Anopsology is a nutritional theory outlined in 1964 by Guy-Claude Burger. It led to a raw food diet based on the evolution theory and the assumption of the existence of a nutritional instinct, capable of adjusting food intake to nutritional needs via sensory pleasure. The term "anopsology" derives from αν (an-) - not, ὄψον (opson) - prepared dish and λογία (-logy) - theory, thus meaning "the theory of primitive nutrition". While the term anopsology designs the theoretical aspect, the synonym instinctive nutrition refers to the dietary practice and instinctotherapy to the therapeutic aspect. It should not be confounded with anopsy, a term for blindness.
Anopsology is a theory of nutrition based on the hypothesis that the human body is genetically adapted to 'original' foods, that is, foods which were available to human ancestry during the past millions of years.
Anopsologists claim that raw foods are best for the body: "The human body evolved over millions of years breathing, drinking, and eating what it found in nature as it was found in nature. Evolution 'designed' the human body to survive best on what it found in nature. What it found was fresh, raw, unprepared." (Frederick Mann). Instinctos/Anopsologists usually believe that all raw foods are acceptable, other than those foods which appeared in Neolithic times – so raw dairy products and raw cereals and legumes are avoided.
Smell and taste
According to Burger, the 'food instinct' he observed is based on the phenomenon of gustatory alliesthesia, meaning that the pleasure aroused by a food not only depends on its quality but also on the internal state (i.e., nutritional needs) of the organism. Therefore, the senses of smell and taste can communicate physiologic needs to the person and mediate biologically adapted behaviors (i.e., which amount of a food is required to maintain nutritional homeostasis). In this way, a food that smells and tastes good is useful to the organism, or needed, and vice versa. When a food becomes distasteful, the body has consumed a sufficient amount of it. When eating, anopsologists pay close attention to the body's reaction to a food, and the chemical senses. Supposedly, all foods have an alliesthesic "taste change" and taste less attractive when the body has had a lot of them. Unselected (wild-types) of foods are said to have more pronounced taste changes than cultivated species.
The diet was created by Guy-Claude Burger. Burger was diagnosed with lymphoblastic sarcoma, a form of cancer. When his doctor revealed to him a five-year survival rate of 20% after radiation therapy, he went on a raw-food diet as part of a 'back to nature' regimen. Burger's cancer never returned. He decided that his diet was the cause for the remission, and began studying the eating of raw foods. He wrote about his observations and began encouraging others to follow a similar diet.
The beneficial effects of anopsology are debated. Most evidence towards either side is anecdotal and therefore cannot produce a definite answer. Some people have reported improved physical health through anopsology, but no medical institution has yet conducted the extensive research required for mainstream medical approval.
Anopsology and other diets
While some anopsologists do not eat meat, anopsology itself is not by definition vegetarian. Anopsology included consumption of raw or dried (much as beef jerky) and uncooked meat. In fact, Burger struck down the vegetarian diet, saying that a true vegetarian diet was never pursued by human ancestry.
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Cooking "may result in loss of the potential anti-cancer compounds" and "destroy medicinal properties". Medicinal qualities are more readily destroyed by heating, viz. at a lower temperature, than are nutritional qualities. Boiling may often destroy medicinal qualities, although it will not tend to affect nutritional qualities. Baking, which involves heating to a higher temperature than does boiling, may destroy various essential nutrients.
- Guy-Claude Burger. La guerre du cru. R. Faloci, 1985, 221 pages.
- Burger GC. Essai sur l'instinct alimentaire chez l'homme et définition de l'instinctothérapie. Revue des professions de santé n° 38, sep-oct 1984, p. 27-42. text on reocities
- Les médias face à l'instinctothérapie on www.gcburger.com
- Medical thesis of Armelle Guivier, April 2007