So, it seems that the scientists were wrong all along.
Food that they said – no, insisted – was good for us now appears to be bad. Foods previous assumed to be healthy, now should be avoided. Everything we thought we should avoid, it now seems we can eat. Confused?
After months of research on the effects of saturated fats found in butter, cream, and blue-top milk nutritionists and food experts now think that sensible amounts are, in fact, beneficial to your body. Previously scientists have told us to steer clear of full-fat foods, and choose low-fat or no-fat options. And it’s not just new thinking on dairy products. According to Britain’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper, the following foods have had their status changed: olive oil, eggs, bacon, yoghurt, fruit juice, lamb and beef, bread and chocolate.
Sounds like a good, healthy shopping list to me. So what’s the problem here? Well, for years scientists have told us that they are the experts and we should listen to their advice. And now they’ve changed their minds. Admitted that they were wrong.
And teachers, television presenters, politicians, parents, care-givers, experts of all kinds have told us we can’t do this and we should only do that. And now it seems that something as basic as some foods being good for us and others is incorrect – that some scientific facts aren’t quite as solid as they’ve first appeared to be. It’s not changing their minds about fat that bothers me. But if they’re wrong about food, what else have they been wrong about?
What else will they change their minds about? Hundreds of decisions are made in parliament every year on the advice of, and in discussion with, scientists and experts.
What if a few years down the line they change their minds about what they thought? More importantly, what should I eat now? How about fish and chips…?
[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry amongst your students:[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. If food scientists have got it wrong about the health benefits of certain foods, what might other scientists have got wrong about other scientific facts that we all think are true?
2. Should we wait for scientific advice, or should we rely on common sense? 3. We always hear about what we should or shouldn’t eat. What do different food manufacturers, supermarkets and food sellers do to try and influence what we buy? [/colored_box] [colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:
1. Use the food list from The Daily Telegraph as a basis for a questionnaire or survey about what people think are healthy or unhealthy things to eat. Put the results in a chart or table and make statements about what people’s thoughts are. Take action with your information by suggesting ways to make consumers better informed.
2. Look at a copy of today’s newspaper. How many articles feature the opinions of a scientist, an expert or a prominent member of a community or organisation? Highlight the number of times an expert’s comment is used. What is she or he saying? Discuss how the articles would differ if there wasn’t someone to back up the reporter’s point of view, or how the piece would read without someone to give an opinion. [/colored_box] [colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: [socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2254506″] [/colored_box]