Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bad Food Data and Science Still Make for Bad Food Policy

Bad Food Data and Science Still Make for Bad Food Policy -
Image result for junk sciencenew study in the journal Current Problems in Cardiology by researcher Edward Archer, Ph.D. and several colleagues has pointed to serious flaws in the data the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) relies on to calculate the average number of calories that are present in the American diet.

The researchers looked at the number of calories the USDA says Americans consume and compared them with the number of calories people generally need to stay alive. 
Using data from 1971-2010, the researchers found that if the USDA data were correct, then a reference person (a hypothetical American established using algorithmic analysis of the data) would have lost nearly eighty pounds between 1971-1980 and also gained more than 215 lbs. between 1988-2010.
If it were simply the case that the USDA compiled bad data, then there'd be little reason to express alarm. 
But it turns out the USDA uses these flawed data to inform and set federal dietary policy.
It's not just the data that's rotten. The laws and policies that are based on that data are inherently rotten, too.
The new research ...found—as I wrote at the time—that the federal dietary guidelines "and the research used to support that work... is so off base as to be scientifically useless."
...Relying on bad data to justify food and dietary laws is as absurd, indefensible, and unscientific as it sounds. 
If we can't trust the government to base those food laws and policies that call for science on actual, you know, science, then maybe that's evidence the government should have far less power to craft those laws and policies in the first place."

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