Column #176

Indoctrination is the process of getting a person or group to accept a set of beliefs without question. No one is 100% immune to the many forms of indoctrination. Therefore, all of us have been indoctrinated with certain beliefs: some good and some not so much.

How many forms of indoctrination can you name besides religious and political beliefs. Here are a few I thought of:

Looking back at recorded history, it’s easy to see how amazingly foolish people were at times in swallowing pure nonsense such as the world was flat, fear of hot air balloons, burning witches, tulip mania, the Holocaust was good, and on and on. Unfortunately, we assume we’re smarter than people in the past and we can’t possibly be fooled by stupid or dangerous indoctrinations. Yet many very popular modern beliefs are actually just myths. Today’s “fake news” media is a reminder of how devoid of facts many messages are that we’re subjected to. And I’m not just talking about politics.

Myths become believable primarily for two reasons. First, like all indoctrinations, they are repeated over and over again. After hearing them everywhere they turn, people tend to accept the messages as gospel. Secondly, few people question the logic nor do they research the science and/or history behind the messages they’re exposed to. Without questioning, they are easily indoctrinated.

When people question their beliefs, come to a different realization, and then change their beliefs based on their new viewpoint, transformation occurs. Unfortunately, most transformations are really difficult.

The health food industry has been built mostly on indoctrinations that are so effective that transformations are rare. Consumers have no idea just how much nutritional and biological peer-reviewed research exists. Therefore, in spite of the science, most health food messages are indoctrinations based on myths or conveniently omitted facts in order to boosts sales. If this weren’t the case, health food stores would only sell a fraction of the products they currently offer. As it is, health food stores sell a wide spectrum of supplements, processed foods, high glycemic foods, and foods with very high Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) ratios. Their offerings of green leafy greens and grass-fed meats are tiny at best. Money is the driver and that trumps health.

Health food myths hold sway because people have been indoctrinated with certain words and phrases over and over again. Therefore since they are familiar with those words they think they know all about those topics. Some popular words consumers know well are:

What they don’t realize is that during the past 50 years scientists determined that many messages regarding food and health are based on ignorance, deception, and even greed! The short list of keywords above only scratches the surface of words that are misinterpreted by the public, health care professionals, and nutritional blogs.

Rather than explain away the many myths listed above, I’ll introduce another very popular, yet deceptive health food indoctrination tactic that’s not on the list. It’s the advertising of a particular food based on its good nutrients rather than its entire package of nutrients. Of course, it’s the entire package that counts. That’s because if some nutrients are harmful, the food may not be all that good. An extreme example is: all poisonous foods provide some nutrients that are required by animal life. But the good nutrients don’t make them edible.

Here is how the deceptions work. Take an advertisement for promoting more potassium, an essential nutrient, in the diet. Invariably, recommendations for foods high in potassium will include nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds, pistachios, squash seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, and watermelon seeds because they are high in potassium. But there’s more to these selections than meets the eye that is not advertised. It’s their EFA balances for tiny one-ounce servings.


It’s a scientific fact that a person’s EFA balance has a major bearing on the effectiveness of their immune system, nerves, and brain. The optimal EFA balance is estimated to be 1:1. When the ratio exceeds 4:1 incidences of chronic disease increase. High ratios are associated with virtually every single known chronic disease. This is why fish oil is one supplement that is rightfully promoted. But even fish oil doesn’t solve the Omega-3 deficiency if the overall load of Omega-6 in the diet totally overwhelms the Omega-3 in a tablespoon of fish oil.

In the “high potassium” nut and seed table depicting EFAs, we see that the nuts and seeds are major sources of Omega-6 EFAs. If a person consumed a one-ounce serving of the seven nuts and seeds, that snack would result in a 5,365mg Omega-3 deficit a tablespoon of fish oil cannot offset. After consuming the snack and supplement, if this person wanted a low EFA balance he would have to restrict everything else he ate that day to only foods with 1:1 EFA balances.

Promoting a good nutrient in a food while ignoring the bad nutrients in that food is a typical health food industry advertising gimmick. Couple this with the rants against cholesterol, ongoing discussions of HDL and LDL, promotions of organic as healthy, using honey instead of sugar, avoiding fat and salt, and on and on is why our nation can’t turn around the epidemic of chronic diseases that’s literally crippling it in more ways than one.

Before I close, I have another “nutty” example. It’s a jar of peanuts (a legume, not a nut) with a Heart Healthy sticker on it. One ounce of dry roasted peanuts contains 4,393mg Omega-6 and 0.8mg Omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. James DiNicolantonio says: “The consumption of seed oils high in the omega-6 polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) linoleic acid (LA) contributes to low-grade inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis.” Folks, he’s saying that high EFA ratios contribute to heart disease.

Consumers have been indoctrinated to buy products with Heart Healthy logos. They do it without question because the logos have been reinforced with all the many articles touting the benefits of the good fats. In this case it’s NUTS. Tests have illustrated that heart disease improves when people eat nuts. But “why?” is the question. Is it because low glycemic nuts are better than eating high glycemic carbohydrates? Compare these glycemic loads and EFAs:

I consider Glycemic loads over 10 as high. So in this case the nuts are better for the heart than grains. But they are far worse for the heart than the green leafy vegetables which are the foundation food for all animal life. That’s because even though nuts solve one problem they cause another. On the positive side all three choices are loaded with nutrients our bodies require. But two choices contain “nutrients” our bodies should avoid. Only the green leaf provides an optimal spectrum of nutrients in the best balance without negative baggage.

This is why certain vegetables are so good for us. And the positives of the green leaf should make us really appreciate grass-fed and Omega-3 meats because these meats are loaded with all of the nutrients animals need, are zero glycemic, and have optimally balanced EFAs. Plus there’s a bonus. Meats are easily digested.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

Importance of Maintaining a Low Omega–6/Omega–3 Ratio for Reducing Inflammation by James J DiNicolantonio and James H O’Keefe

Endothelial Dysfunction by Richard N. Fogoros, MD

Atherosclerosis – Also Known as Arteriosclerosis, Hardening of Arteries from Natioal Institutes of Health

Fibromyalgia Mystery Solved

Indoctrination from Wikipedia

Fish Oil: Hazardous to Health? by Ted Slanker

You’re Not Crazy… Nuts Are Good for Your Heart from Healthline Media

Aw, Nuts! by Ted Slanker

Man Is an Extension of the Leafy, Green Plant by Ted Slanker

Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed by Ted Slanker