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
APR 27, 2021
Cardiology
Excess Belly Weight Raises Heart Disease Risk Regardless of BMI
APR 27, 2021
Excess Belly Weight Raises Heart Disease Risk Regardless of BMI
Research has suggested that excess weight around the midsection of a person's body is a much better predictor of poor he ...
MAY 24, 2021
Cardiology
Heart Organoids with a Contracting Chamber are Created
MAY 24, 2021
Heart Organoids with a Contracting Chamber are Created
Scientists that study human disease have long had to rely on animal models or cell culture platforms in which cells grew ...
JUN 21, 2021
Cardiology
Researchers Find Evidence That Gut Microbes Affect Stroke Severity
JUN 21, 2021
Researchers Find Evidence That Gut Microbes Affect Stroke Severity
Research has indicated that there is a connection between gut microbes and heart health. Now scientists are revealing so ...
JUN 29, 2021
Immunology
The Heartbreaking Nature of COVID Revealed
JUN 29, 2021
The Heartbreaking Nature of COVID Revealed
Researchers at the Washington University School are getting to the root of heart damage resulting from COVID-19 infectio ...
SEP 05, 2021
Cardiology
Eating Walnuts & Pecans Can Help Lower 'Bad' Cholesterol
SEP 05, 2021
Eating Walnuts & Pecans Can Help Lower 'Bad' Cholesterol
Some nuts, especially walnuts, have high levels of healthy fats like Omega-3. New research reported in Circulation has s ...
SEP 16, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use and Exercise- A Dire Need for High-quality Evidence
SEP 16, 2021
Cannabis Use and Exercise- A Dire Need for High-quality Evidence
It should come as no surprise that exercise is good for our health. Regular exercise reduces the risks of serious chroni ...
Loading Comments...