Magical Thinking

by | Feb 14, 2023 | Resilience

Image: Shutterstock

It's relatively easy to inflate the scope and power of magic bullets when there are no constraints of proof to support their claims.

Here at eSavvyHealth we work diligently to provide well-validated information to help you achieve your health-related goals. To say that we’re up against some pretty formidable competition for your attention, courtesy of an array of social media, marketing, and advertising communications, is a profound understatement. To read and listen to them is to be struck by how many easy, affordable and effective remedies seem to exist for whatever ails you. 

This got me mulling over the subject of magical thinking.  

The idea that there are drugs, special foods and supplements which will instantly improve health is very appealing. After all, why be constrained by the normal processes of human biology?

On the other hand, perhaps there are good reasons. Some of us might be swayed by our understanding of our genetic codes which set the rules and framework for human biology. Others, simply by the famous 1970s advertising slogan, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature,” with its implied threat that you mess with nature at your own risk. 

Still, who doesn’t want to believe in a little magic? Advances in biotechnology from gene editing to computer-guided surgery confirm Arthur C. Clarke’s famous remark, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  

It’s relatively easy to inflate the scope and power of magic bullets when there are no constraints of proof to support their claims. The biological world is too often co-opted by the social world where the “best” solutions are established by likes and hits.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against magic. It does exist. You just need to be a good detective and evaluator to know where to find it. Let’s take a look. 

We can start with the subject of placebos which we might call the magic of expectations and beliefs. Extensively studied in science, placebos definitely fall within the domain of magic and miracles. If you looked no further, you’d have a good explanation for the “validation” of many claims by special foods and supplements simply because people believe they worked. 

Then there are drugs. First a word on a simple way to distinguish a drug from a special food or supplement. Drugs can be considered to be substances which “force” biological processes along certain pathways. Food and supplements are substances which “support” the normal pathways. There’s no question that drugs can have magical effects. Issues arise when drugs are used instead of correcting underlying problems in the normal functioning of the body. For example, using drugs to lower blood glucose doesn’t address the underlying reason(s) why the level is raised in the first place. Too often drugs are prescribed to improve symptoms and not to restore the body’s normal operations.

Now, let’s get to what we consider to be the best kind of magic: a well-validated understanding of how the human body works, how to support good health, and how to correct your body’s operations when needed. This, in a nutshell, is eSavvyHealth’s goal. 

Here’s our basic line of reasoning: 

Millions of Americans share very common chronic health problems which are associated with the types of foods they eat: diabetes, pre-diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. The increase in prevalence of these chronic conditions correlates closely with a change in nature of our food supply over the last 50 – 60 years. 

This most popular current diet, known as The Standard American Diet (SAD), is chiefly composed of highly refined food, and is a dietary approach without support from science. To our knowledge, no studies have been done to provide evidence specifically showing SAD as a means of building health or increasing longevity. To the contrary, the results from a growing array of studies have shown that the exponential increase in highly processed food-like products with high amounts of refined carbohydrates and industrially produced vegetable oils is damaging to our health. 

We know from extensive research and observation that people have been healthy on a wide variety of diets composed of real foods. 

We advocate for a food supply centered on real rather than heavily processed foods.

We intend to provide the highest quality validated health information grounded in an understanding of the basics of human biology and supported by sound scientific studies.

We intend to help you determine the relative importance of this health information to support your own interests and needs. 

Once you are empowered by well-supported information and your own observations, the ball is entirely in your court to make important health decisions.

With this basic approach and a little help from us at eSavvyHealth, we hope you’ll create some of your own health magic. We’d like that very much. 

Bob Graves

Bob Graves


Bob Graves is a long-time veteran of publishing of health, environmental and public-benefit information. He holds a Masters degree in Nutrition from UC Davis.

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