Gary Taubes is a staff writer for Discover, and a correspondent for Science magazine. An award winning investigative journalist, he has appeared in the NY Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and Esquire. He is a co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, his previous book “Why We Get Fat.” This audiobook is narrated by actor Mike Chamberlain. Preorder here.
Went into a health food store looking for flour without added iron. The owner asked me why. I told her about the new book THE MINDSPAN DIET, which shows that the American diet is saturated with supplemental iron, and it is a leading cause of dementia. She started to lecture me about nutrition, saying that no one knows what causes Alzheimer’s. I told her it was a recent book with new science. She didn’t want to know the title or the author, or anything about it. Instead she repeated her contention that “no one knows,” and that studies are “first one way and then the other.” So I tried to explain that surveys were taken of the longest living people on Earth with the least dementia, and in all cases those areas showed the least amount of supplemental iron or red meat in the diet (red meat is high in iron.) She began to get angry. How dare I, a mere customer, suggest she might be wrong? Her identity was tied to her knowing what her customers do not, and, after all, so many of her products are fortified with iron, how could they all be wrong? I smiled, made my purchase (twice the cost of regular flour for one not “enriched”) and left. Then I went to my sister’s and found that she had purchased many prepackaged “nutrition” dinners and “healthy” snacks from Nutrisystem and Medifast. They all contained supplemental iron. Most cereals contain supplemental iron. Most breads and cakes. The author, a geneticist from Harvard, says that Americans already get 100 times the amount of iron we need, and no one needs added iron after grade school. The levels of iron Americans get can be toxic to people over 40, and cause dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. But the general public largely doesn’t know this yet. We still believe the labels. It sounds so good: “fortified with iron.” And apparently it is all a LIE. Just like Coke and Pepsi told us that HFCS was okay as a sugar substitute, or that artificial sweeteners are okay too. Except this is even worse. Alzheimer’s is now the #3 killer. Like diabetes, it is epidemic. And very costly. Why wouldn’t you want to know?
Unlike the health food store owner, to me it doesn’t matter who says something or what someone believes. My opinion doesn’t matter. Only the science matters. You go where the science goes. Convince me otherwise, and my opinion will change. As it should. How about you? Thoughts?
One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land.
New York Times bestselling author Adam Cohen tells the story in Imbeciles of one of the darkest moments in the American legal tradition: the Supreme Court’s decision to champion eugenic sterilization for the greater good of the country. In 1927, when the nation was caught up in eugenic fervor, the justices allowed Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, a perfectly normal young woman, for being an “imbecile.”
It is a story with many villains, from the superintendent of the Dickensian Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded who chose Carrie for sterilization to the former Missouri agriculture professor and Nazi sympathizer who was the nation’s leading advocate for eugenic sterilization. But the most troubling actors of all were the eight Supreme Court justices who were in the majority – including William Howard Taft, the former president; Louis Brandeis, the legendary progressive; and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., America’s most esteemed justice, who wrote the decision urging the nation to embark on a program of mass eugenic sterilization.
Exposing this tremendous injustice—which led to the sterilization of 70,000 Americans—overturns cherished myths and reappraises heroic figures in its relentless pursuit of the truth. With the precision of a legal brief and the passion of a front-page exposé, Cohen’s Imbeciles is an unquestionable triumph of American legal and social history, an ardent accusation against these acclaimed men, and our own optimistic faith in progress.