Updated, skeptic, scientific nutrition & exercise guides?
August 20, 2004 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Nutrition/Exercise: Does anyone know of a good skeptics/scientific guide to these topics? This should preforably be a magazine, newsletter or website -- not a book -- because there's new news all the time. [More inside...]

I find it REALLY hard to get health news that's not riddled with mythology, bunk, etc. Even the scientific community tends to fudge their "findings." The problem is that the research is all wrapped up with grant money, so many researchers claim their findings are more exacting than they actually are.

I've also noticed that researchers are afraid to say "we just don't know." I want to know when the science is INconclusive as much as I want to know when something has actually been proven.

An example of the BAD way things tend to go is the hoopla over low-carb diets. There are tons of researchers who claim that low-carb makes sense and there are also tons who claim it doesn't. Where's the impartial source that says, "well, there's some evidence supporting it (here it is...) and there's some evidence against it (here it is...), but at the present time, the results are inconclusive."?
posted by grumblebee to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Ask Dr. Weil.
posted by oh posey at 10:50 AM on August 20, 2004

I know you said preferably not a book, but I recommend reading Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Exercise and Health by Gina Kolata as a background guide to the chaos that is health news in America. At the very least, it'll help you sort through the magazines, letters, and websites with more savvy (and it was published in 2003, so while not totally up-to-date, it's at least very recent).
posted by granted at 11:30 AM on August 20, 2004

I read a good blurb in Outside magazine, re: Atkins...

"You're not fat because of carbs, you're fat because you don't exercise!"

True far more often than not, I imagine.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:50 PM on August 20, 2004

My girlfriend is a dietician and has a subscription to The American Dietetic Association's journal. (Science Direct link, press release type link). I've read through a few issues of it and it's your standard peer-reviewed academic journal. It's pretty expensive, but any decent library will have it on hand.

I suppose you would consider it overly influenced by grants or whatnot, but it's not a bad starting place. Plus you get to examine the actual data (sorry, I'm a statistician...) behind the stories that you see elsewhere as press releases.

As far as a specific magazine or website dedicated to critical analysis of dietetic research, I don't know of one.

As for low-carb diets, recent research suggests that they work more quickly than low-fat diets, but low-fat diets 'catch up' after about a year. The question of long-term health effects is still open, as there has not been any conclusive research one way or the other.

Also, for whatever it's worth, whenever someone asks her about fad diets, she recommends a well-balanced diet with plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, coupled with regular exercise.
posted by toothless joe at 12:56 PM on August 20, 2004

Ask Dr. Weil.
posted by oh posey at 10:50 AM PST on August 20

Quackwatch on Dr. Weil.
posted by callmejay at 1:20 PM on August 23, 2004

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