Thinking Nutrition | Day 259

I recently came across an excellent blog that you all should go and check out. Rembember how the author of Dilbert said that science’s greatest fail was everything to do with diet and fitness?

You may also remember I didn’t quite agree with that sentiment.

I also think that if you look hard enough, and listen to the right people, you can get sound advice even in a field as fraught as nutrition. Tim Crowe is just the kind of person whose opinion you can trust. He is an associate professor in nutrition at Deakin University in Melbourne. And he writes a personal blog.

“Thinking Nutrition” is a lovely science communication effort, and for once, a website on nutrition that doesn’t try to sell you something. Wherever you look, there are websites giving you advice on what to eat, what to avoid, and how to thrive and be healthy. More often than not, their articles are based on nothing more than internet “research” and hearsay, and are written to get you to buy their latest, greatest kale smoothielicious blender with 52 implements, for which they will kindly throw in a FREE recipe book that may or may not contain instructions for concocting a bone broth.

Prof Crowe’s goal is to provide “credible, evidence-based nutrition messages in straightforward language. And then turning this information into practical implications for what it means for your health.”

My favourite on his blog is the Mythbusting section. For example, kids don’t get hyperactive from sugar. An superfoods aren’t really a thing. And do you really need those eight glasses of water? My fitness app is constantly trying to persuade me to drink them, but I know better than that. Here’s an excerpt:

If I had to nominate one pervasive myth in nutrition, it would be the popular advice that we should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Of course our bodies need water, otherwise we would die from dehydration. But the amount needed is extremely variable and depends on a person’s body size, physical activity levels, climate and what types of food they are eating.

Water makes up about 60% of an adult’s body weight and is an essential nutrient, more important to life than any others. Water helps regulate body temperature, carries nutrients and waste products throughout the body, is involved in blood transport, and allows many metabolic reactions to occur. It also acts as a lubricant and cushion around joints, and forms the amniotic sac surrounding a foetus.

It is believed that the “eight glasses” myth was a US Recommended Dietary Allowance dating back to 1945. The guide said a suitable allowance of water for adults was 2.5 litres a day, but most of this water could be found in prepared foods. If that last, crucial part is ignored, the statement could be interpreted as clear instructions to drink eight glasses of water a day.

Even a comprehensive search of the scientific literature finds no evidence to support the eight-glasses-a-day advice. The clear reason that evidence for such prescriptive advice doesn’t exist is that a person can get all the water they need without consuming a single glass…

Continue reading this article on Thinking Nutrition. And, once you’re there, keep browsing.

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