Can Selfies Save Nutrition Science?

Trevor Butterworth at “You may have never heard of the Energy Balance Working Group, but this collection of 45 experts on nutrition, exercise, biochemistry, and other related disciplines have collectively thrown a “House-like” wrench into the research literature on everything from obesity to cancer and heart disease. Gregory House, the fictional and fantastically brilliant physician played by Hugh Laurie in the eponymous TV show frequently found his patients wanting in the court of self-reported truth: “I’ve found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask.”
This is more or less what the Energy Balance Working Group have concluded in an “expert report” recently published in the International Journal of Obesity. If you want to know the truth about how much someone eats and exercises that someone is probably the last person you should ask….The problem is that self-reporting is a cheap and convenient source of data for research, while more accurate alternatives are either expensive and challenging or, as yet, more promise than reality (see sidebar)….
“There are at least two categories of solutions on the horizon. In one category, there are wearable monitoring devices that can collect objective, real-time data. Examples in the works or in use include photographic food diaries, records of chewing and swallowing behavior, and evaluating the time and intensity of movement using accelerometers and GPS, among others. It is important to note that there are still challenges converting these measurements into reliable estimates of energy intake and expenditure, but work is ongoing… David Allison, Distinguished Professor, Quetelet Endowed Professor of Public Health, University of Alabam”…(More)