This borders under intuitively obvious to the most casual observer

Nutritional surveys based on memory bear little resemblance to what was actually consumed.  From ACSH, Memory-based recall isn’t a solid platform for dietary recommendations

Nutritional studies based on surveys and memory have trouble being reproduced because memory and actual may bear little resemblance to each other.  People don’t remember what they ate and, I’ll add, do not measure and poorly estimate quantities.  So, unless you are keeping a diary with weights and measures, just how good would a survey asking how much and what you ate this year?

I’d add that studies based on surveys on historical use of chemicals fall into a similar category.  Several years ago I responded a survey about agricultural chemicals I might have been exposed to in the 1960’s.  Just how valid do you suppose the results of that survey were?


3 responses to “This borders under intuitively obvious to the most casual observer

  1. I know people who couldn’t tell you in the afternoon what they ate for breakfast – not without looking at their t-shirts.

  2. Another factor that renders nutritional studies worthless is that many people will (deliberately or subconsciously) modify what they report in order to appear less gluttonous or to more closely conform to what is popularly considered to be a more “healthy” diet.

  3. luisadownunder

    Memory is not the only obstacle; guilt of indulging is a greater obstacle, hence recalling only what we want the other to hear.
    I love peanut butter (the crunchy one with salt – not salt free) and have copious spoonfuls, although I would never admit to it 😉

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