Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

Whom can you believe about diet?

scientist in lab

If we could resolve big health questions by studying nutrients in test tubes and lab mice, the task would be fairly straightforward. But nutrition research involves two notoriously variable subjects: people and what they eat.

Whom Can You Believe About Diet? gives a short overview of the different types of nutrition studies and the challenges with those studies. It is a good read for anyone who is confused by the plethora of nutritional information available on the internet.

The conclusion: How can you avoid the flips and flops on vitamins, minerals and other nutrients? For starters, don't expect final answers from individual studies. They're often illuminating but rarely definitive. Put the most weight on studies done with people instead of animals or cell cultures, and on those that look at real disease outcomes (tumors or heart attacks) instead of intermediate markers (cancer proteins in the blood). Results are most convincing when a variety of different studies point in the same direction. And keep in mind that diet isn't a magic bullet. Even at its best, it's just one part of a healthy lifestyle.

Sidenote: I personally find it baffling that we still do so many animal studies even though it is clear that other animals are completely different than us in so many ways, and even though people do not do anything with the results from the studies anyways. We already know so much about good nutrition and healthy living, yet only three percent of Americans eats five portions of fruits and vegetables, exercises, has a healthy weight and doesn't smoke.

May 1, 2006