The existence of preliminary findings, animal studies, cell culture studies, major studies and much more is the clickbait that sells papers and the likes. Sometimes the campaign comes from journalists, sometimes from press releases and sometimes from the writers themselves. Today's blog post looks at the ad campaign from an invited oped published by the American flagship of the Society of Nutrition The Journal of Nutrition.
The senior, with the title, The key to successful weight loss in a high-fiber diet may be in the Prevotella abundant gut, wrote about the results of a study entitled "Prevotella Abundance Predicts Weight Loss Success in Healthy, Overweight Adults Eating a Whole Grain Diet" Ad Libitum: A Post-hoc Analysis of a 6-Wk Randomized Controlled Trial.
The op-ed described "key"to successful weight loss in a diet high in fiber, such as microorganisms in the intestine containing an abundance of the bacterium Prevotella, and was written to enhance – hold your hats now – findings from a very small, very brief study not initially designed to test the relationship between abundance and weight of Prevotella, which found a greater weight loss of 3.5 lbs among the 15 studies with its highest abundance Prevotella versus the still lower amount) when consuming a whole grain diet (WG).
But wait, there's more!
Although confusing because of the way they reported weight loss, the same study found that participants with germs containing not Prevotella also weight loss on a WG diet. In fact, looking at the diagram of the study describing inter-group losses, it appears that individuals whose microbes did not contain Prevotella (0-P) lost statistically comparable amounts of weight to those whose microbes contained most of Prevotella (High-). P).
So, to summarize, people with germs containing what was called "The Journal of Nutrition," "the key to losing weight in a diet high in fiber," lost almost the same weight as people who didn't had no diet on a high fiber diet. Oh, and this key that worked as it doesn't even have a key? If we make the huge jump that was causal, it resulted in a weight loss of 3.48lb. Woof woof;
The bottom line I suppose is that if you are going to describe something in "key"about successful weight loss on a whole grains diet in the headline of an op-ed in a famous magazine and where we are talking about 4lb weight loss but none of this key will lead you to lose almost the same amount of weight is not just a key but incredibly irresponsible as it blatantly contributes to the ongoing erosion of social scientific literacy and promotes the harmful and mistaken belief that there is magic when it comes to weight loss.
[[[[Also, if I misinterpret the very small amount of real data, it seems that the authors of the study also reported that the difference between the high Prevotella and the low Prevotella groups was incorrect, resulting in the group losing 4 pounds (-1 , 8kg) and the low 0.5lbs (-0.22kg), but instead of reporting a difference of -1.58kg (3.48lb) between the two, they added their losses and reported a difference of -2.02kg (4.45lb).]