Do Kittens Cure Cancer?
Do we know the best way to eat, part 2?
Do you like my title? I figured it would grab attention. Please go back and reread part 1 to make sense of this because I’m just going to hop into part 2. We are talking about why we don’t really “know” scientifically the best way to eat. Most of the studies are not reported accurately or true scientific studies are not being done.
So here goes:
Peter Attia gives an example:
“Consider the following hyperbolic example: Imagine a clinical trial of patients with colon cancer. One group gets randomized to no treatment (we’ll call them the “control group”). The other group gets randomized to a cocktail of 14 different chemotherapy drugs, plus radiation, plus surgery, plus hypnosis treatments, plus daily massages, plus daily ice cream sandwiches, plus daily visits from kittens (we’ll call them the “treatment group”). A year later the treatment group has outlived the control group. Great news, to be sure. The treatment worked! Here’s the problem…we “conclude” it was the 7th and 9th drugs in the group of 14 drugs, plus the kittens that caused the treatment effect and we enact recommendations based on that. Are we right? Sure, it’s possible, but actually it’s quite unlikely. The only way to know for certain if a treatment works is to isolate it from all other variables and test it (in a randomized prospective fashion, of course). Do the kind of science we were taught to do in 8th grade.”
Have any of you read through the actual epidemiology studies findings? I have clicked on a few of them and immediately my eyes glazed over…tables and tables of tiny bits of information. I don’t have time for this and click off. So I rely on people with more patience with that kind of stuff than I have to tell me what they say. But I am now realizing is that for the most part it really doesn’t matter because there are too many variables. When living breathing people living their real lives decide to make a change in their diets to become healthier, they tend to do more than just make one change. When I went on my diet I stopped eating sugar, flour, rice, potatoes, and dropped my calorie count to no more than 1200 calories a day and exercised like crazy and took an appetite suppressant. So can we say anyone thing was the magic bullet? No we can’t. I can’t believe that I am that different from anybody else. When asked to be part of a study I imagine that the people who are trying to eat healthy, no matter what they believe that to be, are also doing a lot of other things that are meant to improve their health as well. So we can’t pull out just one thing and say this is it!
I know this is really, really long. But I get so frustrated when I read text books that tell us that it is a fact that we know how to eat to be healthy. And I am getting ready to read some textbooks here on my way to getting a personal training certificate and am getting angry in anticipation, because I know what it’s going to tell me. Government approved eating, according to the Food Pyramid or Food Plate, depending on when it was published, has been scientifically established. But I think the science says we know very little about healthy eating. Epidemiology has shown us that yes smoking is highly associated with lung cancer and pellagra is caused by a nutrient deficient diet. But it hasn’t shown us that vegetarianism, low fat high whole grain diet, or paleo diet is the healthiest way to eat.
So please read the following two articles written by men who really understand science a lot more than I do=) and explain it in a fairly understandable entertaining way.
By the way, Peter Attia and Gary Taubes have started NuSi to help fill those gaps in science.
And I just discovered, Denise Minger. Her blog is basically explaining what these studies actually say. Obviously her eyes don’t glaze when she reads them. Here’s her dissection (maybe not quite the right word) of the New USDA Dietary Guidelines, the studies listed to prove how they tell us to eat. This was so incredibly eye opening to me because when the government tells me to eat a certain way I kinda believe that they have facts to back up what they are telling me. Oh and that they aren’t being swayed at all by the grain farmers who get subsidies… click here