Tuesday, November 25, 2014

it doesn't take much to ruin credibility!

It wasn't just a ludicrous paragraph in a paper which has been touted recently as "proof" that "Victorians ate a paleo diet" -- i was reading along in another paper someone linked on twitter when i came across a phrase talking about the alkaline balance of a certain diet....

There's nothing more credibility-destroying than slamming up against ARRANT BULLSHIT in what should be a seriously scientific treatise. 

...Then there was another journal-published, peer-reviewed paper which read like somebody's high-school science report.  Some of the stuff that gets printed is jaw-droppingly bad!  If i were affiliated with some of these publications, i'd be nothing short of embarrassed.  All such papers provide excellent support for the concept of Grain Brain if not CARB Syndrome.  There are a lot of neurons that aren't firing correctly in the academic world ... and yet these are supposed to be our best and brightest!

I've never been a study-quoter -- I've been an adherent of some people who read studies ALL THE WAY THROUGH, and take a close look at the methods section, and even contact the authors for details that didn't make it into print (Petro, of course, is #1).  ...Because it is blatant that conclusions are reached by authors which are far from supported by the actual data.  Because underpowered studies, whether by design or by negligence, are rife in the system.  Because some people are just avid to publish ANYTHING, so long as they publish. 

But if i WERE a study-quoter, i'd change my style at this point.  Just because "a study was performed" and "an outcome was reported" doesn't mean that a competent person approached a question in a logical fashion and reached a reasonable conclusion.  It has been said that the devil can quote scripture to his own benefit, and i believe it -- one can quote published, peer-reviewed studies to "prove" any point you want to -- a lot of it is STILL nonsense.


  1. Hi Tess this sums up so much we see published in the name of science regarding nutrition and the ideal diet.

    Quote by Drummond Rennie, at the time the Deputy Editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    "There seems to be no study too fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature citation too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too contradictory, no analysis too self serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print."

    Kind regards Eddie

  2. Charles Grashow ,who has brought up the study about about Victorians being in a perfect health, is usually very skeptical about the studies which find correlation between limiting carbohydrates and improved health (observational studies do not proove anything, of course), but his critical thinking was not exercised when he was reading about Victorians. The data about the use of statines and the danger of high cholesterol levels also doesn't cause him to exercise skepticism.
    I was recently reading memories of a person who worked and lived in a poor area of London in 1950-s, and people were living in a poor conditions there, with lavatories outdoors then. Many of them didn't have enough food to eat everyday - it is a paleo feature for sure.

    1. Naturally, there are things we WANT to believe.... When we try them out for ourselves, though, and they don't work, THAT is where we should start doubting our previous assumptions. Over the lifetime of this blog, i've tried numerous things that didn't pan out ... and i'll admit each and every one of them! ;-)

    2. Skepticism is great, but when you don't apply it to your pet ideas, it's special pleading, and it happens all the time in nutrition. Nobody has shown saturated fat is safe! (But nobody showed a high-carb diet was safe before recommending it, either.) Better limit that bacon and eat fill your plate half-full of veggies! (Not if you have FODMAPs, you shouldn't.)

    3. to show something is "safe" you have to HAVE something that's safe to compare it to.... what we do have are some trials which compare "control" diets to "high F&V" diets, low-fat to high-fat ones, etc....

    4. I am under an impression that the Swedish Council on Health Technology decided on the safety of saturated fats
      "Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment, pored through tens of thousands of studies published on the subject through May 31, 2013, to arrive at this conclusion, which corroborates with what many in the natural health community have been saying for years.

      "Butter, olive oil, heavy cream, and bacon are not harmful foods," reads an English translation of a local Swedish newspaper, reporting on the committee's findings. "Quite the opposite. Fat is the best thing for those who want to lose weight. And there are no connections between a high fat intake and cardiovascular disease."

      Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/042780_sweden_low-fat_diet_myth_butter.html#ixzz3K7VJl1Md"

      However, I wouldn't see it as a license to overeat bacon, butter and heavy cream. Sure, leafy greens are safer to over-consume from the weight-loss point of view, but I noticed that smaller portion of nutrients-dense food work better for me. Big portions cause energy deep for some reason.

  3. and on the subject of important-journal published, peer-reviewed papers: http://retractionwatch.com/2014/11/25/publisher-discovers-50-papers-accepted-based-on-fake-peer-reviews/

  4. "Nobody has shown saturated fat is safe!"

    This will do me for now, that and the forty plus blood tests I have on a regular basis.

    A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pooled together data from 21 unique studies that included almost 350,000 people, about 11,000 of whom developed cardiovascular disease (CVD), tracked for an average of 14 years, and concluded that there is no relationship between the intake of saturated fat and the incidence of heart disease or stroke.

    Conclusions: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat.