“Most diet trials in the best journals fail even the most basic of quality control measures.”
That line in the heading of a recent New York Times article hit us like a lightning bolt. Before we go any further, generally speaking, a diet trial is a controlled test of different diets on humans.
Yes, we’ve told you many times about why it’s so difficult (impossible for many) to achieve healthy, sustained weight loss from weight loss diets. Yes, the best way to lose weight is to start a diet plan that balances your diet and ensures that your body gets proper nutrition to remain healthy while you lose weight.
But when we read an article authored by two PhDs, who conducted a research study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that tells us the following about diet trials, it gives us hope that maybe the message is finally be getting through:
- Their Results May Be Unreliable – “(in the past decade, diet trials are) about four times as likely as drug trials to have a discrepancy in the main outcome or measurement.” To be clear, the diet trials included in the research were not all related to weight-loss diets. Some of the diets were studied to observe their effect on other health conditions and diseases.
- The Research is Underfunded – “This quality-control problem of diet trials in comparison to ones on pharmaceuticals leads to a bigger issue: underinvestment in nutrition research and in how we tackle the mysteries of a healthy diet.”
- Why the Results are Unreliable and Research is Underfunded – “High-quality trials are hard to do because diets, and the behaviour of humans who consume them, are so complicated.”
“Few big companies stand to profit directly from dietary treatments for chronic diseases.” (so they’re not willing to spend money on proper research into weight-loss diets.)
- Why Diet Trials are So Complex – “A single meal might have dozens of nutrients and hundreds of other bioactive substances that interact in unknown ways. Furthermore, if the diet being studied increases intake from one food category, people may eat less from other food categories, making it difficult to attribute results to any specific dietary component.”
“Diet trials also require subjects to change their eating habits, a far greater challenge than taking a pill.”
- The Serious Implications of Your Diet – “…poor diet is the leading risk factor for premature death.”
“No other factor approaches the importance of diet for public health.”
- What Can be Done to Stop the Spread of Unreliable Results – “Study authors and the media can help by avoiding the tendency to overstate the results of weak research, contributing to public confusion.”
- What You Can Do – “… the public has a critical role to play, not only (by) demanding government action but also volunteering for diet studies.”
What Does It All Mean for You Right Now? Until diet trial results become more reliable (and don’t hold your breath), the best thing you can do for your health and weight loss is to eat a balanced diet, like the Herbal One Diet Plan that we create especially for you.
If you want to learn more about healthy weight loss, check out our article “5 Healthy Weight-Loss Lessons from Experience”.