Scientists analyse the individual substances which make up our food. Experiments are conducted in test tubes and continued on animals before certain assumptions are finally reinforced by field studies on people. Then conclusions are drawn by individual scientists. To this day there is still a lack of suitably defined frames of reference and hypotheses for nutrition as the starting point for such research.
Western science has a tendency to filter out experience and observation in favour of so-called objectivity. In my opinion, this is an impossible undertaking, especially when it comes to nutrition. Currently the common practice is to research a substance and then draw conclusions primarily based on association rather than causality. We, the non-experts, are then left to try and make what we can of those research findings. History is littered with false conclusions.
We, the non-experts, are then left to try and make what we can of those research findings.
As long as we have no idea which parameters or patterns of parameters we need to take into account and measure in order to develop a study concept that will allow us to select a suitable body of people, determine the right statistical methods and reduce the complexity accordingly, any results we are confronted with must be viewed as temporary and fleeting. Up until now we have been more or less left to our own devices and reliant on our own experience.
Do we trust medication more than food?
In the field of foodstuffs and nutrition, marketing is often stronger than any science. The boundaries between science and advertising are increasingly becoming blurred and there is lack of any real transparency. We seldom have the chance to access the source of the knowledge presented to us. So we have to learn to trust our own experience more and conduct our own research.
All too often we forget that our food rather than our medication determines our wellbeing. If I know how to eat in order to feel good, fresh and fit, I am on the right path. Since the choice of food presented to us has become so impossibly huge, I have put together a few guidelines for me personally, which help me find my way through the labyrinth of offers out there.
Our food choices influence our appetite. The complex communication cycle between metabolic processes, stress system and nerve centres creates in us the feeling of being hungry or full, the sense of what is tasty and the desire for second helpings, right through to food addictions. It is a delicate balancing act and a complicated system which we have yet to fully understand. This is why any scientific findings are quickly overtaken by others and viewpoints tend to be one-sided. However, sugar and other carbohydrates obviously affect the neurobiological components of appetite regulation.
It could well be true that sugar makes us happy, chocolate has an anti-depressant effect and salt triggers a desire for more salt, for they all affect our mood via the nervous system. Carbohydrates or salt therefore have a neurobiological effect rather than a metabolic impact. It is yet to be proven whether the familiar reward system in the brain causes this dependency, and some researchers have recently questioned this hypothesis. In any case, excess weight and obesity are more than just the result of too much eating.
As a girl, I danced classical ballet for ten years and trained for at least four to six hours a week . My body weight was always an issue. After the holidays it was a matter of: “you’ve put on weight again”. And so began my dieting career.
I well remember leaving out carbohydrates. I ate pieces of cheese with butter, salami with no bread or meat without any of the “filling side dishes” as my dear father used to call them. Now that I have become reacquainted with the subject of fat in some detail, I vividly remember those days.
At some point, and I can’t honestly remember exactly when, my attitude changed and I began to avoid fat. I have been eating fats again now for two years without panicking about getting fat.