The Balanced Diet Theory Vs. the Low Carb Diet Theory: How to Tell Which Is Right?
The balanced diet, based on the principle of 'calories count,' derives from the Caloric Balance Hypothesis. The low carb diet, based on the idea that insulin regulates fat accumulation, derives from the Lipophilia Hypothesis.
Both Caloric Balance and Lipophilia make predictions about the world. Only one can correctly describe what a true balanced diet is.
For a scientific theory to "work," it must explain all relevant evidence. You're not allowed to sweep evidence you don't like under the rug. You can discredit evidence that doesn't conform with what you want to be true. But there's a difference between challenging anomalous data and ignoring them. A big one.
Consider Newton's Law of Gravity. Obviously, this is a pretty well established scientific hypothesis. It gives us an equation to describe the relationship between mass and gravity. And to date, all tests -- experimental and otherwise -- appear to confirm it.
But -- and this is critical -- science doesn't work by 'proving' anything. It works by attempting to DISPROVE what we think might be true. So while we may have faith in the theory of gravity, it's still just a theory. That means it can potentially be disproved, even by a single piece of anomalous evidence. For instance, let's say you're walking down your street when, all of a sudden, you hear a wrenching sound and see a house detach from the ground and float up into the sky. That observation would seem to violate our theory of gravity. Certainly, a good scientist's first instinct would be to look for an alternative explanation. For instance, maybe a rocket blasted the house into orbit. Or maybe you hallucinated the whole thing. But let's say you went through all possible alternative explanations and somehow failed to invalidate the evidence. If that happened, it would pose a potentially mortal challenge to the law of gravity itself! Believe it or not, even though a scientific law has been confirmed literally millions if not billions of times, a single anomaly can completely invalidate it. That's how science works. And that's why statements to the effect of "a consensus of scientists has proven theory XYZ" are meaningless. NOTHING is ever proven in science. Science is just a method of testing; and its raison d'etre is to relentlessly seek to disprove the ideas that we think we know.
If good evidence turns up paradoxes that a given hypothesis can't explain, then a good scientist must change her hypothesis to account for the anomalies or junk her theory altogether. One bad data point can -- and should -- blow up a whole theory, even if that theory has yielded supporting evidence for decades, has won the support of tens of thousands of scientists and has never failed up until the very moment of the manifestation of that pesky anomalous data.
As Thomas Huxley eloquently once put it:
"The great tragedy of Science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact"
So hopefully you get the point.
We must apply the same kind of rigor to our two working hypotheses about what a balanced diet is. What that means is that if there is a but single anomaly that one of our two theories cannot account for, then it is up to the defenders of that theory to either invalidate the data somehow (by, for instance, questioning the methods/arguments of researchers), or to somehow explain the data within the framework of their favored balanced diet hypothesis.
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