Editorial: Nutrition research bias and weak research undermine guidelines


How can you trust nutrition advice with all the bias out there?

Today, I read an article by the Skeptical Cardiologist that really lit a fire for me and of which I am in 100% agreement. The article entitled: “Meat Guidelines Are Exposing the Fault Lines in Nutrition Advice – The Skeptical Cardiologist has one important reminder” is great summary of what is wrong with nutrition research and sweeping changes nutritional guidelines. Far too often, we make huge changes to the recommended food consumption on junk science.

The nutrition based research has long been full of so much bias that it is hard to tell who we can actually trust. Nearly every study and nearly every professional organization has an industry promotion behind them. I have long wondered why so many of them have danced on the edge of the ethical sword.

So what problem do I have with the ethics of the organizations that are outraged by the suggestion that red meat may be less of a concern than they have suggested in the past? The problem is the ethical bias that their funding streams have crossed. To illustrate this, I am going to use the American Heart Associations (AHA) recommended products. This list contains products that manufacturers have paid to use the logo on the packaging and in turn, AHA names them to their “healthy” list. Below is a list of the questionable items on this list in the past:

  1. Cheerios: This might be a more healthy option, but this cereal has over 150 calories with 2/3 coming from sugar and carbohydrates and only 3 grams of fiber. Sure it is fortified with vitamins and minerals, but I do no think their cereal is a healthy staple for your breakfast meal.
  2. Potatoes: Potatoes are not what I would consider a healthy food. They are almost entirely carbohydrates and are fairly low in fiber. These starch foods are not the typical plant-based food I would suggest.

The bottom line: The bias and fog created by conflicting suggestions and poor research confuse the public. Add this to the rapid-fire changes to the nutritional guidelines placed on a political whim and you have experts losing the trust of the public. The AHA is getting better and Some other groups are getting better. As for me, this skeptical family physician agrees with the Skeptical cardiologist.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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