Monday, 21 February 2011

Nutrition - who to believe?

Nutrition is often confusing. One day something is healthy, then the next it is not. One day a certain food causes health problems, the next it doesn't, and is recommended and promoted. The problem is there are so many studies on nutrition; whom do you believe?

Well the truth is it is very rare for every single study on a subject to be in agreement. There are always a few that sit in direct contrast to the majority of the studies. So it is never a good idea to suggest broad conclusions or recommendations based on a few select studies. If you pick & choose the studies that suit your point of view, you can prove just about anything you would like about nutrition. Many studies about nutrition use animals as subjects, and drawing conclusions about human health from animal studies can be very misleading. 

If a certain study 'proves' something is unhealthy, and you are or know of someone who does very well on that something, the study is not definitive. Sure, there can be a general rule that 'generally' applies to 'most' people, but to blindly accept information just because someone tells you it is so is ridiculous. How often can you find people with recognised qualifications disagreeing with each other? So even if you have been taught something, it doesn't make it correct. Besides, how do we know that something has been proven? Because someone tells us it has? Come on people, think for yourselves.

If a qualified and recognised expert tells me something is unhealthy, I want to know why he think that. I don't want to hear that he knows because someone else told him. I don't want to hear it is because he read it in a book. I especially do not want to know it is because he read an article on the internet. I don't even want to hear that he knows because he has a qualification in that field. I want to hear that he tried it personally for long enough, with no other variables changing at all, and it showed enough significant results for him to come to his conclusion. 

This doesn't mean you shouldn't listen. Listen to everything. Listen to everyone. Read, research & most importantly question. The more information you have, the better equipped you are to reach a conclusion. But don't do it just because someone else told you - regardless of who that person is.

For every person who tells me something is healthy or unhealthy, or for every study I see that tells me something is healthy or unhealthy, I can find a person and a study to refute them. More often than not I can find a person who is a living example that disproves most 'known facts' out there. So until someone tells me something is healthy or unhealthy for ALL of the people ALL of the time, I will continue to question everything that is put before me. I will continue to be my own study, and see how things affect ME in the real world, rather than how they affected 6 rats in a laboratory test in 1969. I will continue to challenge everything, and so should you.

Challenge everything, especially yourself.

Alex Kay Grimmer

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