... in some important aspects, our rational scientific approach fails to fulfill the desperate needs of suffering people, and it is to these needs that quacks and cultists address themselves.

Strong emotions have a profound effect fect on one's well-being ... if they are aroused in a setting of massive human and supernatural encouragement, and in a context of hopefulness, they can be healing ....A cult gains its power from its culturally determined symbolic meaning.1

When it comes to food, variety is literally the spice of life. It is the large variety of foods available, taken together with our efficient transportation and storage facilities, and food fortification techniques that render the average American diet so nutritious. Young infants will thrive if they are provided with sufficient milk, and dietary deficiencies are rare in children whose diets include the "basic four" food groups: (1) meat, fish, poultry, and eggs; (2) milk, cheese, and milk products; (3) fruits and vegetables; (4) cereal grains, potatoes, and rice.

Dietary surveys have shown that the vast majority of Americans have a varied diet and are free of overt nutritional deficiencies, with the possible exception of iron deficiency anemia. Americans consume large quantities of meat, milk, and eggs.

Set in the midst of this sea of abundance are growing numbers of citizens who have chosen to deviate from modern dietary norms by adopting so-called "fad diets."

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