Posts Tagged ‘causal inference’

More Avocados Equal Less Diabetes? Not Really

May 1, 2024 — If you pay attention to nutrition headlines in consumer media, avocados sound pretty amazing. “Eating more avocados could help women stave off type 2 diabetes,” says one report. “Avocado a day may keep diabetes at bay,” says another. The only problem is that neither of the studies that prompted those stories actually support the claims […]

Do Free School Meals Reduce Obesity Prevalence?

March 26, 2024 — Eight states have moved to provide nutritious meals at school for free to all students. A few simple reasons make it clear enough that this is a good idea. It reduces the stigma attached to receiving free school meals while improving food security for children from low-income families. Furthermore, nutrition quality goes up for all […]

Exercise Self-Reports Predict Less Benefit for Men Than Women?

February 29, 2024 — What could explain the observation that self-reports of exercise predict less of a benefit for men than women? In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology researchers nimbly leap to a conclusion that women get greater gains in mortality risk reduction from “equivalent doses” of physical activity. But would men exaggerate their self-reports? When […]

Kimchi for the Win in Obesity? Not Really

February 10, 2024 — The setup has been great. Kimchi lands near the top of the list of “must-eat fermented foods for a healthy gut.” On top of that, nutrition gurus advise us “food is medicine” and a fermented food diet “increases microbiome diversity and decreases inflammatory proteins.” So we should be ready to believe when a study tells […]

Plant-Based Diets Cut COVID Risk? Not Exactly

January 20, 2024 — We do admire the tenacity of folks who promote the virtues of a plant-based diet. But that admiration stops when we move on to the dimension of scientific rigor and objectivity. In BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, and Health, a group of researchers are claiming that plant-based diets “may be considered protective against COVID-19 infection.” The only […]

Oops: A Retraction on UK Soft Drink Taxes

December 12, 2023 — An amicable discussion about evidence for the effectiveness of soft drink taxes can be, well, somewhat taxing. Scientists with genuine curiosity about this subject often seem harder to find than true believers. But disappointment has come for those true believers. Because some of the evidence to back their firm beliefs in soft drink taxes recently […]

Vegan Diet Cuts Risk of Heart Disease After Two Months?

December 1, 2023 — Enthusiastic promoters of vegan diets are quite happy with headlines coming out of Stanford today. The Times of London captured the aspirational promise with their headline quite well: “Vegan diet cuts risk of heart disease after two months.” The Stanford University PR department was a little more subtle. They merely said “a vegan diet improves […]

The Difference Between Measured and Imagined Life Expectancy

November 26, 2023 — As an article of faith, we like to believe that healthy habits will lead us to a longer life. So of course, it makes sense to develop healthy habits for eating, enjoy an active life, and get enough good sleep every night. But putting a number on the benefit of those habits is not so […]

Ultra-Processed, Hyper-Palatable Pumpkin Spice Lattes

September 30, 2023 — We hate to be the bearer of bad news. But those pumpkin spice lattes that define the pleasure of fall are both ultra-processed and hyper-palatable. In other words, they spell doom for our dietary health. That is, they do if we accept the current presumption that UPF and HPF explain all that is increasingly unhealthy […]

Food Is Medicine! Regression to the Mean Proves It!

September 6, 2023 — A sure way to make a good program look bad is to offer up flawed evidence for its benefits. Then call it the biggest and best evaluation ever. So it is with a study of Food Is Medicine, impaired by a problem with regression to the mean. That little problem does not stop some pretty […]