In my last post Not a PubMed Warrior, I explained that although I love reading a good analysis of nutritional studies from those skilled in communicating that information, I no longer waste my time trying to determine what is or isn’t good research. I’ve been suckered by studies that ended up being crap. Instead of taking sides, I’m at the point that I’d rather move on to something else while the smart people in the room work out their differences. I’m a hobbyist. I don’t need to be 100% right. As long as I’m moving in the right direction I’m OK. I have no clients and the only person’s health that I am responsible for is my own.
I feel I’m different than other bloggers that discuss nutrition in that my primary motivation is not about seeking optimal health. It is about creating more resiliency. To be resilient means to thrive in absence of perfect health or perfect knowledge.
In the comments of the last post, I was challenged that I was bright enough to become skilled in doing analysis of nutritional studies. My response is that I did this once before with finance. I spent a few thousand hours studying finance from 2005-2010. But as my knowledge grew, I didn’t become a better investor. The first 500 hours were valuable, but beyond that, I ended up learning about things that had no relevance to portfolio performance. In other words, it ended up being wasted time.
Research by Danya Bateman
I now feel the same about nutrition. Like finance, it isn’t that I feel I know everything, it is that I now know that one can’t know everything and things you know end up being wrong or incomplete. But you never what is or isn’t valuable at the start. You get sucked into the illusion that if you just read more and dig into the problem deeper that it’ll all make sense. But you never stop digging. And the reason you don’t stop digging is that you still have fond memories of early successes that were life-changing. Cutting out gluten was as powerful to me as was shorting the 2008-2009 stock market crash. If I mustered up all the effort to research more and more, it is highly unlikely that I’ll top those milestones.
I’d had planned on listing some examples of how I use common sense to resolve those PubMed Warrior debates. There really is no reason to. The answer is to experiment with the ideas we find the most compelling. The majority will not show a difference, but every now and thing you find something interesting. When it comes to nutrition, I think all the low-hanging fruit has been picked. At least for me, it has.