8

votes

Bad nutritional information in my biology class...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 12, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I'm 14, and I'm learning about "a healthy lifestyle" at the minute in biology, and I have to say, it's filled with crap.

We were given a set of questions that we had to answer. One was "What should Sally cook with if she wants to lose weight; butter or margarine?" And I put margarine, because that's obviously what they were looking for...

I was correct, because "margarine is a low fat substitute that people can eat as a part of a healthy diet"

And we were told that vegetable oils were a lot better than butter and lard, because they contain "Healthy mono-unsaturated fats and do not cause you harm, unlike artery-clogging saturated fats"

The booklet we were given advised red meat only once per week, and said to reduce your meat intake and up your grain intake. (to lose weight and be healthier!)

It also said to buy low-fat cream, cheese and skimmed milk.

Why are they allowed to teach this stuff in schools? Looking around, obviously this healthy, low fat diet is not working. Why don't they teach proper nutritional info to kids?

I've got a test on it next week, and I guess I'll have to write a load of rubbish to pass.

Just to clarify, I am in the advanced class. :P

66a7ef84ed129bba4ea2dc3aea26f67f

on October 15, 2012
at 06:17 PM

God knows. Probably some agricultural group. I may do that. The teacher isn't a one to listen to anything you have to say, they know all and all that. But even so, I could hand it into another teacher in that department. Who knows, they might stop selling skimmed milk at my school.

66a7ef84ed129bba4ea2dc3aea26f67f

on October 15, 2012
at 06:16 PM

My teacher is adamant that the mark scheme is right. I've had him in the past and a student didn't agree with him. He refused to debate the issue. It's a bit pointless; however, if I had another teacher I would. I'm just really annoyed at the situation, how classes like this are taught and no one says a word, not even the teacher, because they're non the wiser.

66a7ef84ed129bba4ea2dc3aea26f67f

on October 15, 2012
at 06:08 PM

Thanks for the answer, Becky. I kinda have to pass this test though, because it all goes towards a grade for the end of the year and if I don't get a good grade I get moved down a class, and although they're teaching rubbish I don't want to learn rubbish at a slower pace. And Kara, I think I;ll just keep my head down, like you are. Polite remarks get you nowhere because that teacher is adamant that everything on the mark scheme is the utter truth, which is depressing.

66a7ef84ed129bba4ea2dc3aea26f67f

on October 15, 2012
at 06:01 PM

I may possibly, Nemesis and Joseph S. It annoyed me quite a lot because it's people's health, and I can imagine some people in my class going on low-fat diets and becoming sicker and sicker. And April S - thanks! :)

Medium avatar

(10663)

on October 13, 2012
at 03:01 AM

I love 14-year-olds who don't sound like 14-year-olds.

7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on October 12, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Hmmm... I disagree. I will make polite statements in my classes, and my professors will look at me differently. They think I assume everyone has a problem with grain, because I have celiac disease. To a degree, that may be true. But don't complain to me about you weight then say "I could NEVER give that up", as if it will kill you! Personally, I BS at my job (veterinary technician) advocating hills diets because I don't have the degree to back up my advice yet. Also, getting through veterinary school is conventional. I just have to put my head down and get through it.

Cfe88f41d0f90c6355a58eddbe78c9f8

(868)

on October 12, 2012
at 05:00 PM

I wouldn't refute it. Your teacher knows less about this subject than you do, and you won't win anything by pointing that out. Go with the program and admit to the rubbish. If nothing else, you're receiving an education in what 'conventional wisdom' is.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on October 12, 2012
at 04:24 PM

Maybe you should submit an essay refuting all of the garbage you're being forced to learn. For extra credit, you know :) Whatever you do, don't forget to cite legitimate sources, otherwise you will not be taken seriously.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 12, 2012
at 03:48 PM

This is what we get when politicians and economists try to make education an economy of scale.

8634d4988ced45a68e2a79e69cc01835

(1617)

on October 12, 2012
at 03:10 PM

They are going to teach you a lot of bullcrap in school. Wait until you get to college....ugh.

Medium avatar

(379)

on October 12, 2012
at 03:02 PM

This is so frustrating. I wish they would just assign you to read something by Gary Taubes.

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6 Answers

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3
7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on October 12, 2012
at 03:48 PM

Yes. One person creates some idea and they all follow- look at the medical and veterinary community, the dental community, and the research community (though they have a different motive!= big pharma)

They can't suddenly say they're wrong (unless they have a conscience, not an ego), so they don't want to believe it. Half of them learned to just follow what other people taught them.

In my opinion, a clinician, regardless of research, needs to look at the big picture of their practice more. I'm not overweight, but I do feel that I have a lot of visceral fat, and I am working on it. Even people with a healthy weight should worry about what they're feeding their body and the impact it has. Ugh. Anyways.

You did the right thing just spitting back what they wanted to hear. I have four years of veterinary school... My nutrition class is sponsored by big pet food companies. Yay for doing the same thing to pass!

5
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on October 12, 2012
at 04:38 PM

Curious who sponsored the booklet and got it into the school?

You'll have to upchuck the drivel back on the test. But ask the teacher if you could get extra credit for a paper researching the advice in the booklet, and then write a paper debunking each claim with cites to scientific EVIDENCE. Even if your teacher does not agree with your conclusions, he or she may be impressed with your science research skills.

66a7ef84ed129bba4ea2dc3aea26f67f

on October 15, 2012
at 06:17 PM

God knows. Probably some agricultural group. I may do that. The teacher isn't a one to listen to anything you have to say, they know all and all that. But even so, I could hand it into another teacher in that department. Who knows, they might stop selling skimmed milk at my school.

2
13a78b17d97af21698c817e85c5dabd8

on October 12, 2012
at 05:34 PM

A. Good fo you for knowing WAY more at 14 then your teacher and the people writing that book!

B. Talk to your parents about this first, but since you are Paleo at 14 I'm guessing they might be as well. As a parent, I would advice my child to print off some literature on why butter is better than that low fat chemical bomb-margarine and other similar to that topic (ie. eating paleo is healthy). Then fill out the test as you would if someone where asking you these questions in real life. ex. what is a balanced healthy meal for breakfast? whole grain cereal or eggs with bacon? I'm guessing they would want you to pick cereal based on the above, but you KNOW it's not correct. Don't conform answer truthfully...it starts with you!

If everyone answers based on what they want you to answer they have won...convention wisdom at it's finest. If your parents and you are ok with possibly failing the test bc you are doing what you believe is right then DO IT! But you hand then a paper or explain why your answer is the best no teacher should fail you.

Again, I would never tell my son to answer a question he didn't believe was correct just to pass a class or get an A.

7dab2d8c97e44d8d0c298e5c9d5d75bc

(641)

on October 12, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Hmmm... I disagree. I will make polite statements in my classes, and my professors will look at me differently. They think I assume everyone has a problem with grain, because I have celiac disease. To a degree, that may be true. But don't complain to me about you weight then say "I could NEVER give that up", as if it will kill you! Personally, I BS at my job (veterinary technician) advocating hills diets because I don't have the degree to back up my advice yet. Also, getting through veterinary school is conventional. I just have to put my head down and get through it.

66a7ef84ed129bba4ea2dc3aea26f67f

on October 15, 2012
at 06:08 PM

Thanks for the answer, Becky. I kinda have to pass this test though, because it all goes towards a grade for the end of the year and if I don't get a good grade I get moved down a class, and although they're teaching rubbish I don't want to learn rubbish at a slower pace. And Kara, I think I;ll just keep my head down, like you are. Polite remarks get you nowhere because that teacher is adamant that everything on the mark scheme is the utter truth, which is depressing.

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on October 12, 2012
at 04:10 PM

You cannot argue against the dogma. They are teaching what has been blessed from above. For a state institute to buck the trend and be progressive would indeed be news.

Also, I am not sure why a biology course is even touching on nutrition. I guess that shows my age, back in my day, sciences were about teaching the laws and theories and how to test them on your own. And even an advanced biology course in high school would not be far enough along to understand the interactions of dietary choices.

One thing you may want to do is challenge the teacher (nicely, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.... of course you catch even more with rotting flesh, but I digress.) on topics by bringing actual peer reviewed articles to the class that contradict the dogma. Ask to discuss the scientific merit of other ideas, and provide the class with other insights. I cannot imagine a science teacher being unwilling to include peer-reviewed papers.

Also I would challenge any book that calls vegetable oils, "Healthy mono-unsaturated fats". Vegetable oils are hydrogenated, polyunsaturated fatty acids -- They have been shown, consistently, to raise the level of LDL and trigs in the blood stream.

Now if they are using the term, "vegetable oils" to mean oils extracted from fruits and vegetables (which they sometimes mean) then yes, Palm oil, Olive oil and coconut oil have very low poly-unsaturated fatty acids, and are typically considered mono-unsaturated fatty acids.

However, if they are talking about the vegetable and canola oils people buy from the store (and are what makeup margin) then this is just plain factually wrong, you could certainly challenge factual inaccuracies.

66a7ef84ed129bba4ea2dc3aea26f67f

on October 15, 2012
at 06:16 PM

My teacher is adamant that the mark scheme is right. I've had him in the past and a student didn't agree with him. He refused to debate the issue. It's a bit pointless; however, if I had another teacher I would. I'm just really annoyed at the situation, how classes like this are taught and no one says a word, not even the teacher, because they're non the wiser.

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 12, 2012
at 03:56 PM

lol...its trickle down stupidity. See..... one idiot above all others makes a wrong assumption and his diarrhea of the head and mouth trickles down on every person bellow him. And those people make the policy on what our children must be taught.

In all seriousness science takes long enough to change even a thinking persons mind....just think how long it takes for policy makers to catch up!

0
Aa5981f51961f9ded90b15c92d9c3757

on December 01, 2012
at 05:22 PM

I briefly experienced this same sort of situation during my Bio 101 class this semester in college when discussing macromolecules. It's just a matter of convenience really. Most of your peers probably aren't considering how their relationships with food affects them on any level, let alone questioning dietary dogma. I know I certainly wasn't at 14.

That being said, why not e-mail your teacher some articles/meta-analyses that you find interesting on 'alternative' dietary viewpoints? This one gets thrown around a lot (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/535.abstract).

Science is based on the idea of hypotheses being falsifiable. Hopefully your teacher will respect that any may even let you give a short presentation to your class if you show enough interest in the subject!

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