Friday, June 15, 2012

How To Read and Listen to Nutrition News With an Educated Point Of View

One day you are told that eating certain foods are extremely bad for you so you swear off those foods and eat what the news recommends instead. Then a few months later you read a report about how your new favorite food is also bad for you health! How are you supposed to believe the news when they hop from one belief to the next? The advice from one day is no longer valid and it can leave you feeling betrayed and searching for something else that may just change in a few months again.
Sometimes results from a single study are presented as fact when actually the results of a single study don't prove or disprove anything! But they are still presented to you anywase as a new fact that you need to know.
Here are a few things to look for when you are learning about your new tidbit of nutrition information to keep you safe from switching your diet completely to something that is just as unhealthy.
1. The study should be published in a peer reviewed journal as an unpublished study or one from a non credible source may not be as official. If it has been challenged or reviewed by experts in the field then give more weight to the study then if it has not.
2. Learn if the study was done over a long period of time, how many people were involved, and whether there was direct contact between participants and researchers.
If the study was done for 1 week, with 10 people, and they collected their data over the phone then it may not be an exact science as if it was done for 30 years, with 50,000 people, and closely monitored. You get my drift; just be wary of short term studies that claim wild things.
3. If the study was done with humans then take into account the similarity they have to you. Meaning if they are 30 years you're senior, non-active, and a different gender than you, then you may not be as affected or you may be more affected then they are. Take into consideration your differences.
4. Has there been previous research about the topic? Are there other studies to back up this study or is this the first of its kind?
Meaning is this constant throughout time or is it because of factors from this time period and situation.
5. Does this make sense to me? If the study tells you that margarine is bad for your heart you have to wonder if the amount of margarine in the study is the same as the amount you eat. Do you eat enough to have it affect your heart?
The point I am trying to make is that you have to take in your nutrition news with a critical eye and not allow yourself to jump on the bandwagon because of one study reported to you in a way that makes you think you have to change or suffer the consequences. Take into consideration all of these things and let your common sense as well as solid proof decide what is healthy for you.

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