Thursday, May 28, 2015

Don't Believe the Hype - How a Prank Fooled Millions into Believing Bogus Science

A journalist recently put together a prank as a way to test the reception of wild claims about diet based on faulty science.  The story behind the prank can be found here.  He registered a website, crafted a completely flawed study and boasted wild claims...and the media bought into it big time.  This prank highlights some of the fundamental problems with nutrition science and reporting on it.  Far too many people believe that the science wavers back and forth: eggs are bad, eggs are good, butter is back, saturated fat is bad, high cholesterol isn't as dangerous as we thought, etc.  But this is not the case.  Nutrition science is a lot like climate science.  If it snows in April, that does not mean global warming is no longer happening.  Media outfits, websites and social media LOVE to publish stories that give us what we want to hear, especially if it's good news about bad habits.
Real reporting on science is usually boring and nuanced, big shifts in thinking about nutrition science happen gradually and slowly.  Everything has to be taken in context of the big picture.  We used to rely on respectable newspapers and magazine to filter the news.  These days, it's far too easy to get duped by bogus claims because the media (and social media) has become a mirror for repeating, retweeting, and spinning junk science.  It's up to us to be more discerning about what we read, hear and watch.  We can be yogic about our news, the same way we become inquisitive when we practice on our mats.  We can use the yamas and niyamas to help us.
What is the intention behind this news story?
Does the information help bring us into balance?
Is this excessive?
Is this committed to the truth?
Does this information promote attachment to things we know are unhealthful?
Is this a misappropriation of science?
Does the news elevate our consciousness?

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