Social Media Tribes Supporting or Opposed to the Planetary Health Diet

Fighting for the Moral High Ground of Nutrition

Human history is full of bloody conflicts to claim moral high ground. The Thirty Years’ War pitted the Holy Roman Empire against Protestant states. But we can find nothing holy in the carnage that resulted. Now we wage our wars on twitter. And true believers go at it to claim the moral high ground of nutrition.

Did Meat Fans Defeat the EAT-Lancet Army?

In Quartz, Chase Purdy tells us that an army of pro-meat tweeters scrambled the rollout of the planetary health diet. How did they do that? Apparently with passion and a hashtag – #yes2meat. Ad hominem attacks played a role, too. Purdy bases his reporting on a social media analysis published this week in Lancet. The corresponding author is Victor Galaz. He’s Deputy Director of the Stockholm Resilience Center, which was the scientific coordinator for the EAT-Lancet report. In their social media analysis, they conclude:

Scientists and journals face serious challenges in a rapidly changing media landscape that is susceptible to the intentional dissemination of misleading content. Health communication campaigns are clearly susceptible to polarisation, so-called content pollution, and disinformation.

Scientists and scientific outlets such as The Lancet need to be continuously aware of, and act proactively, to avoid manipulation and misinformation about issues of fundamental importance for human health and the planet.

In this analysis, the EAT-Lancet warriors are the good guys. After all, they’re fighting for human health and the planet. Skeptics are the enemy.

HAES® Versus Keto

Health at Every Size® followers also claim moral high ground as a human rights movement. So it’s interesting to see them challenged on social media by true believers in the keto faith. In this thread, you’ll find plenty of self-righteousness from the keto flock:

Moral High Ground

We get it. You get a lovely view from the moral high ground. It’s exhilarating to look down on sinners who haven’t yet discovered the true pathway to dietary salvation.

Unfortunately though, it’s all an illusion. There is no one best way to find nourishment and health. Many different options can get you there. No one has all the answers. Casting skeptics as sinners doesn’t help. Humility, objectivity, and curiosity can help us each find answers that work for us. Practical answers, not religious miracles.

Click here for Purdy’s reporting in Quartz and here for the analysis from Galaz et al. For the EAT-Lancet report, click here.

Social Media Tribes Supporting or Opposed to the Planetary Health Diet, image © Lancet / Stockholm Resilience Centre

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November 30, 2019

2 Responses to “Fighting for the Moral High Ground of Nutrition”

  1. November 30, 2019 at 10:17 am, David Brown said:

    The EAT-Lancet report characterizes red meat as unhealthy. I would characterize red meat as defective if the animals are fed cereal grains. Chicken, turkey, and pork are even more problematic for health because they are monogastrics fed up on cereal grains for the entire production cycle. Consequently, the arachidonic acid content of their lean tissue and the linoleic acid content of their fat stores is excessive.

    It is interesting that lard derived from grain-fed swine has caused an epidemic of obesity in laboratory animals. Excerpt: “It is true that the vast advancement in technological developments has led to a reduction in physical activity worldwide, but as obesity now involves infants and the populations of developing countries, this obesity pandemic cannot be attributed to this alone.In addition, laboratory and other domesticated animals have also been subject to the increased prevalence of obesity, despite having largely unchanged living conditions for many years.”

    The most disturbing thing about the vegan/omnivore debate is the lack of a scientific basis for argument. Neither side pays attention to the facts. The truth is out there. Find it and use it to make yourself healthy.

  2. November 30, 2019 at 1:26 pm, Mary-Jo said:

    Optimal nourishment is not a binary process. Nutritional needs vary dependent on genetics, environmental factors which not only include local foodstuffs available and accessible, but things like weather, natural resources of the area, soil, air quality, activities of daily life and usual physical activity of a population, for example, do people drive to get places, cycle, walk, etc. Then there are factors like cultural influences, taste preferences, budget, time and skills for shopping/prepping/cooking. How and what people eat does affect their nutritional status and health and the health and sustainability of the environment, but similar positive goals can be reached in different ways so everyone can consume the diet that works best for them and eat with dignity and pleasure.