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Science journalist fed up with “nutrition science”

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Is this getting to be a trend?

Critical thinking about a lot of the stuff that tumbles down the pike, claiming to be “science”?

First there was Nutrition science is not all its cried up to be, now, Ross Pomeroy at RealClearScience:

The problems with nutrition science begin with how most of its research is conducted. The vast majority of nutrition studies are observational in nature — scientists look at people who eat certain foods and examine how their health compares with the health of people who don’t eat those foods or eat them at different frequencies. But as I reported earlier this year, these sorts of studies have a high chance of being wrong. Very wrong.

In 2011, statisticians S. Stanley Young and Alan Karr teamed up to analyze twelve randomized clinical trials that scrutinized the results of 52 observational studies. Most of the observational studies showed various vitamin supplements to produce positive health outcomes. However, the superior clinical trials disagreed.

“They all confirmed no claims in the direction of the observational claims,” Young and Karr revealed in Significance Magazine. “We repeat that figure: 0 out of 52. To put it another way, 100% of the observational claims failed to replicate. In fact, five claims (9.6%) are statistically significant in the clinical trials in the opposite direction to the observational claim.”

Observational studies are common in nutrition research because they are relatively cheap and easy to pull off. But you get what you pay for. These studies are often shoddy, primarily because they cannot effectively control for confounding variables. More.

Like I said before, science today needs way fewer cheerleaders and way more constructive critics.

See also: Clinical genetics mistakes don’t matter when lives don’t. And then it is amazing how the mistakes proliferate.


Journalist wonders, why Creation Museum inspires rage, Whole Foods scams don’t (sky fell last night too, by the way)

Also: The skinny on saltveggie oilskim milkwhole foodsNutrition science is nearly baseless but it rules.

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