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Science for Dummies


Monday morning (February 21, 2011), I found references in six different newspapers and health-related Internet sites to a new study which demonstrates that breakfasts with cereal and milk are the healthiest way to start one's day.

Two curious similarities were present in each article.

First, each link included a POPUP advertising cereal, a remarkable coincidence.

Second, each story omitted the name of the scientific journal and the names of the researchers.

After utilizing my own research skills, I soon found the study in question. It will appear in the March, 2011 issue of an obscure British nutrition bulletin which is published once every three months.

{Nutrition Bulletin, Volume 36, Number 1, March 2011 , pp. 78-86(9)} The senior author is Sigrid Gibson.

I should have stopped after reading the first sentence of this study, but the author expressed herself so brilliantly, that I had to go on. I had a bad night's sleep, and needed some humor in my life. The abstract's first sentence reads:

"Studies suggest that eating breakfast, as opposed to skipping breakfast, has nutrition and health benefits."

I am stunned. Food has nutrition and health benefits?

Eating no food has no nutrition or health benefits? This is profound, as in "lost and profound."

Just who is this Sigrid Gibson person? She is not a scientist. She is not a doctor. She is not a scientific researcher. She is not a college professor. She is a nutritionist, and that in itself ain't so bad, but for four years (1986-1990) Sigrid was the nutritionist for the National Milk Board.

That's the good news. It's all downhill from here...

Sigrid is for hire. She'll try and convince you that sugar is a health food if you pay her enough. Her website:

Some of Ingrid's clients, by her own admission, include:

The Sugar Bureau, World Sugar Research Organization, Cadbury Chocolates, Kelloggs, Unilever, and the world's largest yogurt manufacturer and distributor, Danone.

Sigrid's astonishing findings from her own abstract:

"Approximately 1 in 5 adults consumed no solid food between the hours of 0600 and 1000, one-third ate a breakfast that included ready-to-eat cereal or porridge, and 45% consumed a non-cereal breakfast."

What did the other two percent of the early birds eat, I wonder. Worms?

So, were the cereal and milk eaters healthier? What did Sigrid find?

"...cereal breakfasts (containing a ready-to-eat cereal or porridge, usually consumed with milk) were associated with significantly better macronutrient composition ... Compared with skipping breakfast, micronutrient intakes were marginally higher on days when non-cereal breakfast was consumed but 30-90% higher on days where cereal was consumed."

What do we learn from Sigrid's publication? Three things.

1) Any dummy can publish a paper and call it research.
2) Conflicts of interest are rarely investigated by newspapers eager to print falsehoods, so long as there is potential revenue attached to deceit.
3) Eating provides significantly more nutrition as opposed to not eating, which contains no nutrition at all.

Chew on that, folks!

Oh, one more thing. Sigrid's clients also include Pepsico and the Coca Cola company. If you do not believe that sugar is great nutrition, you can always suck up the Coke and Pepsi containing Monsanto's NutraPoison. When the artificial sweetener was first developed by Searle (sold to Monsanto when Clarence Thomas was Monsanto's attorney), the president of Searle was the great humanitarian, Donald Rumsfeld. Is any of this beginning to make sense to you?

If so, please explain it to me while I take time out to eat a big bowl of Wheaties with heavy cream, three eggs, twice over, 1/4 pound of bacon, and two heavily buttered pieced of Wonder Bread which helps build strong bodies 12 ways ... accompanied by a diet Coke.

Robert Cohen

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