Friday, February 01, 2008

The Origins of Obsessive Compusive Eating

I'm snowed in today (gotta love Canadian winters).

In all honesty this couldn't have come at a better time. I have a major speaking engagement tomorrow I have to prepare for, and I have a number of emails I need to get written.

Naturally, since I have a crazy amount of work to do, I started the day off with the perfect procrastination tool - I decided to clean out my in-box.

This quickly became an eye opening expose into the origins of our Obsessive Compulsive Eating craze.

Ever wonder why so many people are so confused about what is good for them and what is bad for them? Well I think I may have found part of the answer. Take a look at the following e-mail subject lines I found in my In-box about caffeine, coffee and tea:

'Coffee linked to lower ovarian cancer risk', 'Caffeine linked to risk of miscarriage', 'Black tea shows blood sugar benefits', 'Caffeine linked to higher blood glucose levels'.

Or, how about Carbs:

'The carb rotation diet', 'eat all the carbs you want', 'carbs kill', 'whole grains may reduce pancreatic cancer risk', 'Good and bad carb definitions misleading says review', 'Carbs linked to obesity', 'Eat all the carbs you want and still lose weight'.

and sugar:

'High Fructose drinks no different to sucrose, milk for satiety', 'mechanism proposed for fructose syrup-obesity link', 'Soft drinks not responsible for obesity – study', 'Fructose linked to fatty artery deposits, study says', 'Study finds no link between sugar drinks and kiddie obesity', 'Should you really avoid fruit juice?'

And these were all just from January!

By constantly reporting on small little snip-its of research, writers can definitely create great headlines, but they do it at the risk of confusing their readers.

In academics, you constantly have to make sure you are aware of the total body of research. Which is just a fancy way of saying you need to know all the research on a certain topic, and how all this research fits together, before you should comment on that issue.

I feel comfortable talking to you about fasting, because I have spent years studying it. However, if I started reporting on one single paper that I read on Cardiovascular disease, then I would be doing you a major disservice as I do not know the total body of research on that topic.

It is this quick "snip-it" approach to reporting on nutrition and health that I think plays a role in people's obsessive compulsive eating. We only hear little tiny pieces of the story and very rarely do we hear about the nutrition "big picture".

Always remember when you read anything about nutrition that you must consider how this one little article fits into the total big picture.


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1 comment:

Carrie said...

I'm constantly getting on clients about the "forest for the trees" concept. So often, I have ppl coming up to me saying, "What do you think of X food?"

Those same headlines annoy me just as much, because people really have forgotten about good quality food in place of single vitamins, antioxidants, catechins, and lycopene. Just eat the veggies, people! :)