Thursday, September 6, 2018


    It used to be an old joke which defined a psychiatrist as a doctor who couldn't get through medical school. It would seem that Jordan Peterson has reversed that old saw. Peterson---who doesn't strike me as much of a psychologist---has, along with his daughter, decided to give men bad dietary advice to go along with his fatuous lifestyle guidelines.

   To summarize it simply, the Petersons advocate eating a diet of beef, salt, and water. And that's it. No bread, potatoes, fruits, or vegetables. Or spices. Miss Peterson told a correspondent with The Atlantic that eating ground black pepper once laid her up for three weeks. She also had a bad experience after consuming a single olive. 

    Wow. Imagine being married to someone like that. But it seems to run in the family, Papa Peterson was sidelined for a month after imbibing a cup of apple cider. 

    Thanks to a public education system which fails to teach basic biology, many men fall for fad diets like these. The Peterson Plan is positively dangerous. Maybe not in the short run. But continuing it even for a medium run could really mess up your system. Dr. Jack Gilbert, Senior Scientist at the University of Chicago and famed microbiologist, outlined the hypothetical consequences of such a diet: “Your body would start to have severe dysregulation, within six months, of the majority of the processes that deal with metabolism; you would have no short-chain fatty acids in your cells; most of the by-products of gastrointestinal polysaccharide fermentation would shut down, so you wouldn’t be able to regulate your hormone levels; you’d enter into cardiac issues due to alterations in cell receptors; your microbiota would just be devastated.”

     To put this into layman's terms: continuing in such a diet will cause your digestive system to atrophy. This will worsen over time, with an increasing inability to assimilate vital nutrients. Nutrient deprivation is another side effect. Vitamin B-9 (Folate) deficiency causes certain forms of Anemia. Weight loss---which the Petersons claim as a benefit of their diet---is a symptom of this type of Anemia.  

    Vitamin C deficiency is a given. Fatigue and depression can result, as can premature aging. Vitamin E is also not found in such a diet. 

    Jordan Peterson claimed on The Joe Rogan Show that his terrifying encounter with apple juice, he felt "impending doom" which gave him sleepless nights for a month. In fact, Peterson (and his daughter too) have extensive lists of ailments which their diet supposedly cured. Reading this list brought the term psychosomatic to mind. In fact, there are strong correlations between what the Petersons claim and the clinical definition of  eating disorders such as Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.

    The more I read of Jordan Peterson, the more I'm convinced that he's a complete nutcase. 

    There's no substitute for a balanced diet. Eat in moderation from the Four Basic Food Groups: dairy, meat, fruit/vegetables, and grains each day. Get exercise, fresh air, sufficient rest, and plenty of liquids and you'll be doing your best. Vitamin and herbal supplements can also be beneficial. If that sounds like common sense advice---that's because it is. 

    And for further study, there's a good article on Popular Science about the pitfalls of the Peterson Plan.


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