Trick and Treat: How Healthy Eating is Making Us Ill
By Barry Groves
Hammersimith Press, 2008
Reviewed by Tim Boyd
When Dr. Albert Schweitzer set up his mission in Gabon, he could find no cancer amongst the people there—but it was there when he left. Wherever it goes and for hundreds of years, modern civilization has been consistently stalked by the shadow of modern degenerative disease. Barry Groves relies heavily on evidence from respected scientific journals to explore why this has been the case and to expose the main culprit. He refers to that culprit as “healthy eating,” eating according to the USDA food pyramid that relies heavily on grains and the associated politically correct nutritional advice warning against traditional foods full of saturated fat. He includes a quote from Dr. T. L. Cleave which sums up the insanity very nicely: “For a modern disease to be related to an old-fashioned food is one of the most ludicrous things I ever heard in my life.”
Beyond bad advice from the experts, there are other factors working against modern civilization. Under European Union legislation it is illegal to force pharmaceuticals to publish negative trial results. In the USA, FDA-approved drugs inflict a death toll similar to what would be expected if a nuclear weapon were detonated in a populated area each year. Another well-known factor would be the toxic effect of big industry on the environment.
Groves comments on the amazing lack of education among many experts. He recounts a telling conversation with a dietitian. When asked why the British Dietetic Association recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, her answer was because this represents healthy eating. After being asked again what the basis for that was, she said it was government advice. She was asked yet again to identify the source of the advice. Her response: “It’s healthy eating.” But it gets better. Since that line of questioning was going in circles and he knew that the British Dietetic Association based its recommendations on the Framingham study, he asked her a question about that study. Her answer was, “What’s the Framingham Study?”
Barry Groves spends a lot of ink on the evidence that a largely grain-based diet is responsible for increased risk of modern disease. I was intrigued by the discussion on vitamin C. Apparently a high intake of grain and carbohydrates increases the need for vitamin C. Back before British sailors became known as limeys they did not all suffer from scurvy. The ones who ate the most biscuits were the ones who had problems.
For the veteran of the Weston A. Price Foundation, there are no bombshells in this book. But even if you are familiar with most of the subject matter, you will enjoy Trick and Treat a very well written and interesting book. If you are new to the foundation, this book would make a good primer. Few books are perfect and I found one or two details to disagree with—for example, cyanocobalamin is not a safe or useful form of vitamin B12—but his treatment of subjects like fats, which most experts get wrong, is very good. Thumbs up for this book.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2008.