There’s an interesting post on Quartz discussing the difficulty of getting accurate studies of the health benefits of a particular food. The post points out that while it might seem simple to get accurate nutritional studies, in fact, reliable nutritional science studies are often the hardest to achieve.
The post gives a few reasons for this difficulty:
1. They depend a great deal upon self-reporting and recollection, two inputs that are notoriously unreliable.
2. Setting up placebos and controls on the dietary side are often very difficult (how do you convince someone that they are eating steak when they aren’t?).
3. There are so many variables and data points in nutritional studies that the studies are easy to manipulate.
4. The studies are often conducted by people/groups with an agenda or interest.
That’s why you will see, for example, a study that says that vegetarianism will extend your life expectancy and another that says it decreases bone density which might lead to a shorter life span.
What’s the solution to a world of nutritional confusion? Eat a balanced diet, in moderation, and be sensible. Sometimes an ounce of common sense is worth more than a ton of data.