So, it could be that the effect is all in your head. It could be that the effect is real, whether it’s placebo pain relief or measurable weight loss. But either way, if your experience flies in the face of research results, you’re probably going to go with your experience. And Hitchcock says that could be a completely rational decision. If the cost of continuing (say, paying for a supplement) is small compared to the risk of discontinuing (and potentially giving up the perceived benefit), it makes sense to keep on keeping on.
Here are some other articles related to natural sciences and diet
Another article in a long line that discusses the challenges of producing knowledge about human health. Despite scientific methods, producing knowledge is extremely challenging.
“High-quality trials are hard to do because diets, and the behavior of humans who consume them, are so complicated. A single meal might have dozens of nutrients and hundreds of other bioactive substances that interact in unknown ways. Furthermore, if the diet being studied increases intake from one food category, people may eat less from other food categories, making it difficult to attribute results to any specific dietary component.”
Click here for other related topics tagged “Diet”
This is another in a long line of medical reversals (salt, fat, sugar…). These cases raise a lot of good questions about the nature of scientific knowledge and its production. It also raises good questions about how scientific process can lead to conclusions that ultimately prove to be false.
Here are a bunch of articles on related dietary topics.
The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.
But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.
Below are a few resources that explore the myth of MSG (food additive) being bad for you. This case demonstrates the intersection of various TOK concepts include how we produce knowledge in the natural sciences, the role of intuition in acquiring knowledge, and why we have such a hard time changing our minds once we believe something to be true.
That MSG causes health problems may have thrived on racially charged biases from the outset. Ian Mosby, a food historian, wrote in a 2009 paper titled “‘That Won-Ton Soup Headache’: The Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, MSG and the Making of American Food, 1968-1980” that fear of MSG in Chinese food is part of the U.S.’s long history of viewing the “exotic” cuisine of Asia as dangerous or dirty. As Sand put it: “It was the misfortune of Chinese cooks to be caught with the white powder by their stoves when the once-praised flavor enhancer suddenly became a chemical additive.”
This American Life: The Long Fuse (prologue and Part 1)
In this episode, the hosts explore the the MSG myth and in the process also demonstrate the challenges we face when constructing knowledge about the past
Since the ’90s, the FDA has listed MSG as perfectly safe for its intended use, like vinegar, salt, pepper. Today on our show, we have three stories like this one, where people throw words out into the world that take on a totally unexpected life of their own. And in all these stories, the words wreak havoc for years.
“Scientific evidence for popular health supplements.
“Showing tangible human health benefits when taken orally by an adult with a healthy diet.”
“If you eat a lot of salt — sodium chloride — you will become thirsty and drink water, diluting your blood enough to maintain the proper concentration of sodium. Ultimately you will excrete much of the excess salt and water in urine.
“The theory is intuitive and simple. And it may be completely wrong.”
Interesting podcast episode that delves into whether sugar should be regulated. In evaluating that claim, they delve into the difficulty of proving claims of about health and nutrition scientifically. What does good science look like in nutrition? How do you prove a causal relationship? Both relevant questions when we look at this issue.
“Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it’s addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former FDA commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.”
“Good reviews of all the observational research note the methodological flaws in this domain, as well as the problems of combining the results of publication-bias-influenced studies into a meta-analysis. The associations should be viewed with skepticism and confirmed with prospective trials.
“Few randomized controlled trials exist. Those that do, although methodologically weak like most nutrition studies, don’t support the necessity of breakfast.”
This article raises some interesting points about what is “good science” and also raises the issue of how hard it is to “know” things when it comes to nutrition. Though not the main focus, the article also touches upon whether the funding source of a study affects the conclusion and how ethical it is to fund a self serving study.
“Academic press offices are known to overhype their own research. But the University of Maryland recently took this to appalling new heights — trumpeting an incredibly shoddy study on chocolate milk and concussions that happened to benefit a corporate partner.
“It’s a cautionary tale of just how badly science can go awry as universities increasingly partner with corporations to conduct research.”