Conventional wisdom is often based on research that has no real world application, or sound bites that the reporters are too lazy to follow up on.
Research may involve mice eating things that are not a part of their natural diet. It may involve mixing 2 chemicals in a test tube and never testing on living organisms. Or it may involve putting people in a lab for a week, feeding them a carefully measured diet, and taking before and after weight measurement or blood samples.
Example: Advice is often given to “eat 6 meals a day” or “never skip breakfast” or “eat a large breakfast, light lunch and supper”. The fact is that doing such things may make our metabolisms burn calories somewhat more efficiently. But unless we are severely monitoring and controlling our intake, the chances are that being 10 calories extra hungry will mean nothing but that we’ll eat a little extra when the time comes.
People in a lab fed oatmeal for breakfast lose weight. A study recently showed that people living at home and feeding themselves put on weight when told to eat oatmeal for breakfast.
What happened? The people who ate oatmeal at large portions, poured lots of sugar over it, and then rewarded themselves later in the day for having been so virtuous.
Do most Americans need to be told to eat more snacks? Not hardly. What matters is what works for you.