What DOES That Study Really Mean?
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Every day we are bombarded with new health information based on the latest study. Because Americans are in such poor health, the mainstream media likes to report on new studies every day.
Unfortunately, much of the "new information" from these studies is just plain wrong. In many cases you are better off ignoring the new information.
How is this so? Every study has 2 distinct and separate parts. One is the DATA and the other are the CONCLUSIONS. The public, and sadly enough, many scientists and researchers habitually get these 2 mixed up.
Think about the Medical examiner who notes that people who die with matches in their pocket are far more likely to have lung cancer and COPD. He concludes that matches cause lung problems. See the point? The data is accurate, but the conclusion is wrong.
Smokers carry matches and smokers are more likely to have lung cancer and COPD. It's not the matches, its what some people do with the matches. In this case the matches are a MARKER for something else and the something else is the problem.
This is kind of a ridiculous example because you probably think most people would understand it was the smoking and not the matches. But work with me a little on this. If the matches were the cause, smokers would think they could switch over to a lighter and their lungs would be protected. And that's the problem with wrong conclusions: they always lead to wrong solutions. You think nobody could be that stupid, right? Wrong!
Not too many years ago, in one of America's largest cities, school officials wanted to help more kids graduate from high school. They visited the homes of the students and found that successful kids usually came from homes that had books, whereas unsuccessful kids usually came from homes with no books. They erroneously thought the books caused the kids success in school. The school officials did not understand that the books were just a marker for parents that valued reading and education and that those parental values would be passed onto the children, leading to success in school. Based on their erroneous conclusion they came up with a worthless plan of sending books to the home of each child. They sent one book each year from birth through 1st grade.
They thought the books would have some magical effect on the kids. They were wrong, the plan did not work and has since been abandoned. But please note that educated people bought into this ridiculous plan, and spent government money based on a false conclusion. Their data was correct, but their conclusion was wrong which led to a worthless plan.
How does this relate to you? Every day you will hear the conclusions of different studies in the media. In most cases, you won't hear the data, just the conclusion, and in many cases the conclusion will be incorrect. Incorrect conclusions ALWAYS lead to worthless and possibly harmful plans.
Nowhere is this more true than with nutrition studies. You will read the conclusions in the headlines: "Eat this!" Or "Don't eat that!" But you won't hear the data the conclusion is based on. Why are nutrition studies so likely to have false conclusions? Two main reasons.
Almost all nutrition studies are based on dietary recall. That means the researchers ask people to recall what they ate. As you can imagine people are not very accurate when answering these types of questions.
Anytime a person eats a particular food it replaces something else. When you read a study concluding that eating a certain food leads to a particular benefit, is it due to eating that food? Or due to not eating whatever that food replaced?
So there you have it. Nutrition studies often:
start out with unreliable data
can't tell if the study food, or the replaced food is the real cause
Is it any wonder that nutrition studies so often have incorrect conclusions?
How Do I Prevent Being Fooled?
When you read about a new study, look at the information very carefully.
Sort out the data from the conclusion.
Ask yourself if the conclusion is justified by the data. Are there any other plausible conclusions?
Talk to somebody who is an expert in the topic of the study and see what perspective they can offer.
Take care and BE HEALTHY!
© 2023· Content is Property Created by CW Jasper