A variety of values, beliefs, and views are stated or implied in Reynold Spector’s article “Science and Pseudoscience in Adult Nutrition Research and Practice,” including the following:
- Nutritionists have an obligation to be as rigorously scientific as possible.
- Many publications dealing with nutrition are not rigorously scientific.
- The only reliable way of discovering truth in the sciences is to use the scientific method.
- Nutritionists often make unsupported claims.
- The human body itself often does very well at keeping its nutritional needs balanced without much need for nutritional supplements, especially megadoses of vitamins.
- Diets designed to reduce weight have not been shown to be especially effective.
- Many of the current participants in the field of nutrition (such as academics and the editors of journals) benefit in various ways from the often lax standards in the field.
- Many people who depend upon sound nutritional knowledge (such as consumers, patients, and doctors) are often harmed by the unsupported claims made my many nutritionists.
- People in the field of nutrition have an ethical obligation to follow the scientific method.
- In short,
as Socrates pointed out, the big question is: How should one live one’s life? To decide, one needs good data! In terms of nutritional advice:
- Demand scientific studies.
- Follow the FDA criterion: only follow nutritional advice if proven to be safe and effective.
- View the nutritional advice of “experts,” like those who prepared the agriculture department’s original food pyramid1 and the newer food pyramids,6 with a hypercritical eye. Their track record is poor.