by Richard Feinman PhD
Richard Feinman, PhD, is a professor of cell biology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
Such was the case with a recent study on low carb diets by Bazzano et al., which was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Those of us working in dietary carbohydrate-restriction are continually frustrated at the NIH's unwillingness to fund low-carb studies and the media's reluctance to give its experimental successes appropriate coverage
The research community was eager to understand what the Bazzano paper did that the hundred or so previous studies had not done.
Like so many others, it clearly demonstrated the value of carbohydrate-restriction. This was not a revolutionary finding, since there had been vast amounts of earlier work, some of which had more impressive outcomes.
So, as several people pointed out, the story is in the story. The story is that somebody finally paid attention.
Paradoxically, the Bazzano paper may have perpetuated some questionable ideas and practices that, in my view, impede progress in the field.
First, in the way of precedents, important previous studies were dismissed on the grounds that they were shorter term.
The principle that a long study is inherently better than a short study is an opinion. Science usually judges studies on their quality of the work and the ability to answer the question at hand. Short trials have better control of variables and, in diet studies, better interaction with the participants.