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Before you know it, a hypothesis takes on a life of its own* – Scientists also have a duty to engage in public debate

   ASTRID SMIT


One hundred years of science means one hundred years of new insights. Old findings can end up being radically revised.
That is part of the scientific project, but it can also sow confusion, especially in today’s fast digital world.

Research results in the nutritional sciences influence us all in our day-to-day decisions. If major new insights emerge, as has happened a few times in recent decades, so does the dietary advice offered to consumers.

For example, in its dietary guidelines of 2006, the Health Council of the Netherlands was still talking about the positive effect of alcohol, telling us that one glass a day for women and two for men would probably reduce the risk of death. In the dietary guidelines of 2015, however, the advice is not to drink any alcohol at all, or at most a glass a day. Alcohol raises the risk of various forms of cancer, says the Health Council now.

These kinds of changes ca ... ...




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