The West (America and Western Europe) has produced generations of the greatest scientists the world has ever known. Advancements in all areas of science (travel, physics, architecture, medicine, technology, quantum physics, genetics, chemistry) have multiplied an order of magnitude within the last one hundred years alone.
Think about how we made any product, harvested any food, traveled, or shared information one hundred years ago vs the way we do those same things today and you'll see a vast chasm in methodology.
Today, Scientists can break apart nearly any food to discover why it is nutritious or dangerous. This has created some the greatest breakthroughs in nutrition and medicine, while also creating some pitfalls.
One example is aspirin. Aspirin is made primarily from White Willow Bark. White Willow Bark has been used for centuries as an analgesic. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjh.14520
The compound was separated and called salicylic acid. This was then replicated in a laboratory and mass marketed all over the world. The trouble is that Aspirin causes stomach upset and can even erode the digestive linings, causing major problems. White Willow Bark has none of these issues.
Another example is Resveratrol. Resveratrol is found in the skins of red grapes and consequently in the red wines made from those grapes. Scientists have been studying the diets of Europeans for decades and have discovered that they have a much lower incidence of cancers, metabolic disorders, and heart disease than their American counterparts. They attributed this to the amount of red wine most Europeans consume. (They indiscriminately discounted some of the other dietary differences between the average American diet and the Average European diet, but simply hung their hat on red wine - and then later, olive oil.) When they broke red wines down to their constituent parts, they found resveratrol was a common factor. When clinical trials were conducted, resveratrol was found to be cardioprotective.
Later experiments revealed resveratrol may not be the fountain of youth after all.
But the horse had left the barn. Companies were already fabricating this chemical compound in a lab. Even the famous Dr. Oz touted this miracle as the essential in his toolbox for longevity. He has since walked that statement back in light of the newest clinical trial evidence. He join the rest of real science and informed us that it was a combination of the alcohol and other compounds that provided the cardioprotective benefits.
Another example is sugar. When in its natural matrix, like real, whole fruits and vegetables, fructose and glucose are wholesome and healthy sources of energy for every cell in the body. One molecule of glucose makes 28-32 molecules of ATP, which is essential for every bodily function. But sugar beets (the primary source of American table sugar) are ultra-processed, bleached, boiled, pasteurized, heated and cooled, they become something the body can no longer recognize. Table sugar (sucrose) is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. But away from its natural matrix, they cause an unnatural spike in insulin, which leads to a cascade of metabolic issues.
Salt is the same way. Salt is an essential mineral for all human life. But only because salt is comprised of numerous essential minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. But these are stripped away when salt is heated, bleached, washed, etc. All that's left is sodium chloride without the natural minerals needed for life.
The point is, things that grow out of the earth are perfect when intact. Pulling one molecule from a plant and claiming it has magical powers is like telling you that a steering wheel is a car. Sure, a car is useless without the steering wheel. But no matter how cheaply we can manufacture steering wheels, no matter how effectively we market them, the wheel alone won't get you there. We need the entire car to accomplish our goals - movement.
Yes, I know, our soil is depleted and doesn't contain the abundant minerals it did one hundred years ago. It's a good argument. But I would still rather drive an older car that will get me to work than try to get there on the steering wheel alone.
I'll stick to whole, natural, real foods.