:-) I can't bring myself to read a certain popular nutrition blog ... and it's all because of that tabloid-inspired tendency to post articles entitled "__ Reasons Why ___" I may be alone in my prejudice; it may cluster with my distaste for numerous cliches in a single paragraph, or misquotation of traditional figures of speech*.
Therefore, it's ironic that i was tempted to write, this morning, a list of reasons why "PubMed duels" and scientific citations are only good things for minutia-nerds and people with no horse in the health-and-weight-loss race ... and a bad thing for people who are looking for workable solutions to their problems. You see, those whose well-being is falling apart may be reassured that there's a "scientific reason" why novel proteins in modern grains contribute to autoimmune disturbances, but what they really care about is that ditching wheat makes them feel better.
I'll make a compromise with my compositional standards, then, and not give you a numerical or bulleted list. ;-)
It's widely conceded that one can design a study that will prove ANYTHING YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE. When it comes to protecting the status quo or supporting commercial interests (or bolstering egos), a great many such studies have been done -- so why in the gods' names is it considered a plus to include citation to this bullshit? It's positively hilarious that the theoreticians sneer at "anecdotal" evidence that comes in spectacular amounts from clinicians like Atkins and the Eadeses, but take as gospel a four-person study in which only one individual -- ONE INDIVIDUAL -- exhibited the result they WANT to believe is typical!
As Peter has shown countless times, unless you dissect the fine details of these oh-so-meticulous experimental designs, and NAG the performers thereof to give you exact details of WHAT was fed, and how, you know NOTHING of what the study actually exhibited. All the "high-fat" diets that were in fact high-sucrose-and-refined-garbage instead of real-food.... All the diet-recall megastudies which are nothing but science-fiction.... All the "rabbit-cholesterol" notions -- taking health young men and extrapolating their results to unhealthy older women.... I'm sorry [smirk] to break it to the armchair "scientists" out there, but the mileage IS gonna vary!
It can't really be repeated often enough -- no matter how many times you see it in mouse-studies or in-vitro trials, if you don't see the same results CONSISTENTLY in free-living humans of every age and sex, it ain't good science. It's pseudo- or pop-"scienz" (to steal a Woooism).
When you see a statement in an article, phrased similarly to "X might do Y" or "Z may result in Q" ... i suspect it's safe to say that it's very unlikely that either will do anything! All these statements mean is that someone got a notion that something SHOULD result in something else, but he couldn't actually prove it. Then there's the Wolff-Chaikoff story -- these yoyos had a brainstorm that iodine is HAAAARMFUL (despite decades of experience that it isn't), so they designed a rat-study ... which did NOT prove what they wanted it to. But that wasn't going to stop them! They essentially reported, well, we didn't see what we expected, BUT WE'RE STILL RIGHT!!!
Yeah -- "troo scienz." And these assholes aren't the only ones.
So next time some flake demands citations of proof, or provides you a ream of references, don't assume lack of studies equals lack of TRUTH, or take their word for their soundness of logic. Don't let the troll "do a Goebbels" on you.
* "Butt naked," "wreck havoc," "pouring over data," etc. still make me shudder. It's like a vision of HELL in which i'm stuck in a room full of stupid people and no wine....