Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Scientific Studies.

I really should stop watching the news.

Ever since I can remember, we have been bombarded with scientific advice. The source is usually referred to as a ‘study’. Sometimes credited, as in ‘A study by Cambridge University’, or a ‘Study by doctors in Sweden, over a ten year period’.

On many occasions, it conflicts a ‘study’ that was all the rage a few years earlier.

Many years ago, I used to take sugar in my hot drinks, and drink ordinary Coke. Sugar made me fat, and made my teeth bad. I didn’t need a study to tell me that, if my trousers were tight, and I needed fillings at the dentist. Then came sweeteners, like Aspartame. They are the answer, a ‘study’ said. So I swapped, and for the next thirty years I had that sweetener in tea and coffee, as well as buying ‘diet’ drinks containing it.

Then along came another ‘study’. Aspartame was very bad for you. It gave you bladder cancer, if you used it for too long. Oops! Well, a bit more than an ‘Oops’ for me, after more than half my life adding it to drinks. In a panic, I contacted the company, and they duly sent me a very large envelope containing the results of the much-quoted study. They also mentioned that lawsuits were ongoing in America, and that those suing were unlikely to win.

The ‘study’ had used rats, feeding them around half their body weight in Aspartame tablets every day, for months on end. By the end of the study, those rodents were so full of artificial sweetener, they couldn’t avoid getting something seriously wrong with them. So the study was correct. If I consumed around 84 pounds of Aspartame every day for a year, I would get ill. It seems that the ‘scientists’ were unable to see the flaw in their findings, as I was unlikely to ever take in more than half an ounce of the stuff, in a week.

Then we had red meat. Good for Iron, and an ideal source of protein.
Hang on, there’s a study. It gives you bowel cancer, because you can’t digest it.

Delve deeper into that study, and you might discover that you would have to eat a couple of very large steaks every day, for most of your life.

It carried on. Pork gives you cancer. Seafood is too high in cholesterol. Real milk (unpasteurised) carries disease. Red wine? Yes, it’s good for you.
Not too much now, just a sip.
Rice, bread, and potatoes. Best avoided, due to taking in too much carbohydrate. And you might get bloating, perhaps even Chrohn’s disease.

Five A Day! remember that study. A fist sized portion of fruit and vegetables at least five times a day. But how big is a fist? Does orange juice count? Perhaps not, as it produces natural sugars in your digestive system, and you might get Diabetes if you drink too much fruit juice. And too many apples will give you gastric reflux, because of the acidity. Oh, and dentists say that too much fruit is bad for your teeth, because of the fruit acids. And pineapples can cut your gums…and…

You get my drift, I’m sure.

Just had a lovely little baby?. Well, make sure it sleeps on its back. Wait a minute, didn’t a study tell us that a baby will choke on its back? I’m sure it did. Better make sure your baby sleeps on its front then. But no, don’t do that! I’ve read a study that says babies sleeping on their front will smother themselves. You are going to have to find a way for baby to sleep siting up, that’s the only way it will survive.

As far as I am concerned, those invisible scientists can shove their next study up where the sun don’t shine.

74 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. A recent study showed that scientists who produced studies for the sake of producing studies were more likely to suffer from haemorrhoids than any other subsection in society as they where more often than not told where to shove their studies.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I recently read that babies should not be put to sleep sitting up! Truly. Apparently there were devices to help prop up babies so they could sleep. They were very very BAD! I am amazed that any of us survived our cribs with bars, blankets, toys and sleeping whichever way we ended up.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m afraid too many of these “studies” start out with a preconceived expectation. Your premise reminds me of a book I read a long time ago in college called How to Lie with Statistics.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t think there is enough room to put all the studies where you want them to be put–some run into thousands of pages plus date and other appendices πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, space is at a premium ther and stuff does not stay in there very long. πŸ™‚
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Agree with everything you said, Pete…what used to be “bad” is suddenly “good” – there are “good fats” and now they’ve decided after decades of telling us NOT to eat eggs – hey, eggs are good! Well, I’ll stay on my usual egg intake without advice from someone who wears a white coat…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yes, so many studies that run contradictory to previously made ones. Take rice for example. It is our staple food here, we eat it three times a day. I guess the thing is, we should all eat in moderation.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. To defend science, the difficulties occur not in the studies themselves but in attempts to report them simply to vewers and readers who can’t or won’t engage with the complexities. These are rarely simple issues but scientific methods tend to break them down out of context in order to investigate one bit at a time. I do not defend bad ethics though, other than to say that in other areas, sensibilities have changed in the past few years.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Your rant made me smile and I know the sensation you outline so fully. Diet is a minefield and scientists who dabble in it are brave but they would to better to stick to computing or engineering. The problem with the human body is its incredible complexity and it’s unpredictability.
    The fact is in the rich western nations we are approaching a life expectancy of about 80 years and back in the old stone age were lucky to reach 40. Of course many of us are kept alive by modern medicine way beyond the ages of our grandfathers. Now the discussion centres around quality of life ; is it worth dragging on a dependant existence ?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, I enjoy the occasional rant. πŸ™‚

      When I worked in The London Ambulance Service, we dealt on a daily basis with people in their 80s and 90s. Most are totally dependent. Some don’t know who they are, or where they are. Others sit in care homes staring at fish tanks or televisions until it is time for a meal, or to go to bed.
      All of them spend around a third of their lives in and out of hospital.

      Yes, there are amazing old people. Marathon running at 95, cycling into their late 80s, or still creating art and literature up to the age of 100. But they are few and far between.

      Quality of life is a relative term, but I think we all know what it means to each of us.

      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I know exactly where you’re coming from, Pete. Of course, scientists and other, more non-specific experts, have a function and a rΓ΄le to play in a civilised society, but many studies are sponsored by commercial interests which obviously have an agenda to further; I think it’s arguable that the emotional distress created by all these health scares causes more illness than they cure. Medical research using animals is notoriously unreliable, as proved by my grand uncle, when he was secretary of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, and who is the subject of my biography, Black Shirt and Smoking Beagles. More than 100 years of torturing animals for negligible benefit to humanity is not a good record to endorse, is it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Blinding rabbits to stop shampoo being a bit irritating in my eyes is not something I ever wanted, or endorsed. Stuffing rats with cooking fat to prove something I already knew (It’s bad for you) is disgusting too.

      Organisations that were created to ensure drug safety for humans gave rise to open season on animal testing. I think if we were all taken to see the apes and monkeys being tortured in labs, or the pigs being shot with explosive bullets for army tests, we might all change our minds about a lot of things.

      I actually worry about the people who can work in such places. They seem to me to lack basic humanity.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

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