Its an old story by now….science says if you want to be healthier ‘don’t eat meat’, or science says ‘don’t eat salt‘ or science says ‘walk more’ or ‘run more’ or ‘run less’! Many of us, sometimes myself included don’t have enough time and energy to investigate claim after claim, so we look to trusted advisors to filter through all of this information to try to understand what’s true, and to take action.
Unfortunately, so much of this information, both at the level of the science, and at the level of the new media is problematic.We have to look at culture, motivation and economics to understand what gets published in peer reviewed journals, and hence becomes ‘the evidence base‘ aka ‘the science’.
As for the science, the rule is that the science that gets done is the science that gets funded. Science that gets funded is oriented around 2 things:
Grants – lets not for now go into the politics around educational institutions, government grantmaking policy, and related issues. Suffice it to say, its not simply ‘lets do good work’…believe it or not, politics, egos and survival all play a role!)
Profit – when companies fund research, they fund it so they can sell drugs and devices and make a profit. Again, NOT around ‘lets do good’.
So where this leaves us as a society is that when the majority of the consensus (the science over a long period, from many different disciplines, as well as the lived experience of many, ie, the anecdotal evidence) points to simple, inexpensive interventions as important and significant in generating long term health, the science and the media have a systemic interest in telling a broader, more interesting story. Eat more carrots, less meat and less huge amounts of soft drinks is not as compelling as take this pill, even if the pill costs lots and does not so much. Yoga works to aid stroke rehabilitation. Its cheap, its accessible, and very low risk.
Don’t let the science drive you crazy! Its ok to pay attention to the science. But use your common sense. Listen to what your momma said. Do what the ancients do. And be informed by science. Walk. Eat less, and limit the toxins you consume. Reflect on your habits as those that will support a body that was created way before Doritos and Diet Coke. Act with YOUR own health in mind.