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 implore people to be 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.”
I'm calling this a "perpetual post" because I will continue to add to it 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?
Note: Items 1-4 were posted on 6/6/13. Scroll down to the bottom for more recent posts.
1. 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.
2. 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.)
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.
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.
5. Food with Integrity or Advertising with Duplicity?
If you've seen the Chipotle Scarecrow video (no, I'm not hyperlinking to it) that recently went viral, then you may agree with me that it is 3 minutes and 23 seconds of your life you'll never get back....Okay, maybe that's a bit too harsh. I mean, it's not as bad as the Miley Cyrus VMA performance, right? No, I'm not hyperlinking to that, either. But I digress. If you've seen the Chiptole Scarecrow video, you really should invest another 2 minutes and 11 seconds to watch the Funny or Die parody video.
What I love about this parody is that it's like the Wizard of Oz when the curtain gets pulled back and you see what (or who) is really pulling the strings. Here are some interesting editorials and reactions to this video that address some excellent points.
First, a response from "Big Ag" in this article from the Back 40. By the way, why does "big" necessarily mean "bad"? We love Apple, Facebook, the NFL, baseball, hot dogs, and Chevrolet. And, really, Chipotle is "big" as well. But we, as a society, are so removed from farms and farming that we don't understand the business, technology and stewardship that goes into modern day farming. We hear about "factory farms" but the reality is that many, if not most, farms in the U.S. today are family farms. (For example, 97% of U.S. dairy farms are family owned and operated).
This Washington Post article brings up an excellent point - is there a vegan agenda, and if so - how does that fit for a restaurant that serves meat??
And finally, this Salon.com article explores what they call a "vegetarian bait and switch."
Speaking of "integrity"....let's talk about credible sources for nutrition information. Besides the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the International Food Information Council, you should check out the great resources for health professionals and the public from The Center for Food Integrity on their BestFoodFacts.org website. Their mission is to bring you the most objective, trustworthy and accurate information directly from the experts.
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!