If you’ve never heard of the 10 commandments of healthier and safer nutrition, they are the following:
1. Compassion with goals toward healthier trends in nutrition.
2. Safety testing for foods, environments, and supplements.
3. Freedom to substitute healthier ingredients for familiar traditional foods with transfats.
4. Education, science & scholarship as a basis for food choices when using food as medicine.
5. Tailoring foods or medicines to one’s genetic/cellular, metabolic, and chemical responses.
6. Affordable organic foods availability and free inquiry regarding choice.
7. Healthy competition in the food supply and demand environment.
8. Property rights to grow your own organic food in public, urban, or private gardens.
9. Democracy and capitalism in the pursuit of healthy eating selections & environments.
10. Education rights regarding nutrition debates, and freedom of speech for all consumers.
What are the current most critical debates about nutrition issues and controversies?
The three most critical debates are about hunger versus safer food, childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes risks, and food misinformation, which includes the question of whether what’s printed on the label is or is not what’s in the container. Let’s look at the debates, theories, and ever-evolving scientific research on health and nutrition at all ages.
According to Dean O. Cliver, PhD, Professor of Food Safety, University of California-Davis, “Insistence on a zero-risk food supply will raise the cost of food disproportionately and cost more lives than it could ever save. Further, ultimate improvements in nutrition still will not yield immortality. We need to deal with hunger, in America and the world, first. Over any reasonable period, not eating is more dangerous than eating.”
According to the opinion of Manfred Kroger, PhD, Professor of Food Science Emeritus, The Pennsylvania State University, “the most important issue in nutrition today is the lack of nutrition knowledge by consumers. This in turn has triggered the epidemic of obesity in our society. It seems that some want to lay the blame for that self-created problem at the doorsteps of the food service industry, food manufacturers, and even agriculture. It is simply self-control and understanding nutritional principles that will help deal with over-eating.”
If lack of nutrition knowledge by consumers could be the most important issue, then food misinformation also could be the next most important current controversy in the field of nutrition. Childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes are big nutrition issues in the news. What’s a big nutrition controversy? It’s the debate about whether technology works for or against nature. The average consumer is told most often in the media that science (or technology) versus nature. Then there’s the debate between nutrition and advertising.
Nutrition and advertising have an inverse relationship. Processed food, such as sugary cold cereals that register high on the glycemic index, and heat-popped snacks are advertised, but not unprocessed raw foods, except on a few satellite stations that cost money for subscription.
Advertising in the mainstream media features drug benefits and side effects rather than food and vitamin or mineral-based health benefits of vegetables and fruits or wild fish from less contaminated waters containing the health benefits Omega 3 fatty acids. Are consumers being informed of what else is important in addition to knowing the glycemic index of foods and an individual’s metabolic body type or response of the genes to food and how to tailor food to the genes and/or metabolic body type?
The problem is, when fresh wild fish costs $16 per pound, people are going to buy canned wild fish for $2 or $3 not knowing whether the fish in the can contains more or less of toxins such as PCBs and mercury than the fresh wild fish on display in the upscale food store. Consumers want to know whether paying less money in a chain-store supermarket or paying more money in an upscale food store will result in products that affect human health differently?
Up for debate, for example, is the controversy over where you buy your wild fish versus farmed fish and how much you pay. Are you paying more money for food with fewer toxins? Is eating wild fish better for your health than eating farmed fish? Why or why not? These are current nutrition controversies up for debate.
Most people like to look at a nutrition time line to see at a glance what nutrition controversies entailed in the past, present, and what will be the next controversy or issue hot for debate by scientists, the media, and the public. You’ll find books touting the Paleolithic Diet and other books cheering the vegetable, fruit, nut, and grain-based Neolithic Diet.
Medical articles are numerous warning of the dangers of homogenized milk available after 1920. And you’ll find articles comparing whole fruit to sugary fruit juices. How do you make informed decisions about all the issues and controversies in the field of nutrition today?
Whether you are a parent, teacher, librarian, newspaper reporter, or student at any level looking for hot debates on nutrition issues about which to write, you begin with the basic controversy in nutrition. It’s the competition between science and nature.
The issue is whether nature is better than science and technology. Is technology an overwhelming improvement to health and nature in general? Are chemical solutions to moral problems also an issue? Can science be separated from technology when it comes to food production and distribution? Should it be? Why or why not?
Underneath the umbrella of science is technology. Scientific research needs to be funded by big business and/or the government in order for scientific research to be done on a scale that earns it credibility in the medical journals that have the respect of other scientists and the credible media. Technology is the method by which science applies findings to production of food products for the public.
Food Misinformation and Lack of Disclosure are the Hottest Nutrition Controversy Debates
What does the average person do when a new study comes out saying that a food has specific health benefits, but then soon after, another study is released noting that the same food has negative health consequences? This type of debate has opened the field of nutrition to debate. What health issues surround studies of soy products, homogenized milk, and margarine?
How does the average consumer with no science training make informed decisions about what foods are healthy for each person or for all individuals? Would the average consumer benefit by a costly test to determine whether one’s genetic signature is helped or harmed by ingestion of a specific food or medicine? Are those tests accurate? Such topics are ripe for debate.
The hottest controversies in nutrition today are lack of disclosure and food misinformation appearing in various popular media—newspapers, general consumer magazines, and the tabloid press. However, three equally important controversies in nutrition actually are science versus nature, childhood obesity, and the ever-increasing type 2 diabetes epidemic in children and adults. Consumers want to know whether what’s on the label is the same as what’s in the food or nutritional supplement.
According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) nutrition/food safety staff, while there are nutrition controversies almost too numerous to mention, a couple stand out – food ‘myths’ (or misinformation) concerning the safety/health benefits of consuming fish and seafood, especially canned tuna; and continuing misinformation about the safety of low-calorie sweeteners, such as Aspartame. For further information, check out the IFIC’s website.