LabRat has an outstanding post up today:
- Feeding the machine (Atomic Nerds)
It is, essentially, a primer on food metabolism — what the body does with the stuff you shovel into your pie-hole. And it is excellent.
There’s a lot of dubious, misleading, or simply wrong nutrition advice out there. Some of it is malicious — or at least intentionally skewed towards the interests of whoever’s providing the funding — but most of it is simply parochial or obsolete. LabRat explains:
[H]owever much I wind up making snarky asides about nutrition as a scientific field and how profoundly political and murky it is, I have a great deal of sympathy for nutritionists. They are working in a byzantinely multivariable field in which it is nearly to completely impossible to properly isolate and control for almost all of those variables; they’re not so much stuck looking for needles in a haystack as they are stuck with evaluating to which degree each and every straw in the haystack is a load-bearing straw. Not easy, and it’s no surprise we get so many frustrating cases of completely honest and dedicated researchers coming to opposite conclusions based on the same data sets– because those multiple variables can turn the data sets into Rorschach blots.
The best way I’ve found to start to untangle the haystack is by looking for mechanisms rather than — necessarily — correlations. If a particular metabolic or endocrine mechanism is (relatively) uncontroversial and happens to explain a point of nutritional contention, my confidence increases. (Insulin, blood glucose, and carbohydrate uptake is a good example.) This works for me because I’m a nerd: when I don’t understand something, I study it and try to systematize it. Your mileage, of course, may vary.