Posted: December 6, 2012
Does anyone remember the scientific method? In elementary school across the country, children learn this process by which scientists investigate phenomena, acquire new knowledge or correct what had been considered knowledge until that point. Following these simple steps, the testing of ideas remains unbiased and analysis stringent. It provides data which, if the tests are constructed properly, can be considered somewhat credible upon scrutiny.
Unfortunately, some scientists have become so focused on promoting personal agendas that they have tossed their dedication to conducting the type of rigorous studies that generate new knowledge to the wayside.
Take, for example, the recent study alleging a link between HFCS consumption in particular and diabetes. Looking broadly at the study, structural flaws nearly blind those who look with an unbiased eye.
Comparing massive groups while controlling for only a few factors, the study finds that countries with high rates of HFCS consumption have higher rates of type 2 diabetes. Immediately making a massive leap of logic, jaundiced journalists grab into the veritable treasure-trove of debunked metabolism myths for a conclusion.
What do these pseudoscientists ignore? A ton of reasons people are packing on the pounds.
In addition to HFCS consumption, Canada, the United States and Japan, some of the countries with the highest rates, have many other dietary and lifestyle similarities which certainly warrant consideration. Economically developed and, by global standards, prosperous, citizens of these nations are less likely to engage in physical labor and more likely to have an abundance of food.
Basically, the stage is set for us to be fat regardless of our choice of sugar, be it corn, cane or beet.
While some developing nations make it onto the “low consumption, low diabetes” list, developed nations certainly placed also. With countries such as France and Ireland facing much lower levels of diabetes, the anti-HFCS activists claim it must be related to the lack of this single ingredient.
Obviously, factors such as higher levels of physical activity and differing attitudes towards diet in general play no role.
Maybe, what everyone needs is a trip back to elementary school. The goal of science is enhancing our knowledge base. To do so, one must remain objective and analytical. One must control for outside factors. The study must be sound if the results are to be trusted.
It isn’t that children know more about sugar, although their love of it may be impressive. It is that many have lost perspective, becoming blinded by bias.
Our society needs the best possible research into the causes of this epidemic. Shoddy science detracts from efforts with merit. As a nation, we need to lose our appetite for sensational pseudoscience and push our mental heavy weights to help us deal with our heavy weights.