Have you heard that drinking a glass of wine a day is good for the heart? Or that eating after 6 pm can make you fat? Perhaps you have read in the newspaper that a low salt diet can reduce your risk for heart disease or that infants should avoid eating solid foods until they are 8 months old? Most of these sources claim to have come from reliable nutritional research. Before you revamp your diet based on a new discovery, consider the research. Here are some important questions to ask when reviewing nutritional research.
Does the study include human beings?
Scientist often use animal studies to determine the potential links between diet and health. The results of these studies may lead to additional investigation on human test subjects but should not be considered alone as conclusive proof. This is primarily because different species respond differently to different nutrients. It is not safe to assume that all species will react to the same nutrient in the same way. This is also true when trying to identify toxicity. Not all toxic substances react in the same way on different species and in many instances, animal tests do not accurately portray the typical amounts that would be seen in a normal human diet.
Are Enough People In This Study?
To be considered fair and accurate, a study must include a large number of participants. The broader and more diverse the population the more likely the results are to be accurate. Hundreds to thousands of participants should be used to establish patterns among a broad range of people.