I recently watched a popular documentary called Hungry for Change, which powerfully presents the evidence that the modern "Western diet" systematically destroys the human body.   This is an argument that has been explored in numerous previous posts on this blog, such as:
Hungry for Change contrasts the beneficial impact on the body of a healthy diet with the superficial and often temporary changes brought about by the usual attempts to counteract the impact of the modern diet.  
It also reveals the fact that the processed foods, often loaded with sugar as filler and more recently with high fructose corn syrup (which is in an astonishingly high percentage of foods and is almost entirely made from genetically-modified corn in the United States, as discussed in this previous post and this previous post), which were introduced into the American diet on a large scale during and after World War II (and from there spread to much of the rest of the world) appear to be almost deliberately engineered to wreak havoc upon the body's systems.  

We have already seen in yet another previous post a detailed discussion of what sugar and corn syrup do to the liver and the systems in the body that feed the cells through the blood stream in this previous post on the work of Dr. Robert Lustig.  Hungry for Change goes beyond that and reveals the extent to which other deleterious substances are inserted into a dizzying array of the foods we find for sale at our local grocery stores, substances such as monosodium glutamate (or MSG), another substance that entered common use in the US as a result of World War II.

While food industry literature declares that MSG has been found to be "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) with only a few minor ill effects on a small percentage of the population that is overly sensitive to the substance, some doctors -- including Dr. Mercola, who is in Hungry for Change as one of the speakers -- argue that MSG may adversely affect the brain and nervous system, as well as the glutamate receptors "found both within your heart's electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself ."

The Hungry for Change video alleges that MSG can be legally included in food under an astonishing fifty different names, which implies that most consumers are not even aware when a food product they are purchasing or consuming contains MSG.  This website provides a comprehensive list of ingredients that always contain the free glutamic acid that is one of the main distinguishing components of MSG, ingredients with innocuous-sounding names such as: "yeast extract," "yeast food," "yeast nutrient," "autolyzed yeast," "textured protein," "soy protein," "whey protein," "gelatin," and others.

It lists many other ingredient names which often contain free glutamic acid, including "carageenan," "maltodextrin," "pectin," and "malt extract."

Information like this is enough to make the movie worthwhile, but it touches on many other important subjects as well.  It can currently be watched via "watch instantly" (streaming) on Netflix, as well as rented from a variety of outlets or purchased from the Hungry for Change website.  

But, what does a blog concerned with the evidence for ancient civilizations have to do with a movie such as Hungry for Change, however interesting and informative and even potentially life-saving such a movie might be?  Well, if you followed any of the links above to previous posts on the subject of "diet and food," you will notice that I believe that erroneous theories can be very dangerous, and that many people mistakenly believe we are living in a "modern, scientific era" in which our level of knowledge about many important subjects is at a level that has far surpassed anything that the human race knew in the past.

Many people unquestioningly accept the fundamental paradigms that authority figures such as doctors or university professors declare with such confidence, and that our peers tell us that "everyone knows" or "everyone believes."  These paradigms include the diet paradigm, but they also include paradigms about geology (the current conventional paradigm is plate tectonics, which is almost certainly incorrect), paradigms about biology (including the almost certainly incorrect Darwinian paradigm), and paradigms about ancient human history (that mankind evolved from millennia as primitive hunter-gatherers, and in short order began creating enormous pyramids using seventy-ton blocks positioned hundreds of feet above ground level and aligned with incredible accuracy to the cardinal directions north, south, east and west).

Just as Hungry for Change shows that the conventional "modern western diet" paradigm is shockingly hazardous to our health, I believe that the other incorrect paradigms mentioned above are just as potentially unhealthy and dangerous.  In fact, my major criticism of Hungry for Change is that it overwhelmingly portrays the modern dietary disaster as a product of our supposed "hunter-gatherer instincts" all run amok in a modern wonderland of plenty!  The various experts interviewed in the documentary -- all of whom make excellent points and provide valuable insights, except when they start talking about the ancient history of the human race -- universally take this tack.  For example, beginning at about the four-minute mark in the film (in fact, at 4:06), five different quotations are presented to the viewer in machine-gun fashion, hammering home this view of ancient history and our primitive past as the cause of our modern diet dilemma:
speaker one: All through our history, as a species, the big challenge is to find calories.  And so, our bodies are biologically adapted to this, we seek calorie sources.  When I say that, I particularly -- what I’m talking about are fats, and sugars.   If we taste something fatty or something sweet, we get an immediate signal saying "Yes!  I want more of this!" because, for our hunter-gatherer ancestors – and that goes right up to a few hundred years ago – anywhere they could find fat or sugar meant survival for those people.  It meant carrying forth their genetics.

speaker two:  It’s not your fault – this is how we are as mammals.  I mean we’ve lived on the earth for millennia where there was a food shortage – you’re programmed to put on fat whenever there is food available.  But now, there’s a lot of food available, but it’s the wrong kind.  And so we’ve been programmed for millennia to store up for the winter, but the winter doesn’t come.

speaker three:  Thousands of years ago when we lived outdoors and we didn’t know where our next meal was coming from, if there was a famine because it was a cold winter, or whatever reason, your body is going to want to hold extra weight to protect you from that.  And a famine is a stress, and if you go through that stress, your body's going to say, "We need an extra ten pounds, to protect us against famines.”

speaker one again:  But, one of the really interesting things about hunter-gatherer people, a people who do a very moderate amount of agriculture – we could call them hunter-gatherer-gardiners – what we see in those people is that they have an extremely high amount of nutrition and an extremely low amount of calories in their food, compared to people in modern civilization which have a very high amount of calories and a very low amount of nutrition available to them.  Today we have a so many calorie sources, but we still have the same signal.  So somebody bites into a burger or they take a sip off a milkshake, and they get those fats and those sugars, and their body says "Yes, more!" because it’s used to behaving in an environment where there’s feast and there’s famine.  The problem is, we’ve got feast like it’s nobody’s business – we just don’t have any famine.

This is troubling on a couple of levels.  First, notice that the final speaker just said, essentially, that "The problem is [. . .] we just don't have any famine," as if famines are somehow a good thing (this is false).  Speaker two seems to imply the same general line of thinking.

More troubling is the idea that civilization and the benefits it provides are the problem.  This is also false.  In fact, it can be demonstrated with ample evidence that the ancients -- going all the way back to ancient Egypt -- had excellent knowledge of the best diet for the human being, and wrote about it in the teachings of the great philosophers, for example (many of the previous blog posts cited above discuss this fact).  

In fact, this previous post on the Essenes and their studious avoidance of the expression of anger also touches on the ancient writings that suggest that the Essenes and other communities of philosophers understood not only the importance of healthy eating but also the importance of healthy breathing and of getting access to healthy air, and understood it to a degree no longer widely understood or taught in the "modern western world." 

Santos Bonacci, whose incredible and prolific teaching about the ancient Hermetic wisdom is available in numerous videos on the internet and whose astrotheology was discussed in this previous post, has discussed numerous aspects of diet known by the ancient Hermeticists or Hermetists which, if followed, would accord perfectly with most of the recommendations given by the experts in the Hungry for Change video, and in fact which go well beyond them because in addition to having a physical component for human health those ancient teachings added the spiritual component relating to consciousness and the chakra system and the fact that as human being we are composed of energy as well as matter.

The presence of such knowledge stretching all the way back to the beginnings of the most ancient Egyptian dynasties (and beyond it, as demonstrated by the research and analysis of John Anthony West and others) pretty much upends the argument that our "modern western diet" problem, and all its attendant ills including obesity and diabetes and the rest, are the result of a bunch of former hunter-gatherers who still haven't gotten the hang of this civilization thing.

It might be more appropriate to ask whether the problem isn't the end result of an abandonment of the ancient wisdom those philosophers seemed to know thousands of years ago.

Finally, any discussion of the transition of mankind from primitive hunter-gatherers (or "hunter-gatherer-gardiners," as one of the speakers in the film talks about) to agricultural civilizations of any sort (let alone high civilizations like ancient Egypt) almost always overlook the incredible problems with the idea that mankind somehow tamed herd animals such as the wild bovines or bred existing wild grains into domestic grains while they were continuing their hunter-gatherer lifestyles.  As this previous post discusses, that transition needs much more than the "hand-wave" explanation that it usually gets.

It is at least as likely that mankind started out with "millennia of advanced civilization," civilizations which sometimes destroyed one another and ended up as hunter-gatherers, than it is to assume that the hunter-gatherers came first and then figured out how to breed wild aurochs into cows and wild grasses into useful cereal grains.

However, setting this glaring historical failure aside (which we can hardly hold against the speakers in the video, since they have no doubt been indoctrinated like the rest of us to believe in these historical paradigms since childhood), Hungry for Change is an excellent video on food and health, and an excellent expose of the dangers of uncritically following a false paradigm.