marion nestle

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Conflicts Abound In Research Studies On Food, Nutrition, Expert Notes

Marion Nestle, a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, has been called one of the most powerful foodies in America. (Michael Pollan deemed her No. 2, right after Michelle Obama.)  Ranking aside, Nestle (no relation) knows her Big Food.

(david_pics/Flickr)

(david_pics/Flickr)

In a recent post on her blog Food Politics, Nestle makes a clear case that food and nutrition “research” is riddled with conflicts of interests — chocolate makers sponsoring a study on the cognitive benefits of cocoa, for instance.

Nestle notes that some studies paid for by food companies or trade groups “almost invariably promote the financial interests of the sponsor.” Here are just a few examples she collected in a week or so: Continue reading

Nestle On Vitamins: Belief Or Science-Based Interpretations (Both Are True)

Recent studies raise concerns about vitamin supplements

Here’s nutrition expert Marion Nestle’s take on recent news that certain vitamin supplements are potentially harmful for older women and men.

In her blog, Nestle explains two approaches to understanding vitamin supplements — one based on beliefs and the other on science. (Interestingly, she says both are viable.) She writes:

Supplements are a good example of how scientists can interpret research in different ways, depending on point of view….

For example, on the need for supplements, a belief-based approach rests on:

–Diets do not always follow dietary recommendations.
–Foods grown on depleted soils lack essential nutrients.
–Pollution and stressful living conditions increase nutrient requirements.
–Cooking destroys essential nutrients.
–Nutrient-related physiological functions decline with age.

A science-based approach considers:

–Food is sufficient to meet nutrient needs.
–Foods provide nutrients and other valuable substances not present in supplements.
–People who take supplements are better educated and wealthier: they are healthier whether or not they take supplements.

The statements in both approaches are true.