Posts Tagged ‘scientific rigor’

Can a Nudge Reliably Make People Budge?

August 8, 2022 — A fascinating debate is unfolding in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It’s mostly about publication bias, but the bottom line question is not so esoteric. Can a nudge make meaningful behavior change happen in a wide variety of situations? Late last year, Stephanie Mertens and colleagues published a meta-analysis of nudging […]

Vitamin D: The Panacea That Isn’t

July 30, 2022 — It’s hard to argue with something dubbed “the sunshine vitamin” – more specifically, vitamin D. It’s been generating headlines and controversy for years now. The vitamin D fan club described it like a panacea, good for preventing bone fractures (of course), but also ills ranging from infections to diabetes and cancer. Because of its association […]

Public Health: Research, Advocacy, and Trust

July 24, 2022 — Institutions of public health are in a tough spot right now. COVID has so battered public trust in the CDC that it has put us into the figure-it-out-yourself phase of this pandemic. Likewise, the public health response to obesity has long been one of both moral panic and ineffective policy prescriptions. Decades of exhortations to […]

In Headlines Versus Study, Science Loses

July 18, 2022 — Every week from the Obesity and Energetics Offerings, we get sharp reminders. Headlines about nutrition and obesity science very often don’t stand up to a careful look at what the study behind the headlines actually found. This charade, though, has a serious downside. As two studies in the last week show, it perpetuates a fiction […]

Semaglutide for NASH: Disappointing Results

July 2, 2022 — Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis – NASH – has yet again handed drug researchers disappointing results, this time in a study of semaglutide. Researchers presented this phase 2 study at the International Liver Congress in London last weekend. The whole point of a phase 2 study is to see if a drug works for a specific purpose. On […]

Can “Ultra-Processed” Tell Us What’s Unhealthy to Eat?

June 15, 2022 — The ASN Nutrition Live 2022 virtual meeting started with a feisty debate yesterday. The architect of the NOVA system for identifying ultra-processed foods – Carlos Monteiro – made the case for his magnum opus. Then, in this debate he faced off with nutrition professor Arne Astrup, who made the case that relying on the NOVA […]

Whip Obesity Now – Or Maybe Not

June 12, 2022 — Talk is cheap. But history tells us that cheap talk doesn’t solve wicked problems. That’s true whether the problem is the relentlessly rising health harms of obesity or the current hot topic – inflation. The notoriously hollow Whip Inflation Now campaign of Gerald Ford seems like a model for equally ineffective campaigns aspiring to overcome […]

Muddled Thinking and Silly Arguments About BMI

June 6, 2022 — It’s great sport or a great folly. Body mass index – BMI – is a simple measure and an easy target for so many people. It saves many people for many reasons from having to think about obesity. Clinicians who don’t want to think too hard about obesity might use BMI, mistakenly, all by itself, […]

Be Cause: The Mighty Struggle to Discern Causality

May 13, 2022 — What is going on here? Why is this happening? What is the cause? The struggle to discern causality bedevils anyone who is serious about understanding obesity and how to overcome it. But the line between cause and effect can be very blurry, and fuzzy thinking ensues. And thus, the progress toward reversing the relentless increase […]

Defining Goals for Regulating Food Marketing

April 30, 2022 — In food policy, there’s plenty that people are ready to fight about. Dairy and meat come to mind. Anyone who’s reading this will doubtless have their own list of hot topics. But one subject that gets most people nodding their heads is marketing junk food to children. So for more than a decade, the World […]