Newsweek has a good article this week called Food News Blues which talks about how the media oversimplifies nutritional science stories and misleads readers with headlines. I find this particularly timely since I was recently confused by an article that claimed diets using the glycemic index were ineffective. At least that seemed to be what it was saying, though it actually wasn’t. I think. You know, I’m still not completely sure. Which is what the Newsweek article is about! I’m not the only befuddled person out there.
Interestingly, they blame some of this confusion on increased media interest in nutrition and obesity. In the past, new studies would be discussed mostly just among the scientific community and eventually translated into clinical practice. Nowadays, because of easy information access due to the Internet etc. new papers and studies are being immediately discussed in a public forum instead of just in scientific circles. Basically, we’re being exposed to more raw information before it can be filtered.
I especially like the quote by Dr. Jeffrey Drazen that “Science is a contact sport.” It made me imagine a team of lanky scientists in their white lab coats trying to play rugby. Only instead of a ball, they’d be tossing around an Erlenmeyer flask full of sulfuric acid. Last person who doesn’t get burned wins!