Posts Tagged ‘scientific rigor’

It Works! But Don’t Look Too Close at the Data

March 12, 2018 — Are we numb to hype and little lies yet? Sad to say, they’re not confined to tabloid news or politics. Despite data that doesn’t support effectiveness claims, we see such claims for obesity treatment and prevention published in scientific journals. This week, researchers at Johns Hopkins and UC-Davis provide two distinct examples. A Virtual Health […]

Why Falsehoods Fly While the Truth Limps to Catch Up

March 10, 2018 — More than three centuries ago, Jonathan Swift wrote that falsehoods fly while the truth limps far behind it. Today, we certainly see that in nutrition and obesity. Any number of myths stand firm despite clear evidence disproving them. More broadly, the news is full of reporting about Russia and ISIS using bots to spread misinformation […]

Never Give Up on the Virtue of Doubt

February 28, 2018 — Nattering nabobs of negativism. William Safire wrote those words for Vice President Spiro Agnew to push back on people who doubted him. Three years later, Agnew resigned after a corruption probe and conviction for tax evasion. Doubt always has its doubters. But it has special virtues in science and health. Critical thinking is impossible without […]

Low Carb, Low Fat, Null Result, Blank Check

February 21, 2018 — JAMA is out with a big, important study of low fat versus low carb dietary strategies. And the study has a null result on three hypotheses the researchers were testing. The results showed no differences in outcomes between the study groups. Low fat was no better than low carb. Also, neither genetic nor insulin secreting […]

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 […]

Where Telling People What They Oughta Wanna Eat Fails

February 12, 2018 — It’s hard to miss. Some elements of food policy seem to be telling the world what people oughta wanna eat. And the subtext of that message is the idea that people who aren’t listening are eating junk food. You are what you eat. Junk people eat junk food. Healthy people eat healthy food. A new […]

A Beautiful Childhood Obesity Plan with Null Results

February 8, 2018 — Schools seem to be the place to start on a childhood obesity plan. School meals, health education, physical activity – strategists have a complete roadmap for preventing childhood obesity at school. But unfortunately, a new study published today in the BMJ points to the distinct possibility that even the most beautiful childhood obesity plan might have […]

The Comfort of Opinion Without the Discomfort of Thought

February 3, 2018 — Are we enjoying the comfort of our opinions within familiar circles, free from disquieting thought? All too often, the answer is yes. After all, critical thinking can be unpleasant. Perhaps we should note that this concern is nothing new. Consider this excerpt from a commencement address delivered at Yale by President John F. Kennedy. June […]

Puritanism Makes Faulty Health Policy

January 12, 2018 — The puritanism within us is alive and well, says Matthew Hutson. That much is clear from a new, white-hot debate published in the Annual Review of Public Health. That debate is all about nicotine. But our ongoing obsession with the perils of sugar echoes many of the same themes – along with some important differences. Nicotine: […]

A Bumper Crop of False Promises about Weight and Health

January 11, 2018 — We shouldn’t be surprised. In this season, both hucksters and health reporters are burying us in false promises about weight and health. The advertisements for dietary supplements are annoying enough. We keep our finger on the mute button. And we can filter tabloid headlines about Kerry Katona’s protein injections out of our news feed. But […]