Monday, March 26, 2012

Popcorn packed with anti-oxidants - commentary

A new study has come out that popcorn is full of anti-oxidants!

So what's wrong with this study?

How about the fact that popcorn is a food which just about should NEVER be eaten.

Don't get me wrong, a small amount of organic popcorn is ok, but what goes into most popcorn?

1. Puffed corn. Basically, this is simple carbohydrate.

2. "Butter" and other additives.

3. Genetically modified franken foods. Most corn is genetically modified.
I usually refer people to the Institute for Responsible Technology for information about genetically modified foods.

So popcorn is not healthy, unless it's from organic corn, eaten in moderation, and not full of all sorts of additives. However, a big bag of movie theater popcorn is not healthy.

But this study isn't just about popcorn. It's about how researches can take a complex question (such as if a food healthy) and use reductionist thinking to focus on only one aspect of it, ignore lots of other information, and come to a misleading conclusion.

Although to be honest - it's not even the researcher's fault. I blame WebMD for taking this paper and giving it an intentionally misleading headline. Of course this is a big problem in health today. Both from conventional and natural health. Any little factoid can turn into a misconstrued headline.

What is truly misleading, is many more people with read the headline, than the article. And how many people will read the article and consider the other side of the story?

A few years ago there was a research study that showed GMO corn can lead to organ failure. What if that was given a headline such as "Popcorn causes organ failure and death." Would that be honest.

Often, the truth about nutrition is much more boring than any headlines. Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. Of all the nutrition books, dietary advice, seminars, lectures, radio shows and everything I've heard about nutrition, 90% of it can be summed up in just that.

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