Science and Reasoning

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Everything you read about health and weight loss – every diet, lifestyle recommendation, or weight loss program, including SLIM TLC, is a combination of two main things:  Science and reasoning.  Since science, which could be defined as the systematic quest for knowledge, does not yet have all the answers, we must fill in “the blanks” with reasoning.  It should go without saying that conclusions based on well-designed scientific studies deserve much more merit than those based mostly on reasoning.  The works that contain far more reasoning than science must be interpreted with much more skepticism, and more readily discounted.

Unfortunately, however, what we call “science” is not always fact or truth.  Studies are all too often tainted by variations in methods, interpretation, power, motives, bias, and other things.  The reality is that one can find a “study” to support just about any viewpoint or opinion.  The less well-designed the study, and the more hand-picked to support the author’s(s’) opinion, the more I call it “pseudoscience,” or perhaps “true science fiction.”  Well-designed studies are harder to come by, and must be given more weight than those that are not, or that are interpreted with bias or ignorance of the limitations of scientific data.  For example, you may quote a study that suggests a certain intervention drops one’s cholesterol level, but the drop may be short-term or may not actually decrease the incidence of cardiovascular events or death; worse, the intervention may actually cause greater harms in other areas down the road.  Something that causes many to stumble is confusing correlation with causation.  In fact, it is this very distinction that truth-seeking (which should be all) scientists must try to delineate.

One’s reasoning, on the other hand, is fraught with an even greater potential for error.  The author’s personal experience, wishful thinking (often based on secondary gain/ulterior motives), philosophies, and opinion all play a role.  Part of the problem is that (as I define it) opinion is the average of messages received.  The more we hear the same message over and over, the stronger our opinion will become, and the less likely we’ll listen to opposing viewpoints – no matter how correct they may be.  For instance, “experts” (including doctors and dietitians) may go to their graves before being willing to change their point of view or their approach or methods.  This is highly unfortunate for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the same folks claim to cherish education; however, perhaps most importantly, I believe that the health of the nation and the future viability of the health care system hang in the balance.

I am grateful to have been introduced what I now consider to be the latest, most powerful, and most legitimate nutrition science available¹ (although this science is not actually new – it has been brewing for decades, thanks to many pioneers in the field²).  The principles of SLIM TLC are based on this science, combined with an understanding of human nature.  I have also learned that in addition to nutrition, many other consequences of “modern” life contribute to disease.³  Prior to this educational experience, I guess I was simply less informed.  However, the good news is that even if you disagree with these conclusions, SLIM TLC (including The 4:1 Rule) can be adapted to almost any eating and other lifestyle preference.

If there is one contribution I hope to make to the world of health and weight loss, it is to make a healthy lifestyle more livable, which is an absolute prerequisite to long-term health and weight loss success.  It is to this end that SLIM TLC was created – it is an ideal balance between “effective” and “livable” (also see Where’s Your PS²?), which has heretofore been missing from the world of health and weight loss.  Being able to develop such an approach has come from careful observation of a large number of successes and failures, directly from years on the front lines of medical care and weight management.

I invite you to explore SLIM TLC, and although it took many years to develop, I am happy to say that it is surprisingly simple in concept.  With a little effort, it can also be simple to implement – which, of course, is necessary for long-term, true change.

Join with me, and together we can turn the tide.

Douglas M. Cluff, M.D.

 

  • ¹Based on a variety of well-designed studies, especially The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. and Thomas M Campbell II, M.D. First paperback edition, BenBella Books, 2006
  • ²Including Joel Fuhrman, M.D., John McDougall, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., Andrew Weil, M.D., Nathan Pritiken, Neil Barnard, M.D., and Pam Popper, Ph.D., N.D.
  • ³For a good discussion of this, see Egger G. In Search of a Germ Theory Equivalent for Chronic Disease. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:110301
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