People are passionate about food. People can also become pretty passionate about nutrition.
We got a taste of that this month over early efforts to influence the dietary guidelines that the United States Department of Agriculture establishes every five years. We got even more last week, when a congressional hearing on the scope and reliability of the science behind recommendations became heated.
It started when Nina Teicholz wrote an article in a respected medical journal, BMJ, arguing that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that advises the agriculture department isn't using good research to make its decisions. Ms. Teicholz, a journalist, is the author of "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet." Her biggest concern is how fats are treated.
Much of what we know about nutrition is based on small, sometimes flawed, short-term studies. Doing more than that is often very difficult and very expensive. But every once in a while, good research does occur that can truly inform our thoughts and decisions on nutrition policy.