By Charlie G ❘ 2007

I recently read a scientific and historical anecdote that I consider interesting and enlightening as to the reliability of some medical principles so blindly accepted as sacred word.
It has to do with Popeye. I’m pretty sure that everyone has heard of him. Well, this is how the phenomenon of Popeye’s spinach came out.

Health authorities in the United States during World War II found a progressive increase of anemia (iron lack) in children. To solve this problem, they decided to promote the consumption of foods rich in iron. They followed the findings of a German scientific study that analyzed the iron content of different foods, where spinach stood out far above the other.

PopeyeThe problem is that the value indicated in the study was wrong by a typographical error (the decimal point had been positioned 1 space to the right). However, the data was taken literally and they launched a campaign advertising spinach throughout the country, with the collaboration of the cartoon hero Popeye, who received his power through this vegetable. Later they realized the error, but apparently spinachs will still be giving Popeye strength for a long time.

In this case, since spinach is very healthy and nutritious, I don’t think this error caused serious consequences. But it gives me the willies to think about the power we have come to give medical authorities, without questioning or doubting the statements and conclusions they reach (giving that our health and life are at stake).

In fact, doctors are very good at what they do. But what they do not or can not do (such as cure diabetes), I think they should be more open-minded, informe themselves, investigate further and have the humility to learn from those who have cured chronic diseases considered incurable (by the way, have you ever noticed the word: incurable?. In English it could come from “in-curable”, ie “curable from within ” or “curable from within) 😉


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