Good Diet Advice?

movie_snacksA recent article in the New York Times provides seven “simple rules for healthy eating. As I read these rules, I’m struck by how sensible they seem, but then I’m also struck by how the “common sense” of 2015 that underlies these rules might have seemed senseless a few years ago. Take, for example the brave new world attitude toward two of the bogeymen of diets past:

Things like salt and fat aren’t the enemy. They are often necessary in the preparation of tasty, satisfying food. The key here is moderation. Use what you need. Seasoning is often what makes vegetables taste good. Don’t be afraid of them, but don’t go crazy with them either.

As appetizing (sorry) as I find these guidelines, I wonder if the author Dr. Aaron Carroll, isn’t just lending his credentials to the prevailing winds of public opinion. In fact, this scientist admits pretty frankly that his ideas are not terribly scientific.

These suggestions are also not supported by the scientific weight of rigorous randomized controlled trials, because little in nutrition is.

If this is true, as it apparently is–after all, would a doctor lie?–then why are the pronouncements of doctors, nutritionists, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to be taken seriously? Why should we think of a diet rich in pizza and cheesecake as being inferior to one full of whole grains and organic veggies? Why should we take this non-scientific advice more seriously than we take the dietary codes of the Old Testament? The answer: It just seems right. I’m sorry, but that’s pretty feeble science.

I have to admit that reading over Dr. Carroll’s ideas, I feel as if he gives good advice. I feel that, but I won’t be a bit surprised when the winds of opinion shift in ten years and decide that Wonder Bread was actually what we should have been eating all along.

 

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