Expert bias: one diet plan doesn’t fit all

trainingI attended an in-service today presented by a National expert in nutritional therapy. My quest for new health-related knowledge dragged me out of bed an hour early, allowed me to sit through eight hours of listening to the speaker read an 800 slideshow narrative, and allowed me to ignore the dread of driving two and a half hours. Needless to say, I really wanted to learn about this topic, and my mind was completely open. It became apparent within the first ten minutes that I was going to be deeply disappointed. While the expert was brilliant and knowledgeable about nutritional interventions, her bias was apparent.

I support someone perfecting a particular topic or practice; this creates an expert. However, I cannot support one-sided research or one-size-fits-all approaches (especially when diet and lifestyle are involved). I learned some valuable information today which I will use and research deeper. Yet, I felt like I was going to jump out of my seat or explode with comments I wanted to share to defend inflammatory statements.

My colleague and I talked about the presenter’s bias and lack of willingness to entertain the audience’s ideas and knowledge. We were told that we didn’t have to agree with the information presented, of course, but it was very clear that if we didn’t agree, we were not ready for a “paradigm shift.” That left me with a burning question: “Do I present information with bias or make others feel they are closed-minded by not buying into my research?”  I hope not. I try to remain humble and open to new knowledge.

Refer to one of my blog posts about the difficulty of change and you will see that I realize how defense mechanisms affect our ability to accept a “paradigm shift.” Heck, I am a paradigm shift in the flesh. I found what works for my son and my family. There are many different diet and lifestyle choices, plans, and researchers/experts. Food is confusing! Research changes, some ideas are debunked, science progresses, and new knowledge forces us to rethink what we know. Longitudinal studies which can be replicated to confirm validity help reduce bias. You must read contrary information and studies which you may not like. You must remain open to a person’s free will, doubt, knowledge, and experiences.

Each person must choose the best diet plan and lifestyle to meet individualized needs. What works for me might not work for you. People often ask me about my ideas of what to eat or avoid. “What’s the best vitamin or supplement for ____? What should I feed my child? What do you think about ______? How do I resolve _____? What do you know about _____?” It goes on and on. People want an answer in five seconds about complex issues related to overall wellness. It’s not that easy. It’s actually a never-ending and day-to-day effort to be healthy.

No one has the right answer. No one has the best answer. We all just try to help and make informed decisions based upon the most recent research. There are diet plans which change lives, heal diseases, and prevent illnesses. Learn to be a good researcher. Become a “warrior” for your own health. Be open-minded. Avoid bias. Share your knowledge with others. Find support. Be willing to unlearn what you were taught by everyone – including doctors, family members, teachers, and the FDA.

If you want to know what is best for your body, seek an integrative medicine specialist. Have tests conducted to determine what is inside or missing from your microbiome and body. Make decisions based upon lab results – not best guesses. Don’t follow someone else because you feel inferior or less knowledgeable about a topic. Life is hard and change is difficult. Implement one change at a time and see how it works. I wish you good health and happiness, minus any personal bias I may have.


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