I agree, nutritional studies are so difficult... many rely on self-reporting from participants, and we know how reliable those things are. Even IF the people are willing to be scrupulously honest, they are subject to errors in memory. And if they're in a trial, don't you suppose they're eating a bit differently than they would normally do? or had been doing? That surely must have some impact on the results obtained.
The gold standard might be controlled feeding trials... but those are so very expensive, and if you're corralled in an environment (so you can't deviate from plan), I think that might have some impact on results, too - since it isn't what would be achieved in real life.
And, as you say, so many trials attempt to focus on *a* nutrient... they include it in some unnatural form instead of as we would typically encounter it in our diets. That may give us good *metabolic* information, but so far as how it places in our daily food intake, not so much.
A group I'm encouraged by, which I (unfortunately) cannot recall the name of, is trying to do some studies more closely related to real eating habits. I'm very hopeful as to their findings, although I don't expect mainstream nutrition to embrace them. I think Gary Taubes and perhaps Jimmy Moore or some such are involved in the effort. If not those individuals, others of their ilk. I will try to find that info... but they're at the mercy of funding too, as is the case with any study. I hope they are able to produce some practical suggestions supported by good science.
Fitness Minutes: (12,665)
6/6/14 9:24 A
For a long time I have had my doubts about nutrition studies. When I got diagnosed with diabetes I followed religiously what my doctor and nutritionist told me. Unfortunately none of it worked out. The only way I found what I could eat was to take my blood sugars two hours after eating and then figure out what made me have high blood sugars and what did not. I basically had to figure this out myself. I just came across this today that shows how just about impossible it is to study the effects of nutrition with regard to disease. Especially when some studies give people nutrients made in the lab instead of the actual food that they synthesized the nutrient from. Foods are complex and rarely have just one kind of nutrient. I believe this is how super foods are overly hyped. Hopefully in the future better research can be conducted.
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