The headline in the peer-reviewed Physiology & Behavior paper by Soojin Park and Weon-Sun Shin says it all: “Differences in eating behaviors and masticatory performances by gender and obesity status“.
If that doesn’t convince you, then the official Highlights from this work must:
- Men have significantly different chewing performances compared with women.
- Eating behaviors are significantly different by obesity status.
- Eating behaviors were differently associated with chewing performances by gender.
- Gender-based chewing modulation could be promising behavioral treatments against obesity.
No more proof is needed. Science has officially run out of legitimate things to study.
Now our authors, from the Department of Oriental Medical Food and Nutrition, Semyung University, South Korea, are undoubtedly fine people, kind to strangers and animals, and who call their mothers at least weekly. Both are surely possessed of keen intelligence and are hard workers. And while they are the authors of this curious paper, that they had to write it was not their fault.
That means our authors had to gather 48 folks together and gauge their “chewing performance while eating 152 g of boiled rice…using electromyography”. It’s why they had to write “Compared with non-obese participants, pre-obese participants had significantly higher levels of disinhibition”.
They were forced to tell us “Males had a greater bite size” and that “obesity on eating responses may be explained as chewing performance.” External forces insisted that all this—and much, much more—was “proved” by wee p-values.
This is what Science must be: it is designed to work this way. Park and Shin were only following the rules and deserve nothing but praise for their assiduous attention to form.
But—and there had to be a but—it’s absurd for all that. The problem is twofold: scientism and enforced optimism, a.k.a. progressivism, a.k.a. Whiggism.
Scientism insists that the only knowledge worth having, the only knowledge possible, even, is scientific; and for knowledge to be scientific it must be measurable, quantifiable. This is why saying, “Fat people eat more than skinny” isn’t scientific. It hasn’t been quantified; it’s intolerably unspecific. Scientism is responsible for headlines like, “Researchers Confirm Fat People Eat More Than Skinny.”
Confirm? How could such an ancient, commonplace truth that fat people weigh more than thin be confirmed? Because Official Science (™) has finally measured it. Turns out Science never put calipers to lips and counted the number of bites the “pre-obese” take. (Science had previously defined, quantitatively, pre-obese.)
Once the number of bites have been counted—using electromyography or by some other device which requires calibration and scientific supervision—it becomes real. Before that it is only unworthy “folk wisdom” and unreliable. Numbers are serious. They are found in courtrooms and lawsuits and news reports. And scientific papers.
But why count bites? Because of the dreadful enforced “originality” which starts with Masters degrees, and only grows worse with doctorates and the race for tenure.
Anybody who has even a passing familiarity with history knows how rare originality is (taken in its plain English and not educationist sense), how brutal a battle it is (with the world) to be truly innovative. It’s true that in some fields, when they’re new and like a young bride, produce great flurries of fecundity (you heard me: flurries of fecundity). But it’s just as true that maturity brings, well, a certain slowing down.
Or should. But Science demands offspring. It is inconceivable for a scientist, or his bosses hungry for child support payments (as it were), to admit that there is nothing much left worth studying in Chewingology. Grants must be submitted, papers must be written, and a fairly fast rate.
Because scientists are required to do research, even when there is nothing to research, they research. And they have to write papers about that research, and because of that, journals to hold the tepid creations of research proliferate faster than Congressional subcommittees. There are now thousands, hundreds per field.
There is no solution. We have nothing ahead of us but acres of print saying things like this:
A small portion of boiled rice (Oriza sativa L., 152 g), a staple food for participants, was prepared as the test food. The boiled rice (Cheiljedang, Seoul, Korea) was purchased from a supermarket in Jecheon, and was heated for 2 min in the microwave as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It was served with 200 ml of water. The cooked rice (152 g) had an available carbohydrate equivalent of 50 g.
And, as always, more research is needed.
Thanks to reader Gary Boden for alerting us to this study.