Why Is Nutrition So Confusing?

Nutrition is confusing.  There seems to be a new fad diet or the next superfoods that render all previous superfoods meaningless.  

In a different light, these conflicts highlight the beauty of the scientific method.  Constantly testing nutritional hypotheses to make sure that the false doctrines are debunked and solid fact establishes a stronger foundation.  As a matter of fact, macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) were not discovered until the mid-1800s.  

Here below are the main reasons that Nutrition isn’t straightforward as we would want:

  1. Nutrition research is young. As a comparison, the study of chemistry has been around for more than 2000 years while Nutrition barely passed the 200 year milestone.  There is still lots to learn in nutrition’s young age.
  2. Most nutrition resources are funded for disease treatment rather than preventive nutrition.  According to the 2016 US National Institute of Health Funding, 5 Million Dollars have been allocated for Nutrition in Cancer Research while only 0.5 Million has been allocated for optimal nutrition research.
  3. Corporate effects on nutrition research. Companies that fund nutrition research intend on the research to influence consumers to purchase their product rather than focus on knowledge as a whole.
  4. Multiple variables in your health make it hard to focus on food’s effects. Multiple environmental and internal factors for every different human being makes it hard to pinpoint how nutrition itself affects a person as a whole.
  5. Most nutrition studies are observational. People seem to make weird correlations with certain foods.  Red Meat does not cause cancer, yet people falsely believe this fact.  There is no correlation between the two.
  6. Nutrient measurements aren’t always accurate. Every person’s body is different in how many calories they burn or how much energy people consume.  There is no set in stone cookie cutter formula
  7. Your food consumption habits will not affect your health right away. Think about it.  Very few people are reluctant to dedicate their whole lives under laboratory supervision to the study of how red meat affects people’s lives. 
  8. Not all scientific findings will apply to you. The age and gender demographic of those who have been tested for certain nutrition articles may differ greatly from you in terms of age, health, gender, and even if they’re human vs non-human.  Also, studies are based off of bell curve averages which can differ greatly from the person receiving the information
  9. Research may be tough, but the report is tougher. There might be a lack of communication between the scientist and the journalist.  Single studies might be difficult to connect to a larger picture and writers may misinterpret or over-exaggerate scientific conclusions.

All in all, experiment on yourself and don’t believe everything that the media tells you.  

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