Learning to Be a Critical Consumer

Published: 2021-07-05 01:05:04
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This study by Seidelmann, et al. examines dietary habits with specific regards to low versus high carbohydrate consumption and their effects on middle-age American citizens’ life-expectancies and risk of mortality. Through following the cohort for 25 years, data suggests that both low and high consumption of carbohydrates contribute to higher mortality risks. The data produced a U-shaped association linking mortality and carbohydrate consumption. An observation in the data notes that the type of macronutrients had an interesting effect. Plant-based substitutions decreased the risks of mortality, while fats and animal-derived proteins resulted in a higher mortality risk. Although the substitutions may decrease risk, the study develops that moderation is key.
In discussing the original study, this headline holds some merit. It grabs the eye, which is the goal of a headline, however, it ignores the ideas of moderation, claiming that the risk lies in low-carbohydrate consumption. This holds potential to be misleading to an individual who does not read the entirety of the article. Even if the author communicates the findings of the study perfectly to the viewers, there will be a select population that believes the issues are only with low-carbohydrate consumption.The headline also ignores the presented ideas of the types of carbs (animal-derived vs. plant-based), as well as the issues of the experimental population and environment factors. Furthermore, the general population may not fully understand the concept of the types of carbohydrates they are consuming. It leaves unanswered questions such as: what is considered low-carb consumption? Individuals reading this article should be provided with a measurement so as not to unnecessarily increase their carb consumption to high-levels of namely animal-derived carbohydrates. This would put them at a similar, if not higher, risk of mortality according to results of the study. A more appropriate title would have been: “Study suggests carbs in moderation.”
Recent research on the effects of carbohydrate diets on mortality has so far been supportive in many specific and all-cause cases. Specifically, studies have found that the type of carbohydrate is an important factor. While the typical human diet consists of high-fat, low carb combinations, it has been found that plant-based substitutes are highly beneficial and may reduce mortality risks. Due to these findings, some researchers encourage an adjustment in diet to lower carb-consumption and adjust the types of macronutrients being consumed in which quantities. Although individual environments and context, as well as food-availability per region have a large impact on what people eat, studies seem to be returning with consistent results among wide ranges of different populations, suggesting moderation or an alteration in diet recommendations have positive impacts on life expectancy.
It is very interesting to find the similar links and observations made by different studies on different populations. Although the focuses are different, it is helpful to be able to see the similar types of research being done, and how it effects adverse groups of individuals. In this case, most studies came to the same conclusion, but it is also interesting to see how different environments could lead to different conclusions based on similar research. When two studies differ in their conclusions, it is important to acknowledge the experimental populations, along with their location, and the purpose of either study. These details are important to the analysis of the differences and why they occurred in two similar studies while comparing articles. This was a take-away from the section 3 activity, because the studies had different focuses while maintaining an underlying theme or discovery in their results.

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