Is This A Processed Food?

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Dr. Josh Axe is promoting this ‘natural’ food. His exact words are that it is the “first ever REAL FOOD” protein powder made from bone broth. His use of those words are telling, because to use the words “all natural” might run afoul of the USDA or FDA who are policing the use of that phrase tightly lately.  To claim that this is a “real” food is a safe move. I would say that more accurately it would be called a “real supplement” because in my own personal dictionary a food is something you can eat without having to put it into something else to make it edible. Cant see myself eating this stuff by the spoonful, so there is that problem with the labelling already.

At any rate, if this were a medicine it would probably be just now getting to the human trial stage of proving it’s safety. If it were a food ingredient it would have already been on the market, but the FDA would have been informed that it is a GRAS ingredient, since protein is know to be generally regarded as safe. As a supplement it enjoys the wild-west absence of any kind of federal oversight. It may or may not contain what it says on the label.

So is it a “real food?” Lets put it through my simple checklist. Is it a single ingredient food? Might be, but let’s see if it has an ingredient label, because real foods usually don’t need ingredient labels…

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It has an ingredient label and despite the claim that it is ‘real food’ this label is for a supplement. Like I said, that means no oversight on quality or honesty for this product. I am not saying that it isn’t bone broth but I am saying that nobody is checking to see if it actually does the things it claims to do.

It comes in a plastic bottle. Real foods (except water, and dairy products) do not need to be in bottles. I classify foods in boxes, bags and bottles as processed foods. I would have to say that if you look at this ‘food’ you are not going to recognize it, and as a general rule, foods you do not recognize are not food, but parts of food. This one is a part of food, just the protein part.

Non-foods always make health claims on the label and this one does that, too…there are health claims all over it, and all over it’s supporting website…

They could go on, and they do on the website. They go on and on. There are a million reasons you should buy and eat this supplement. There is a video, there is a celebrity “Dr” supporting and promoting it. It is 50 dollars a bottle. You are advised that it is really hard to make your own bone broth from scratch, so all this convenience and healthy promoting in one bottle are probably worth many times what it costs to you. Really. Is any one of those claims above any different from what all other forms of natural protein, found in natural food does…I think probably not.

The focus of the press and social media on “healthy eating” as the source of, or cure for, disease has taken hold to the point of creating a new condition termed orthorexia nervosa. Individuals eliminate one healthy food after another (gluten, corn, soy, meat, dairy, all fats, carbohydrates, etc.) in the belief that these foods are “unhealthy”— until they are barely receiving adequate nourishment. It can reach the point of anemia, bone loss, vitamin depletion, and malnutrition.

Green M.D., Peter H.R.; Rory Jones (2016-05-24). Gluten Exposed: The Science Behind the Hype and How to Navigate to a Healthy, Symptom-Free Life (Kindle Locations 589-598). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Have you noticed that I always abbreviate Dr. when I am referring to Dr. Josh Axe? That is because he is a doctor of chiropractice. I am not saying that he is not entitled to his opinion or his use of the prefix, but he is not a doctor of medicine or  a professor of science. He is as much a scientist as I am, an amateur that has no professional credentials that prove his study is accredited. I should get me one of those titles, it would make the information that I scrounge up all that much more palatable to the teeming masses.
Now normally I would not utilize an ad hominem argument against arguments leveled by the other side of the debate. However, the sale of this product IS using the abbreviation Dr. to do it. That makes the Dr. abbreviation an argument for you to buy it. The fact that I do not have that abbreviation may be an opposing argument to the position that I am taking.
That being the case, then, let me bring some actual doctor into the debate. By ACTUAL doctor I mean one with a science degree. I am reading the book “Gluten Exposed” by Doctor Peter Green, director of Columbia University’s Celiac Disease Center, and medical writer Rory Jones. This book is about gluten as the title suggests, but it is more about the current preoccupation with food by the civilized world. Specifically the tides of special diets, and the proliferation of things like ‘gluten-free’ and ‘paleo’ that make all sorts of contradictory claims for their books and products. This product falls squarely into that classification, thus my concentration on it today.

The focus of the press and social media on “healthy eating” as the source of, or cure for, disease has taken hold to the point of creating a new condition termed orthorexia nervosa. Individuals eliminate one healthy food after another (gluten, corn, soy, meat, dairy, all fats, carbohydrates, etc.) in the belief that these foods are “unhealthy”— until they are barely receiving adequate nourishment. It can reach the point of anemia, bone loss, vitamin depletion, and malnutrition.

Green M.D., Peter H.R.; Rory Jones (2016-05-24). Gluten Exposed: The Science Behind the Hype and How to Navigate to a Healthy, Symptom-Free Life (Kindle Locations 589-598). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

And then, a few paragraphs later, here are some symptoms of “orthorexia nervosa”
•     Have you eliminated entire food groups from your diet? (Gluten, dairy, corn, and soy are the usual suspects as well as red meat, carbohydrates, etc.)
•     Three or more food groups?
•     Do you constantly worry about which foods may be unhealthy?
•     Do you feel guilty when you eat food you consider unsafe?
•     Do you have problems finding healthy foods?
•     Do you have ritualized eating patterns?
•     Are you anxious when eating out or traveling?
•     Have you started avoiding lunches, dinner dates, and catered parties?
•     Do you lecture your friends and family about unhealthy eating?
•     Do you read medical journal articles about digestion, carbohydrates, protein, etc.?              •     Do you challenge others who disagree with your food choices?

•     Do you wish that you could just eat and not worry about the quality of foods?              •     Do you have symptoms that do not fit any medical diagnostic category for which you blame gluten, dairy, or a specific food?

Green M.D., Peter H.R.; Rory Jones (2016-05-24). Gluten Exposed: The Science Behind the Hype and How to Navigate to a Healthy, Symptom-Free Life (Kindle Locations 605-621). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

I must confess that I have had many of these bullet points in my life. I now have narrowed my dietary villains down to one food group, artificial foods. By artificial I mean those which are derived from breaking foods down into their shelf-stable components and reassembling them at a food factory, then putting them into a box, bag or bottle and slapping a label on them that touts the betterness of this food than it’s unadulterated forebear.
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This is real food. Notice no label. The food is contained inside of it’s own natural packaging. The packaging is generally edible, too, and contains a great deal of what makes the food inside safe to eat.
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This, on the other hand, is not real food. The potatoes it came from were peeled, cooked down to their component parts, and then this creation was assembled in a secret food factory where special things were added to the potato components to keep it tasting like food, and to make it extra-addictive. They truly are addictive, I love them and confess to still getting them any time I allow myself to go into the places where they are sold.
So, my screed has come to a great stopping point. My parting admonition is to eat the potatoes, not the processed foods from potatoes. You need not fear real, single ingredient foods, like the potato. Bread made by you, using the basic ingredients you find at the market, flour, salt, and water, is not dangerous, but the bread made for you at the science kitchen, which contains all of the things that it needs to keep bread fresh for a week on the shelf  is just not the same thing at all.
Bone broth powder is not bone broth. It is a dietary supplement, and if the Dr. I single out were not making vast sums of money hawking it he would probably agree with me.

About dcarmack

I am an instrument technician at the electric utility servicing the Kansas City Missouri metropolitan area. I am in the IBEW, Local 412. I was trained to be a nuclear power plant operator in the USN and served on submarines. I am a Democrat, even more so than those serving in Congress or the White House.
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One Response to Is This A Processed Food?

  1. rlcarterrn says:

    I love some of Dr. Axe’s recipes as well as his homemade deodorant “recipe” (which just uses coconut oil, baking soda, & an essential oil of choice). But I definitely agree that he uses the doctor title in ways that can be very misleading. I don’t think chiropractors are all quacks, but I will say that when I went to one for a while I felt like I was being persuaded to join some kind of religious group as much as I felt like I was being encouraged to improve my health. I felt like I was constantly being asked if I was a “believer” or not, essentially. It also just became WAY too expensive to continue. I’m glad you are shedding some light on this subject. I know I couldn’t help but giggle in dismay when I saw his post about this “real” food.

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