Cherry-Picking and Confusion

24.5.2016 | 01:06

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I was listening to a podcast a couple of days ago, hosted by one of my colleagues.

He and his guest were talking about different diets, and mentioned The China Study, as well as an article by the Weston A. Price Foundation debunking it.

I’ve read the book, and I’ve read the paper.

I thought I knew what was coming:  another trashing of Dr. Campbell’s pro-plant-based diet book.

(Full disclosure:  I was a vegan for several years, and no longer am, although I eat a mostly plant-based diet.)

It’s become really common these days to trash whatever work contradicts whatever diet, lifestyle, etc. someone’s promoting.

But here’s the funny thing:

These guys didn’t trash the book.


The guest, a chiropractor who was not promoting a particular type of diet, commented that, yes, if you’re eating conventionally raised animal products, you probably will suffer from all of the problems documented in Campbell’s work.

Both guest and host went into a brief discussion about how many proponents of high-fat and/or high-protein diets point out all of the studies illustrating how deadly and dangerous carbohydrates can be.

But they made the distinction between refined sugars, grains, oils, etc. and healthy, low-glycemic carbs.


Sanity in the diet and nutrition world!

Okay, so maybe I’m getting a little over-excited here, but I am so sick and tired of every freakin’ group out there cherry-picking their data to support the ideas they’re promoting.

And it happens on all sides….

Some dedicated vegans are utterly convinced that any sort of animal product is damaging to our health.

And equally devoted followers of ketogenic and Paleo diets are dead-set against any form of grains or beans.


All of them can quote books, papers, studies, experts … supporting their position.

I should know.

In my search to find the best, healthiest diet for me, I’ve read more of them than I care to remember.

The arguments are convincing.

There are lots of impressive-looking citations.

There are several well-known, popular experts taking sides.

And we’re all left amid the debris of the “food fights,” still struggling to find the “perfect diet.”

Is anyone else sick to the back teeth of all of this??  Or is it just me?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

I don’t know what the perfect diet for you might be.

Hell, I’m not even sure I’ve figured out the perfect diet for myself yet, although I’m a lot closer than I was a year ago….

But I am so damn tired of listening to the rhetoric around the subject.

That’s why it was so refreshing to hear these two gentlemen discussing this on the podcast….

They made a distinction between factory-farmed animals fed genetically-modified feed, hormones and antibiotics, and raised in filthy, appalling conditions – and animals raised on organic grass, treated humanely and without pharmaceuticals.

They pointed out the difference between packaged, processed foods made with refined (and also often genetically-modified) sugars and starches – and healthy carbohydrates like root vegetables, and for some, whole (non-GMO) grains and beans.

This was such a breath of fresh air I wanted to applaud them both – there is seldom much nuance in many of these discussions.


Anyone can cherry-pick their data to meet their predetermined “conclusions.”

But if we really want to help people, we need to make sure we consider all of the evidence at our disposal.

Even if it disagrees with our own personal “diet dogma.”

Which is why I’ve chosen not to have one, beyond my personal “Diane Diet.”

I can’t tell you what might be the perfect diet for you, but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned, and work with you to help you figure it out on your own.

There are some good sources out there.

Let’s skip the food fights and cherry-picked data and make up our own minds, okay?



  1. Patti Lynn
    May 24, 2016 | 3:55 pm

    This is pure gold: “I can’t tell you what might be the perfect diet for you, but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned, and work with you to help you figure it out on your own.” Bravo, Diane!

    • daletchworth
      May 24, 2016 | 5:44 pm

      Thanks so much, Patti Lynn. Debra

  2. Jenn
    May 24, 2016 | 4:09 pm


    • daletchworth
      May 24, 2016 | 5:44 pm


  3. Jace
    May 24, 2016 | 5:00 pm

    No diet fighting from me. Each person has their unique journey. I’m rolling with empathy and love. Cheers

    • daletchworth
      May 24, 2016 | 5:43 pm

      Jace — high five!! 🙂

  4. Barbara
    May 24, 2016 | 6:01 pm

    Very well said Diane! To each their own… what works one moment for one person may not work the next so it’s about adapting to our bodies needs 🙂

  5. Brad
    May 25, 2016 | 12:29 am

    Well said! I’d buy the book “The Diane Diet”! 😉

    Looking at things as black or white creates problems.

    As far as cherry-picking goes, I love cherries but too many will give you cherry-gut – keep em seasonal, local and organic. ?

    Food fights? Not for me. Unless it is to say chill out. I did enjoy old fashion food fights like we weren’t meant to have as kids but the good food is too precious and too many people don’t have enough to throw it around.

    • daletchworth
      May 25, 2016 | 2:50 pm

      Brad, good to know there’s a market for that book! Right there with you as far as the cherries go, except we don’t actually have them available locally — but we do stick to organic and seasonal only. Yeah, there are food fights and there are food fights — maybe we should stick to “food” fights, and concentrate on eating the good, REAL food! Debra 🙂

  6. Andrea Caprio
    May 25, 2016 | 9:34 pm

    Very refreshing and you are so right. I read the book too (it gets a bit boring after some while as indeed there is so much more to it). I think balance is the key, your own that is

    • daletchworth
      May 25, 2016 | 10:58 pm

      Andrea — Good for you for reading the book. Total agreement in regard to balance — for each of us. Debra

  7. Catarina
    May 26, 2016 | 5:50 pm

    You are describing my experience to a T Diane. In the end, a person’s diet is so dynamic and constantly evolving that trying to box it under a standard is fruitless and it “boxes” the person.
    Oh, and I’ll be looking out for that book 😉

    • daletchworth
      May 26, 2016 | 8:24 pm

      In agreement, Catarina — our needs are always changing as our bodies change, and we need to spread the word that it’s okay to come out of those “boxes.” Hmm, I’m going to have to encourage Diane on that book! 🙂

  8. Michele
    May 26, 2016 | 6:40 pm

    I’m with you! The diet wars need to stop. Our bodies are all unique so naturally we can’t expect one certain way of eating to be universal. I love how you call yours the “Diane Diet”.

    • daletchworth
      May 26, 2016 | 8:25 pm

      Yes, Michele, they absolutely need to stop. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next. I suspect your best diet is the “Michele Diet.” 🙂 Debra

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