Food for Thought – Setting the Stage

Food for Thought – Setting the Stage

2014 template-bannerimage-article Melissa Food for Thought_edited-3

Now that this blog is almost one year old, I feel like I’m getting some “blog muscles”!  I’ve received such positive feedback on my “They Blinded Me with Science” post and I really want to continue that conversation.  We are all inundated with conflicting, cryptic and confusing nutrition information in the news every day.  But I want to help people to be more thoughtful and critical about the nutrition news they see and hear.  To better explain this, I’m serving up a healthy portion of “Food for Thought.”

This will set the stage for future posts - whenever I come across an article, video, podcast, etc. that either resonates with me or enlightens me, but most importantly, that I believe will help others see an issue from a totally different perspective.  If you have recommendations on topics or specific videos/articles to share please let me know!   Post a comment below or email me at

These examples speak volumes.  What do they say to you?

1. It's Only Natural: The Brain's Most Basic Hard-Wired Skills
Michael Shermer from Skeptic Magazine
shares his ideas about why we think the way we do.  Shermer says, "We overvalue the shreds of evidence that support our preferred outcome, and ignore the facts we aren't looking for."
He says nothing about nutrition or health – but I think his premise about type I (false positive) and type II (false negative) errors applies to how people might make food and nutrition decisions.  Especially when they’re not certain about the information they’re receiving and when they don’t know who to trust.  (About 4 minutes into the video Shermer addresses the concept of type I and type II errors.)

2. Chocolate, Lead and the Measurement Conundrum

Andrew Maynard from the University of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences does a phenomenal job of putting perspective back into risk assessment.
I first learned about “risk assessment” in grad school and that education has had a profound impact on my approach to nutrition, my career and probably explains a lot about where I am today with my nutrition communications biz.  I believe people would feel more informed and less afraid if they knew more about risk assessment.


3. Grains of Truth: Dietitians Dish about Arsenic in Rice
This is a classic example of how something can sound so alarming and yet be “naturally” occurring.  There's a saying: “the dose makes the poison” and it seems very fitting for this subject.


Robyn Flipse developed a presentation for consumers and turned her notes into this article for my blog.

Jill Castle wrote this post for her Just the Right Byte blog.

Rachel Begun wrote this article for Gluten Free Living Magazine.

Elisa Zied wrote this blog post for Parents Magazine.

Liz Applegate participated in a Q&A for this Runners World article.

The International Food Information Council shares the infographic above and more information on their site.

4. White Lies: What You Really Need to Know about Antibiotics in Milk
Lloyd Metzger, PhD, professor from South Dakota State University explains the testing milk undergoes and its journey from farm to grocery store.  What you hear might surprise you!  Especially if you’ve heard the perpetuated myths and misunderstandings about antibiotics in milk.








What thoughts or reactions do you have?  Join in the conversation!  Leave a comment below or send me an email.

The next helping of "Food for Thought" is coming soon so be sure to check back again. 
Next on the menu:

Local, Natural, Organic, Oh My!
OMG it’s the GMOs
The Sodium Saga – should you take it with a grain of salt?

Want to be inspired or learn insider tips and tricks?  Then check out my interviews with dietitians in communications!

If you liked this post, check out my podcast A Grain of Salt: A Closer Look at Nutrition News with co-host Rachel Begun.

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    7 Responses to "Food for Thought – Setting the Stage"

    • Caroline Margolis
      June 8, 2013 - 3:04 am

      Love this and looking forward to reading more posts!

    • admin
      June 8, 2013 - 3:29 am

      Thanks Caroline! I’m looking forward to posting new info soon!

    • Jennifer Barnett Fox
      October 4, 2013 - 1:26 pm

      Thanks for the Best Food shout out! We’re glad that the info was helpful!

    • Betsy Hornick
      November 14, 2013 - 9:15 pm

      What a great post!– and love your examples of putting nutrition science into perspective. Look forward to hearing more. Thought you might want to check out this article: “Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing” from Psychological Science in the Public Interest, December 2012;13:106-13.

      These researchers took a look at why certain pieces of misinformation seem to “stick” when facts show otherwise. They reported that the main reason misinformation takes hold is that rejecting information actually requires more mental effort. Absorbing information and forming a judgment on its validity is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting the message as the truth.

      Factors that influence our judgments include how the information fits with what we already believe or know, whether it comes from what is considered to be a credible source, and who else believes this information. And if the topic isn’t particularly relevant to you or you have other things on your mind, misinformation is more likely to stick. For many, holding onto misinformation becomes personal and emotional, especially when it involves health.

    • admin
      November 15, 2013 - 1:36 pm

      Thanks Betsy!
      I will definitely check out the article – it sounds very interesting! I always want to learn more about this!
      “Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing” from Psychological Science in the Public Interest, December 2012;13:106-13.

    • Serena
      December 4, 2013 - 12:58 pm

      What a fabulous article! I will come back to it again and again…when I’m tempted to not think through the hard questions!
      This is a great resource for RD’s and especially RD’s to be…plus my mom and anyone tempted to believe all the zillions of half-truth ‘scientific’ articles!

    • admin
      April 30, 2014 - 10:26 pm

      Thank you, Serena!
      More posts coming soon!

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