Is it a fact or not? What to make of all these new nutrition claims.

June 29, 2014 BY: LISA

I was recently quoted in the Body & Soul lift out of the Sunday papers and received some feedback from a reader in Western Australia – his concern was that he was tired of Dietitian’s not giving definite answers about particular foods. In this case – coconut oil – my comment was “the jury is still out on whether it was a healthy oil or not.”

 

I can understand his frustration; as a result of this he was choosing to follow advice from people who could tell him definitely what was good and what was not. There is certainly no shortage of people who are speaking in “definites” about food- in fact there are so many that they are beginning to contradict each other and are no doubt leaving everyone even more confused as to what is healthy and what is not.

 

Scientific research can certainly be frustrating as in order to accept something as fact it needs to have been rigorously tested and show the outcome more than once and be applicable to humans, it also needs to be carried out on a large number of people and not be just the results of one small study.

 

There is research that has been done that could prove or disprove just about anything so when the next nutrition expose` comes out it will have research to back it up but it just may not be results that are applicable to humans or be backed and accepted by the scientific community as rigorous or conclusive enough to be considered “Fact.”

 

The other point to consider is that nutrition science is a relatively new area so the body of evidence does change on occasion as we learn and accept new information. This will explain why we have moved from low fat to good fats and bad fats.

 

Our dietary guidelines are a reasonably conservative publication but they are certainly backed by research. The process of putting them together examined over 55,000 research articles and they have attempted to be more about food than single nutrients in order to be more user friendly. https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating 

 

My advice to the reader was to always remember the old adage- Everything in Moderation – and you really can’t go wrong. Also be a little sceptical about the next non-nutrition “expert” author that comes out with a book making startling claims.

 

If you want to fine tune the message to yourself – see an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

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