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Nutritionist admits in The Scientist: Much nutrition research is “fatally flawed,” “willfully fraudulent” pseudoscience


Maybe most of it? Pretty strong language anyway.

Says Edwin Archer:

Recently, I was the lead author on a paper demonstrating that about 40 years and many millions of dollars of US nutritional surveillance data were fatally flawed. In most research domains, such a finding might be monumental; yet in nutrition epidemiology—the study of the impact of diet on health, hereafter referred to simply as “nutrition”—these results are commonplace. In fact, there is a large body of evidence demonstrating that the systematic misreporting of energy and macronutrient intake renders the results and conclusions of the vast majority of federally funded nutrition studies invalid.

We may be witnessing the confluence of two inherent components of the human condition: incompetence and self-interest. Nutrition has had many colossal and costly failures. The list of dietary components claimed to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD), prevent cognitive decline, and/or fight cancer that were later refuted via clinical trials is extensive. And while the self-correcting nature of science necessitates failure, the vast majority of nutrition’s failures were engendered by a complete lack of familiarity with the scientific method. This deficit is most apparent in the field’s reliance on self-reports of diet. Such information, to which nutrition researchers assign numeric caloric values, is rife with bias, and without the ability to corroborate or falsify the reports, the data should be considered pseudoscientific—outside the realm of scientific research.

It’s pretty damning, and toward the end, he says, “Perhaps more importantly, to waste finite health research resources on pseudo-quantitative methods and then attempt to base public health policy on these anecdotal “data” is not only inane, it is willfully fraudulent.”

Why is it that the least grounded sciences are the ones people are always making laws and rules about? Government-in-yer-lunchbox stuff, for example.

File under: Peer review sounds great until you get a load of the peers.

File with: Who Bernie Madoff refuses to share cell with (“I never pretended it was science. Prove otherwise.”)

Journal article: Validity of U.S. Nutritional Surveillance: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Caloric Energy Intake Data, 1971–2010

I skimmed the article and noticed that even this author, talking about NUTRITION, is scared of being labeled anti-science, and by implication, a religious nut. But oh, no! Science isn't anti-religion! (Technically true, of course, but the general scientific community certainly is.) Brent
I wish nutrition worked but in fact our bodies are so great they could turn stones into nutrition. A balanced dies and limited is all one needs. The farmers lived longer then anyone and were not watching nutrition. Robert Byers
And while the self-correcting nature of science necessitates failure . . .
Stupid comment. How about necessitates non-dogmatic, restrained, acceptance and pronouncement of findings? Or, just turn it around: And while failure necessitates the nature of science to be self-correcting . . . Brent
This article is a travesty. SCIENCE DENIER ALERT!!! (I jest) johnp

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