Is nutrition science unreliable?

Is nutrition science methodologically inferior to other fields? Is nutrition knowledge insufficiently stable to be useful? Is it even causing harm?

  • Quite often nutrition science has been criticised as being unreliable yet some argue that it has made vital contributions to human health. There are continuously shifts in medicine some of which focusing on single nutrient deficiencies and some focusing on overall diets and chronic diseases from various studies leading to a greater knowledge, however these advances have also brought with them new questions and uncertainties. These include the relevance of unsaturated fats and its diverse food sources, the effects of fish oil or vitamin D supplements and the relevance or calorie counting versus diet quality for long term weight control to name a few. What really adds to the controversy surrounding this topic however is the time lag between the generation of new knowledge and its implementation.
  • It is important to remember that uncertainty exists in all scientific fields. Nutrition science is evolving but this does not necessarily mean that we should be sceptical of current conclusions.
  • Is there a potential vested interest within the nutrition industry? Their optimal role is unclear. Government and on-profic organisational support is limited so the food industry has a key role in funding studies. This has however raised concerns that bias exists in their work spewing the findings towards industry benefit. It is vital that all parts of the food system globally contributes towards the solution weather it is through voluntary action of legalisation.
  • With all of this research, it needs to be conveyed to the public in order to take substantial effect. Enhancing the quality of dietary guidelines is one important strategy. standardisation of methods and criteria is also recommended.

 

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