Seems like a pretty straightforward question, right? Unfortunately, nothing about nutrition science is straightforward. That especially means research, which is flooded with massive amounts of industry funding each year. I’ve already written about the hundreds of millions of dollars Coca-Cola and PepsiCo pour into public health each year. But is this a bad thing? From […]Read more "Do sugary drinks cause obesity and diabetes?: How financial conflicts of interest determine the answer"
We’ve all heard the familiar chorus: fast food is one of the main reasons for our current obesity epidemic. Almost always the reason is some combination of calories, fat, sugar, and salt. But the underlying rationale always has to do with “overconsumption of calories.” Well, a new study published a couple months ago suggests an alternative […]Read more "Fast food and obesity: Why it may not be about the calorie"
Earlier this week I was reading an interesting article on the medicalization of previously “normal” human conditions. If you watch television in the evening, you know what I’m talking about. Have you heard of “opioid induced constipation?” There’s now an FDA-approved drug to treat that. So now we have treatments to address side effects from […]Read more "What is a disease? (And does that include obesity?)"
What is obesity? There is one camp that views it as a disease, like proponents of the American Medical Association’s stance on the issue. Others see it more as a “risk factor,” an intermediary that predisposes someone to associated diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Then there are others who fall […]Read more "Obesity isn’t a behavior: let’s stop framing it as such"
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Anyone up on their Latin? It’s a logical fallacy meaning, “after therefore because of.” In other words, we often misinterpret “B” as the result of “A” simply because “B” occurs after “A.” So instead of identifying “A” and “B” as sequential, we claim “A” is causative of “B.” Okay, all these letters […]Read more "“After” doesn’t always mean “because of”"
Last week I guest lectured to a strategic communications seminar class of undergraduate juniors and seniors at the University of Minnesota, many of whom have a particular interest in health. These students are all pursuing degrees in journalism and mass communications, many with aspirations to work on public health campaigns, new media advertising, or in PR […]Read more "It’s about the person holding the megaphone"
There’s a prolific management saying, “Don’t bring me problems; bring me solutions.” Leaders or managers want information they can act on. They want to fix the problem. And they want a script or playbook on how to make it happen. But a laser-like focus on solutions only helps when applied to a well-understood problem. If […]Read more "The danger of solution-focused thinking"