Encouraging Extremity

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What’s the first word that comes to find when you think of healthy eating? If you say “boring,”  spending a few minutes on youtube will likely change your mind.  Now I’m not trying to say that healthy food is super fun and exciting (though I personally am obsessed with fruits and vegetables).  I’m talking about the wars that play out in the comments section: meat-eaters and vegans accusing each other of being awful, stupid individuals, young girls claiming that youtubers “gave” them eating disorders and followers of these youtubers reacting viciously, etc.  Who knew that nutrition could be as controversial as politics? 

It’s pretty entertaining to see how crazy some people are, but also a bit concerning.  Take Freelee the Banana Girl, who advocates the “raw till 4” diet and brags to viewers about eating 50+ bananas in one day.  To me, this idea is not only ludicrous, but maddening.  Many of these bloggers and youtubers have no training in nutrition whatsoever, yet numerous young girls believe their every word.  

The idea baffles me, but Charles Seife’s “The Loneliness of the Interconnected”  perfectly captures how the internet is used to promote extreme views and gain the attention of millions of people.  Though there is a tendency to believe that the internet connects us, the unfortunate reality is that it encourages separation of people in accord to common beliefs.  

The internet provides a platform for people to speak their minds and find others who will listen.  Even the most ridiculous ideas can be embraced on the internet, as people connect with those who share the same beliefs and tune out any opposing views.  That being said, I still will never be able to understand how any sane person could believe that eating dozens of bananas in a day is healthy.

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