Tag Archives: Food

Correlation, causation, flaky science and trust

Debunking Food MythsA recent article on the weight loss benefits of eating breakfast says

That doesn’t mean particular breakfasts can’t help some people control their appetites, or bring other benefits like energy. Schlundt’s study was tiny. But it shows how easy it is to simplify the complexities and limitations of nutrition science and cherry-pick the findings.

The point of the article is that choosing a single study to prove a point is easy. When you’re looking at a “fact” a single data point is not enough. The reason peer review is so important in science is that being able to repeat a study is critical.

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Thinking about exercise can deliver benefits

mind-bodyResearchers at Florida Gulf Coast University conducted research with 60 college students, half of whom had a high need for cognitive stimulation. The others preferred to avoid anything too mentally taxing.

Both groups were outfitted with fitness trackers, which showed those who craved a mental workout were far less likely to do a physical one during the week.

If their deep thoughts include exercise, other research shows they might just be able to trick their body into believing it got a workout.

To top it off, some Japanese research has found that looking at sweets can cause your body to retain more calories.

In other words, getting your head in the right place may have profound effects on your health.

Australian scientists say nutrition research needs a shakeup

A paper titled Nutritional Ecology and Human Health, published by David Raubenheimer and Stephen J. Simpson from the Charles Perkins Centre and School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney says the way we measure the health impacts of the human diet needs to be reconsidered.

Simpson says “Conventional thinking which demonises fat, carbohydrate or sugar in isolation as causes of the obesity crisis — dubbed the single nutrient approach — has now run its course. We’ve provided a framework for not only thinking about but also experimentally testing issues around dietary balance. Much like the invention of the telescope or microscope, this framework offers a new tool with which to look at complex dietary problems and bring them into focus”.

You can read the full text of the paper at the Annual Review of Nutrition

Should we still be choosing fat-free over full-fat products?

by Rebecca Charlotte Reynolds, UNSW Australia

bacon-and-eggsLight or “lite”, 99% fat-free, reduced fat, low fat, less fat, reduced calorie, low calorie, lean, extra lean – are products with these labels always healthier?

First, let’s talk about fat. Fat in foods and drinks is either unsaturated (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, the latter as omega-3 or -6; or trans-fats), saturated.

These differ based on their chemical structures and properties, including whether they are “saturated” with more hydrogen atoms and are liquid or solid at room temperature. They also differ in their effects on human health.

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Nutrition – Celebrity Advice

celebrity-diet-advicePick up a magazine or newspaper and flick through to the lifestyle section. You know – the bit with the beautiful models who look like they spend hours exercising everyday but never raise a sweat. It’s the section where famous people tell us about their “secrets”. Special diets and regimes that, they say, have unlocked the key to healthy and fulfilling lives. Why do we listen to listen to celebrities and not nutritionists and other scientists? Continue reading