Here are 4 main problems you should know about when it comes to the conflicting advice one finds on nutritional and disease in the modern media.
- Emphasis on public health vs personalized health. You can’t generalize public health suggestions down to the individual. Each individual is different and has different needs. Public health suggestions are only a starting point even if very valuable for overall health statistics.
- The “experts” the media brings out are usually medical doctors, who are only reading the medical literature. Often, they are not familiar with the nutritional literature. Doctors are busy, they read the medical literature that comes across their desks. There is a whole world of nutritional literature that has nuance, depth, and remarkable work in it. This doesn’t necessarily contradict the medical literature but its emphasis is different. Doctors usually rely on a review article on the impact of nutrition and draw firm conclusions from that. I can’t tell you how often, I have read a review article and then looked into some of the studies they quote and find remarkably promising lifestyle or nutritional suggestions that are disregarded.
- Genetic variation can be an explanation for varying results of trials. In the near future, very specific genetic marker testing (snp’s) will be used to tailor medication and even supplement suggestions. When that field enters the mainstream which will probably take another 10 years, everyone will see the folly of making public health recommendations the end point instead of the starting point.
- The final error, is either from pure graft, protecting an opinion that the expert has held firm to throughout the years, or funding from various biased sources.
So next time, you hear conflicting health advice, you can be sure, that one of the 4 above errors is being made.
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