the national interest

Jeb Bush Now Subsisting Entirely on Pseudoscience

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush speaks during the 2015 National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) conference on January 23, 2015 in San Francisco, California.
I used to be THIS wide until I started feasting on saber-toothed tiger meat. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Jeb Bush has expressed his skepticism about the theory of anthropogenic global warming (in an interview five years ago and again in December). But you know what theory he’s all in on? The Paleo diet. Marc Caputo and Ben White report that, as part of his plan to win the Republican nomination, the candidate is raising money and eschewing all foods unavailable to his caveman ancestors.

In fact, the Paleo diet is pure pseudoscience. Its premise is that we should eat only foods available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. As this article in Scientific American patiently explains, the premise is badly mistaken. Yes, some of the foods forbidden by the Paleo diet are bad for you (Caputo and White report that Bush eschewed a slice of cake for his birthday). But many of the foods it excludes are healthy, like dairy, beans, and grains. The diet imagines that our bodies were permanently shaped during the Stone Age, and therefore we must eat what humans ate then. In fact, evolution is a continuing process. (That’s why, for instance, most humans evolved the ability to digest milk after infancy.) What’s more, the Stone Age diet varied wildly by region. Of course, Scientific American also believes that the release of heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere results in the heating of the atmosphere, so Bush probably won’t give its opinion much credence.

The whole appeal of the Paleo diet is a primal fantasy that appeals to men enchanted with some vision of primitive brute strength. All this is to say that perhaps Jeb Bush will fit into the Republican primary just fine.

Jeb Now Subsisting Entirely on Pseudoscience