All through out the time that I’ve studied diet research, I’ve found myself feeling frustrated many times. We are bombarded with well-meant advice from experts and authorities: eat less salt, be careful with fat, feed your baby gluten so they won’t get gluten intolerance and don’t forget the infant formula, or they will suffer from iron deficiency. Some of you have probably forgotten, but in the 1990s, the Swedish National Food Agency labeled ice cream and super-sweet yoghurts with the Keyhole (a food label that identifies healthier food products), in its eagerness to make us eat less saturated fat.
Many of us have kindly followed these advices. My kids obediently nibbled on their crackers before they even tasted real food like fish, eggs or broccoli. And since the fear of salt was so great, I gave them mostly canned children’s food that they consistently refused to eat.
When I began to study the science behind these dietary advices, I became … Well, there isn’t really a diplomatic way to describe my reaction. Let’s move on. Many of the recommendations we receive stems from reasons that make even a Swiss cheese look solid. Frankly speaking, authorities and experts have shared hopeful guesses about how their advice will affect us, but often, we haven’t seen the effects of the advice. Despite all the light and low fat products in the dairy section, we didn’t get thinner. Although most Swedish parents have followed the advice to give their babies gluten before the age of six months, Swedish children still suffer from gluten intolerance twice as often as American babies.
But you know what. Three years ago, we had it with guesses. We’re all worth something better and there is only one way: high quality and independent scientific studies.
Therefore, we founded the Dietary Science Foundation – an non-profit organization with a Swedish 90-account (confirms that the fundraising operation is being managed in an ethical and responsible way, and that the money reacheas the intended purpose). Just like the Swedish Cancer Society and the Heart-Lung Foundation, we raise funds to finance scientific studies, and our focus is diet and its connection to health.
The kind of research that we’re interested in is so-called ”randomized and controlled trials.” I’ll spare you the details on how they work (there’s a risk you’ll stop reading), but it’s the kind of studies that can prove effects and evaluate side effects. It’s the law that such studies most be made for a drug to be approved, but the dietary requirements are much lower.
During our first three years, the Dietary Science Foundation managed to launch two major randomized and controlled trials: one that analyses the role of carbohydrates in relation to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and one in which scientists study how diet can be used to stabilize blood sugar in patients with type 1 diabetes ( the type of diabetes that also affects children). The Swedish insurance company Skandia recently gave more than 2.8 million SEK towards these studies (I love them).
So now, everyone who reads this amazing blog knows about the Dietary Science Foundation. There’s no requirement to become a monthly donor, but it is a great opportunity to contribute to a healthier society. If for any reason you have a left over 10 dollar bill in your wallet, you can send it to the Dietary Science Foundation’s Swish account at 123 900 42 43, we promise we will use it well. Read more here about some of the knowledge gaps that need to be filled by new research: Which are the diseases where a dietary treatment can help?
Let’s work together towards a healthier future. Come on!
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