Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Does your Bench need a Bedside?

So I was figuratively leafing through this week's table of contents from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and a study caught my eye.

It was entitled, "Satiety-relevant sensory qualities enhance the satiating effects of mixed carbohydrate-protein preloads", which matters to me as the title would suggest that there were modifiable qualities to food that would help enhance fullness.

When I clicked over to read the article, here's what I found they studied - the impact of a juice with or without whey protein powder consumed 30mins before lunch on total lunch calories consumed.

The results?

If you drink a high calorie, high protein drink 30mins before lunch, you'll consume less lunch.

So is this helpful clinically?

This study doesn't say. And to be fair, perhaps it's simply a preliminary study and further studies will address what I'm about to suggest is important.

What matters to me isn't lunch calories. What matters to me are total daily calories. What matters to me are perceptions of hunger, especially at night. What matters to me are cravings and compulsions the whole day through.

The thing is, hunger and cravings are funny things. What a person eats in the daytime will most assuredly impact on their hunger and/or cravings, especially at night, and so really, any study on daytime dietary manipulation truly needs to look at the day's entirety in order to actually provide clinical relevance.

Now I'm not suggesting the researchers don't know all of the above, but I can tell you, I've read plenty of papers, where the results weren't even remotely surprising given the study's design, and where the conclusion of a lack or gain of utility, may not be applicable in a real world clinical setting, perhaps for reasons unfamiliar to the study's bench-side researchers.

If you're a researcher and you're doing a study that you're hoping might have clinical relevance in weight management, and if you don't have a bedside clinician to run things by, find one. They might well have suggestions that would improve your methodology and consequently the "so what" factor of your research.

(And BTW, my bedside's always open)