14 Jan 2009

Bible Diets Are Unhealthy

Another religion-inspired fad gets punctured as a new book sheds light on what humans really ate back in Biblical times. Dr Nathan MacDonald, an Old Testament lecturer at St Andrews University and author of "What Did the Ancient Israelites Eat? Diet in Biblical Times" has combined biblical scholarship with recent archeological evidence to show that far from being a virtue the diet at the time was actually pretty unhealthy.

The book brings some balance to the recent popularity amongst American Christians for diets based around the Bible. The faithful, indeed, seem to swallow anything associated with their precious Bible and this is yet another example of how wrong they can be. The original germ of an idea was that as the Bible people ate very little fat that therefore their diet must be healthy for us too. As the American population balloons to extraordinary shapes and sized I think researchers should take a serious look at growth hormones in meat products and not just the four horsemen of wheat, fat, salt and sugar. However, Dr MacDonald has shown that a low-fat diet on its own is not necessarily healthy when it also excludes many essential foods such as fruit and vegetables.

Analysis of the stomach content from human remains of the Israelite period found evidence of iron-deficiency anaemia, a sign of eating a lot of unleavened bread but little meat or vegetables. They got their necessary calories but not a lot else, it seems. Not a great basis for a 21st century diet. Compared to the rest of human history we live in privileged times with resources unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we see again and again that our minds do not seem to have developed beyond those of our earliest literate civilisations. The obsession with such a flawed document as the Bible is a barrier to any raising of human consciousness. The desperate need for guidance feeds these misguided fads and the Bible diets are just another small example of this.

However, Dr MacDonald is a theologian and I'm sure has no desire to completely trash the Bible. So he softens slightly the blow dealt to these false diets by adding that the Bible says many useful things about the attitude to food, such as the importance of sharing. In the Israelite world of apparently scarce resources a lack of sharing could result in famines or wars. Perhaps the current Israelis could do with following this particular recipe.

article from BBC News

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments to older posts are moderated just so I can keep track so please don't submit multiple copies. Any blatant advertising will be deleted. If you want to promote your site create a link and your page will be visible as a backlink - fair exchange. Thanks.