Essay Cove

Essay Cove

16

Nutrition and health misinformation is everywhere. As many of you noted in your initial discussion post for this course, most people get their nutrition and health information from social media, through word of mouth, or from online websites or blogs. Some of this information can be helpful and valid, while other information can, at best cause well-meaning individuals to lose time and money, and at worst, cause many consumers their health. The purpose of this assignment is to help you understand some of the challenges around communicating nutrition and health science, and more importantly, identify fact from fiction in the nutrition and health world.
1st– Listen to a 6 minute conversation by Dr. Liam A Dodd, Data Scientist and former Physicist. In this discussion from The Dream podcast, he offers some suggestions as to how pseudoscience and misinformation utilizes scientific language to mislead consumers.
The Dream Podcast, Season 2, Episode 6
BEGIN by listening at 20 min 21 sec — 21 min 50 sec for the introduction of Dr. Liam Dodd and his area of study.
SKIP to 30 min 25 sec to hear the discussion about the distrust of science in the general population. Take note of the following points:
32nd minute – The language of science is often complicated, words have double meaning, and is not the natural language of the general public.
34th minute – Some scientist feel that spending time talking to non-scientists/consumers about their area of study isn’t the best use of their time.
35th minute – Many scientific communities are isolating due scientists always being surrounded by people with similar backgrounds.
36th minute – Many scientists are funded by public money or work on government funded-projects. This can cause mistrust from the general public.
37th minute – Consumer’s efforts to understand a complex and random world often results in blaming scientists when answers are not clear.
END at 37:10.
2nd– Review Figure C1 -1 in your text (1.8 Controversy 1: Sorting Imposters from Real Nutrition Experts). In this figure, review the following techniques that are Earmarks of Nutrition (and Health) Quackery
Too Good to Be True Suspicions About Food Supply Testimonials
Fake Credentials Unpublished Studies Persecutions Claims
Authority Not Cited Motive: Personal Gain Advertisement
Latest Innovation/Time-Tested
3rd– Peruse online or social media to find a popular nutrition claim, food items, supplement, or diet that you want to investigate. Some examples might include:
Taking supplement X prevents cancer.
Taking supplement X cures…
Following X diet cures….
Celery juice removes toxins from the body and cures asthma.
Bullet proof coffee improves mental clarity and causes weight loss.
Etc….
4th– Once you have found the nutrition claim/food/supplement/diet that you want to investigate, you will write a 2-3 page paper in APA format answering all of the following questions:
1. Introduction. What is the claim, food item, supplement or diet that you are researching? Where did you find it or hear about it? Please provide the link to the website or video. If a link is not possible to include, a screen image is sufficient. Are there any of the above techniques of nutrition (and health) quackery used in the claim?
2. Who? Who is responsible for the information or website? Is it staffed by a qualified professional(s)? Look for the authors’ name and credentials. Confirm what these credentials mean. If no credentials are listed, how does that affect the credibility of the information? Can the source be trusted?
3. When? When was this information last updated? Nutrition science is constantly changing, so the site or information should be updated often. Do you think this is current information?
4. Where? Where is the information or statement sourced from (i.e., what research paper does it come from?) and is the original research cited? If it is cited, please provide the citation and link. You can use PubMed to search for any significant published paper.
5. Why? Why is this site or person giving you this information? Is the site providing a public service or selling a product? If they are trying sell something, do you think the information shared is trustworthy?
6. What? What is the message this person is trying to send and can you validate it using Credible Sources of Nutrition Information? What did you learn in this course that either confirms or contradicts the claim you are investigating? In addition to your textbook, you must find at least 1 credible source with information about the claim you chose. Does a credible site confirm or contradict the claim you chose?
7. Conclusion. Reflecting on what you heard in the podcast and what your own research has uncovered, why do you think there is so much misinformation spreading about nutrition and human health? What ideas do you have to curb the spread of misinformation?
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