Posts Tagged ‘scientific integrity’

Is the Sugar Conspiracy Our Favorite Conspiracy Theory?

February 16, 2018 — It’s the stuff of legend. Big sugar orchestrated a vast sugar conspiracy half a century ago. The industry foisted decades of flawed low-fat dietary guidance upon our nation – indeed all around the world. The theory holds that big sugar was out to blame fat for all our health woes. That was so that no […]

Obesity Prevention: Where No Effect Is Evidence of Effectiveness

December 29, 2017 — Standards of evidence can seem a little fuzzy in this age of debates with alternative facts. But serious scientists have pretty clear standards. In obesity prevention, though, we wonder about some of the studies that sneak into journals. Take for example this study in Australia. As we wrote months ago, the authors found no overall […]

Superficial Transparency in Nutrition Research

December 12, 2017 — The food industry wants to sell you food. And the industry frequently uses nutrition research to do it. For many good reasons, scientific journals require disclosures of conflict of interest. But in a new JAMA viewpoint, John Ioannidis and John Trepanowski submit that these routine disclosures are not adequate for nutrition research. Superficial transparency is not […]

Regressing to Prove a Point

December 10, 2017 — “Believe me” is a popular phrase lately. It flows freely from people working to prove a point. It works for someone with something to sell. But it doesn’t work well in scientific journals. Consider this case of a pilot weight intervention study for an older lesbian population. A Big Leap for Pilot Study The SHE […]

How Come Cinnabon Doesn’t Cure Obesity?

November 26, 2017 — Scanning the latest hyperbolic headlines on obesity research, we’re left with just one question. Does Cinnabon have a cure for obesity? It’s really quite amazing. The Tech Times tells us “Cinnamon Could be the Secret Ingredient to Weight Loss.” USA Today says “Cinnamon May Help Attack Fat, Fight Obesity.” So maybe all that Cinnabon smell […]

Looking for a Model of Scientific Integrity?

October 29, 2017 — Stuff happens. Errors creep into research papers. We gripe about it here from time to time. But today we have a great example of how scientific integrity works. Back in July, a group of researchers, led by Yulyu Yeh, published a paper about nutrition education for African-American preschoolers. Their analysis found a benefit for the […]

Prevention That Sounds Too Good to Be True

October 24, 2017 — It’s an easy trap. Prevention is a cherished goal for childhood obesity. Behavioral economics has such a strong cachet that it just earned Richard Thaler a Nobel Prize. So when elegant research that says little nudges – like a sticker on a piece of fruit – can lead children to make better food choices, we want to […]

Pursuing Intellectual Honesty, Free of Bias and Conflicts

October 1, 2017 — In a letter to the editor of Obesity Reviews, a group of distinguished public health advocates call for a high standard of intellectual honesty in evaluating food policies. And it’s a good start. But this letter by Corinna Hawkes and colleagues has one gaping hole in it. It neglects a full consideration of conflicts of […]

Searching for Bias? Look in the Mirror

September 18, 2017 — “We need a safe space to rethink our assumptions.” This phrase came from a recent summary panel on food environments and obesity prevention. Later, the speaker explained. We need that safe space, she said, because a disproven assumption puts funding at risk. So people are reluctant to speak candidly. It was a stark reminder. The […]

Head Spinning Bias About Funding Bias

September 8, 2017 — “Don’t trust research funded by industry.” Suspicion runs deep about commercial funding for research, especially in nutrition. So, we imagine many heads were nodding recently when Justin Rankin and colleagues reported a signal of funding bias in obesity studies. Consistent with prevailing beliefs, their report suggested that industry-funded studies were the most likely to selectively report […]