Is This The Dumbest Study Ever Done?

Is This The Dumbest Study Ever Made?
Is This The Dumbest Study Ever Made? (photo by Green Lane courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Last week I ran across what may be the dumbest study ever.

Why is it dumb? Here’s a bit of background.

The title of the article describing the study was, “Organic Foods Make You Mean”. That’s certainly an attention grabber.

It goes on to talk about research showing that organic foods make people more judgmental and less willing to help others. And you thought they were good for you!

The definition of more judgmental? Viewing moral transgressions more harshly. In other words, being able to tell right from wrong and having an opinion about it.

And people didn’t have to eat the food to be more judgmental. Noooo… They just had to look at them. It’s like magic! Look at organic food, get mean.

But as you continue reading you discover that it actually wasn’t organic foods that that people looked at. Ready for the best part? It was pictures of organic food that triggered the response.

So let me get this right. If you look at pictures of organic food, you become judgmental and unhelpful. Does that sound right to you? Nope, me neither.

The study contrasted people’s responses to situations after viewing one of three different types of foods. In addition to organics, they looked at normal, healthy food and at “comfort” food. You know, brownies, cake, etc.

They concluded that those who looked at comfort food were less judgmental and more eager to help others.

Here are some questions I have about this study:

  1. Why use the word “judgmental”? How about “more discerning” or “paying better attention”?
  2. Why not have people actually eat the foods in question? Wouldn’t that be a better indicator of their effects?
  3. How about noting the negative effects of sugar on the brain? In other words, wouldn’t another conclusion be that looking at comfort foods make you lose the ability to discern good from bad? Or maybe it just keeps you from forming an opinion.

Of course the biggest question is, why do such a study in the first place?

Interestingly, the man who did the study eats organic food. So you can take the conclusions with a grain of (organic) salt.

My best advice based on this is do your best to never look at pictures of organic food. Of course you should eat it. Just never look at pictures.

All the best to you for your health and happiness,

Dr. Bruce Eichelberger

Dr. Bruce

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