Flip-Flop Science: Does Anyone Really Know What Makes You Healthy?

The nature of medical wisdom, with the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of its recommendations, is controversial to say the least. Many explanations have been offered to make sense of why recommendations that are made with confidence this year are later refuted and reversed.

One of the simplest explanations is that this is the natural rhythm of science. An observation leads to a hypothesis. The hypothesis is then tested, and usually fails, which is always the most likely outcome in any scientific endeavor.

Why is that so?

Quite simply because there are an infinite number of wrong hypotheses for every right one. Therefore, the odds are always against any particular hypothesis being true, no matter how obvious or vitally important it might seem in the beginning.

The seesaw effect is often caused by the interplay between observational studies and clinical trials.  

The catch with observational studies is that they cannot conclude that one event causes the other. They can only provide hypothesis-generating evidence, which in a court of law would amount to circumstantial evidence. Observational studies are then often followed up with randomized-controlled clinical trials, essentially an experiment, which typically results in the flip-flop rhythm of medical wisdom, when the experiment doesn’t show the same result. 

According to a 1994 editorial by Jerome Kassirer and Marcia Angell, two editors from The New England Journal of Medicine, “The problem is not in the research but in the way it is interpreted for the public.” Each study is just a piece of the puzzle and so the media needs to do a better job of communicating the many limitations and caveats involved, perhaps most importantly the fact that “an association between two events is not the same as a cause and effect.”

New York Times September 16, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

So, what is the best way for you to respond to all the constant stream of new research findings?

As proposed in this article, your prudent approach would probably be to remain skeptical, especially in the beginning stages, as oftentimes the very first scientific claim is most likely to be wrong. Even though it’s usually the first report that gets the most media coverage.

Remember that nearly always, the institution funding the study is some corporation that could care less about your health, or the study is done by researchers who are so firmly entrenched in the established paradigm that they discount and excuse away anything that conflicts with their belief system.

Sad but true. This inherent bias has been responsible for untold unnecessary grief and suffering.

The exception to this rule is when reports show unexpected harm, which is often the case in follow-up studies of pharmaceutical drugs. If you are exposing yourself to a particular pill or fad diet, for example, with the goal of promoting good health, but it later turns out to be associated with an increased risk of health problems, rather than a decreased risk, then that’s obviously a bad sign that warrants your consideration.                                                                                                  

Of course, conventional medical science does have its place. If you’re in a car accident, your nearest trauma center is a blessing that can save your life. However, to believe that you can create good health through taking  drugs to solve your health care challenges is a very dangerous pipe dream. It simply won’t happen.

What DOES Make You Healthy?

There are certain basic tenets of optimal health (and healthy weight) that have always remained permanent truths, regardless of what marvels modern science comes up with next:

  1. Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down)
  2. Drink plenty of clean water
  3. Manage your stress
  4. Exercise
  5. Sunlight
  6. Limit toxin exposure
  7. Consume healthy fat
  8. Eat plenty of raw food
  9. Optimize insulin and leptin levels
  10. Get plenty of sleep

Remember, leading a common sense, healthy lifestyle is your best bet to produce a healthy body and mind, and increase your longevity.

Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, and even government itself sure won't make it easy for you to avoid the garbage that ruins your health.

My previous articles, How Drug Companies Deceive You and How the Food Industry is Deceiving You are just a couple of examples of how you are kept in the dark about common sense health issues.

The drug industry spends about $15 billion a year manipulating and distorting your perceptions about the proper solutions for your health challenges. And, the food industry spends TWICE that much to brainwash you and your children to choose highly processed convenience foods that will accelerate your path toward death and disease -- and your need to use drugs to control your symptoms. It’s a vicious cycle of deceit and misinformation.

Fortunately, you can still take self-responsibility, educate yourself, and make better, healthier choices.  

By adhering to the basic tenets of optimal health – the basics of a healthy lifestyle, not just a temporary fix for a particular ailment -- you are building a healthy mind and body, and thereby safeguarding yourself against a multitude of health problems and serious diseases.

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