MAR 06, 2020 5:48 PM PST

Why Is Good Nutrition Advise So Hard to Come By

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

Nutrition advice seems to come from everywhere. Exposure to this advice, one is likely to find endless examples of conflicting information. This happens for a variety of reasons and is influenced by a widespread of factors.

One such factor is that diets change over time. People today consume a very different diet than did their parents or grandparents. Many of the nutritional concerns of old have been mostly resolved. Conditions like scurvy and rickets were found to have links between them and specific nutritional compounds.

These conditions were each caused by deficiencies. Today, nutritional concerns are much less clear-cut. Deficiencies in modern diets are rare, and conditions generally have multiple factors contributing. Some modern dietary concerns with multiple influencing factors include diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. 

The second reason that nutrition is notoriously misunderstood is that it is impossible to conduct a perfect nutritional study. Ideally, for such a study, participants would live in a laboratory for a decade or so. They would all be fed identical diets, but one group would be fed the food or compound being studied.

This group would not know that they were receiving the food in question to avoid any placebo style effects. The food would be added in an unnoticeable way, for example, mashed into another food. 

Researchers would also be unaware of who is receiving the compound in question, allowing for unbiased, double-blind conditions. Additionally, participants would be barred from tobacco or alcohol use and be required to exercise in equal amounts. It is easy to see why such a study is incredibly unlikely.

This leaves researchers to use observational studies to look for links between a person’s diet and their current or future health. These studies, as they rely on self-reported data, are far from perfect. Not only may a person’s recall be imperfect, but persons reporting may also purposely neglect to mention certain dietary choices, like an entire sleeve of Girl Scout cookies.

Lastly, nutritional research is largely influenced by industry. While there is a clear issue with research grants coming from food giants like Coca-Cola, this funding is often considered critical for conducting such studies. 

The above video from Healthcare Triage looks into the flaws of one nutritional study to exemplify how even the best-intended journals promote, which is effectively, bad science. 

 

 

Sources: Public Library of ScienceHealthcare TriageScience Alert

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
FEB 05, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 05, 2020
Protein-Rich Foods May Damage Heart Health
High-protein diets are becoming more and more popular as a method to both increase muscle mass and lose weight. Now howe ...
FEB 10, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 10, 2020
Blocking Problem Protein Shows Promise for Preventing Heart Attacks
Over time, atherosclerosis, a disease that causes fatty plaques to build up in the arteries, limits the flow of oxygen-r ...
MAR 11, 2020
Neuroscience
MAR 11, 2020
Categories of Memory Work Together to Form Abstract Thought
Indiana University New research from the University of Trento shows how areas of the brain work to recall complex semant ...
APR 06, 2020
Cardiology
APR 06, 2020
Positive Effects of Most Popular Diets Disappear After a Year
While evidence suggests that most diets lead to similar modest losses in weight and improvements in cardiovascular risk ...
APR 10, 2020
Cardiology
APR 10, 2020
Drinking Black Tea Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Black tea is among one of the most commonly consumed beverages around the world. Beyond just being a refreshing and ener ...
MAY 08, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 08, 2020
Cholesterol Drugs May Boost Healthy Gut Bacteria in Obese People
While statins have long been known for their efficacy in treating high cholesterol, until recently, there was no evidenc ...
Loading Comments...