Debunking Misinformation and Pseudoscience in Feeding and Nutrition with Stephanie Compton 


Brianna Miluk: Hello, hello, and welcome to The Feeding Pod. This is your host. I'm Bri, Brianna Miluk, and I am a speech language pathologist and certified lactation counselor. I specialize in infant and medically complex feeding and primarily see patients in the home health setting, although I do have some that I see in outpatient or via tele practice.

I'm also an instructor at the university level and a PhD student studying communication and information sciences. I have a huge passion for evidence-based practice and supporting information literacy in speech, language, hearing, feeding, swallowing sciences specifically as it pertains to social media and translational research.

This podcast is meant to share anything and everything related to being a pediatric feeding SLP, feeding therapist with sprinkling in a little bit about working in academia, being a PhD student, and how to access, appraise and implement research into clinical practice. 

Some episodes may contain guests, and I'm already looking forward to some of those coming up, while others might just be me rambling about something that's been on my mind. Regardless, my goal with this podcast is that you walk away not just with newfound knowledge, but with the inspiration to think critically and not be afraid of research.

So, without further ado, let's get into today's episode.

Welcome back to the Feeding Pod. This is Bri and I'm so excited because I am slightly fangirling over who's on the podcast today. So, we have Dr. Stephanie Compton on today and I'm so, so excited because we share a love for debunking myths and misinformation and bringing awareness to social media of just like the absolute shenanigans that appear. And I've been following Stephanie for a while now, and finally she posted something one day and I was like, okay, that's it. We need to talk, like we, we just need to come together and talk about this, this topic.

And so, I reached out to her and she was so kind in saying, okay, sure Bri, I'll come talk to you. So, Stephanie- 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: I was also excited for the record. 

Brianna Miluk: I love it. Well, I was like, I am just so utterly excited. I can't even explain how much I love your page. But yeah, so it's, you know, we have related le- yet slightly different fields, so I'm gonna throw it over to you.

Kind of give an intro, give a little bit about your background, what led you up to where you're at now, and like what it is that you're doing now. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, of course. So, hello everyone and thank you Bri for having me on. I was also excited when you reached out because I also love your page and I love how you communicate your science to your audience as well.

So, I, I was definitely excited to be able to ta- chat with you today. So, my name's Stephanie Compton. I am a PhD in nutrition science. I studied ovarian cancer metabolism for my PhD. And I am also a registered dietician, so that's kind of how we're, we're, I feel like registered dieticians and SLPs are, are one in the peas in the pod, you know?

Brianna Miluk: Yeah. We're just, yeah, we're just together. We're, we're- 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, for sure. 

Brianna Miluk: always have to be. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: For sure. Absolutely. But right now, I'm a postdoctoral fellow studying nutrition and cancer, and I also do a whole lot of science communication in Instagram and online really talking about like, how can we think critically and ask more questions and dig deeper in the information that we see online.

And so, I, I tend to kind of talk about nutrition and science and like physiology and cancer and all these things from that perspective of helping people kind of get the tools that they need to be able to like, think critically about the things that they're seeing online. Because I think that is like one of the most important things we can do because there's so much misinformation out there.

Learning how to think critically about it and kind of see through it and look for red flags is like one of the most powerful things that we can do in order to like help ourselves see those things when we're looking online for information. So that's kind of what I do on Instagram. Kind of from a perspective of teaching about like how professionals can do science communication, but also how just like, you know, people that are consuming information online can actually learn more about those red flags and what to look for.

Brianna Miluk: Yeah, I love that, obviously if, if anybody is like a new listener or a new follower, so I am also working on my PhD and I'm working on my PhD in communication and information sciences because I'm like, okay, I feel pretty good about like my clinical side, but I want to know how to do literally exactly what you said.

Support the consumer of information. There is only so much we can do to dictate what people put out there and what claims they make. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: But so much of the responsibility, I think, falls on us as users of social media platforms and information literacy is something I feel like we hear in school and we're like, ugh so boring researching articles and like, let me come up with a research PICO question. You know, all that stuff. But in reality, like information literacy carries over to other platforms like social media, and I think sometimes that's forgotten, and so I'm really excited for us to talk about this. I have some real-life social media post examples that I will be sharing.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh good. 

Brianna Miluk: So yeah, like I just, no, there's so many things. There's so many things. I have a question though before we start. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah. 

Brianna Miluk: What, what got you into the cancer nutrition space? Like, what ultimately led you to study more on that? Cuz I, you know, for a PhD and then for a also post-doc fellow now, like, you gotta be interested in the topic.

So, I'm really curious what led you into. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: So, I always joke a little bit actually that I ended up studying cancer on accident, but I, I do truly love it. Like it is, it is like, has become like this huge passion of mine to study cancer and especially how that's related to nutrition. But I, I kind of started out, you know, if you think, if I think back to like my entire journey to where I am now, I started out as a biology major in undergrad and I knew kind of at that point I was like, okay, I really like metabolism.

I think I'm gonna go into nutrition. I think I wanna be a dietician. Did my master's degree in community nutrition, which is very different than what I'm doing now and what I did for my PhD, which, because it's like, you know, essentially just going out to the community, like doing, like I was doing surveys, I was doing stuff with like, State level indicators for schools about like children in implementing nutrition programs in schools.

And then I, I kind of switched gears because I found out at that point I probably couldn't be a dietician because it was so expensive and it was like cost prohibitory to me at that time. And so, I was like, okay, well I know I love metabolism. I know I love like working in the lab. Like I, I'm gonna try to seek out somewhere to go for that.

And I ended up meeting my PhD advisor and she, one, I really liked her and she was really supportive, but she also studied metabolism just in cancer. And at that point in time, I hadn't actually thought about studying cancer because I was low-key scared of it. Like, I think that's a really common fear for a lot of us is, is because it's really, it's a really scary disease, right?

And so, I was kind of scared of it and so I hadn't really thought about doing anything of it, but then I was like, you know what, I, I think this will be a great adventure. I think this would be really interesting. I love metabolism and I like; I need to learn more about. And so, I, you know, did my PhD in that, fell in love with cancer metabolism, fell in love with studying cancer, and kind of like researching nutrition into this relation to cancer because there's not actually, like we had noticed some baseline things, but there's not actually a ton that's known about it.

And so, But I was kinda like just driven by that passion and by that drive that I had found during my PhD. And so, whenever I was looking for postdoc positions, I was like, okay, I am a dietician. Cause I was able to do my dietetic internship during my PhD, so I was like, I'm a dietician. So, I have that clinical background, but I also have like this like metabolism, like cancer metabolism background. And I wanted to marry the two. And so now I'm studying human nutrition, like in human’s nutrition interventions and like metabolism. In like looking at how nutrition can affect cancer survivorship. So very into very like. 

Brianna Miluk: Wow. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: You know, like not exactly straightforward path, but it is something that I really, really love and I'm really passionate about now, even if I happen to end it into it by accident.

Brianna Miluk: Mm-hmm. No, that's so awesome. I. I just always wondered because I think dietetics field is very similar to speech language pathology field where we have so many options. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah. 

Brianna Miluk: Like there's so many different avenues and niches that you like, don't even think about. Like you said, you're just like, I didn't really think I could like bring these two together and then here we are like bringing them together. And so, I think that's super, super interesting and I'm definitely gonna have to like, once we finish here, introduce you to my colleague Kristen Szymanek, because she works as a speech language pathologist in pediatric oncology at a hospital. And so, I just feel like you would have good conversation.

So, I will definitely introduce you two. Okay. Okay. Thank you so. Let's kind of get into the nuts and bolts for today. So, what, what Stephanie and I would like to talk about is what a k a, what I wanna talk about, and I recruited Stephanie to talk about with me is that I wanna talk about cognitive biases and logical fallacies and really talk about how these relate to both the nutrition and the pediatric feeding world.

Cuz again, I feel like there's a very, very big cross. Even if we're looking at nutrition in an adult lens, there is a lot of parallels that fall into how people parent nutrition, how people exper- like work on mealtimes and family mealtimes and all of these aspects, and so there is a lot of information too.

My sister's a dietician and she works in the eating disorder space, and so she also keeps me very familiar with all of the misinformation in the nutrition and dietetics world which is rampant. I like to think that there's a lot in pediatric feeding, but I, I would possibly say there's more in that area.

There's just so many trends and diets and cleanses and all of these just like detox, like whatever, which just, yeah. You'll speak more on that in a bit, but. Before we start, let's just define cognitive biases and logical fallacies. Like what are they, what do we mean when we talk about them and how are they different?

They're, they're intertwined. Like we, we can see some overlap with it. But what are cognitive biases? And how, how does this influence our thinking when we're, when we're going into like critical thinking. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah. Yeah. So, kind of thinking about, you know, the, the ki- especially like you said, like they're so intertwined, right?

Like those logical fallacies and then like the biases that we just kind of like walk into information with, especially in something like, I feel like nutrition and what, how that bleeds over into pediatric feeding also, like I feel like there's so much overlap and so much bleed over, like we learn about nutrition in adults.

So that kind of like feeds over into that area too. 

Brianna Miluk: I feel like it isn't something we can necessarily separate. Like when I think about cognitive biases, these are sort of the things internally that we- that are considered when we're like judging information, but they're the things that make our judgments irrational. So, these are the things that are almost like, so, you know, talking about like heuristics, it's like mental. So, heuristics is a part of cognitive bias, which is a mental shortcut, meaning your brain is going to go for the information that's most available to it, to judge something around it.

Now, cognitive biases can be good. Because they're also used to like keep you safe in a situation like when you're going across the street and you have the mental shortcut that says Don't step in front of a car, and you like stop really quick. You know, like mental shortcuts can be good. And biases can be good in certain contexts.

When it becomes a problem is when it influences our rational way of thinking. So, we are like going into that. The other thing that influences those biases is those logical fallacies and the logical fallacies are flaws in reasoning. So, they're like somebody's. I wanna, it's like a, like an argument somebody's making as to why what they said is true and there's a flaw and reasoning where like, if you slow down and just think critically for a moment, I think slowing down is probably like key to a lot of this is just slow down for a minute and be like, does that make sense?

And if it doesn't for what you know about like scientific knowledge, like a ba- a foundation of science and like the, the few theories we do have, right? If it doesn't fit into something, it probably isn't actually true. And both of these really bleed into pseudoscience and how, and misinformation. Right?

And I also wanna be clear like misinformation is typically spread not to intentionally cause harm, right? Like disinformation is intentional. Like this person's like this is bad. And I wanna tell people cuz I want bad things to happen. Misinformation, like someone usually believes it to be legitimate and that they're not causing harm when in fact there is no empirical evidence to support the claims.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, for sure. 

Brianna Miluk: I think also like breaking it down to just like there's a bunch of different factors that influence why you think the way you think. And it's important to recognize those biases and I think a lot of times we think about biases. Now I'm just like going off on a tangent, but now- a lot of times we think about biases related to like culture, right? 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: So, like, what biases do you have about this person because of their race or their age or their gender?

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: But biases can also influence just like paying attention to something or like, biases can also influence like who you believe, like authorities or, and, and, you know, we'll, we'll talk about some more specifics on that, but I feel that it’s like- again, can be a good thing in some aspects because like things like that can keep you safe in situations.

Like your brain does need to use shortcuts. You can't critically think in every single situation. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: But it also can cause you to not think rationally at all. And that's. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: Where the problem lies, that's where the problem lies. So. Okay. Anything to add to just like the definitions or the differences? Feel good about that? 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: No, I think that's great and I think it's just like another layer of it too, especially when we're talking about social media is just like, There's so many appeals to our biases on social media and because we are like consuming content so quickly, like you say, like we're not really pausing to think about it and we're not really like taking time to like really absorb a lot of the information.

Like it's so easy for us to just be scrolling and like see a headline and be like, oh wow, like I didn't know that blueberries caused my thumbs to grow. And then it's like we just keep going about and like just keep like information and then we start retaining things. Aren't necessarily like, they've just confirmed to our biased rather than actually like us thinking critically about it.

So, it's, it bleeds over so hard onto social media. 

Brianna Miluk: Mm-hmm yeah. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Just cause- 

Brianna Miluk: the algorithm doesn't help with that either. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: No. 

Brianna Miluk: The algorithm feeds a cognitive bias actually it feeds confirmation by bias more than anything. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yes, yes, absolutely. 

Brianna Miluk: Yeah. Okay, so, so let's talk about some of these biases. So, There's so, so, so, so, so many, but I kind of wanted to just like pull out some.

And, you know, give a definition for people and then like both of us kind of give an example of what that may look like or if we've ever come across this. And I, just so everybody knows who's listening, I am putting Steph, like, just like she is not prepared. She does not know the biases I'm throwing out at her.

So just a heads up, she's just gonna be pulling this out, so. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh yeah. 

Brianna Miluk: Thank you. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: I, I got a whole list of things I can give examples for, for sure. 

Brianna Miluk: Perfect, perfect. Yeah, if you have any specific ones that you're like, Ooh, this is a good one that I don't mention too, like, we can just bring it up or we could even like go back and forth a little bit and just pull out a bias.

But okay. So, the first one, because I think it's just the biggest one, is confirmation bias. Okay. So, this is where just in case if nobody knows the definition, this confirmation bias is where you favor things that agree with your preexisting beliefs. So, you are more likely to seek information that validates what you already believe in.

You're also more likely to just believe information that is consistent with your preconceived beliefs. So, this is kind of like cherry-picking information. That is, or like when you're searching for research, let's say you really are looking for an article to support a claim. If you're only using search terms that are specific to one side of that claim, that could also be pulling, you know, information that's just going to confirm your, your beliefs.

So, what's an area that you've seen this? 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh, my goodness. I honestly like, kind of going back to your example of the algorithm, I feel like this feeds into the algorithm so hard, especially in nutrition content, right? So, you, you get like almost like sides of the internet sometimes in nutrition world, where you have like, you have the side that everyone is just convinced that like, A carnivore diet is, that's the way to go, right?

Like that is the only way that we should be eating. Like our ancestors ate this way. No plants only meat. Like, and so they, they get down this bias kind of trail and then they only seek content that follows that line of thinking. So, it's like through content that they're seeking or like what their For You page or their Instagram is showing them they're only searching for then sources that say, yes, the- the carnivore diet is the way to go. Right. And that's a really fringe example, but that can happen so easily with nutrition content because like you said, you can just look for one thing and then it agrees with your bias or agrees with your way of thinking, and then you kind of shove everything to the side.

Right. And I, I've made content on this before, like, just because it doesn't agree with your bias doesn't necessarily mean that it's wrong. Right? It's really hard for us to confront our confirmation bias. And even I, as a researcher, like half the time I'm like, hold on. Now I'm, I'm being a little biased.

Like maybe I need to think about the other side of this, or like other influences of this. And that's a really hard thing to do. And so, with nutrition content, it's so incredibly easy for that confirmation bias to show up. Either just we're just scrolling and not even thinking about our own confirmation bias or we're actively searching for it.

Brianna Miluk: Yep. Yeah, exactly. And I think that's an important claim or not, not claim. An important point to make is that like, it's not just what you see, but also like the actions you take in the way you're searching. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah. 

Brianna Miluk: In the way you're reading, in the way you're picking things. Like we all, we want. To feel like we're right.

Okay. Like that's human nature. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah. Yeah. 

Brianna Miluk: Like, I, I would love to believe that I'm right about everything. You all talk to my husband and he's gonna be like, absolutely not. But like, yes, we want to feel validated in that. Okay. But, That causes us to think irrationally sometimes. And so that's kind of where, where that plays a role.

And yeah, it's the same thing in the pediatric feeding world. Like seeing somebody do a certain technique or exercise or make claims about like, A, a sippy cup. And then you see like all these things about these sippy cups causing all of these types of issues, and there's no evidence to support those claims.

But you've seen it so many times now that, well, this expert said it, so I believed it, and now I keep seeing other content that agrees with it. So, it must be true because you're just being revalidated without actually seeing the other side of the argument. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah. 

Brianna Miluk: And also, this one overlaps with like other biases too.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, exactly. 

Brianna Miluk: So, we'll see it kinda play out. 

Yeah, exactly. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: And I feel like too, it's so easy for like misrepresented claims to just continue being repeated. Like I, it is, it almost becomes like this massive game of telephone half the time where it's like we don't even know who originated half of the stuff that we see.

Like whether it's like, you know, some kind of like statistic or some kind of like approach or like whatever. It just ends up like being repeated and then it shows up again and again. And it's like even with nutrition trends, Right. Like you, you see things that were trends like 10 years ago, they'll come up again and come up again because it's just a constant game of like, you know, you see something on one side of the internet or you, you confirm some kind of bias and it just continues to show up.

Brianna Miluk: Yeah, and I think that's where too, like just being very quick to like, share something without taking the moment to be like, is that actually true or real? 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: Or like, how do I know that that's a fact? But social media is so fast. It's look at it, take it in, share, like, you know, put on your story, like whether you share it with a friend or whatever.

It's so quick to spread and things that. You know, fall in that realm of be, of misinformation tend to spread a little bit faster. And so, it's, yeah, we gotta be really careful about that. So that kind of your point though, leads me into like authority bias or authoritative bias. So, this bias is when.

You know, we are more likely to believe something when the person sharing the information comes from a place of authority. So, whether that be a boss, or a supervisor, or a mentor or you know, a, a self-proclaimed expert in something, those are my favorite especially on social media where they, you know, have these claims of being an expert in X, Y, Z and you're like, who said that?

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: You're very quick to have a bias towards someone because of that. We also see this in the medical world in aspects where a doctor or a physician or somebody will make a claim towards something that isn't true, but because they have a certain title, people are more likely to believe it. Like well, they're a doctor surely they wouldn't, and it's like, we need to be careful about all of that. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: Have you seen this in your space as well? 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh yes. Listen, honestly, sometimes this might be the hardest bias to get like to people and being like maybe we should question like, because the thing is like a lot of the times with this mis- misinformation, one of the ways in which we can look for that misinformation is for the source, right?

Is like, okay, well where did it come from? Like, are they qualified? But then it, it's so hard then because that can be a red flag. Like, okay, if they're not qualified, like then chuck it in the red flag bin. But if they are supposedly qualified, then it makes it harder for people who don't know the difference in qualifications to actually determine are they qualified?

Right? Because you can just see like MD or doctor and not think that maybe that person isn't actually qualified to talk about Nutrition. Because sometimes I think we forget that nutrition is its own field. Like it's obviously interrelated to a lot of things, but with nutrition specifically, like I got a PhD in nutrition, right?

Like that was a very specific, like in-depth training in that field versus other experts in other fields. Like they don't get that same training. Just like I would never say, oh, I am an expert in immunology. I didn't take a single class in immunology. Right? And just because I'm a doctor does not mean that I have expertise in everything and experts aren't a monolith.

So, I think that's the other thing. It makes this bias really, really hard for a lot of people to see through because they see the authority, they see the MD, they see the doctor, they see the RD even in some cases, and then they automatically assume that that is what's correct too. And so, one of the ways I kind of talk about this and try to educate is saying, experts aren't a monolith, but what are most of the experts saying?

Like, do most experts agree? Rather than like, oh, this one person is an expert and they're saying this, they aren't the final authority on things. What are, what's like the field saying? Because that is gonna give you a better idea of like, is this a fringe idea or is this something that's like more widely accepted by a multitude of experts.

Brianna Miluk: Yeah, I think that's a great point to bring up. And one, one area that I see a lot of this occur in the speech pathology world is when a student or a clinical fellow goes to a placement and they have a supervisor or mentor who is implementing certain practices that they're like, that's weird. I didn't learn about that in school.

You know? Something that maybe it's like you didn't learn about it because you shouldn't learn about it kind of thing. And you know, being able to, it's, that's a difficult position for someone to be in. One to say like, Hey, what are you doing? Could you tell me more about that? Like, how, you know, I didn't learn about this type of approach.

What's the evidence behind it? But also, and I was so guilty of this when I first, first graduated, and shortly after my CF just being like, well, surely the person who's in the supervisory role knows what they're doing. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: And is implementing practices that are consistent with evidence and consistent with the literature and to find out they're not is really hard is a really, really difficult place to be in.

And it insights a lot of feelings of just like, oh my gosh, how could I fall for this? How could I believe that? You know, however it's important that when we do recognize it, we say, okay, that's not consistent with it. I maybe was not thinking rationally because I had this bias of like an authority figure, knowing what they're talking about.

And I think that's big on social media too, because you don't necessarily like know the people in the situation. You just kind of see how they post it, how they present themselves, and people can present themselves online significantly differently than they are like in person. And so also recognizing like those pieces as well.

And so that's when I see big in my field is like in terms of like supervisors or mentors within the field that are just like, yeah, no, this is how we do it. This is how we've always done it. This is how we're gonna do it. And it's like actually that's not consistent with like, and I think your tip of like, is it consistent with what majority of experts are saying is, is a really big key there.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, for sure. And I would, I would echo that that happens also in dietetics, right? Like, you know, we have to go through the, an entire internship where we're having to study under somebody who's, you know, a superior to us and has already like, gone through all the training and like is a practicing dietician.

So, I feel like that happens too with dietetics, but also like as you're a student, like when you're a student, like even a PhD student, right? You, you go through and you kind of just look up to everyone else and it's you learning how to do your own thing and also, like ask questions about even like the leadership that you are getting.

I think that's, you know, that's a hard thing to do, but it's also like important in kind of seeing how other people are practicing as well. Yeah, I definitely echo that in, in this field also. And I wanted to mention too, I feel like with some fields especially that aren't necessarily like, I guess like underneath a professional umbrella, but that can be kind of related so like nutrition or something like that. Coaching for example. You don't necessarily have to be a dietician to be a coach. I know some really great coaches, so I'm not gonna like, you know, shit on coaches or anything like that. Sorry if I can't cuss on this.

But I, I think it is important to, to, especially in the online space, to kind of recognize that a lot of the business aspect of the online space really pushes, like establish your expertise and just like all of a sudden people are experts in things and they push themselves as experts in things when in reality, like maybe they don't actually have an sufficient training or actual expertise, they're just pushing themselves to be an expert when they're actually just putting on like more of a business practice than they are like an actual thing.

So, when you see like coaches being like, oh, I'm a body positivity coach, like is that an actual coaching position or is that an expertise someone is claiming because there isn't any kind of like umbrella of this is a certification that's legitimate or like an actual degree or something like that. 

Brianna Miluk: Yeah, and I think even off of that, like not all certifications are created equally.

You know, like there's even some certifications that it's like, I took a, you know, whatever course and paid a lot of money so I can be a certified X, Y, Z. And it's like cool, like, but like 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: *speaking over one another* there doesn't mean that it's actually. 

Brianna Miluk: Yeah, like, it's like that alphabet soup doesn't mean anything but it, but again, like people will be very quick to be like, oh, they must have done all these wonderful trainings of things and be very well versed in what's going on. Just because they have that when in reality it's not, so, yeah. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, exactly. 

Brianna Miluk: I agree. So, I have one more cognitive bias I wanna bring up. There's so many, like I said, but there's, there's one like literally so many, so many. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yes, we could talk for like hours.

Brianna Miluk: So, it is the sunk cost fall. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm. 

Brianna Miluk: And you know, the sunk cost fallacy is when you irrationally cling to things that you have already spent time, money, energy, efforts toward. And it, it causes you to sort of like misinterpret information and stick with something because of that. When in fact you shouldn't, when you should just actually like toss it to the side and say, you know what?

I've realized this isn't working, or this, this is not as valuable as I thought and I should leave it. So in one way, I see this in my field and this is what kind of led me from where you were just talking about certifications and them not all being created equal, is someone spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a course or a certification and feeling like I have to just stick with it, even when they discover that it's completely ineffective, or even when they discover it is not backed by scientific evidence to take that type of approach or do that certain thing. And you don't want to say goodbye to it because you spent money on it, right? Like, I don't wanna say, no, I don't.

I wanna do this because I put money and effort and my time towards it. The rational thing to do would be, would be to say, this is not working. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: We need, I need to leave that. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. And I, I think, you know, going off of that too, like sinking time into something of like, oh, maybe I spent like all this time believing this is the approach that you should take with your, your feeding practices or with your nutrition.

Like this is the way, right? Like maybe you even have like practiced that for years and years and years and then you learn. That maybe that probably isn't. One, maybe it wasn't the best approach from the beginning, but maybe now we know more about that approach and so we should change our approach. That is like super hard, even, even for people who are like trying to actively avoid their biases, right?

Like even, even as a scientist, it's something that's like, well, I've done this for years and I've believed this for years. Like, why should I change now? And like in some parts that skepticism is good, but in a lot of times it's also a bias because it's like, well we're, we're refusing to change our mind in light of new evidence.

And that's something that's really important for us to be able to do both as professionals, but also just people consuming content too. Like if you, maybe you've gone. Three years on a carnivore diet and then you discover like, maybe it's not the best approach, but you just stick to your guns and you say, well, I'm gonna continue the carnivore diet.

I'm gonna take, continue talking about it even after I've learned it's probably not the best approach for me. And I think there's, there's a ton of examples of people, both professionals and you know, people just doing nutrition approaches in general, like, Continuing to do that just because of that sunk cost that they, they perceived have to have done.

Brianna Miluk: Yeah, that's a huge one that I see with people who start businesses around like one specific thing or they start their whole like, page around one specific thing and it ends up being just like totally ineffective or just like a total like joke. Yeah. I'm sure people listening to this in the SLP world can guess what I'm talking about. But it's like, but they built their business. They built courses. They started teaching X, Y, Z on this thing because they believed it so heavily. They, they did it with their children. They did it on themselves. They started, you know, telling their whole family about it.

They start, you know, and now to say, ha ha, hi, so remember like all this stuff that I said and put us through and like the money we paid for these things. And like, you know, all the, I'm sure in the nutrition world, like you remember all the supplements I made us take 75 times a day. Well, anyway, I found out that it doesn't actually make any difference and like maybe there was a little placebo effect there and maybe I was actually wrong.

And, but you've built an entire platform and business around it. That's so hard. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah. 

Brianna Miluk: That's so hard to let go. And so, a lot of times what happens is then like the backfire effect where you just get strengthened in it. So, like someone says, Hey, it's not effective, and you're like, well, I'm not willing to let it go, so I'm just gonna get stronger in it.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: You're almost like offended that somebody would, would make those claims. And then it's just, yeah, it's so. So hard. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: For sure. Yeah. Like just stand like st- like, like you said, kind of like grasping even firmer at it and just saying like, you know what? I'm gonna believe it even harder this time just cause like. 

Brianna Miluk: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Cause it's like, oh, well I can't go back on my word. Because then we perceive ourselves to be like you, you know, all of the things that we've done, it's like, oh, well I can't be a hypocrite. Right? Like, I have to stick to my guns even when we've learned something different. Right. It's very hard to like change our, change our minds, especially when we're like public facing and people are, have like entire accounts, like you said, that are Wow.

Specific to one thing. 

Brianna Miluk: Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, it's, it's is tough. It's tough for sure. But I think, you know, as, as a user, a consumer on social media, being aware of those, and so recognizing like, just because a person is very, very strong in their word and very convincing doesn't mean that maybe they've had those doubts and recognize it too.

They're just, Choosing to say, I'm gonna, I'm gonna ignore that piece of information, or I'm gonna ignore that. But you have the responsibility for your own choices in being able to kind of recognize and, and filter through that. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Absolutely. 

Brianna Miluk: Okay. So, let's talk about logical fallacies now. So, let's talk about some of these arguments that people make.

So, you know, we have these biases that we need to be aware of, but then there's also something we, the logical fallacies are something we have to filter through. I find more in the comments of posts is where logical fallacies appear a bit more. So, cause this is where people might say, Hey, can you provide me with evidence to support this claim?

And the person's like, no, I don't need science because I have my own personal experience. And you're like, Hmm, that's not good enough for me. So that's actually one type of logical fallacy is anecdotal. So, this is where people rely super, super heavily on testimonials or anecdotes to claim that something is, is true.

And there's a lot of flaws in that, right? Like anecdotes and testimonials. There's a lot of flaws in that. And so why don't you refl- give us, gimme some more information on that piece. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh, my goodness. I, I feel like I could just spend an entire podcast talking about, talking about anecdotal evidence, especially in nutrition, right?

Because that’s. Because anecdotal evidence is one of those things that makes everyone think that they are an expert in nutrition because everyone eats and everyone has an experience with nutrition, right? And that's, that's totally valid. Like right, we all have our own experience with nutrition and to an extent, like our own anecdotal evidence is really important for our experience with nutrition.

And like whenever, like if I were a professional working with someone, like I would want to bring their own experience into how I practice with them, right? So, like, to an extent. Our to just ourselves. That's important. But it's when we start applying our anecdotal evidence to people or to a larger sample or teaching about it or offering up as evidence that something works, right?

That's when you get into start, like you get really into the deep water of this is a logical fallacy, right? And I think that's where a lot of misinformation and honestly sometimes disinformation too. Starts to come up because people will say, well, I had this experience with nutrition, so I'm gonna educate other people about it.

And a great example that comes to mind is there, there was a, an individual, and I'm not gonna technically name names, but you might be able to guess who this is if you know what I'm talking about. There was an individual who was diagnosed with like stage three colon cancer or something like that.

Got it surgically removed, which is a very high probability of it being cured with that. And refused chemotherapy. Went on some kind of fancy juicing diet and like, you know, changed their entire diet and then started selling that diet to other people. Like telling other cancer survivors, Hey, don't get chemotherapy.

You should just follow my juicing protocol and buy my $400 course and like, learn all about nutrition from this perspective instead. So, it's like taking that individual experience, marketing it, making a course out of it, and then telling other people what to do with their healthcare based on your own anecdotal experience, leaving out a lot of the information that like, you know, you probably would've been cured without chemotherapy anyway.

It just makes it to where then that's becoming a source of almost disinformation at that point. That it's just a great example of that anecdotal evidence, kind of rolling out of control and being pushed and sold then as a product, and then a way to approach nutrition. But I mean, I see it even, you know, even.

You know, not as harmful or like, you know, just on like Facebook or something. Like, somebody will be like, you know what, I cut out gluten from my diet and I lost 20 pounds and I, you know, it cured my acne and did my taxes for me. And so, everyone should not be eating gluten. Right? Like that's, it's, I've seen that like in my own personal Facebook from people I know.

So, it just becomes something like, it can be as small as an individual recommending, well, hey, like I stopped eating carbs and now I do this and so you should stop eating carbs to something like that. Extent of misinformation of you should forgo chemotherapy and do my course instead. Like it, it can be any of those levels, but it's something that happens a lot with nutrition for sure.

Brianna Miluk: Yeah, and I think like, That in and of itself brought so much up where when I think about like when we think evidence-based practice, one of those pieces of it is patient and client values. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: But I feel like the way you explained it where it's like, yes, that individual patient and client's values, not the client values of somebody else.

It has nothing to do with this client, like the patient and client values is how we individualize our care based on the evidence we have our clinical experience providing all of that so that they can make an individualized, informed decision. Not by the way, I've had these other patients that had success with this thing and I had success with this thing that may have nothing to do with what's going on with them or might not be effective at all.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: And yeah, I think that that's a big one. And so, you know, and that's one of the signs of like, you know, pseudoscience and like red flags actually diagnosis fad. This always comes to mind where people are like, I don't need science to tell me what I've seen with, you know, hundreds of clients. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh, yes. Every time. 

Brianna Miluk: That to tell me what to do, I can't do a study because I'm busy saving lives. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yes. 

Brianna Miluk: I am curing this, like blah, blah, blah. So, like, I don't have time to do studies. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: When I'm, and it's like, no. Okay. Okay. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, yeah. Or even better, like I've seen people will be like, oh, well they haven't done studies on this, so like, I'm just gonna practice in it, but it's like you know, they're demanding to know how every individual nutrient in like every single food that you eat possible affects your body. And I'm like, that's, you can't study that, right? It's impossible to study. So, like that's why we haven't done studies on it. But now you're using that as an excuse to say, well, I don't need the studies.

I can just use my anecdotal evidence. 

Brianna Miluk: Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. Or the science just hasn't caught up with what I'm practicing clinically. That's another big one that I hear and it's like, actually it takes a lot longer for science to catch up with clinical practice. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: And the research, like if we think about the research to practice gap, it's like on average it can take, you know, 17 years for it to reach just like clinical practice.

And part of that's because science takes a long time. Like. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: It does take a long time to look at stuff, but then it also falls on the providers to make sure that they're keeping up with it and that they're reading the evidence and like checking in on the new studies that are coming out. And that doesn't always happen.

And so, then that's where social media, I think, is having a bigger and bigger role in healthcare and getting information about different resources and courses and approaches and all of these different things. So, we have to be even more careful about how to kinda assess it and appraise it for, for actual quality information, for credibility.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Absolutely. 

Brianna Miluk: So, okay. Another one I'm gonna bring up, cuz this is a big one in the nutrition world. I also see it in the pediatric feeding world, but I feel like you're just gonna be like, I'm just gonna pass away. Is the logical fallacy appealing to nature? 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh god. 

Brianna Miluk: So, this is. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Every time. 

Brianna Miluk: So, this is where somebody argues that because something is quote unquote natural, it's good. And things that are perceived as unnatural are just bad. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: Like they're so, they're appealing to things being natural. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: And this is a big one I see in nutrition. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh yes. Oh my God. It's, it's always say like, if I can't pronounce it, I don't want to eat it thing.

And it's like, Okay. Like, it, it's, it's just like you said, it's, it's an appeal to nature fallacy. It's the, the thought that if something is more natural, if it's closer to its natural source, that automatically makes it more healthy, which is not necessarily the case, right? Like and even with food, right? I think we put food on this, especially with that appeal to nature fallacy.

We put it on this like morality spectrum of saying like, oh, well, if it's less, if it's. You know, it's purest form, straight outta the ground. I pulled this carrot out and washed off the dirt myself. Like that is automatically healthy, right? Versus anything that has like touched a machine. I don't want it near me.

That doesn't necessarily leave a lot of nuance for the fact that like there is not morality with food in that spectrum, right? And there's so many different approaches to nutrition that, to assign it that morality of like, it can only be either or leaves out a lot of nuance with nutrition. So, it, it gets incredibly frustrating cuz some people are like, oh well this is highly processed and its toxic chemicals.

And it's like all this stuff when reality like, Doing that kind of practice with nutrition especially becomes really privileged and also really expensive and not something that's very approachable for most people. And then it almost makes them afraid of food, which then becomes problematic in and of itself.

Brianna Miluk: Yeah. I'm so glad you brought up the point of like the privilege involved in that because I think it is like being able to on to being able to make food choices in general. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: Is extremely privileged. And so, there's like, So much that I see, like I, I mean I see this in the pediatric feeding world a lot where, you know, people will post like, oh, take this type of feeding approach when starting solids.

Like, only do whole foods. Only do this, only do that. And it's like, it's just not real for some families. Like that's just not possible all the time and like, that's okay. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: Um, you don't have to do like stuff that’s fancy or this or that, or like, it doesn't have to be organic for it to be just as high quality.

It doesn't have to come fresh outta the ground. It could be frozen, it could be canned, and still provide the nutrition that your child needs. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Mm-hmm. 

Brianna Miluk: And so, yeah, I think that, I'm just so glad you brought up that point because this appeal to nature is a really big privileged one that. Yeah, this one gets me, it makes me so mad, and I think I also have like a, a touch of it making me extra mad because I like totally fell for that stuff. Like at the end of like my high school, early college, like. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yes. 

Brianna Miluk: And so, I'm like. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Honestly, same amount of time. Yeah. 

Brianna Miluk: Yes. It's that age, right? Cause like you're not quite good at rational thinking and so you're like, that makes sense to me. Like, because it does, a lot of these will make sense at the base level, but then you, when you stop and you slow down and go like, okay, do I actually have like data, do I actually have science that says that's true? Because of course some things are actually, and I'm actually gonna give us a shout out to Food Science Babe. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Oh, I love her, she's amazing. 

Brianna Miluk: Yes. She debunks a lot of those things in the nutrition space that people share as like, oh, this thing's bad, and like, but yeah, if you can't pronounce it, that's always my favorite one.

And she's like, literally, these are the same ingredients. It's just written in a different word. Like things like that. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah. That's just like the technical name for B6 or like something like that. 

Brianna Miluk: Right, exactly. It's so funny and, and yeah, but it's a lot of times coming from these like self-proclaimed experts, right?

So yeah. Okay. All right. There's so many, like we could go through like 150,000 more. So, I'm gonna stop it there. I do have a couple resources that I'm gonna share in the show notes. For people that want to read more about these and become more aware, highly, highly encourage you to, so there's two different websites.

There's one called, and then there's another one that's called, and both of these are great websites to just like scroll through and just like discover different biases and fallacies, like look at the definition of them. They give some examples of them and it's just really great to bring your awareness to that.

But Stephanie, I would love to know if you have any other resources that you recommend for people to learn more or even resources for people to like combat some of this or overcome misinformation or with appraisal of information on social media. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: For sure. So, I honestly learned of two new resources myself just now, so I'm gonna go check those out as well.

I don't necessarily have resources for the fallacies or cognitive biases, but I did, somebody sent me this report that was done by a group at Stanford actually that was talking about like how we can look through misinformation online and kind of more, it's a little. Kind of pushed more towards like scientists and science educators, but I think honestly a lot of stuff that they cover in that is really useful for people in general to kind of learn how science works, right?

Because in especially in combating this information or disinformation online, that is, especially around the scientific method and how science works, understanding that process is really useful for that. And we honestly don't get a ton of science education and literacy in general. And so, I, I will share that with you.

I will send you the link to that so you can put it in the show notes. But I thought it was a really great resource. I shared it in my stories last week. Because it, it also kind of gives some examples of like how you can look through red flags. I get talked about how experts are not monoliths. It talked about kind of the scientific process and how we go about making sure that scientific information is rigorous. And again, if you're not in science or you don't have a ton of experience at that, I think learning about that process is so useful for combating and like thinking about misinformation, especially when people take advantage of people not knowing the scientific method or like how science as a like, you know, almost like a society like works.

And so, I think that will be really helpful. So, I'll send you the link for that so you can drop in the show notes. 

Brianna Miluk: Perfect. Thank you so much. Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. I think the more you know about the scientific process, the more you realize that like, number one, it's like built to reduce bias as much as possible.

It doesn't. Totally Right. Like we can never remove all of it, but it's, it's built to try that. And number two, scientists would love to prove something wrong. Like that's how they prove something as being more true is by trying to prove it wrong. And when they can't, then it's like, oh, okay. I think this is a li- you know, there's a little bit more correlation here and there's a little bit more.

And that's how we develop theories. But it's like a scientist would love to be like, I proved that wrong. That's wrong. There's an error there. Yeah. Like, I'm like, scientists would love to be known for proving something wrong. So, keeping that in mind, where pseudo scientists just want to constantly be proven, right.

They just want to find new ways to show that their way of thinking is the right way of thinking. And so, you know, paying attention to that. So, thank you so, so much. If people want to find you, where can they do that? 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yeah, I am mainly on Instagram, so I, I spend most of my time there.

I am, you know, on my stories, I am making posts definitely come, interact with me there. There's also a link. I send out a newsletter every once in a while. It's whenever I can get to it, cuz I do have a full-time job doing research. So. 

Brianna Miluk: Girl, that is me and this podcast. That is me and this podcast. I'm like, when I get to.

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Exactly. So, I do have a newsletter where I, I, I send out like updates about what I'm up to and also like do a little bit of education in that email also. So that link is in my bio on Instagram, so you can go check that out as well. 

Brianna Miluk: Okay, perfect. Well, thank you so much. I really, really enjoyed this talk, and like we said, we could totally talk about this for hours on end, but please go check out the resources we talked about and like leave us some messages, send us messages if you listen in and tell us what you think, if any of them resonated with you or if you've come across any, we'd love to talk about it more.

So, thank you so much, Stephanie. 

Dr. Stephanie Compton: Yes. Thank you so much for having me on.

Brianna Miluk: Thanks for tuning in to the Feeding Pod this week. If you enjoy today's episode, please don't hesitate to share this podcast with your friends and colleagues. And leave us a five-star review wherever you're listening from. If you're interested in learning more about pediatric feeding and swallowing, be sure to follow Bri, me, on Instagram @pediatricfeedingslp, or check out my website where you can get access to more courses and information,

Again, thanks for being here and listening to my ramblings, and I hope you'll keep listening. Until next time, cheers. 



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