disease prevention

Free Yourself From the Soft Tyranny of Nutrition Studies

Great essay by Mike Riggs from Reason.com about why you should not believe nutrition studies, especially not anything trumpeted by the MSM as the latest greatest cure-all for whatever ails you. Most nutrition research is either pointless, biased, conflicted, or illogical.

Riggs offers up a couple of very good examples of why modern nutrition research is not believable. I’ve written on this topic myself a couple of times; see my pieces here and here.  Nutrition expertise is rare; nutrition bloviation is common. The best of example of widespread nutrition bloviation is the vaunted China Study, by Cornell professor of quackery, er, nutrition science, T. Colin Campbell. If you believe the China Study, you truly have no grasp of science at any level.

My second favorite example of nutrition bloviation is advice dispensed by people who know nothing, but paraded out as authoritative. For example: children should drink more water than milk, especially in summer months. Really? Even though milk is 88% water and also delivers all three macronutrients and several vital micronutrients? Or, how about this one…the amount of water you should drink daily in fluid ounces is equal to half your body weight in pounds. So, in other words, if you weigh 160 pounds you should guzzle 80 ounces of water daily….10 eight-ounce cups. Good luck getting any work done between trips to pee.

Finally, there’s this: again, a message aimed at kids…eat fewer carbohydrates and eat more meat. Essentially, kids should consume a quasi paleo diet because evidence tells us that it’s better for health and development. Based on what evidence?

All of this nutrition canards were presented to my son and I at a training center we used to belong to, under the guise of being authoritative because they were asserted either by the center’s leaders themselves or guests they invited in. It is a level of stupidity on all their parts that is hard to imagine. But, this kind of tripe is out there, and promoted regularly, because no one calls people on it. Don’t be a dupe. Take classes in human anatomy and physiology and then nutrition. You don’t need to get too complex, but to be a responsible adult, you do not to have a modicum of evidence that supports your health habits and behaviors.

Nutrition studies are confusing and mostly useless for regular people. I do not say that just because a leading nutrition researcher has been exposed for manipulating data for years and years. I say it because most nutrition studies test the validity of small claims that just don’t matter in the larger scheme of living a life you love, and because the problems that ail us at the population level cannot be fixed with a bandolier of colloidal silver bullets. There is no “supplement” that can cure heart disease, or melt away obesity, or reverse the effects of inhaling a carcinogen all day, every day, for decades.

Free Yourself From the Soft Tyranny of Nutrition Studies