Here’s a chance to take food psychologist Paul Rozin’s Survival Quiz:
Assume you are alone on a desert island for one year and you can have water and one other food. Pick the food that you think would be best for your health:
Corn–Alfalfa Sprouts–Hot Dogs–Spinach–Peaches–Bananas–Milk Chocolate
Did you pick Bananas? If you did, you’re in good company. It was the top choice of Rozin’s quiz takers, at 42 percent. That’s 42 percent of you dead or very sick at year’s end.
How about Spinach? We know that’s good for you, right? Wrong, along with 27 percent of the quiz takers.
In fact, none of those wholesome fruits and veggies will keep you alive and well. If you want to survive on Paul Rozin’s nutritionally-deprived island, you’d better pick one of these: Hot Dogs or Milk Chocolate.
Only 7 percent of the quiz takers chose one of these, each of which is packed with fat, protein, and calories all of which you need to keep you ALIVE!
I’m not really sure what would really happen on that island after a year of only milk chocolate. This is not the kind of experiment you can actually perform on live bodies. Some intrepid food explorers in the late 1920s experimented with eating nothing but meat for one year and found their health improved. On the other hand, much as we’d wish otherwise, milk chocolate is not exactly meat.
Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home, kids!
Sources: Paul Rozin’s research is widely cited in the “real food” literature, including Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and Nina Planck’s Real Food. Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Karsten Anderson were the subjects of the 1928 experiment in all-meat living; a good account of their experience is in Gary Taube’s Good Calories, Bad Calories, p 320-326.
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