Saturday, August 2, 2014

Science vs scammers and scare mongers.

The following will be rather an unscientific style of science lesson. Enjoy.

There are many different ways to run a scientific study but generally speaking, you need to have something called a "control group". In a weight loss study... maybe you're testing a weight loss pill or something. You have one group of people who are taking the pill and you want to determine whether or not it causes people to lose weight. You have another group taking a placebo pill that you know does nothing, and you want to compare the amount of weight lost in each group.

Of course, the people don't know which group they're a part of, and they all think they are testing a "working" weight loss treatment. Usually what happens in these studies is that people in both groups lose a similar amount of weight. Whether they're taking the pill that supposedly has all these fat burning ingredients, or they're taking the "empty" pill...similar result.

You can logically conclude that in either group, since people have an expectation of losing weight due to the treatment they are trialling, this is probably enough to influence them to make a few decisions regarding food choices during the day that are more conducive to weight loss. "Maybe just a half serve, I'm supposed to be losing weight" for example.

Now... it might only be one or two very small deviations from their less mindful, and slightly excessive normal eating habits, but still enough reduce total calorific intake by enough to result in some weight loss. We know that at least one of the pills does absolutely nothing. It isn't even supposed to anything, and the only instruction people are given is "take the pill and go about your business. Record the results for us". Therefore the loss of weight comes very simply by making a few more mindful choices during the day resulting in total energy intake being reduced to a less inappropriate amount.

I want to emphasise the point... a couple of very small changes from normal habits resulting in slight reduction of total intake.

Therefore when you see people arguing about what's "allowed" in a particular diet... "are potatoes ok? yes but only these types and not those"... "you can't eat these foods because of this reason" and so on... you can logically conclude that they're idiots who don't know what the fuck they are talking about.

What these studies really prove, even if they're funded by marketers trying to prove "people lost weight taking our pill", what they're really proving is "people can lose weight with no special conditions or drastic changes in habits simply by being more mindful of not consuming an excessive amount".

That is PROVEN. You all know someone who has lost a few kilos just by making one small change in daily habits.

So... that might not be enough to take you all the way to your goal but the lesson is, don't pay attention to scare mongers talking bollocks about which foods are and aren't allowed on a diet and what special & drastic conditions need to be adhered to. It is all down to a more appropriate total intake relative to fueling your lifestyle at your healthy goal weight.