I’ll get to Whole Foods in a moment, but one of the reasons I wrote about the misuse of heritability by Megan McArdle last week is that I can’t stand it when people misuse biology to push a political agenda (and hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to that next week). As I argued in a previous post, we can disagree about how to respond to a set of facts, but the facts are what they are.
So, onto the Whole Foods grocery woo. The CEO of Whole Foods recently wrote a far right screed against health insurance reform, in which he argues that it would be unnecessary if we only ate our vegetables. No, really, he does:
Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.
I’m all for healthy eating–so is the Obama Administration. It does appear to improve health. But the above quote is ridiculous. Eating lots of vegetables will get rid of cancer? Type I diabetes? Parkinson’s? Muscular dystrophy? Alzheimer’s can be reversed by a vegetable diet? If only all of the families with an Alzheimer’s patient knew….
Now, I’m not surprised that the Whole Foods’ CEO would claim this crap. If you go to their suppliments section (at least at the one in Boston as of a couple of months ago), you’ll see that they sell NADPH, an enzyme involved in central metabolism to boost energy. This is profoundly stupid woo: not only will the enzyme never reach you (either you digestion or your commensal bacteria will degrade it), but it wouldn’t function as an energy boost if it did. Woo seems to be Whole Foods’ stock in trade. By itself, it’s nothing more an amusing sucker’s play–a time honored, if despicable, ploy.
But when you start using woo to justify healthcare policy decisions that will affect the lives of millions of people, that’s disgusting.
And it also makes you a fucking moron to boot.
I would claim that I’m going to boycott Whole Foods, but, since I never shop there, my bold statement wouldn’t mean much. But boycotting Whole Foods is a good idea–and good for your health.