Sunday, June 21, 2015

No one would ever lead you astray when it comes to your health and fitness....

It can be very overwhelming to sort through all the fads diets, nutrition advice, exercise programs, and general information out there. Just because something seems appealing or "studies prove" it, doesn't make it good advice.

In my latest Nutrition and Health class, I read something that really demonstrated this point:

“The study was done in 1000 adult men and women that were recruited to participate in the study examining the side effects of statin drugs. To assess the frequency of chocolate consumption subjects responded to the question: how many times a week do you consume chocolate? The energy intake was estimated using a so-called food frequency questionnaire that looked at total food consumption. What was interesting is that the researcher found that the more often people eat chocolate, the higher their energy intake, which of course makes perfect sense, but the lower their Body Mass Index or body weight. Let me repeat this, the more often people eat chocolate, the lower their degree of overweight.
The authors concluded that although frequent chocolate consumption increases energy intake it does not lead to weight gain.
Really? Do you believe it? The authors of the studies admit that their study has limitations which may explain their highly curious results.
Unfortunately, those new answers are completely lost in the press release of UC San Diego where the study was done, which among other things, says, I quote: “In the case of chocolate this is good news, both for those who have a regular chocolate habit and those who may wish to start one.” Those who may wish to start one? Are you kidding me? Is UC San Diego insinuating that picking up a chocolate habit may be actually a good idea? Because it may make you thinner? If the press office of UC San Diego was already doing such a bad job, how can we expect other news channels to be more accurate? Indeed, BCC news wrote that chocolate may help keep people slim. Whereas CBS news reported that eating lots of chocolate helps people stay thin. What is surprising is that Elle magazine, of all sources, was actually the most responsible by including the disclaimer "But before you reach for that Mars bar remember chocolate bars contains high levels of fat and sugar. It’s best to stick to a little dark chocolate now and again to reap these possible benefits." What I want to convey with this little story is that there is plenty of bad science out there.”

Basically, don't believe everything you read on the Internet or in a book. Use common sense, see if other studies back it up, and be wary of anything that seems too good to be true. Just because the media say it, doesn't make it true :)

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