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posted by janrinok on Wednesday February 04 2015, @03:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the I'll-never-close-my-eyes-again dept.

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame writes on his blog that science's biggest fail of all time is 'everything about diet and fitness':

I used to think fatty food made you fat. Now it seems the opposite is true. Eating lots of peanuts, avocados, and cheese, for example, probably decreases your appetite and keeps you thin. I used to think vitamins had been thoroughly studied for their health trade-offs. They haven’t. The reason you take one multivitamin pill a day is marketing, not science. I used to think the U.S. food pyramid was good science. In the past it was not, and I assume it is not now. I used to think drinking one glass of alcohol a day is good for health, but now I think that idea is probably just a correlation found in studies.

According to Adams, the direct problem of science is that it has been collectively steering an entire generation toward obesity, diabetes, and coronary problems. But the indirect problem might be worse: It is hard to trust science because it has a credibility issue that it earned. "I think science has earned its lack of credibility with the public. If you kick me in the balls for 20-years, how do you expect me to close my eyes and trust you?"

 
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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04 2015, @04:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04 2015, @04:18PM (#141175)

    If you kick me in the balls for 20-years, how do you expect me to close my eyes and trust you?

    I merely expect anyone that disagrees to present a viable alternative that isn't in direct contradiction of empirical evidence. Did anyone present evidence that showed fatty foods make people fat? If so, are you rejecting that based on experience eating fatty foods and not becoming fat (empirical evidence), alternative theories (certain _types_ of fatty foods make people fat, see, here's my evidence) or because you don't like the conclusion (Duh, nu uh!)?

    It's that point. Viable alternative, that _agrees_ with all the gathered empirical evidence. If we have to throw out the whole of the scientific knowledge base, your alternative must be able to fill all affected areas at least as well. We've gotten here because we've made predictions based on the data we had. Those predictions turned out to be incorrect, we revise, based on the new data that we have. If you're sitting there saying, "Nuh uh!" then you're not providing any new data, not advancing any understanding, and in general doing nothing but holding us back.

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04 2015, @04:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04 2015, @04:33PM (#141184)

    I merely expect anyone that disagrees to present a viable alternative that isn't in direct contradiction of empirical evidence. Did anyone present evidence that showed fatty foods make people fat? If so, are you rejecting that based on experience eating fatty foods and not becoming fat (empirical evidence), alternative theories (certain _types_ of fatty foods make people fat, see, here's my evidence) or because you don't like the conclusion (Duh, nu uh!)?

    When this story was posted to slashdot, someone linked this interesting article:
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303678404579533760760481486 [wsj.com]

    Basically, it says that someone did present evidence that fatty foods make people fat (well, cause heart disease), but that the study was flawed. He cherry-picked the countries studied, etc...
    And, then he got a job at the American Heart Association, and convinced the government to recommend that everyone cut back on fatty foods...

    The alternative theory seems to be that carbs make people fat.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bob_super on Wednesday February 04 2015, @04:49PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday February 04 2015, @04:49PM (#141197)

      The scientific consensus is that too much food intake compared to the amount spent is making people fat. Also, a balanced diet is most likely better for us omnivores.

      You can find outliers for/against any claim that a specific diet mix is good or bad. Those eating 100% fat or 100% carbs are not likely to stay around too long to keep objecting, though.

      /science

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday February 04 2015, @04:59PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 04 2015, @04:59PM (#141205)

    Did anyone present evidence that showed fatty foods make people fat?

    Three problems:

    1) We is animals. I don't mean in the "Animal Farm" book sense, although thats certainly true, but we're closer to livestock like piggies than to, say, oak trees, or trilobites. If there's one thing (successful) farmers know how to do, its fatten up livestock. And nothing works better than pumping them full of grains aka carbs. Magically thats not supposed to apply to humans, because its so uncomfortable to think of ourselves as "walking monkeys" or whatever. But rest assured, if it fattens a pig, it'll fatten us up just as well.

    2) Evolve to survive a somewhat meat heavy omnivorous diet for uncountable generations, shove full of refined sugar, WTF you think is about to happen? Oh but we've evolved such that the "right people" will get rich if we believe a dietary fairy tale instead, and besides we never evolved, the earth is only 6000 years old you silly scientists

    3) My mom has had a couple generations of cats eat nothing but meow mix and water. So you can make certain conclusions about meow mix and cat lifetimes (none have ever died younger than 18 yrs means she'd doing something right, even if its not the meow mix...) The problem is we've got fatties living off a diet of supersized chocolate shakes and triple bacon cheezeburgers and jumbo fries... now is the greasy meat killing them (very unlikely given what our ancestors thrived on), or the 150 grams of sugar in that shake (unavailable until about 150 yrs ago, probably not good for you), or the pure carb two pounds of french fries (not in my genetic heritage). If we could just run a scientific experiment lasting about 100 years with the participants eating nothing but different cans of "ensure" for their entire lives, we'd get somewhere...

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04 2015, @06:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04 2015, @06:02PM (#141231)

      now is the greasy meat killing them (very unlikely given what our ancestors thrived on)

      Cooking something on an improvised spit, where the fat can drip off after melting, is nowhere near the same as cooking something in such a way that it not only soaks in its own fat, but gets smothered with even more. The difference in cooking method (allowing fat to drip off vs. cooking it in the fat, where it stays smothered in it) no doubt affectws the amount of fat taken in. Cooking meats on a George Foreman Grill [wikipedia.org] would be a lot closer to what our ancestors thrived on than the grease-soaked crap you get from cooking on a flat-bottomed cooking surface.

      • (Score: 2) by tynin on Wednesday February 04 2015, @07:06PM

        by tynin (2013) on Wednesday February 04 2015, @07:06PM (#141268) Journal

        I think about the only thing I cook that sometimes gets this way is ground beef. But even then when the fat is rendered, you just pour it off before adding in whatever comes next. Beef fat, at least from burger meat really isn't that flavorful anyhow. Anything that goes in the oven, does so on a wire cooking rack. But with meats I rarely cook inside, as I favor cooking on the grill. It is hard to beat the flavor charcoal adds. I only just recently learned you can cook directly on the coals [youtube.com]... it is worth trying.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Wednesday February 04 2015, @10:52PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 04 2015, @10:52PM (#141343)

        You have a valid point AC, but the fundamental problem is if demonization of fast food is a given, and the options are one thing my skinny ancestors have eaten for about a million years plus or minus some admitted minor technique differences, and the other two options are off the wall never eaten by my ancestors more than a century ago my stomach asking WTF is this weird semi-edible highly profitable chemical waste... its probably not the meat.

        As a general rule, if, given a time machine, you grabbed a biologically identical ancestor 10000 years ago and gave them a plate of dinner, if they wouldn't even recognize it as food you're probably screwing up. On the other hand I think my ancestors would love my beef and veg grilled kabobs, my steaks, my salads with a side of grilled chicken, or my fruit plate deserts. They'd flip their shit for my fruit plates. They'd probably understand and like my stir fries although a little freaked about complicated technique and weird sauces. On the other hand give them some pop tarts, pizza rolls, and doritos and I'm not sure they could identify those items as food. Because they're not, not really. At least not food for humans.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @11:48PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @11:48PM (#141678)

          I don't think I would be able to find a biologically identical ancestor from 10000 years ago. For one, I believe lactose tolerence developed more recently than that, there could be quite a few more biological differences too.