Joe Rogan has sparked a discussion that it appears America is not yet ready for, taking to Instagram to share a so-called study that claims Lucky Charms are healthier than steak.
America is not ready for a lot of things. From the revelation that bigger isn’t always better to the epiphany that baseball is not a global sport, there are a lot of lightbulb moments that await.
Among those lightbulb moments may be the realisation you can’t trust everything you see online. Something Joe Rogan has thrust into his audience’s consciousness with a tongue-in-cheek Instagram post this morning.
Criticising a so-called study which Rogan says claims Lucky Charms are healthier than steak, Rogan wrote: “Thanks to the large collection of legitimate nutrition experts with independent shows distributing information based on solid research, we know this is bullshit.”
“Complete, undeniable, indefensible bullshit. But yet this government funded recommendation chart is here to let you know they suck at giving food advice too.”
He added: “Repost: @goodranchers Lucky Charms healthier than steak? If this food pyramid is what was found at the end of the lucky charm rainbow, then we no longer want a pot-o-gold. Give us steak instead!”
Then for good measure he tacked on: “Get the full story by clicking the link in our bio!”
Stanford Neuroscience Professor Andrew Huberman chimed into the comments section with the following comment: “Unbelievable… and yet, (sadly) believable. Avoiding highly processed food seems to be the one thing all the true experts agree on and yet, this from the government side. We urgently need people in government who understand and care about actual public health.”
Former health and science reporter, author and nutrition coach Max Lugavere wrote: “The problem with following the science is that the science follows the money. Glad we were able to discuss this abomination during our conversation together!”
Winner of the Ultimate Fighter (and vegan) James Wilks wrote: “While we have pretty opposing views on nutrition @joerogan I’d obviously agree that this graphic is ridiculous.”
Whether or not you believe this is a legit study, or whether you think Rogan could have been trolled (though the graphic does appear to be real, having allegedly originated from Tufts University), Rogan’s point made one thing clear – many American netizens no longer trust the media or the government.
You used to have two camps. First, you had those who believed in traditional wisdom, the old-school food pyramid; The New York Times. Second, you had those that trusted their gut, anecdotal evidence; fitness influencers like The Liver King (who has now been exposed for lying about steroids).
Now though, seeing as everyone’s objectivity has been called into question, it’s hard to find a good baseline. Vegans will tell you too much meat gives you cancer; Michaela Peterson will tell you going on an all-meat diet it helped solve almost all her problems (from depression to arthritis).
According to Cancer Council NSW, “There is strong evidence that eating red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.”
Cancer Council NSW says: “Processed meat is meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or by adding the preservatives nitrates and nitrites. This includes ham, bacon, salami, frankfurt, prosciutto and some sausages such as cabanossi and kransky.”
Cancer Council NSW says: “By reducing your intake of red meat and avoiding processed meat you can reduce your risk of cancer.”
The same Cancer Council NSW page adds: “Lean red meat is a good source of iron, zinc, Vitamin B12 and protein. You don’t need to stop eating red and processed meat, however, it is best to cut down the amount you eat and include more plant foods such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.”
Back to America though… Keto dieters will say carbs are the enemy, vegetarians will say you need to make sure you eat enough fibre. The only source of hope seems to be the momentum credible sources like Andrew Huberman seem to be getting with their fairly reasonable advice videos on things like the pillars of health.
In the end, the one thing that seems to be fairly uncontroversial to say is that avoiding highly processed food and food high in sugar is smart. This is where the Lucky Charms quandary comes in. It seems the scientists behind the so-called study believe either their whole grain or fibre content somewhat makes up for their sugar content. On the other hand, meat lovers like Joe Rogan think it doesn’t redeem Lucky Charms at all (relative to steak).
This is an important conversation to be having, and one we hope gets cleared up soon. While we need more serious study into the wilder experiments of Rogan and co (see: World Carnivore Month), when it comes to Rogan and co.’s scepticism over sugary carbs being put in the middle of the food pyramid, maybe they are onto something worth questioning.
The other way of looking at it is that the study in question never said Lucky Charms were particularly healthy, but that it thought consuming red meat was particularly unhealthy – another area America does not seem ready to agree on at all, with environmental advocates and many scientists saying we should eat much less meat (and that eating too much of it can give you cancer) and with many nutritionists and health coaches saying red meat is one of the most nutritious and least inflammatory things you can put on your fork.
It would be handy if the government could provide some more solid advice on this, so netizens don’t have to rely on online debates between unqualified gurus, personal experimenters (even humble ones like Joe Rogan) and nutrition experts (even if some of those experts are professors at respected institutions), where each Big Revelation seems to contradict the next and where many of these Qualified Personalities provide us with a different take on what’s healthy.