Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hot Topics-Research Realities

Wait, what's the latest on fish oil?  Caffeine?  Omega 3's and 6's?  No wonder you can't keep it straight. 

Overstating and overreaching the results of nutrition studies occurs in about 10% of nutrition or obesity papers published in leading specialty, medical, and public health journals.  (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, November 2013)

Overreach was found through reporting relationships as cause and effect when they are simply associative; basing policy recommendations on observations that are associative; and generalizing results to a population not studied.

So you may be left wondering what applies to you.  And when you attempt to bring this information to the grocery store, it gets even more confusing with health claims and different nutrition rating systems on food packaging.

As we get more savvy (or desperate?), we want numbers, data and specific advice.  But much of nutrition education is an art not a science.  There is a solution somewhere in the realm of moderation, common sense, and believe it or not, My Plate.

For most adult Americans without underlying chronic disease, the general advice to increase fruits & veggies & whole grains, to decrease sodium & sugar, and to achieve energy balance by watching portions & being more active still holds true.  Even if you do have health issues, you will come out ahead following that advice consistently.

I think most of us know what our "bad" habits are.  Most of us know what we should eat without worrying about grams, percentages and biochemistry.  Don't change your diet everytime there is a new research headline or a new fad diet.  Most Registered Dietitians preach balance, variety and moderation for a reason.

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