“Research” Has Lost All Credibility
(Revised from 2014)
WARNING: Rant Ahead – But a friendly one!
Once incredibly self-sufficient and full of common sense, we now depend upon the hundreds of theories surrounding everything from how we should eat and move, to how we should think. Most of the theories are opposite in their ideology and interestingly, they
ALL claim to be based on “Research” AND each of them claims to have supporting data debunking their opponent’s theories!
Of course with strong advocates willing to sacrifice their own blood pressure to get their point heard loud and clear, amusingly the only research that either side will accept is the research that supports their own claims.
The way I see it is that if any research is adapted to suit a specific agenda, then how credible is that research?
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular trendy diets. Though extremely different in their premise, each one has strong research supporting its claims to be optimal for health:
- Paleo Diet
- Carnivore Diet
- Keto Diet
- Vegan Diet
- Vegetarian Diet
- Fruit Diet
- Raw Meat Diet
- Blood Type Diet
- Mediterranean Diet
- Zone Diet
- Fast Food Diet (For those who really don’t care about their diet at all!)
And then there are all the caveats. Each one (of course) has strong research supporting it:
- Low Fat Diet
- High Fat Diet
- Low Carb Diet
- High Carb Diet
- Gluten-Free Diet
- Dairy Free Diet
- Salt-Free Diet
- Sugar-Free Diet (Sadly those on this diet consume the highest amounts of artificial sugar than all other diets combined)
Of course, there are all the different combinations of these diets as well as many not even listed here! Oh and not to mention, if you enjoy and more importantly improved your health on one of the above-listed diets and it isn’t the one others “approve of”…Oh lordy! Prepare to have your hair blown backward!
And let’s not forget all the foods you SHOULD eat and those you SHOULDN’T eat. Have you noticed that often they are the same foods!
The issue of what we should and shouldn’t eat becomes even more complicated with the added controversy of conventional vs. genetically modified vs. organic. Yep, you guessed it; each one has strong research supporting it (And I won’t even bring up GMO, Conventional, and Organic!):
- Meat (Animal products)
- Vegetables (Yep!)
- Milk (All dairy products, raw vs. pasteurized)
- Soy Products
- Corn (Yes I know this is a grain, but it truly needed its own category separate from grains)
- Alcohol (Wine, beer, liquors)
- Sugar (Raw sugar cane and all other “sugars”)
- Salt (Table salt, sea salt)
- Potatoes (And other nightshade roots)
- Peanuts (And of course we all know it really isn’t a nut)
- Fruit (This one always shocks me when I see it on the “don’t eat” list)
- Grains (Wheat, oats, rice, etc.)
And then there are the many discussions surrounding which of the following are hazardous to our health and which can cure (oops sorry, FDA doesn’t allow “cures”). Yes, each one has strong research supporting it:
- Drugs (FDA “Approved” of course)
- Sunshine (Did you know that the protective sunscreens cause more cancer than the sun?!)
- Food (Assuming it isn’t chemical-ridden and genetically modified – but that is also controversial)
- Tap water
- Bottled water
- Filtered water
- And, how much water? Please tell us because we have no idea!
Moving on, we also have the confusion surrounding exercise. Advocates are passionate about certain types of exercise and will fight to get their opinion heard (luckily fighting is a form of exercise). You have fitness experts claiming that dance classes, for example, are a waste of time while promoting boot-camp-style classes. Other experts speak out about the negative health implications related to the more hardcore exercise regimes such as boot-camp, H.I.T.T. and CrossFit while promoting lower impact classes such as yoga and Pilates.
And yes, each one has strong research “supporting it”:
- Exercises that “protect” your joints (Most exercise and fitness classes)
- Exercises that promote “full range of motion” of the joints (e.g. CrossFit)
- Exercises that “trick” you into exercising (Dance fitness classes – e.g. Zumba and Jazzercise)
- Exercises that promote strength and heavy lifting (e.g. Bodybuilding which often does not include enough stretching)
- Exercises that promote stretching and core strength (e.g. Yoga, which often does not include lifting)
- Exercises that require only 10 minutes a day and that guarantee you will achieve benefits as if you were performing all of the above-listed exercises! (Advertised on TV infomercials )
- Exercises performed on machines with TVs to keep you entertained while exercising (To perpetuate the new human trend of ADD)
- Exercise classes taught by weekend certification “experts” who perceive themselves as actual experts charging premium prices (Most cardio-kickboxing classes, fitness dance classes, fitness yoga)
- Exercise classes taught by actual experts who have to cheapen their worth to compete with the weekend certified “experts” (Taught by black belt martial artists, experienced dancers, experienced yogis)
- Exercise outside or inside? (But is it safe for us to be out in the sun? Sarcasm emphasized.)
- Exercise with the “correct” type of shoe. Or should we be barefoot? (Just to be safe, go ahead and buy the most expensive shoe…how about the shoe that is “like” being barefoot!)
- Exercises to show us how to breathe! (Have you heard about Laughing Yoga classes? Recent research has found that laughing is directly related to breathing.)
This all leads us to the controversy of whether we should run, jog, or walk. And for how long? Uphill or downhill? How many days a week? OMG, what if it is raining?
So what have we covered so far?
The controversies and confusion surrounding what a human should eat and how a human should move.
Personally, I wish there was an exercise to clear up the controversy regarding blinking. I am convinced that I am not blinking correctly!
I jest, but all kidding aside, if you step back and really take a look at all of this, it is both amusing and sad.
How did we come to this? How is it that we have forgotten how to eat? How to move our body? How to think for ourselves?
Thank goodness for the internet where we can find all of these answers! And a bonus… it even tells us what to do! And aren’t we lucky that we can find the exact information that we are looking for in just minutes?
So if you are looking for a program to help you lose weight and look like a bodybuilder without exercise and a diet consisting of mostly fast food…you’ll find it! And somehow it’ll even be backed up by “research”!
Are we living in an age of Designer Research?
As established above, research can easily be designed to prove just about any theory or idea. For example, if the FDA approves a drug, based on research, and it is later recalled due to a number of deaths associated with the drug, what does that say about the research that preceded the approval?
What about “health experts” who try to convince us that the many toxic chemicals in our drinking water and food are not bad for our health…based on “their research”. And as though in some sort of trance, and against all common sense that tells us that chemicals are not healthy, people believe what they are told…after all research dictates that it is safe to consume!
Remember the television show Revolution? The plot revolves around how humanity survives in a world in which all electricity is turned off…forever. If this were to become a reality, many of the controversies listed above would simply cease to exist.
For example, an individual who lives in the north and follows a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle would have to rethink their dietary choices when they simply didn’t have the energy to cut wood, prepare for a cold and blustery winter, and/or find food to eat. The trip to a fancy market (think Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s) to buy healthy exotic fruit such as pomegranate or açai, and perhaps the heart of palm with a little coconut water, would be a thing of the past.
Don’t get me wrong, I love those exotic fruits and many others; my point is that we argue for diets that are only available to us because we have the advantages that come with modern technologies. Do people even know how to sustain themselves with only the foods that are local and native to the climate they live in? Think about it.
The idea of whether we should protect our joints by moving only with a limited range of motion would also go to the wayside as we would be required to perform activities such as chopping wood. Utilizing full motion of our joints would become the norm in our daily routines. And how often should we walk would also be a ridiculous question since the answer would always be… you walk until you find food!
Our society has become so dependent on others to tell us how to live, how to think and even what to believe, that sadly good ‘ol fashioned common sense has been lost.
Sadly, a loss of common sense only leads to a loss of balance. And this imbalance breeds a society that has forgotten how to think for themselves.
The first step in regaining real common sense and making REAL healthy decisions is to take off the blinders and start believing in yourself!
And just for the record, walking in the rain is amazing! Try it sometime!