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This TED Talk doesn’t talk about Raw Foodism. It is really about brain cells, and what makes our brain capacity possible compared to other primates. The shocking answer is cooking, and the implication removes legitimacy from the Raw Foodism fad. The math is done, the nails in the coffin: It is simply impossible to access enough calories to sustain a heavy brain’s function without cooking or some other pre-processing. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to eat.

And if you find the term “fad” offensive, I’m sorry to say I’m being particularly tactful. Such an impossible and debilitating diet can only be justified through a certain degree of fanaticism and not merely horribly anti-factual nutritional misinformation. The fact that, like many other dangerous advocacies that border on criminal negligence, there’s a whole industry and online culture promoting it doesn’t help, either.

Our whole society seems to have an eating disorder, ranging from mild, sustainable self-deprivations like Vegetarianism and low-carb diets, etc., through difficult impositions like Vegan and gluten-free obsessions (the vast majority of such dieters being non-diagnosed), to Raw Foodism and Breatharianism.

Yes, that’s a real thing.

I’ve known people to abuse themselves terribly by buying into some of the more extreme practices. And yes, it can be an emotionally-charged minefield to challenge their beliefs because that’s what it takes to believe. And people wonder why I’m hesitant to casually nod my head in agreement when they speak of a “Paleo diet” …