from 78 to 80 percent of sugar. But they sell it to us as high in zinc,
high in vitamins breakfast. It’s like me telling you: “OK, your car is broken, but
I’ve bought you a pine air freshener.” It’s completely useless. Drinking cocoa powder because
it has zinc or magnesium in it is irrelevant because 78 percent
you’re taking is sugar. It’s one of the strategies that any food that wants to distract us. All this information
wouldn’t be harmful if there was none who
transmits and repeats it. perpetuating it in society. And in this sense it is
very well documented, both scientifically and journalistically, what web of influence
has the sugar industry woven in academics, in scientists,
in institutions, so that it can spread and
settle into the dietarchy. That’s why it took us so long to start
uninstalling it from our system. It’s not because now
we’ve discovered sugar is… No, we knew that from long ago.
But now the situation is so obvious the situation was so bad
there was no other choice than starting acting. And the virus of the system has started to unhook, little by little. The change is starting
and that change has been thanks to the awareness from
the last three, four years. Wrapping up, science is the best way a wonderful way to understand the world. It’s the best tool
the human being has invented to understand what surrounds us. The problem? Around the
scientific studies there are variables that don’t rely on the scientific method, there are variables that depend on
the human being and there we find the
sponsoring of the studies or the communication
of these scientific studies. I’m going to show you a fact
which I think is quite illustrative of what happens in science. This study wanted to see
the results of the studies that had been made about consumption
of soft drinks and whether or not they cause overweight and obesity. The result was the following:
if the study is sponsored by the sugar industry,
what the study says is “No, it doesn’t cause overweight.” Meanwhile, those studies that
are independent, that are public tell us instead “yes, the consumption
of sugary soft drinks is in fact linked to
overweight and obesity.” Look how serious it is that
the results of studies sometimes are so dependent on
the people that are sponsoring. That’s why dietists had to be invented. That’s why now, more than ever,
we need responsible health workers who cannot remain neutral
before all the lies they’re telling us to say
of how we have to eat when there’s no scientific data for that. We need health professions
who dare to uncover the lies that are hurting
right now our public health. Thank you. (Applause)