Book Club: Ingredients Final Discussion Thread!

This discussion thread concludes our talk about Ingredients by George Zaidan!

What was your take on the book? Has it changed the way you look at foods, processed or otherwise? Did you develop any new admiration or skepticism for food science?

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Last time, several folks dropped in questions for George, who graciously agreed to answer a few of them! Here’s your Q&A with George Zaidan:

Kate asked:

Does George have any thoughts about the blog retractionwatch? I’ve found it a really useful resource.

I love retractionwatch! It's a great way to get a little more behind-the-scenes info when something is retracted (or when people think it should be). I'm a fan!

Scotty asked: 

How do you think scientists and journalists should communicate advancements and changing in the nutritional science space, where there’s such uncertainty? For instance, my mom worked as a registered dietitian in the 1990s, and while she doesn’t work in that space anymore, the ideal diet in her mind is still low-fat/non-fat everything, which is an opinion I know has shifted a lot in the last 20 years. How do you communicate sweeping changes across professionals and the populace?

Great question. I don't think we have a good answer yet. Re: the public, journalists are typically the filter between nutritional science results and the public. Ideally, they'd provide context for any new nutritional science finding. But there aren't really any incentives for clear-eyed reporting; the loudest headlines are the ones that get clicked on. As for professionals, that's trickier. You could argue they have a responsibility to keep themselves up to date, but when there are huge changes in a field, there will also invariably be folks who disagree with the change. Ioannidis v. Willett is the perfect example. Doctors, dieticians, and other health professionals have to pick a worldview -- and depending on which they choose, their patients are going to get very different advice. 

Irish Twilight asked: 

Liked your listing and discussion on diets. What would the Zaidan Diet be if you were launching your own? 2. What made you decide to take detours from what you were discussing and then come back to it later? (Which by the way I liked you doing. Also liked your use of footnotes).

Ha! Thanks :)

1. I think it would be the "One-Day-A-Week-Don't-Give-A-Fuck-Diet." Or maybe the "Everything-Is-Fine-Just-Don't-Eat-Too-Fucking-Much-Diet." Alas, I don't think those titles would sell. 2. I was tested for ADD once and scored in the 17th percentile... I guess that's why I take detours! Haha. But I also really like to get to the bottom of things. So I'll dig away at a question forever, but I'll also take detours so the journey is about more than just the dig.

Thanks again to George for taking on some of your questions, he’s on Twitter @GeorgeZaidan.

Next up we’re reading Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale By Adam Minter, 320ppavailable at Indiebound or wherever you get books. See you in two weeks!