I’m always bewildered by people waving the banner of “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” or “a protein is a protein” or “a carb is a carb”. If a calorie is only a calorie, drink gasoline and bleach, please. Both are chock-full of calories.
From the day chemists discovered proteins in the 1830s, no scientist has ever believed the simpleton meme that “a protein is a protein.” The difference in a single fold of a protein is the difference between nerve health and Mad Cow Disease. This isn’t hyperbole. Really. One fold. Same protein.
Food sensitivities and the role of food in inflammatory diseases and human health, therefore, isn’t controversial. The extent for any one is up for debate. The existence is not. The same exact peanut protein, for example, might aid some people in tissue repair (although this is contended in research, with statistical evidence that peanut protein actually results in musculoskeletal mass LOSS) while it will kill someone else right on the spot. Anyone who proclaims anything we termed “food” as inherently or always safe is ignoring the entire pursuit of chemistry, biology, and all of biochemistry.
That group of chemicals doesn’t know or care that someone once called it “food.” Your body doesn’t know or care either. That designation is a human invention. And chemistry doesn’t care whether someone with a suffix believes anything.
I absolutely love when the hand-waving ramps up. “Well, ONLY people with Celiac have to worry about gluten”, someone interjects. Ah yes. I see that logic and science are hard for people. So far, we have proven HOW one group of people with one type of genetic variant negatively responds to the gliadin, one of the constituents of gluten which no human can fully digest. I tolerate it. Many people tolerate it. Individual tolerance doesn’t tell us anything about universal safety or benefit. There are degrees of tolerance. The naysayers are confusing degrees of tolerance with the demarcation of benefit. Something which is tolerated doesn’t of necessity become beneficial.
Likewise, you can drink some gasoline and bleach. The dose makes the poison. Small enough dosing is tolerated. Different people can tolerate different dosing. This doesn’t equate to benefit. Tolerance isn’t benefit. You may tolerate the experience of repeatedly scraping open a wound on your arm. That open wound isn’t beneficial. It’s tolerated. It may lead to fatal infection In an immune-compromised person, a physically exhausted person, an over-stressed person. The tolerated WOUND itself doesn’t ever magically become good any more than a set of tolerated chemicals become beneficial food.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, fasting shows great benefits. Every week another set of studies gets released on defined benefits of food avoidance. The University of California had an interesting one this year: https://som.uci.edu/…/fasting-can-improve-overall-health.asp
Every traditional culture developed a seasonal or yearly fast. Research continues to explore the immunological benefits of simply not eating. Every single time someone hazards to question food’s role in any disease, we of course find an affirmative answer. This doesn’t mean the food was inherently bad any more than food isn’t inherently good. It doesn’t mean that food created the disease. There is no good or bad food. Remember, we invented the idea that something be named “food.” There is productive and unproductive or counterproductive.
If you are willing to conduct science and ask the question, you may find something questionable. But to neglect the question and the science altogether is circular:
It’s a food; therefore safe.
Why is it food?
Because it’s safe.
What do you mean by “safe?”
It’s a food.
That type of thinking is just going around in a circle. It isn’t analyzing or explaining anything. There is a distinct set of genetic expression changes with any and all food or lack thereof. Spend five minutes on PubMed with search lines of “food” and “genetic expression” or “epigenetics”. The debate over variant protein impact was over in the 1800s. The debate about whether food affects us was over before it began. That isn’t the argument. There is no argument. Let us conduct science and do MORE exploration of HOW this works. Let us not get bogged down in a shouting match of false dichotomies: X is good; X is bad. No no no. Try this instead: how might different physiology be altered by X? THAT is the question.
But for the persisting naysayers, as they keep hearkening to the Dark Ages when being inquisitive was illegal:
Go ahead and show us that a protein is simply a protein or a calorie is only a calorie. The snake venom and prions and gasoline and bleach are waiting.