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Beware - The ‘Balance’ Bias

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

Every person who enjoys a good debate or even a casual argument knows the old fable, “everything in moderation” or “life is about balance”. These statements are at face value, grounded in truth, and if one person utters them during an argument, then the discussion is over, and they have won. You can’t compete with balance.

But what if the subject of balance itself is factually incorrect?

Stay with me here..

For decades now, I’ve been in countless conversations whereby I may say a throw away comment like ”carbs aren’t healthy”. The response is quick - “that’s crazy! What about oats and potatoes and fruit. You just need a balanced diet to be healthy“.

To quash my side of the argument quickly, I am faced with the slam dunk of statements “you just need a balanced diet”. But what is our knowledge of what a balanced diet even is, and why can’t I argue with it?

Yes, the connotation is that if I do anything too much or too little, then I am out of balance and this is therefore, wrong. It applies to almost any scenario; diet, exercise, work, family, etc.

What’s your point? I hear you asking.

The point here is that the argument for balance isn’t necessarily born from truth. Human beings aren’t balanced in any way shape or form. In fact, we’re the only animal on this planet that strives to be unbalanced. Yet we spend our lives talking about it like it’s the holy grail of happiness.

What we actually do is;

Make more money, produce more food, change the planets ecosystems, speed up climate change, and breed.

Our knowledge of how to live is based on history, bias and conjecture, which is created and consistently drilled into the general public, and quite often we simply don’t question it’s source or validity.

Food manufacturers take advantage of this ignorance by branding their products in specific ways to entice us.

Have you ever looked at a yoghurt pot and seen the word probiotic on it? Yep, lot’s of brands do this to make them look healthy. But guess what, all yoghurt is probiotic.

How many cereals shout very loudly that they’re full of protein and fibre? Why? Because people think this is good for them. They don’t question what or where that cereal is made or even if the branding is true (it’s not. It’s all terrible for you).

They rely on the fact that we’re lazy and that life’s too short to call up the food manufacturer and give them a stern telling off because their protein bar named ’balanced nutrition’ actually has nothing but sugar in it.

So what is balance?

Balance is the ability to listen to your body, not someone from the PR department at Kellogg’s. Balance is research and education. Balance is the ability to distinguish between fear mongering tripe and honest altruism.

Basically, balance is having a bit of common sense. But don’t for one second tell me that I’m not balanced because I’m exercising too much or not eating food that’s designed for livestock to make them fat.

So next time someone mutters the inimitable phrase ‘life’s about balance’ or some other easily contrived generic troff, smile and whisper to them “you don’t know what you’re talking about”.

Because, life is complicated and if balance solved everything then we’d all be set...

but we’re not.


Believe the hypo

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