Studies and Nutrition

April 17, 2014

Does it seem like new nutrition studies are constantly coming out and are providing contradicting information to everything you have heard and know to be true?
Well that is partly due to the fact that if a study comes out with the same findings than that’s not exciting or new news. But if a trail or study comes out with contradicting results that that is exciting and gets a lot of publicity.

Here are a few things to remember when looking at nutrition studies.

1. Cause and effect might be reversed. An example of this is “Drinking diet soda just makes you eat more”. This was a headline found on the Today show website. A study had reported that overweight or obese diet soda drinkers consumed as many calories as drinkers of sugary soda. BUT that doesn’t mean that diet sodas cause people to eat more or gain weight. So be aware when you see or read statements like that.

2. A link doesn’t prove cause and effect. Ok- we start with this, people who had higher intakes or blood levels of beta carotene (an antioxidant) or vitamin C had a lower risk of cancer. But this correlation doesn’t prove a cause. We can’t say beta carotene or Vitamin C lower your risk of cancer. The blood levels of beta carotene and vitamin C may in fact be good markers of fruit and veggie intake. And people who eat more fruit and vegetables or take supplements may be more health conscious and exercise more and might have a better diet overall. All of these other affect known as confounder affect results.

So what should you do in the future when you are reading a new exciting nutrition article? Try to take it with a grain of salt, and look back at proven recommendations.

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