Author Topic: A Paradigm Shift for Diet  (Read 11046 times)

Offline tombb

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2008, 02:24:08 AM »
I'm sorry, this has been bugging me a little bit.  What are your qualifications?
Sat, I am not sure why you are asking, so let me first address a concern before I answer your question.

Specifically, I hope you are not asking because you plan to choose to believe or discount a position based on that rather than on evidence and reasoning.  As you should know that's a source of several logical fallacies, among others appeal to authority if you will believe it blindly just because of my qualifications or poisoning the well if you will discount it based on that alone.

That's why you should really look at the evidence and reasoning that people present in supporting their arguments, which is the reason why I often post not just a conclusion but take the time to explain why and reference specific tests that demonstrated it rather than just saying "because I said so" or "everybody thinks that" or just point you to some summary website where someone else could be repeating some hastily-drawn conclusion without providing much in terms of supporting evidence or explanation.
I think people tend to like simple rules like "food x is bad" and then are likely to apply it incorrectly or go overboard blaming the wrong cause to make things fit those simple rules they have been repeating without question. Like people who hate anything that has even 1% HFCS in it but then think Honey is a great replacement (when chemically it's about 70% HFCS).

In the latter part of this thread, for example, I pointed out that there are some things that can be directly responsible for a feeling of fullness, and others that can't, and it doesn't hurt to keep clear about it. That's determined by reality (and is easily tested) and not by people's opinions.  Similarly, when correcting an incorrect statement I am not expressing a value judgment or preference toward the opposite claim, I am simply correcting it to avoid leaving people with wrong impressions.

If someone says to you "He can't be right because he has a PhD, and people who earn degrees don't make good trainers" or something like that (I heard something similar in these forums), you should consider if that is really a reason to choose the opposite opinion regardless of whose version happens to matches reality.
And you should also ask yourself if you really agree with those reasons:
Do you feel the same about all degrees (e.g, is a high school diploma bad for trainers too?)
What if the best trainer you know later earned a PhD, would they become worse? And is there really any statistics or fact showing PhD are somehow worse at or know less about fitness, or do they just tend to go in other fields of work?...

Truth is really best determined by science, which is the ultimate reality check.
A statement either reflects reality or it doesn't, regardless of who mentions it or why. If someone comes up with a new diet, but when you test it systematically and compare it impartially on 100 people with proper controls it doesn't work, it doesn't matter if he was famous or popular or free from those pesky degrees, he should go back to the drawing board because that particular diet clearly and provably didn't work.

Having said all that, if you are just curious for other reasons and have good intentions, you can check back under "see all posts by this user", you will find a link to my whole identity (including qualifications/CV etc) somewhere in the first thread I posted in.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2008, 07:45:56 AM »
If someone says to you "He can't be right because he has a PhD, and people who earn degrees don't make good trainers" or something like that (I heard something similar in these forums), you should consider if that is really a reason to choose the opposite opinion regardless of whose version happens to matches reality.
And you should also ask yourself if you really agree with those reasons:
Do you feel the same about all degrees (e.g, is a high school diploma bad for trainers too?)
What if the best trainer you know later earned a PhD, would they become worse? And is there really any statistics or fact showing PhD are somehow worse at or know less about fitness, or do they just tend to go in other fields of work?...

Hm..

I am almost certain that you are referring to my comments.

My warning was that you can't take someone with a Ph. D in exercise physiology or similar as someone who is a good trainer.  Hell...most of these Ph. D's will admit to being bad trainers while others will not and think they know it all because they have a nice piece of paper.. Some great trainers are in fact Ph. D holders -- look up Dr. Lon Kilgore, for example...but as I said in the past these trainers who are good AND have Ph. D's spent an assload of time TRAINING people...which is rare.

It is VERY well known in the training world that the overlap between science and practice in this field is lacking, at best.

Truth is really best determined by science, which is the ultimate reality check.

I think it will come more to light as you get more experiences in training that it is not always the best reality check...I will wait 6-12 months as you get more involved in training and you will likely see how this is the case.

Conventional science is too regimented and structured for the infinite amount of variables it is necessary to control for something like athletic performance gains.  This is why CrossFit, an emerging approach, has had such success over the past 30 years (particularly the last 3-4)...it ignores conventional science, goes totally black box, and sees what works then find out why...then experiments with other things on an individual basis to see what works - rinse and repeat.

While your diet analogy is good, you will find very few nutritional studies out there that are worth their weight of paper.  Very few involve over 15 people and very few involve participants over a few weeks....

Having said all that, if you are just curious for other reasons and have good intentions, you can check back under "see all posts by this user", you will find a link to my whole identity (including qualifications/CV etc) somewhere in the first thread I posted in.

I'll look for it too, i guess :P  Link would be nice since i couldn't find it though...
« Last Edit: November 30, 2008, 07:52:51 AM by Chris Salvato »

Offline Steve Low

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2008, 06:34:24 PM »
"Truth" in TRAINING and DIET is best determined by the user.. experimentally (aka black box).

Because we all have different sets of genetics which interact differently with our training and diets.

Science is nice for looking at trends in the general population.. but not particularly useful to getting optimal results for an individual. Of course, it does give a good indication of where would be a good place to start.. but many other things such as prior athletics, injury history, flexibility, allergies, etc. must be taken into account and whatnot.

You know this as well as I.. but it's worth saying. Like Chris said.. the science finally backing up something is nice, but it is not needed to see if something works or not.
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Offline tombb

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2008, 11:16:59 PM »
I sort of continued this discussion in PMs with Chris so I didn't advance it here too, but just to give you a summary of it and address your points:

If what you call a black-box approach works well and never makes outrageous claims it cannot support, I would still call it science.  Everything in science/reality was more of a black box or partial knowledge at some point.

Science is a method to look carefully at things and avoid -superstitions-, -myths-, or jumping to conclusions.  Generally the actual scientific articles never claim more than they can prove, and the results of thousands of separate articles are all correct observations of reality, they might have multiple interpretations or limitations, but a correct theory will explain and understand all of them eventually. 
The problem is that people like health magazine writers might jump to the wrong conclusions in looking at just one or two in their summaries rather than disclaiming them with all the other possible interpretations because people reading non-scientific magazines want the bottom line even if it's drawn from inconclusive results. That's not good science, it's more like journalism.

Not taking into account all relevant individual differences, actual practical results, and any and all relevant variables means you are not doing science. You would never discount variables in a physics problem unless you were able to estimate they had little effect, and would state your assumptions and limitations clearly.
Or you can look at and test something in a more focused way, without looking at all possible factors and make sure you only draw the limited conclusions you can fully support, that's good science too and -always- useful, because even big theories eventually have to fit and explain -all- small observations (again think of physics, chemistry and atomic theory evidence).

All I am saying is that the important thing is to not fall back on superstitions and hastily drawn conclusions without testing them with the rigour that they deserve (scientific rigour).
Science eventually is able to account for everything because there is just one reality, and the rest are just individual variables that can be measured and accounted for.

If a black box approach makes a claim that is demonstrably false (for example blames a molecule that you can test over and over is not involved), then you need to correct that statement to avoid just people attaching a bunch of random incorrect claims to an otherwise fairly good explanation or system. If you find another competing "black-box" approach that works twice as good and explains even more things, and doesn't clash with fundamental testable facts of reality, you should be ready to change it for the better 'black-box'. That's how science works (except normally you don't call things black-boxes, you call them competing theories or best explanations so far).

All this is important because that is what makes all we know in nutrition, training and exercise physiology a lot better than a theory about unicorns and goblins that come at night and make us more fit or less healthy. You wouldn't want to adopt a view where everything is a black-box on equal grounds, regardless of whether it works or fits reality, and people can append any superstition or claim they want to otherwise good systems.

I imagine we can agree on all this, I am just clarifying my position and what I mean by science.
That's why I always try to ask and explain why something works and what evidence we have or are still missing, and not just repeat a conclusion without checking it, questioning it, or defending it and adding the proper disclaimers.

Offline KC Parsons

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2008, 07:35:37 AM »
You guys are both making good and valid points. The general consensus: we need to mix regimented, documented exercise physiology information with practical, realistic training experience. You cannot divorce one from the other, they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #45 on: December 03, 2008, 07:52:54 AM »
The real issue isn't "science", tom...now that I think about it...since you are right, Black Box is an exploit of the scientific method itself...

However, its "conventional" science (journals, articles, research studies) vs. a more individualized observational science.

Offline tombb

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #46 on: December 03, 2008, 09:26:52 AM »
Yeah I would say definitely there are many crucial studies that people don't quite do enough.

The biggest problem is how myths and wrong assumptions are generated, and I still think those get generated in popular media when people try to fill in the gap in very rough and often incorrect or biased ways rather than in scientific journals where you are not allowed to draw unsupported conclusions.

Either way, I think it's always good to discuss things and think carefully about everything, and challenge every assumption to double check things when in doubt, because that's the best way to clear up myths and learn more.
Also it's good to keep in mind how much we can say for sure and how much is still uncertain, and especially what recommendations are good either way, as opposed to suggestions that might be good or misguided depending on which theory turns out to be true.

Offline Steve Low

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #47 on: December 04, 2008, 09:58:16 AM »
You guys are both making good and valid points. The general consensus: we need to mix regimented, documented exercise physiology information with practical, realistic training experience. You cannot divorce one from the other, they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

I don't think "the explanation" of why it works is necessary.

It's nice.. but not necessarily. For example, Mark Rippetoe's program would work regardless of whether we know that lifting heavy weights in a linear progression causes very fast strength adaptations. We don't need to know why heavy weights = fast CNS improvement or how the muscles adapt. It's nice to know... but secondary to what we are actually trying to achieve.

That said, I am generally a person that likes to know, but I still don't think it's necessary. If something works for you sure go out and try to find out why its working. But not everyone cares as long as its getting them results.
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Offline tombb

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Re: A Paradigm Shift for Diet
« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2008, 10:42:54 AM »
I don't think "the explanation" of why it works is necessary.
Definitely you don't -need- to know how anything works to use it and get benefit from it.

You do need to know how it works however when you have questions about it, try to improve on it or change it.

And very often we -do- wonder if we can do something differently, combine something, reduce this, increase that, etc.

The reason we got this far in science, technology and even training is because we always go beyond superstitiously repeating everything we did when something seemed to work, and try to figure out why it worked and how to change it or improve it if needed.

Remembering and repeating things exactly out of superstition is just too much work and so unnecessary and often wouldn't work.
Even at the most generalized and basic level you really work off of "why" explanations and not memorization of hundreds of details (including ones that you should realize are irrelevant if you had a working explanation). Progressive overloading, comparing effort proportional to your max lifting potential etc are all based on "why" explanations for example.