Like my daughter, many people of all ages are muddled about the relationship between health and diet. Their confusions have created a profitable market for health-related information. And equally, their confusions have been created by books, magazine articles, and TV news features. This avalanche of data is highly contradictory. In fact, one reason I found it hard to make myself write my own book is that I wondered if my book too would become just another part of the confusion.

Few people are willing to tolerate very much uncertainty. Rather than live with the discomfort of not knowing why, they will create an explanation or find some answer, any answer, and then ever after, assert its rightness like a shipwrecked person clings to a floating spar in a storm. This is how I explain the genesis of many contemporary food religions.

Appropriately new agey and spiritual, Macrobiotics teaches the way to perfect health is to eat like a Japanese whole foods vegetarian–the endless staple being brown rice, some cooked vegetables and seaweeds, meanwhile balancing the "yin" and "yang" of the foods. And Macrobiotics works great for a lot of people. But not all people. Because there's next to nothing raw in the Macrobiotic diet and some people are allergic to rice, or can get allergic to rice on that diet.

Linda Clark's Diet for a Small Planet also has hundreds of thousands of dedicated followers. This system balances the proportions of essential amino acids at every, single meal and is vegetarian. This diet also works and really helps some people, but not as well as Macrobiotics in my opinion because obsessed with protein, Clark's diet contains too many hard-to-digest soy products and makes poor food combinations from the point of digestive capacity.

Then there are the raw fooders. Most of them are raw, Organic fooders who go so far as to eat only unfired, unground cereals that have been soaked in warm water (at less than 115 degrees or you'll kill the enzymes) for many hours to soften the seeds up and start them sprouting. This diet works and really helps a lot of people. Raw organic foodism is especially good for "holy joes," a sort of better-than-everyone-else person who enjoys great self-righteousness by owning this system. But raw fooding does not help all people nor solve all diseases because raw food irritates the digestive tracts of some people and in northern climates it is hard to maintain body heat on this diet because it is difficult to consume enough concentrated vegetable food in a raw state. And some raw fooders eat far too much fruit. I've seen them lose their teeth because of fruit's low mineral content, high sugar level and constant fruit acids in their mouths.

Then there are vegetarians of various varieties including vegans (vegetarians that will not eat dairy products and eggs), and then, there are their exact opposites, Atkins dieters focusing on protein and eating lots of meat. There's the Adelle Davis school, people eating whole grains, handfuls of vitamins, lots of dairy and brewers yeast and wheat germ, and even raw liver. Then there's the Organic school. These folks will eat anything in any combination, just so long as it is organically produced, including organically raised beef, chicken, lamb, eggs, rabbit, wild meats, milk and diary products, natural sea salt in large quantities and of course, organically grown fruits, vegetables grains and nuts. And what is "Organic?" The word means food raised in compliance with a set of rules contrived by a certification bureaucracy. When carefully analyzed, the somewhat illogical rules are not all that different in spirit than the rules of kashsruth or kosher. And the Organic certification bureaucrats aren't all that different than the rabbis who certify food as being kosher, either.

There are now millions of frightened Americans who, following the advice of mainstream Authority, have eliminated red meat from their diets and greatly reduced what they (mistakenly) understand as high-cholesterol foods.

All these diets work too–or some–and all demonstrate some of the truth.

The only area concerning health that contains more confusion and contradictory data than diet is vitamins. What a rats nest that is!