I addressed a question of getting lean with critical thinking1 and this topic is related to what food we should eat and what food we should not. I can analyse all possible food products, but I better provide an example of a product and give some advices about directing your attention while thinking about this particular topic.
So let’s start with some basic things. Even the best and the healthiest food can harm a person if he will eat only this kind of food. Of course it is possible to make a mixture which can replace all other products, but it should be discussed as a separate topic.
I also don’t want you to trust every word here, that’s why I prefer to give information that you can check yourself before making any decisions. And our topic of the day will be table sugar, also known as sucrose.
People have different opinions and beliefs regarding sugar. Some say it is good, others say it is bad, yet others say it is evil. Fortunately you don’t have to trust a random information source, if you can check it. I prefer to trust academic publications, because these publications are created after conducting some experiments. And these experiments can be conducted again to test a hypothesis from an article.
You can also check the institution which employs authors of an article. Also a good idea to check sources of financing, because if you find a text sponsored by a sugar company which discusses benefits of sugar or a text sponsored by artificial sweeteners company which promotes said sweeteners, you should suspect a foul play. Other things to check: reputation of authors and mentions of their names anywhere, content of their other publications, their possible goals to write this paper.
If you believe it is too hard to read all these academic papers, there are possibile shortcuts. You can specifically look for meta-analysis papers, such papers discuss a number of other papers about a specific topic and yield a conclusion based on all these papers. But still don’t forget to check authors, source of financing and so on.
Another way is to find a person who reads a lot of academic papers and writes conclusions based on these papers. Basically it is another sort of meta-analysis, but it is usually less strict and it isn’t published in academic journals. You still need to check reputation of this person, his goals, his financing sources and so on. A good idea is to check some of references he mentions, to be sure he correctly understand articles he cites.
You can also mix three methods I mentioned. Now you may wonder, where is a discussion of sucrose? Sorry, I decided to leave it to you, so you can find texts about sugar, how good or how bad it is. Then you can apply methods I discussed to check these texts.
1. ^ Getting Lean with Critical Thinking