Hugh Pickens writes:
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?"
His rant about vitamins was dead wrong; CBS News was talking about a new, large study that said that most Americans do not, in fact, get all their needed vitamins. No citrus or tomatoes at all? You'll probably get scurvy. No dairy at all? You won't get enough calcium.
Burgers, fries, doritos, and pizza do not have all the nutrients you need.
I was glad when they did that study a few decades ago that said butter was bad for you because it makes you fat. I've always been thin and the price of butter dropped like a rock after that study, and I was pretty poor at the time.
The reason people don't "trust" science is that they don't understand it or how it works, and incredibly few folks have any grasp of statistics at all.
My great uncle started smoking at age 12, stopped at 82 and died at 92. That doesn't mean that smoking is a good idea, it means that there are variables (and he got lucky). Not everyone is in the median in any study.
If nobody in your family has ever had a heart attack, you have no reason whatever to worry about a heart attack; eat all the greasy pork you want. All of your grandparents died of heart failure in their sixties? You damned well better watch your diet.