Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nutritional Confusion

I am now into my second semester at Kaplan University and one of my courses is Nutritonal Analysis and Assessment. This course really delves into the scientific approach of how nutrition standards and recommendations came about over the years, as well as the fluctuating circumstances surrounding the requirements for different age groups, genders, as well as those with special needs. It's always so hard to learn something where there are so many different ideas, assumptions and studies that. Here is my lastest discussion post. Comment if you like, agree or disagree, these of course are all posts whose purpose is to spark discussion and debate. This post was basically supposed to be about what was most difficult for us to understand in our weekly reading, and how professionals, with their difference of opinions, confuse the public on nutrition.

Nutritional Confusion - by me.. C.C.

Probably the main concept to me that is the most confusing is trying to calculate the recommended daily allowances with using a standard deviation of the estimated average requirements for nutrients. (Lee & Nieman 2010) Showing it mathematically, and then adding on top of that the variability in the nutritional requirements, if one's information is insufficient, by adding a coefficient of variation to me just seems to be overkill. This is why there is so much confusion in the health and nutrition world. I believe that yes, it is a science, but it is not an exact science. This is why they are called "recommendations".

Even educated health professionals today can send wrong messages about health and nutrition. Most of us have heard about the "Twinkie Diet" that helped Kansas State University human nutrition professor, Mark Haub, lose weight with a diet of junk food because he wanted to prove healthy weight was based on caloric intake alone. (Park 2009) The only problem was his bloodwork showed major improvements in his cholesterol LDL, HDL and triglycerides. True, he may not recommend it, but the idea is already out there.

Just the number of health professionals and studies in the media confuse the public constantly. What's healthy for us today, may turn out not being so healthy for us a month later. The constant tug of war within the health community on what is healthy and what is not can be overwhelming for the general public. One example of this is The Nutrition Source ( from the Harvard School of Public Health. The lists of articles here, let alone the amount found internet wide can make nutrition choices for people completely confusing.

Lee, Robert D. and Nieman, David C. (2010) Nutritional Assessment, Fifth Ed. (p. 25); New York, NY; McGraw-Hill

Park, Madison. (2010, November 8). Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds. CNN Health, Retrieved 01/15/2010 from

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on here, or Facebook. Thanks! Have a great day!



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