Posts Tagged ‘scientific rigor’

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 […]

Ultra-Processed Foods: Facts, Fiction, and Speculation

February 5, 2024 — The perils of ultra-processed foods received widespread coverage in recent months – thanks in no small part to the publication and promotion of TV presenter and doctor of virology Chris Van Tulleken’s book Ultra-Processed People. Ultra-processed foods, in short, are commercially manufactured food products that include ingredients you wouldn’t cook with at home. Some of this […]

The Correct Answer Is Breastfeeding. What’s the Question?

January 22, 2024 — Breastfeeding is such a good idea. But unfortunately, it doesn’t do much to prevent obesity. No matter. On the subject of breastfeeding and preventing obesity in children, we have policy-based evidence – the answer is preset. A new paper in Pediatrics lines up with this. Based on yet another finding of an association between breastfeeding […]

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 […]

Food as Medicine: Great Program, but Lacking a Medical Benefit

December 27, 2023 — Food as medicine programs can yield a fantastic medical benefit, say the promoters of this currently trendy concept in nutrition policy. If implemented broadly, they “would save lives and billions of dollars.” That’s the word from Tufts, where Dariush Mozaffarian is selling this concept with great enthusiasm. The whole idea behind these claims is that […]

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 […]

“We Should Avoid Treating Published Research as Fact”

November 2, 2023 — Over the past 20 years or so, there has been growing concern that many research results published in scientific journals can’t be reproduced. Depending on the field of research, studies have found efforts to redo published studies lead to different results in between 23% and 89% of cases. To understand how different researchers might arrive […]

Loose Takes on a Study of Red Meat and Type 2 Diabetes

October 25, 2023 — It’s a popular cause. Red meat production is a problem for the climate. Add that to ethical concerns some people have about consuming meat, and the push to reduce red meat consumption makes total sense. But when people start spinning misleading narratives about observational research and using them to promote this otherwise worthy idea, they’re […]