Thursday 140501

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IMG 9496 475x356 Thursday 140501

Mommy and daughter midline work. Kristi and Addison showing that hollow holds are for everyone.

 

Why Nutrition is So Confusing: Fact vs. Conjecture By Chris Slaughter

 
In the article written by Gary Taubes in the NY Times linked below about nutrition I found myself pondering the underlying issues with nutritional science … And the heart of this is understanding is fact vs. conjecture and lack of good implementation of the scientific method.

 

I remember several classes in college where it was necessary to lay out the major parts of the scientific method in a report: (example down below)
 
• Formulation of the Question: Why is Clancy so sexy?
• Hypothesis: He’s funny, cares but acts like he doesn’t, and who can resist that smile.
• Prediction: Clancy’s charm and funny care free attitude are what makes him sexy.
• Testing: We will do a test unknown to Clancy and ask 100 people to rate Clancy’s sexiness and also rate the above 3 criteria. We’ll do this for 15 different days. Then we’ll selectively ask Clancy on a random day several months down the road to 1 day not make any jokes, 1 day not smile, and 1 day just overall take his sexiness down a notch.
• Analysis: We’ll collect the data; and try to compare on what dates how his overall sexiness rating correlated to the changes in behavior.
 
For instance many people would agree with the factual statement “a diet with a high percentage of refined sugar causes diabetes”. In reality we have to take a step back from this and look at what is actually fact and what is not. A scientific fact is something that cannot be disproved. For instance if I throw pure sodium in water it will light on fire. This happens again, and again, and again. The scientific fact can be expanded upon by adding “if” for conditions to occur for instance: Sodium will always light on fire if you put it in water and if there is oxygen present if new discoveries are made. Similarly there are societies which mainly rely on refined sugars such as breads for the majority of their diet.
 
People have turned conjecture into fact. The example I gave above with Clancy’s sexiness is a poor scientific study because it has in a significant way, failed to bring in other variables which would influence the experiment. Peoples age, their sexual preference, relationship history, their pheromone preference, etc. The hypothesis and prediction may come out to be true in the experiment, but there are many other variables which influence the experiment, and it fails to address them. This is the same thing that has happened with nutritional studies. They fail to take into account peoples genetics, their activity levels, their glucose tolerance, stress levels, sicknesses, and the over-time effect. The nutrition community has failed to relate that the experiments which have been done over the past 50 years cannot be treated as scientific fact and even worse, food companies use these poorly confirmed studies to market and build profit. It’s a dangerous cycle, one of which has caused a huge inflation in disease diagnosis in the US. I will note that doing an in-depth health related scientific food study over the long term is prohibitively expensive and likely to be a poor experiment due to the inability to control a conscious being, so we’ve ended up here. 
 
We should be cautious of what we accept as fact. Following long term trends are good, but they are not fact or laws.
 
NY Times Article by Taubes

 

*Don’t forget to grab your 3 good buddies and sign up for Verve’s team competition on Saturday May 10th. ALL SKILL LEVELS WELCOME and encouraged. Sign up sheets are in a blue folder outside the office. 

Comments

  1. Mieszka :

    You totally forgot Clancy’s wicked sexy Bahstaan accent

  2. Colby :

    Bahstttaaan

  3. Joylyn :

    Ha! I love this pic and post!

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