There’s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified?

Interesting podcast episode that delves into whether sugar should be regulated. In evaluating that claim, they delve into the difficulty of proving claims of about health and nutrition scientifically. What does good science look like in nutrition? How do you prove a causal relationship? Both relevant questions when we look at this issue.
“Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it’s addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from  a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former FDA commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.”

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/theres-war-sugar-justified/

Sorry, There’s Nothing Magical About Breakfast

Good reviews of all the observational research note the methodological flaws in this domain, as well as the problems of combining the results of publication-bias-influenced studies into a meta-analysis. The associations should be viewed with skepticism and confirmed with prospective trials.

“Few randomized controlled trials exist. Those that do, although methodologically weak like most nutrition studies, don’t support the necessity of breakfast.”

This article raises some interesting points about what is “good science” and also raises the issue of how hard it is to “know” things when it comes to nutrition. Though not the main focus, the article also touches upon whether the funding source of a study affects the conclusion and how ethical it is to fund a self serving study.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/upshot/sorry-theres-nothing-magical-about-breakfast.html?_r=0

The incredible tale of irresponsible chocolate milk research at the University of Maryland

“Academic press offices are known to overhype their own research. But the University of Maryland recently took this to appalling new heights — trumpeting an incredibly shoddy study on chocolate milk and concussions that happened to benefit a corporate partner.

“It’s a cautionary tale of just how badly science can go awry as universities increasingly partner with corporations to conduct research.”

http://www.vox.com/2016/1/16/10777050/university-of-maryland-chocolate-milk?mc_cid=84d899c964&mc_eid=34e2887073

 

No food is healthy. Not even kale.

““ ‘Healthy’ is a bankrupt word,” Roxanne Sukol, preventive medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, medical director of its Wellness Enterprise and a nutrition autodidact (“They didn’t teach us anything about nutrition in medical school”), told me as we strolled the aisles of a grocery store. “Our food isn’t healthy. We are healthy. Our food is nutritious. I’m all about the words. Words are the key to giving people the tools they need to figure out what to eat. Everyone’s so confused.”

“Last March, the Food and Drug Administration sent the nut-bar maker Kind a letter saying their use of the word “healthy” on their packaging was a violation (too much fat in the almonds). Kind responded with a citizens’ petition asking the FDA to reevaluate its definition of the word.

“If I may rephrase the doctor’s words: Our food is not healthy; we will be healthy if we eat nutritious food. Words matter. And those that we apply to food matter more than ever.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/no-food-is-healthy-not-even-kale/2016/01/15/4a5c2d24-ba52-11e5-829c-26ffb874a18d_story.html

You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition

“We found a link between cabbage and innie bellybuttons, but that doesn’t mean it’s real.”

“Our foray into nutrition science demonstrated that studies examining how foods influence health are inherently fraught. To show you why, we’re going to take you behind the scenes to see how these studies are done. The first thing you need to know is that nutrition researchers are studying an incredibly difficult problem, because, short of locking people in a room and carefully measuring out all their meals, it’s hard to know exactly what people eat. So nearly all nutrition studies rely on measures of food consumption that require people to remember and report what they ate. The most common of these are food diaries, recall surveys and the food frequency questionnaire, or FFQ.”

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/you-cant-trust-what-you-read-about-nutrition/