In my last blog you were taught the first rule of Paleo linguistics: Protein means meat. Protein once was a word referring to a macro-nutrient found in almost all foods that we consume. OK – much of the “food” that we consume is “junk” in the language of my blog, but protein is found in both the junk and the real food that we ingest.
You will recall from an earlier blog that the Paleo “diet” is a marketing creation – and a marketing triumph of noteworthy proportions — of the meat industry. The industry has unwritten the authorship and publication of the Paleo “literature” that is now occupying special shelves in book stores, including the several magazines demonizing gluten and, in newer cases, all grains. The industry has underwritten special training and accreditation for Paleo “nutritionists” and has teamed with one particular commercial fitness regimen to actively promote Paleo food products (that would be meat) and to demonize gluten, grain, and dairy. The marketing scheme chose gluten, other grains and dairy because they occupy a share of the daily caloric intake that the meat industry wanted to appropriate for its products. Less grain and dairy — more meat. It’s just good business.
The meat industry had spectacular results in an earlier era with its “Atkins Diet,” but that success began to wane with the death of Dr. Atkins. The model was similar to the Paleo diet. The meat industry marketers gloried fat and demonized carbohydrates, and promoted a twisted but seductive yarn that proclaimed “despite all the lies we’ve been told, fat is really good for us!” It was a remarkably successful marketing strategy, and the industry used the same strategic approach in its creation of the Paleo diet.
A key element of the Paleo hysteria is to demonize gluten, grain and dairy in ways that are truly hyperbolic. My Paleo friends refer to gluten in the way I refer to cyanide. It is the perfect food villain in that it even sounds repulsive – who wants to be called a “Glute.” Protein, on the other hand, is the pinnacle of nutritional aspiration, while carbs are the nadir:
Protein = Good = Meat
Carbohydrates = Bad = Everything Except Meat
Fat = Not Really so Bad = We Don’t Mention this Word
Remember: Meat (mostly fat) = Protein (NOT FAT!!) = Good
So that’s how the word “Protein” came to mean “Meat.” Today’s simple lessen in clever and very successful marketing.