Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Whole Food Eating

Categories: Mindset & Attitude    

There's all kinds of conflicting diet and nutrition information we hear every day.

Nutrition Science Not as Solid as Thought:

Every plan has their group of "experts" who swear what they say is true, and that everyone should follow it. They can all provide expert science to back up what they say. We hear comments like "the science is settled," or "scientists agree."

The reality is, the pure science for diet and nutrition is extremely lacking. The main reason is that it's simply impossible to do long term controlled clinical trials on humans controlling for only one variable. That doesn't mean we can't learn some useful knowledge, but we need to take that info in its context, and not base 100% of our diet on it 100% of the time.

There are also a vast number of what amounts to fraudulent so called scientific papers. Unfortunately, preparing a fraudulent scientific paper is not a crime that's prosecuted.

The reports we get in the media about some of these studies are also not vetted, and in fact many times they make headlines and conclusions that the paper simply did not show or the conclusions in the papers are the opposite of what the data actually shows.

This is a systemic problem that's been going on for many decades.

Spreading Fraud:

Now that we have that background we can put the conflicting information into some kind of context.

When we hear diet gurus talk about science and evidence about the diet they promote we need to realize there's no officials checking to see if what they say is true. Even if people do point out that what they say isn't true, and prove it, no officials care, and no one will do anything to them for lying. They can continue to lie and no one will stop them.

If these diet gurus existed in a vacuum, then it wouldn't be a problem. But they don't. Many of them get huge movements behind them, that also spread this same fraudulent information. But these followers don't know how to actually understand that there's some kind of problem, or that their diet guru is lying.

People have a very difficult time realizing that people lie to them. It comes down to the fact that if they admit that their favored expert is a liar then they'll have to admit that they made a mistake. It's even harder for people to admit they made a mistake than it is to admit someone lied to them.

Separate Info from Emotion:

If you're in the position of not having a hard core belief system around food yet still want to learn more, then it would be wise to not blindly believe anything you hear about food and nutrition. Avoid getting emotionally attached to what you hear.

If you do have some hard and fast universal beliefs about diet and nutrition, then I'd suggest you work on trying to separate what you know from your emotions. What you know is just information. Most of it probably isn't from your own personal experience. Most of it will be something taught to your or that you picked up along the way.

Defining Dogma:

These hard and fast rules that are promoted as "settled nutrition science" is an example of dogma.

Let's define dogma first:

A fixed belief or set of beliefs that people are expected to accept without any doubts.
A point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds.
(Tenet - a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true. Especially one held in common by members of an organization, movement, or profession)

Nutrition Dogma:

The nutrition sciences are full of a lot of beliefs that simply don't have a solid ground in reality when you actually dig around deep enough.

Nutrition beliefs that are recommended for everyone is a form of dogma.

The diet gurus and doctors who swear everyone should follow their advice are being dogmatic.

Saying something or someone is dogmatic can be a very nice way of saying something or someone is a liar and a cheat.

Experts spreading information they know is fraudulent can be called dogmatic (nice way of saying they're a liar).

There are Some Who Aren't Dogmatic:

Within the nutrition community there still are some people who aren't dogmatic. They share what they know, what they've tried with themselves and their clients or patients. But they don't insist everyone should do it. They're able to share their info in the correct context.

There may be two experts, both promoting the same diet, and one will be dogmatic, and the other one won't be. You need to also watch out for this. You need to not blindly throw out a vague concept just because one person is dogmatic about it. You need to take the time to dig, if it's an area of interest to you.

Examples of Dogma:

I'm going to give a couple completely opposite examples, so you understand why you need to be careful on what you accept and what you discard. The first statement of each example is dogmatic, the second one isn't.

Keto Example:

  • Some people promote the diet's main purpose is to be in ketosis 100% of the time. This is a very strict diet with extremely low carbs, and exacting macro ratios, and difficult to maintain.
  • Some people promote the idea that it's better to train our body to be able to use ketones and then cycle in and out of ketosis. This allows for a flexible diet that is lower carb, but not fully excluding carbs. This is a diet that many people can comfortably follow.

Dairy Free Example:

  • Dairy is difficult for many people to digest. Some people promote that no one should eat dairy, since so many can't tolerate it. They say that humans don't have the proper digestive system to digest it, as shown by the large number who can't (in our current society).
  • Some doctors have found that not being able to digest dairy is both race specific, and that some modern occurrences over the last 150 years have led many to have damaged digestive systems that can no longer digest it like they should. They are starting to actually find some solutions to be able to fix some people's digestive system to be able to handle it again.

Information in Context and Without Emotional Attachments:

As you can see from the examples, the first example of each sounds logical if you heard it in isolation. Without context, they all seem ok.

The diet world is full of a lot of dogma. We hear all kinds of info that just sounds "right." Unfortunately, there are many who promote things that are false, or completely out of context. If we don't seek out an alternate perspective, we won't be able to spot the dogma.

Emotion is also used very heavily in promoting some nutrition beliefs. That's something to be very wary of and it usually goes along with dogmatic nutrition belief systems.

Take some time to look at some of your own beliefs or ideas you've heard, and see if you can find any that might just be dogma. It takes some practice but if health is your ultimate goal, it's important to be able to separate the dogma from decent info, and be able to put the info in context, and to separate your emotions from it.

If you're interested in continuing your diet research, and learning how to think about food in a different way, be sure to check out our Kick It Up section, where you'll find all kinds of articles on how to do that.

Think, eat and enjoy!

Thora Toft

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