Have you come across this ludicrous trend on social media? Apparently, celery juice can do everything from heal your physical body to spark spiritual enlightenment. If you’re worried you’ve missed the next best thing in nutrition, don’t worry. You haven’t. In fact, the article that triggered this whole debacle is going to form the basis of today’s lesson:
How to spot nutritional wankery.
Today’s nine lessons are based on this blog post. I am NOT linking to the post because I support it. Quite the contrary. I want you to read it, then read this post and subsequently end the day a more intelligent and sensible adult when it comes to feeding yourself.
Lesson 1: Nutrition wankery will imply that it’s telling you a secret.
Quote: “If people knew all the potent healing properties of celery juice, it would be widely hailed as a miraculous superfood.”
We all love a good scandal or conspiracy theory. It’s even better when it’s implied that the authorities covered up the truth or us qualified people have been too stupid to discover it. When you feel like you’re discovering a secret, it makes you feel special. Like you’ve uncovered a treasure that you don’t have to share with the rest of the world! It causes you to be intrigued and keep reading.
The truth is, if something was so amazing, it wouldn’t be a secret. The reason qualified people aren’t proclaiming the benefits of celery juice is because there is no evidence to back up these claims.
Lesson 2: Nutrition wankery will tell you that thousands of people have already discovered the secret.
Quote: “I’ve seen thousands of people who suffer from chronic and mystery illness restore their health…”
Now that you’re hooked on the fact that you’ve discovered a secret, you realise (shock horror) it’s not a secret after all! How unfair! People are already benefiting from it! Why aren’t you?
Telling you that thousands of people have already discovered it creates a fear of missing out. Up until a few months ago I would have never considered using botox to correct my face wrinkles. I’m happy to grow old and just embrace the fine lines. Except a few months ago I overheard someone saying: “Everyone gets botox these days!” For the first time, I wondered whether I was missing out!
Nutritional wankery plays on your need to feel included. You better get on board with *insert new trend here* otherwise you’ll miss out. Unfortunately, you become one blind sheep aimlessly following all the other blind sheep, with no-one actually looking up and asking: Are we following the right advice?
Lesson 3: Nutritional wankery will insist that there is a special, detailed formula for their advice, rather than giving vague guidelines.
Quote: “…by drinking 16 ounces of celery juice daily [only] on an empty stomach.”
You can drink it with kale and with coriander, but if you’re a true follower, you’ll drink it by itself. And precisely 16 ounces.
Specific instructions give the allusion of expertise and authority on a particular topic. It makes you think that if they’ve gone to the trouble of articulating a specific regime to follow that there must be a wrong and a right way to do it. We assume that a lay person wouldn’t know this information and that because the author does, they must be an expert.
The problem with this advice is it’s completely unfounded. There is absolutely NO evidence for this specific statement. Unless they’ve done a double-blind randomised controlled trial and repeated that methodology numerous times with similar results, you can assume they’ve made that bad boy up to make themselves look like an expert. When in fact, they’re a nutritional wanker.
When it comes to nutrition, there are no wrong or right ways to eat. There are only key nutrition principles that can be applied to individual lives in a myriad of different ways to then promote health. I can tell you that a daily glass of celery juice cannot do anything more than a diet rich in vegetables can.
Lesson 4: Nutritional wankery will claim that their advice will cure all the diseases, especially the mystery ones (and even the genetic ones…)
Quote: “…all of these symptoms and illnesses are mysteries to medical communities, even though they have names. Their true causes are not yet known by medical research and science.”
The list of diseases that celery juice can heal is laughable! Seriously! Laughable. Most of them completely unrelated to each other! From diabetes to lupus, this one simple drink can cure them all, apparently!
This technique is all about playing on the desperation felt by sufferers of these diseases, claiming that because the medical community has no answers, their solution must be true. Not good logic at all.
I would like to know what the pathophysiological mechanism is by which celery juice cures these diseases. If no specific mechanism is given, it’s wankery to it’s core.
Lesson 5: Nutritional wankery will throw in a scatter of real scientific words (used incorrectly)
Quote: “Celery is perfect for reversing inflammation, because it starves the pathogens, including unproductive bacteria and viruses such as Epstein-Barr (EBV), that create it.”
Gosh we love the word inflammation! It just sounds so evil. And pathogen. That’s a good word too. Most lay people don’t know what inflammation is. It just sounds bad, so reversing it must be a good thing. Do you know what a pathogen is? It too must be bad because celery starves them. Take that you diabolical little pathogen. What’s hilarious is that the majority of the diseases listed in the paragraph prior to this quote are not caused by pathogens… So by all means, starve the pathogen, if celery juice could do that, but it’s not going to help your diabetes.
In reality, inflammation is a natural and highly complex biological response to a number of events experienced by the body. In many cases, inflammation is a good thing, not a bad thing. There are also many different types and levels of inflammation. To say that celery juice can ‘reverse inflammation’ shows the ignorance of the writer to basic physiology.
Lesson 6: Nutritional wankery throws in familiar nutritional truths (and then gets an Oscar for the very imaginative, yet fictional, application of it)
Quote: “Further, it won’t dehydrate your organs—instead, it clings to toxic, dangerous salts from poor-quality foods and helps draw them out of your body while replacing them with undiscovered cluster salts.”
I actually laughed till I cried after I read this sentence. I don’t even know where to begin, apart from saying: Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot…?!
Most of us know what dehydration means. We also know that words like ‘toxic’ and ‘dangerous’ shouldn’t be connected to our health. But ‘undiscovered cluster salts’. I can’t even. These are not a thing. The author actually goes on to say that “science has not yet deconstructed or studied these cluster salts.” Oh really? I wonder why… Oh, because they aren’t real! You made it up!
Lesson 7: Nutritional wankery takes the complete opposite standpoint on a commonly held health theory
Quote: “Sadly, the popular, incorrect autoimmune theory holds people responsible for their sickness. It leads people to believe that their body has betrayed them, turned against them, let them down.”
This technique is all about you connecting with the emotion of betrayal: to paint the doctor as the bad guy and your body an innocent victim. It’s hard not to start to question the validity of medical insight after reading that whole paragraph. But it’s simply an emotional anecdote – the writer is not presenting any evidence.
I agree that a diagnosis of an auto-immune disease is not a nice one, but this doesn’t mean that the theory is incorrect. I’m also all for questioning the status quo in science. I mean, we used to think the world was flat! However, blindly disagreeing with a theory with no hard evidence is just as bad! I hope that 20 years from now, we’ll have answers for auto-immune conditions. Until then, unfortunately, celery juice is not going to help you.
Lesson 8: Nutritional wankery wants to create a problem and then sell you a solution
Quote: “Learn more about the miraculous healing powers of celery juice in the books Thyroid Healing & Liver Rescue”
This technique is used by all kinds of businesses. It’s marketing 101. Articulate the problem of your customer and present them with a solution. This guy, Medical Medium, has written lots of books and bottom line: he wants you to buy them.
Lesson 9: Nutritional wankery has made up qualifications
Quote from About page: “Anthony William was… …born with the unique ability to converse with Spirit of Compassion who provides him with extraordinarily accurate health information that’s often far ahead of its time.”
I’m a spiritual person and believe in a higher power, so I’m not having a go at spirituality. However, if a higher power was communicating to this man, it would at least help him use the words ‘inflammation’ and ‘pathogen’ in the correct context.