The merriam-webster dictionary has stated that conventional wisdom is, “the generally accepted belief, opinion, judgment, or prediction about a particular matter.” When it comes to nutrition and the food industry conventional wisdom is what the FDA prescribes to us as a society, what the RDI recommendations are based on, and what our doctors tell us about our health. Our cholesterol is over 200? Conventional wisdom tells us that this is too high, without considering the breakdown of a cholesterol test. Conventional wisdom also tells us high-fructose corn syrup is an acceptable sugar substitute, that artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are smarter choices over regular soda, that carbohydrates should be our main source of energy, that saturated fat leads to heart disease.
Society has taken a stand over the internet and in books with research that disproves much of what conventional wisdom encourages. People are becoming more and more curious and interested in what they’re putting into their bodies. Eating organic has taken a new surge of attention. Eating locally is now surfacing as another smart choice. The importance of omega-3:omega-6 ratios, probiotics, and Vitamin D are also front and center stage. The effects of processed foods and pesticides on health and the effects of sugars and high carb diets on obesity rates are all extensively being discussed today. The debate over whether eggs are good for us and if red meat is really bad for us leads many people to stay confused and uncertain.
Disinterest, ignorance, and misinformation may leave many of us down a path of disaster if we don’t educate ourselves. Some who are interested may fear food for all the negativity they hear or the complexity of the topic. The argument of what’s good for you, what’s bad for you, what hurts the environment, what’s unethical all come into play and are constantly changing. Yet, many people are striving to get the facts and many researchers are pouring time and effort into figuring out the truth behind the nutrients in our food.
At this point, many view conventional wisdom and the food industry as a bitter enemy. We have to wonder, why is conventional wisdom like this in the first place? Why is high-fructose corn syrup used, why were artificial sweeteners developed, why are foods marked with reduced-fat labels, why is saturated fat and cholesterol avoided so severely, why were trans fats and hydrogenated oils invented, and why are we now in a society that is using genetically modified foods?
Starting blogs that promote health and fight against the FDA may help change the lives of thousands of readers. Passing out flyers of the hazards of conventional farming may convert people to eat less meat or buy grass-fed, free-range, and other more ethical choices at the market or convert to a vegan diet. Informing people about corn and the hazards of processed foods and pesticides may make a difference in many lives, but what does it really do in the grand scheme of things?
The percentage of people who eat unfavorably, who are exposed to current conventional wisdom, is increasing. For every thousand lives that are changed by those who rebel against conventional wisdom, tens of thousands of people are coming into our world who will be exposed to practices of conventional wisdom.
Living with the food industry is required, neglecting or trying to avoid it is not the answer and will not fix the problems of today. The ideal is to improve upon the system that is set-up, replace outdated conventional wisdom with new-age conventional wisdom, and work toward a greater comprehension of how to sustain our present without jeopardizing our future.