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Dear GSG: Why is the media always telling us one thing and then the opposite about nutrition?

Robyn Openshaw, MSW - Dec 30, 2009 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

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.

Posted in: Health Concerns, Lifestyle, Preventive Care

5 thoughts on “Dear GSG: Why is the media always telling us one thing and then the opposite about nutrition?”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I do! how about the difference of cleansing/yeast cleansing/fasting VS those that think you are just jumbling up all that crap and it’s settling in your organs and brain if your liver detox pathways aren’t open to get rid of all that crap?

    or those that think that yeast problems are a cover up of metal problems in your body and to do a clense is making matter worse?

    and what about that dudes book the FIBER MENACE how fiber is hurting us? (those with leaky guts and harmed intestines?)

    What about those that are advocate about supplementing vitamins/minerals because we really don’t have enough zinc, etc from even eating healthy beacuse my body may not be absorbing it anyways because of X problem.

    What if my kids aren’t absorbing all these good things I’m giving them anyways and need more?

    what about raw foods being harder to digest and mor allergenic for those kids who have these problems? what do i do now?

    okay I’m REALLYreally sorry for the rant I just get confused because I think that there ARE other factors because green smoothies aren’t the only answer to my kids’ problems and I can’t seem to find the other missing peices. they have GI issues, etc. thanks for any insight.

  2. And the whole SPF information out there is interesting as well. For example, if you sunburn in 10 minutes without any sun protection and you use SPF 15 (a safe organic sunblock of course) on your skin then you multiply 10*15= 150 minutes before you start to burn. Reapplying doesn’t increase the time you can stay out in the sun, but people seem to think reapplying gives them unlimited protection in the sun. And increasing the SPF # only increases the time very little, not necessarily 10-fold.

    10-15 minutes in the morning sun, without “protection”, gives you your daily Vitamin D dose. This is a little more difficult in the winter months, but having that morning beverage on the porch swing is lovely in the spring and summer.


  3. Anonymous says:

    How much sunshine is recommended each day? I probably need to get some more!

  4. I used to work for a nutrition company and I remember the President showing me an example of why you hear conflicting information. He showed two different headlines about Vitamin C – one was a positive and the other was negative. You had to read the articles carefully to find out that the study that came up with negative findings studied synthetic vitamin C, and the positive study was based on vitamin C found naturally occurring in food.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have been reading a bit about agave lately, and I’m wondering what your take is on it. What I read said that agave is not very good for you because it is almost all fructose, which is metabolized in the liver, and that using it on a regular basis could be damaging over time. So, I’ve just been trying to sort out whether or not that information is valid.

    Also, I was wondering about breads. I know you have a sourdough recipe you use, but my family and I don’t like the taste of sourdough. Is a soda bread recipe okay to use instead?

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