Nutrition Myths

Well, here we have a pretty good article about nutrition fiction that’s been peddled as fact for the last few decades, starting with “eggs are unhealthy“!

So if you want to see eleven nutritional myths busted, go take a gander. But watch out for some misinformation contained in Myth 5… the bit about artificial sweeteners being no better for you than sugar. Notice the evidence cited to back up that claim: “many observational studies.” Remember this: OBSERVATIONAL STUDIES PROVE NOTHING. The only thing an observational study does is give you some preliminary information in order to formulate a hypothesis. If you remember from your school days, a hypothesis is the second step of the scientific method, and occurs BEFORE any actual “sciencey” work is done to find out the truth. So the hypothesis that “artificial sweeteners are as bad for you as sugar” is depending upon an association – NOT a causal relationship, remember, nothing is proven yet – between the metabolic syndrome constellation of diseases and consumption of artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.

Let me ask you something. Who eats artificial sweeteners instead of sugar? Healthy people? NO! People who already have symptoms of metabolic syndrome are the ones who consume artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Healthy people who aren’t worried about weight or diabetes choose real sugar, it tastes better! So if you go out and observe people choosing artificial sweeteners over sugar… of course they’re going to be a less-healthy group than the people that don’t use artificial sweeteners. Never take an observational study at face value. NEVER. Not even if they make pretty noises about controlling for variables. Observational Studies Prove Nothing.

Now, that’s not to say that artificial sweeteners are perfectly healthy and you can have as much as you like. No, they probably do have issues of their own, what with being highly processed food-like substances, but the question you have to answer for yourself is “will this do worse to me than sugar will?” and if you have any kind of insulin resistance problems, sugar is going to be a much bigger problem for you. So I consider artificial sweeteners a crutch – something to help you satisfy a rabid sweet tooth without messing up your blood sugar levels too badly. It’s not healthy, but it is less bad. (Note: when indulging, if you’re not actually diabetic or anything, I recommend skipping the “low carb artificially sweetened” stuff and just bite the bullet and eat the regular, full-fat, full-sugar stuff. You’ll probably eat less of it that way!)

Also, ditto on the wheat being evil thing. My family seems to have a tendency towards dairy sensitivity – but lately (after going low-carb-ish) I’m finding that my gastrointestinal status is far more destabilized by dairy-wheat combos than by dairy alone, even though I don’t test positive for celiac. Alas, pizza, fare thee well…


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