Understanding Nutrition Information
lesson one Critical Thinking
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Lesson 1 :
Skeptical habits of thought are essential for nothing less than our survival ----- because baloney, bamboozles, bunk, careless thinking, flimflam and wishes disguised as facts are not restricted to parlor magic and ambiguous advice on matters of the heart.
--- Carl Sagan

Check out these commercials!

Cellu-No-More Blubber Reducer Dr Q's Formula
  • How do we know WHO and WHAT to believe?
  • With so many products available, which one is the RIGHT one?
  • How do we know what is TRUE?
  • How can we decide what is a LEGITIMATE claim?

Scientific thinking helps to sort out these nutrition questions. It uses a logical process of thinking focused on what to believe or to do. This critical thinking ability leads to more knowledgeable decisions. The decision-making process involves assessing, reasoning and analyzing information.

Each nutrition claim is assessed, reasoned, and analyzed through precisely controlled observation, eliminating sources of doubt. Sources of doubt may originate from unrelated information, too many variables, unproven theories, and unreliable data. To advance a new theory, or claim, the evidence that remains must be free of reasonable doubt.

Scientific thinking:

  • Is a logical and systemic method of examining nutrition claims and theories.
  • Examines the root of the claim for reliable nutrition information.
  • Allows for other possible hypotheses, as a result of carefully controlled observations.
  • Supports the nutrition claim by testing each idea, using reliable nutrition information and accepted theories.
  • Accepts or rejects the nutrition claim, according to the amount of reliable evidence.

Check all of the statements below that appear to relate to scientific thinking:

1. Scientific thinking is an effective means of assessing claims.
2. Scientific thinking follows a logical course of thinking.
3. Scientific thinking systematically uses known facts and accurate observations to eliminate unsubstantiated factors or reasonable doubt, through controlled observations.
  4. Only scientists use scientific thinking.
5. Scientific thinking allows for the formation of questions about a claim.
  6. Scientific thinking cannot be used to advance a new claim.
  7. Scientific thinking can only be used when doing experiments.



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Think about the Cellu-no-more advertisement again. What do you see? Two attractive, well-groomed young women. What are they talking about? Betty has obviously tried many products and has finally found one she thinks really works. She is so pleased with herself that she is not going to be embarrassed to be seen in her swimsuit. She is so excited about this product that she happily tells other people that what made her look so great will also work for them.

Check all the statements below that appear to use scientific thinking:

  1. What made a difference for Betty will make a difference for others.
2. Because Betty has tried many different products, she may have made many lifestyle changes, which may possibly include a daily exercise program.
3. The evidence for this product is based on the suggestion of a difference in the woman's physical appearance and not on accepted scientific facts.
  4. The appearance of a woman in a swimsuit determines product effectiveness.



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This is the end of Lesson 1. To go on, choose Lesson 2.

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