Posts Tagged ‘scientific rigor’

IDK Scrambles Our Thinking About Obesity

August 20, 2018 — Ask a thoughtful scientist precisely what has brought us a global pandemic of obesity and you are likely to get an ambiguous answer. We have plenty of suspects. But no sinuglar culprit. So the honest answer is IDK. Faking It vs “I Don’t Know” Most often, neither journalists nor policymakers let the facts get in […]

Looking for a Sweet Spot for Carbs

August 19, 2018 — We don’t recommend learning nutrition from headlines. However, if you did, you might certainly think that we can live better without eating sugar. For that matter, why just stop with cutting sugar? Healthline offers you 15 ways to cut carbs for major health benefits. But now, some very clickable headlines are telling us that cutting carbs […]

The Painful Walk Away from a Flawed Analysis

August 10, 2018 — Five months ago, we wrote about inflated claims of effectiveness from a pilot study of obesity prevention by Scherr et al. An independent group of researchers had written to the journal with concerns about the flawed analysis of the study. The flaws effectively canceled out the claims of effectiveness for the program. But Scherr et […]

Are All Peer Reviewed Studies Equally Trustworthy?

July 31, 2018 — The words “published in a peer reviewed journal” are sometimes considered as the gold standard in science. But any professional scientist will tell you that the fact an article has undergone peer review is a long way from an ironclad guarantee of quality. To know what science you should really trust, you need to weigh […]

Resistance to Facts Pops Up in Nutrition Research

July 30, 2018 — A popular meme tells us that we’re living in a post fact era. Consistent with that idea, Julia Shaw writes in Scientific American that she’s a scientist and she doesn’t believe in facts. But on the other side of the fence, we have folks like Daniel Engber telling us it’s a bogus story. Resistance to […]

Monetizing Outrageous Health Claims

July 29, 2018 — We live in an age of truth decay. Rand researchers have a book for you on the political phenomenon. But you can also find a business model for health and wellness that relies on a disregard for facts. In the New York Times Magazine this week, Taffy Brodesser-Akner explains Gwyneth Paltrow’s strategy for monetizing outrageous health […]

Persistent Magical Thinking About Fruits and Veggies

July 15, 2018 — What’s the #1 way Americans are fighting obesity? You guessed it. We’re eating less and moving more. What’s #2? We’re eating more fruits and veggies and salads. Sadly though, these efforts aren’t paying off. Despite putting those great ideas into action, the prevalence of obesity keeps rising. It’s now at an all time high of […]

Beware the Hazards of Moral Certitude

July 8, 2018 — Obesity, nutrition, and health bring out feelings of moral certitude with surprising frequency. But that means speculation about conspiracies, moral issues, and conflicts of interest crowds out reason and facts way too often. A Moral Issue with Dietary Advice? Reading up on debates about the relationship between carbs, insulin, and obesity, we found some harsh […]

Are More People Exercising Even As Obesity Rates Climb?

July 2, 2018 — How can this be? Reporters tell us that Americans are exercising more while obesity rates are increasing. It was the latest National Health Interview Survey data that prompted reporters to write such headlines. Between 2006 and 2017, the percentage of adults who say they meet aerobic exercise guidelines went from 41% to 53%. The numbers […]

Discovering Anew the Flaws in Self-Reports

June 19, 2018 — Sad but true, we often have to learn the same things over and over again. So it is with a basic fact of obesity prevalence. State health officials get comfortable with relying upon self-reports. Often, that’s all they have. It’s easier to do a telephone or online survey than to actually collect measurements of height […]