Friday, September 11, 2009

Why is Nutritional Biochemistry thought to be a Belief?

So I'm with a patient today who would absolutely benefit from a low carb lifestyle (who wouldn't) when the conversation became borderline confrontational. Not for me , of course, but I could tell the patient was becoming aggitated with my suggestion of the correct way to eat.

The comment was made that 'us' doctors all have our different 'feelings' about how to eat. This was an excellent opportunity for me to educate this patient that what I am telling them to do dietarily is not based on my 'feelings' or 'beliefs.'

How do you think I did this?

Those of you who've received my dietary lectures already know the way I explain the difference between beliefs and facts. Remember, beliefs can be right or wrong---facts just are. I used to believe in Santa Claus, and, uh, that didn't turn out to good for me. It was a false belief. Sometimes beliefs are true, sometimes they are false.

I like to use the earth analogy to explain the major difference between beliefs and facts.

It goes like this; I ask the question "Is the Earth flat or round?" Almost everyone answers 'round.' (Those who answer 'flat' get an immediate referral to a psychiatrist. I was just messing with ya, no one has ever answered flat:-)

Then I ask "Is this your belief?" Most answer that "Yes, It is my belief." I immediately correct them and state that "No, it is not your belief, you know this to be true for it is a fact and facts just are. Whether or not you believe the world is round is irrelevent, it is round, that's it and life goes on."

So when I lecture about nutritional biochemistry, I am giving everyone the facts; not my 'belief', 'theory', opinion', or 'supposition.' What I state 'just is' as are facts--they just are.

Most of my collegues become downright agitated when I have a discussion about the facts of nutritional biochemistry; I'm sure because it doesn't gist (is gist really a word?) with what they 'believe' to be true. The big issue with beliefs is that they can become so firmly entrenched in our minds, even when the facts are staring us right in the eye---we miss them and continue on with our beliefs.

Just because a million people 'believe' something to be true, it will never become true if it is not true. A great analogy is found in religious beliefs. Look at the three big religions-Judaism, Christian/Catholicism and the Muslim faith. All the followers of these three big religions believe something different within their faith. Are they all right? Whose wrong? More importantly--Who's right?

I am certain that some people out there may have become offended that I would even use religion to help define the word 'belief' and if you were offended. Good.

Did that offend you even more? Stay with me now. This is important. Become conscious of the emotion you're experiencing right now, especially if you were offended somewhat. Is it anger? frustration? even worse--hatred? Beliefs become such a part of us that the emotions we experience if someone attacks our belief structure run so deep it's hard to know where the emotions are derived from.

This is exactly what happens when I discuss the dietary facts with someone who believes that low fat/low cholesterol is the correct way to eat. The emotions, the tempers, run high. People (doctors) become offended, irritated, aggitated, start raising their voices and some become enraged.


Because I am attacking their belief system with the facts, and no-one likes their beliefs to be questioned. Unfortunately, this is antithetical to progress.

Do I get emotional when I'm discussing nutritional facts with people who do not understand what I tell them is true. Rarely, but it does happen. (I will confess that when collegues of mine start getting emotional I will often laugh, and,yes, that pisses them off even more. I'll then ask them why they are getting so exited and most have no idea why.)

I guess I'll close it here by saying that it is very important we are able to tell the difference between beliefs and facts. When we can do this, we will discover the truths about the world we live in; and this will help us make progress and guards against stagnation.

Have a great weekend! And a hello goes out to all my 4 followers, with a special welcome to my fourth :-)

Who will be the 5th.......

Dr Jim

Please go to to order my book or go to and request a digital copy of my book for only $11.99!


  1. Dr. Jim,

    When we first met I was already a believer because my wife was a low-carber for a few months. The proof I needed was in seeing her get off xetia with all those awful side-affects. her
    HDL through the roof....

    The real empirical proof was secured after reading Good Calories - Bad Calories by Taub,I think was the author. This book made a true believer out of me - although I now know it is not belief but rather factual ( wait a minute, a blob of mayo just squeezed out onto my plate ) that a high fat diet will make you healthy.


  2. I noticed that high carb or vegetarian people are easily agitated