Monday, July 16, 2012

No More Short Term Diet Studies!

Today's just a short rant.

Had the occasion this weekend to leaf through some of my unopened stack of the medical journal Obesity.

In them I came across various short term and medium term diet studies.

While some of them were certainly interesting, I'm not sure how much value they add to the literature. What I'm getting at is that regardless of whether or not a short term intervention affects weight loss or weight maintenance, the importance of that fact is lost in comparison with whether or not the intervention affects a truly long term change.

So long as calories and overall intake arereduced, weight is going to be lost, but of course losing's no big trick, the trick's keeping it off.

Sure it's nice to read about your work with diet x, y, or z, but unless you can show me that the impact of your intervention lasts longer than a year or two, for me it's just going to get slotted into the same shelf occupied by literally 10s of thousands of diet books - possible solutions for the right individual, but far from universally applicable.

So obesity researchers, please, rather than publish your short terms studies, couldn't you just keep them going a while longer, or at the very least promise you'll keep them going after publishing your short term outcomes with the intention of trying to publish the longer term ones even if negative?  Yes it'll be more expensive and challenging, and no, I don't know where the money or resources will come from, but at least when you publish you'll be providing the world with truly useful information rather than perhaps a testament to the fact that in the short term, people are willing to put up with almost anything to lose weight.

[Stay tuned tomorrow for what I see as an absolute must for EVERY weight loss study and yet something I've never seen included in any study I've ever read]