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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Licameli

Utility With Inaccurate Explanations...Reflections From the Iron Culture Podcast

In a recent episode of the Iron Culture Podcast with guest James Krieger, Eric Helms brought up a concept that caused me to reflect on things that have utility, but incorrect explanations. For example, "A ketogenic diet causes weight loss," is an observation that has utility. However, things get problematic when false narratives arise such as, "Therefore, the absence of carbs causes weight loss," or "Therefore carbs cause weight gain." In healthcare, we see the same thing. We take something with some utility, like foam rolling, and attach false narratives to it in order to explain the mechanism by which it works. We know that foam rolling can help reduce some pain and tightness in the short term, but we don't REALLY know why or how. The evidence shows that foam rolling appears to cause a global decrease in muscle tone, but the exact mechanism is a bit unclear. It becomes a problem when false narratives arise like, "Therefore, foam rolling breaks up adhesions and releases fascial restrictions." Keep in mind, that just because we do not know the mechanisms by which something works doesn't mean that it doesn't have utility. Heck, if a person adopts a ketogenic diet, it will force him/her to learn what a carb is, what a protein is, and what a fat is. It will likely also expose that individual to reading a food label...all good things that can lead to fat loss, none of which have anything to do with a physiological change due to a diet low in carbohydrate. So be aware when a false narrative is attached to something with utility, but also remember that even though we may not know the exact mechanistic explanation as to why something works, that doesn't mean it can not still be useful!

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