Why are people so confused about nutrition? Here’s the biggest reason
I’m awful, awful beyond words at writing introductions. So let’s move on to the main part right away.
Marton et al (2020) examined the best-selling books on Google Books in the “Health and Fitness” category. They looked at the top 100 diet and nutrition-focused books. Here are the occupations of the best-selling authors:
Something’s fucky here. The best-qualified people to write nutrition-focused books — dietitians — are at the bottom of the list while all the quacks are leading the pack. All the authors with little to no training in nutrition are the ones who the general population takes nutritional advice from.
But there is more. The researchers evaluated the profile, careers, and claims of some of the authors:
- One author was listed by Quackwatch in a list of “Promoters of Questionable Methods and/or Advice.”
- One author was investigated for research fraud and then retired.
- One author lost his ability to practice medicine and was investigated by the New York district attorney for promoting questionable health practices.
- One author received several letters of warning from the United States Food and Drug Administration.
- One author was convicted for misrepresenting the content of his books among other crimes and went to the goddamn jail.
And when quacks like these write books we get outlandish claims a.k.a “rubbish” like “Carbs are destroying your brain,” “Battling breast cancer? Consuming soy is associated with prolonged survival,” “Eat up to 75 percent of your calories each day in fat for optimal health, reduction of heart disease, and cancer prevention.”
Although one book, The Carb Lovers Diet, claimed something that I would call the gold standard for balanced eating: “Eating pasta, bread, potato, and pizza will actually make you happier, healthier, and thinner — for good.” I say fuckin’ A and approve it!