Rarely a week goes by without some big new nutrition study hitting the headlines, telling us that eating wheat/dairy/whole grains/superfood etc will kill us/make us live for ever. The most recent one that caught my attention was about coconut oil that went overnight from nutritional superhero to supervillan. This was following the pronouncement of a Harvard epidemioligist that it was ” pure poison “. These kind of contradictory stories abound in the field of nutritional science. It would be quite funny except that they invevitably lead people to start to question the validity of everything they think they know about diet. The concern is that people then stop paying attention altogether and assume that there is no concensus at all on what constitutes a healthy diet. This then gives them free reign to eat whatever they want, irrespective of whether it’s highly processed, high salt, high sugar junk food.
The simple reason why nutritional science is so confusing and keeps throwing up these kind of stories is that we are all biochemically different and our relationship with food is incredibly complex. Therefore trying to study how we respond to different foods/diets and formulate guidlnes for the general population is very difficult . This article written by a nutritional epidemioligist gives an overview of why it’s so hard to come to clear conclusions in this field. At the end of the article the author concludes that the best diet is the one that works the best for you. She then recommends seeking advice from a qualified professional to help you work out what this is.