You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition


nutrition

Can we really trust the numerous articles on nutrition? This needull tries to find out.

Nearly every nutrient you can think of has been linked to some health outcome in the peer-reviewed scientific literature using tools like the FFQ, said John Ioannidis, an expert on the reliability of research findings at the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford. In a 2013 analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Ioannidis and a colleague selected 50 common ingredients at random from a cookbook and looked for studies evaluating each food’s association to cancer risk. It turned out that studies had found a link between 80 percent of the ingredients — including salt, eggs, butter, lemon, bread and carrots — and cancer. Some of those studies pointed to an increased risk of cancer, others suggested a decreased risk, but the size of the reported effects were “implausibly large,” Ioannidis said, while the evidence was weak.

The complete article

Christie Aschwanden — FiveThirtyEight

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Science Isn’t Broken


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In recent years, many questions have been raised on the validity of published papers in journals. The author in this needull argues that the reported cases of bogus papers being accepted for publication is a distraction. “But I’ve spent months investigating the problems hounding science, and I’ve learned that the headline-grabbing cases of misconduct and fraud are mere distractions. The state of our science is strong, but it’s plagued by a universal problem: Science is hard — really fucking hard.”

What makes science so powerful is that it’s self-correcting — sure, false findings get published, but eventually new studies come along to overturn them, and the truth is revealed. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But scientific publishing doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to self-correction. In 2010, Ivan Oransky, a physician and editorial director at MedPage Today, launched a blog called Retraction Watch with Adam Marcus, managing editor of Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News and Anesthesiology News. The two had been professional acquaintances and became friendly while covering the case against Scott Reuben, an anesthesiologist who in 2009 was caught faking data in at least 21 studies.

The complete article

Christie Aschwanden — FiveThirtyEight

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