Dear GSG: Why is the media always telling us one thing and then the opposite about nutrition?
Answer: I know it’s frustrating. I get this gripe all the time, and some people use it to dismiss all information about nutrition altogether and just eat whatever tastes good: “they don’t know what they’re talking about anyway.”
Well, by they (“first they tell us one thing, then another”), we mean science, right? Science is always evolving, always learning new things. The perfect example is what is happening in research recently regarding sunshine and Vitamin D.
You grew up, like me, being told not to get in the sun because it causes skin cancer. We were taught that sunscreen was our friend, and we slathered it on. Well, I didn’t, but everyone else did. I felt guilty. But I cannot stand the stuff–I have a phobia of it, really. I can’t even stand to touch it to put it on my children. Just a weird little neurosis (they learned early to put it on themselves, and of course I used the sprays on them).
Now many studies–not just one or two–tell us that getting enough sun exposure is actually critical for cancer defense and immunity. That if we can’t get in the sun close to year-round, we should take 5,000 mg. of Vitamin D supplementation daily.
The reason we get different information is that we’re post-Information Age, constantly getting new data. It’s a GOOD thing. But we have to be smart enough to sift through data–the good, the bad, and the dubious. The dubious, set it aside until you receive further data to support or contradict it. The bad, realize that lots of “research” has a profit motive and doesn’t deserve your attention. With Vitamin D and the sun, to refer back to my example, it’s becoming an avalanche of empirical evidence pointing in the same direction–that sunshine is good for us. (Sunshine, not sunburn.)
Any other issues you’re confused about, I’d be happy to talk about. Or research, if I don’t know enough about it yet.