Food Bullying Podcast

Nutrition science is a puzzle: Episode 76


Can we trust the information we hear about nutrition? Why does nutritional advice change? Does it have to be this confusing? Does the source of science funding matter? Michele and Eliz are joined by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Elieke Kearns for a lively discussion about the science of nutrition and why you shouldn’t believe everything you read on Facebook, but you should trust science – especially during a pandemic.

Elieke Kearns is on a mission to make food less confusing through her nutrition research expertise, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) background, and deep appreciation for agriculture and food production. She loves to geek out with her fellow scientists about the complex data, regulations, and research and then share that information in simple sound bites with colleagues, friends, family, neighbors, and health care professionals to enable the innovation of new foods and drinks that are grounded in science as well as empower everyone to make the right food choice for themselves and their patients or clients.

Elieke currently works at PepsiCo as a Principal Nutrition Scientist. Previously, Elieke worked at RXBAR as the Manager of Scientific Affairs, and at the National Dairy Council as a Director of Nutrition Research. Elieke received her doctoral degree from the University of California, Davis where she completed her Ph.D. in Nutritional Biology with an emphasis in both Immunology as well as Biotechnology. She has a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from UC Davis and is a RDN.

Key points:

Nutrition is a young science and it is complicated:

  • Nutrition is a giant puzzle.  Every piece builds understanding.
  • Trends can present gaps in knowledge and research.
  • More research fills in the gaps.
  • All research is subject to the same standards regardless of the funding source.
  • The data doesn’t care where the dollars come from.
  • Research on human volunteers requires approval to be ethical and safe.
  • Scientific research is published in legitimate journals, replicated, and peer-reviewed.

The media often gets science wrong:

  • Headlines are sensational, but not accurate.
  • Topics such as probiotics are complex and can’t be understood in a sound bite.
  • Claims are often repeated, but aren’t based in fact or science.
  • Be curious about the sources of information – ask questions until you are confident.

Three tips to overcome Food Bullying:

  • There are no “bad” foods. Ask yourself: Does it make me happy? Does it make me feel good?
  • There are no quick fixes. 
  • Be aware of misleading information – ask questions.


Elieke’s Website



Food Bullying: How to Avoid Buying B.S. by Michele Payn

Embrace your Heart with Eliz Greene

Food Bullying Podcast’s Facebook Page

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.