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marnixR
Post  Post subject: nutrition epidemiology = pseudoscience ?  |  Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:21 pm
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maybe not totally a surprise, were it not for the weight people tend to give to so-called nutritional evidence of what represents healthy eating

from the following article A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

a flavour of its content :

Quote:
We may be witnessing the confluence of two inherent components of the human condition: incompetence and self-interest. Nutrition has had many colossal and costly failures. The list of dietary components claimed to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD), prevent cognitive decline, and/or fight cancer that were later refuted via clinical trials is extensive. And while the self-correcting nature of science necessitates failure, the vast majority of nutrition’s failures were engendered by a complete lack of familiarity with the scientific method. This deficit is most apparent in the field’s reliance on self-reports of diet. Such information, to which nutrition researchers assign numeric caloric values, is rife with bias, and without the ability to corroborate or falsify the reports, the data should be considered pseudoscientific—outside the realm of scientific research.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: nutrition epidemiology = pseudoscience ?  |  Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:44 am
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marnixR wrote:
a flavour of its content

Well played. :lol:

As for the evidence and bias, I think a big part of the problem is the way marketing departments from food corporations glom on to any tiny shred of evidence to sell their wares, no matter how ill-supported or tenuous.

The push to give bananas a reputation for potassium, to give milk a reputation for calcium, blueberries for antioxidants, etc. are all examples of this phenomenon.

These minor claims of potassium or calcium or whatever other content in the food may later be refuted, but until that actually happens these claims serve as great tag lines to make people think the products are healthy and should be ingested more frequently... hence driving up revenue.

Regarding the food labels and claims, I heard an interesting story this evening on NPR. They asked people who have worked in the label industry for years what types of information THEY'D like to see on labels, and they cited things like, "What was your source of water for this food, and how much did you use? How much fertilizer did you use for this food, and how did you control for runoff? Did you pay your workers a living wage, and how many received benefits?" The idea is that while labels are helpful, there are countless other things about which we should be informed when choosing food purchases.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: nutrition epidemiology = pseudoscience ?  |  Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:27 am
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as long as you don't make a medical claim you can get away with pretty much anything

so you can't say "this will cure cancer" or "clinically proven to combat heart disease" unless there's a surefire way that it shows up in controlled medical trials

but you can say "70% of dentists prefer Oral-B" or "lowers cholesterol (combined with a healthy diet)"

or you can latch on to a result of a study where on further analysis the benefits aren't so clear-cut, e.g. omega-3 -as long as the product you're trying to sell is associated in the public eye with health of some description you don't even have to make a claim apart from the very vague "contains omega-3" or "essential for a healthy lifestyle"

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