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April 8, 2016

What to believe?

Here’s a good Mark’s Daily Apple post on reasons not to trust the latest nutritional study.

A few highlights:
Who paid for the study… “An earlier analysis of milk, soda, and fruit juice nutrition studies found that those sponsored by milk, soda, and juice companies were far more likely to report favorable results than independent studies.”

Correlation and causation…Guns and Butter! “Correlations provoke interesting hypotheses and tests of those hypotheses, but they’re very often spurious. Everything we eat is associated with cancer if we look hard enough. Does that actually tell us anything useful?”

Statistical significance vs practical significance… “‘The association between fat and type 2 diabetes is unlikely to be a coincidence.’ It says nothing about the size of the association. It doesn’t mean eating fat doubles your chance of getting type 2 diabetes. The clinical significance—the biological effect—is very likely trivial.”

And a reminder about a previous post about why we believe what we do.

Really it all comes down to using your own brain, thinking critically, forming your own beliefs, and practicing moderation.

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