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Posts tagged ‘over-interpreted science’

The Solution to Picky Eating: 7 types of food with 6 colors, and a smile, too!

I keep seeing headlines like these bouncing around my Facebook and Twitter feeds:

Colorful Plates Boost a Picky Eater’s Appetite

Have you seen them, too? After doing the research for my article on getting picky eaters to try more veggies, I take notice when I see claims of a new strategy that might be useful to parents of picky eaters.

I went to take a look at the study and was further intrigued when I found that it was conducted at Cornell University, my alma mater. Go Big Red! Cornell has a very well-respected Nutrition department*, so I had high hopes for this one. I thought it even might make a good blog post. But when I actually read the study, I decided it wasn’t much help at all. This study told us nothing about how to get picky eaters to eat better or how to improve anyone’s appetite – the headlines were exaggerated. [*For the record, the authors of this study were from departments of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell and Art, Media, and Design at London Metropolitan University – they aren’t nutritionists.]

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing blog posts about new studies and then stopped mid-way through when I realized that I was spending more words talking about the limitations of the study than the findings. So I wasn’t planning to blog about this study until I saw it covered on the Wall Street Journal’s family blog. Their article concluded, “To get our picky kids to eat, we may have to become both short-order cooks and food stylists.” No pressure there.

The UK’s Daily Mail also published an online article about the study. It stated, “Scientists have found youngsters are more likely to clear their plate when there is more colour and choice.”

CLEARLY not enough color or variety in this meal.

Scientists have found nothing of the sort. Here’s the run-down of what they actually did find: Read more