Food for Thought, Thought for Food

Critical thinking about our food


Food for Thought, Thought for Food is not a blog about nutrition advice and proclaiming the truth. It is a critical look at research in nutrition science. I am not a nutritionist, but I believe that that is not a reason why I cannot read and understand nutrition science.

I have created this page out of frustration primarily caused by three things: first, science should not be the exclusive outlet of scientists. If you want to carry out research, you should go down the appropriate paths, but if you just want to read it and stay informed, I do not see why specialists should discourage us to do it and proclaim that they are the only ones who can follow the science. I am a firm believer in people’s right to information and in general watchdogginess (pardon my made-up word); science is not just for the elites, especially when it concerns our everyday health. No, not everyone can read and follow a scientific article, and that is fine. For those people who do however want to stay on top of health issues, a mediator is necessary. And this is my second frustration.

Many health news outlets blindly report information from press releases. There is often little critical thinking behind this process. That means that sometimes the outlets make mistakes in interpreting the results. Other times, and this drives me crazy, they cannot see that the researchers themselves make use of poor logic to interpret their results. Tautologies, sophisms, poorly constructed hypotheses, they can all be found in scientific research. Which leads me to my third cause of frustration: research funding.

Some studies should simply not be carried out. They provide little to no purpose, either in terms of advancing knowledge, or in terms of bettering the human physical condition. And still, these studies receive funding, are carried out, the results are published, and the scientists in question get praise and advance their careers. Based on what? Useless research, filled-in journal pages that help no one. And that is what many specialists base their professional knowledge on.

I would also like to mention that this bleak view does not encompass everyone. There are also smart researchers, health professionals, and journalists, and I truly hope they form the majority of their peers. But bad science and bad reporting should be stopped. The public should not believe their reports just because they don’t feel equipped to judge them. I judge. And I invite you to judge too.

I call myself Metis, as the titaness. I do not assume to be as wise and cunning as she was described in ancient mythology, but I do value wisdom and deep thought above almost anything else, and I strive to incorporate them in my daily life.

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