All errors should be reported to

Monday, August 10, 2015

Government gets science wrong again

Seven words that tell me the speak doesn't have a clue:
Trust me, I know what I'm doing.
The Washington Post reported on the latest government truth that has proved to be junk science.

From the Washington Post: "The science of skipping breakfast: how government nutritionists may have gotten it wrong."

Ah, nutrition, the science we keep getting wrong because dietitians are still and the beginning of their research.

The government food experts don't recognize the limits of their knowledge. They keep making assumptions based on studies that are peer-reviewed, not replicated. In other words, credentialed bur not science.

From the story:
The notion that skipping breakfast might cause weight gain entered the Dietary Guidelines in 2010, during one of the reviews conducted every five years by experts to update its findings.
In preparation, a government-convened panel known as the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee collected research on skipping breakfast. Some of it did, indeed, suggest that breakfast skippers may be more likely to gain weight.
One of the key pieces of evidence, for example, examined the records for 20,000 male health professionals. Researchers followed the group for 10 years and published results in 2007 in the journal Obesity. They showed that after adjusting for age and other factors, the men who ate breakfast were 13 percent less likely to have had a significant weight gain.
“Our study suggests that the consumption of breakfast may modestly lower the risk of weight gain in middle-aged and older men,” the researchers said.
The advisory committee cited this and similar research, known as "observational studies," in support of the notion that skipping breakfast might cause weight gain. In "observational studies," subjects are merely observed, not assigned randomly to “treatment” and “control” groups as in a traditional experiment.
Observational studies in nutrition are generally cheaper and easier to conduct. But they can suffer from weaknesses that can lead scientists astray.
We know so little about food and how it works with our bodies -- what is cause and what is effect -- that we really should not be making general assumptions like this. One explanation possible explanation for any link between obesity and skipping breakfast (and the link is not established) is that obesity causes people to skip breakfast. Who knows?

Over the years we have been told to drink milk and not to drink milk. Salt and sodium were an enemy of the state. So is bread. In fact, all processed food seems to be the enemy. Oddly enough, America uses more processed food to meet stringent sanitary rules in the preparation of food. I am not saying this is a bad thing, in fact, while we may have overdone it a little, we put those rules in effect and saved thousands if not millions of lives over the years. Government generally gets public health issues right.

The government is not always wrong on nutrition. Banning the drinking of raw milk saved uncounted lives. I am no expert but using it in cheese might be OK.

But too often, when it comes to nutrition it makes the exception the rule, which is not a good way of handling rules. Also instead of acting with an abundance of caution, the government seems to rush in, perhaps because it took so long to connect cigarette smoking to an increase in the risk of cancers, particularly in the lungs, and other lung diseases. I understand that. But just as Mark Twain' cat never sat on a cold stove again, we should not generalize like that.

To the best of my knowledge, when it comes to food, the best thing is eating in moderation and eating a variety of foods -- especially bananas and other foods not grown locally.

The ability of the government getting stuff wrong is one reason why is support limited government.


  1. Don,

    I can remember as a kid (late 1940s) that cigarettes were called "coffin nails" and "cancer sticks". I guess us widdle kids were smarter than Edison or something.


    1. I recall reading it was earlier than that.

  2. Years ago, I heard a dietitian truckers (middle-aged many overweight/obese) who recommended breakfast, preferably high in protien, to get the body going and kick start the metabolism for the day. I started trying to do that (was working nights and was normally up well before work time) and tried to keep it small, and I noticed I was usually more hungry come lunch, and lost a couple of pounds. I'm back to day lately, and often miss that few bits of bacon and egg and darned if, even eating lighter lunches than normal, I am picking up a pound or two (or three or ...)and feel more sluggish on those days I skip.

    1. proof read first ... egad. My computer freezes and skips stuff.
      A Dietitian who dealt mostly with Truckers ....

  3. How in the heck do they think they can discount all other factors but one item in a diet over a lifetime?

    The big problem with gov't advice is that it impacts lives. I know so many elderly who ate food w/o salt - hating it the whole time - or ate hydrogenated margarine when the gov't said it was best.