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Aren’t all studies funded by corporations biased?

If they received “grant money from a kiwifruit company”, then why is their study any less biased than those studies you previously referred to that were funded by the salt or dairy or meat companies. Isn’t the whole purpose of science to reach objective explanations by eliminating biases? If so, shouldn’t we disregard all studies that are funded by corporations?

BPCveg/Originally Posted in Kiwifruit for Insomnia

Answer:

Just like we should take studies funded by the Salt Institute with a grain of salt, we should take these findings with a grain of kiwi. :)

The difference between this and the other examples you cite is what’s the worst that can happen? Even if this data was pulled out of someone’s tush and kiwifruit don’t actually help with sleep, the worst case scenario if someone follows this advice is that they eat a really healthy fruit and only get all its other benefits. That’s the wonderful thing about plant-based research!

And industry influence is rarely about outright fraud but about nuanced study design. One just has to be mindful about study sponsors to make sure the study wasn’t constructed in a way to bias the results. That is something for which I am indeed constantly on the lookout.

For some videos on industry influence check out:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


18 responses to “Aren’t all studies funded by corporations biased?

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  1. I know the same is true for my field, piano technology. The good guys know the track records of the guys who are marginal or lame. Mr. Greger would make an outstanding piano tuner.

  2. Dr. Greger, I have a challenge that is contrary to a huge industry. I need to lower my libido and kill the desire. I would like to do this naturally, but how is the question. Can you help? I’m frustrated in this most unusual way.

    1. Dr. Greger’s upcoming video will share just this. Here is an example from the video.

      “The results of the BOLD study provide convincing evidence that lean beef can be included in a heart-healthy diet that meets current dietary recommendations and reduces CVD risk.”…wait what? This is a study seriously biased by the beef industry as they also funded it.

      Looking at the data, the high beef group had HALF of the saturated fat (6 instead of 12), also had 8 more grams of fiber (32 instead of 24). When you reduce fiber and increase saturated fat in the diet, it doesn’t matter where the saturated fat is coming from, cholesterol levels will always go up in comparison with a lower sat fat, higher fiber diet. Even so, having a lower LDL in the beef group of 125 compared with 133 is not significant and they are still at significant risk for heart disease.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3238465/

      The same example can be seen with the twinkie study that will be shared in the same video.

  3. I have general question about nutrition facts that I hope you can answer. When not otherwise stated, do the Nutritional Facts on food labels include the nutrition contents of the edible things that come in and with our food, but that most people don’t eat?

    As examples, do the nutritional facts on fruit and vegetables include the skins and seeds? Or do the nutritional facts on canned beans include the thick starchy liquid that most people drain off? Does salted cod include the salt?

    1. The label of canned foods includes the liquid, and it does not assume you would drain the liquid. In terms of fruits, if the peel is eaten such as with apples and pears, then the label includes this. It may specify sometimes whether the fruit or veggie is peeled or not. An example is with cucumbers. Here is the label peeled and unpeeled.
      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2440/2
      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2439/2

  4. Dear Dr. Greger,

    first of I would like to thank you for your work! I have learned and am learning so much from your website!

    I am sure that you are receiving a lot of e-mails and so maybe you won’t be able to answer mine. But I do want to try because it is very important!
    I am writing on behalf of the husband of a friend of mine who suffers from fabry disease.
    Do you hapen to know anything about that disease and a vegan diet? If so, do patients benefit from a vegan diet?
    He is a dad of two little girls and is taking medication. But his wife mentioned that they would love to know if they can improve his condition through diet and if so, how.

    I sincerely thank you if you find the time to answer my e-mail!!!

    Kindest regards from Berlin, Germany,
    Nadine

  5. I appreciate the source critical work you do. That you’re not selling anything (except maybe DVDs) also gives a plus on the expected bias scales.

    There is another Dr, Mercola, that has many of the same ideas about finding and sorting information. A lot of your viewpoints I think are similar: standard pharmaceutical practice is hardly optimal and often dangerous, green leafy veggies and nuts are good.

    Some strongly divergent things, that you both seem to find scientific base for, are about animal food. I am pretty much vegetarian. Dr Mercola is not. I can allow that his premise about different nutritional types might mean that some people might need meat, but I’m not convinced. He supports using free range organic eggs preferably raw. He is strongly critical of the anticolesterol propaganda and cites a lot of sources to question the established guidelines. Could you review his arguments on, for example, http://youtu.be/1hgOHzFb1Xg The colesterol question also divides you guys when it comes to coconut oil, where he surprisingly is for this veg alternative.

    1. Dave: Just in case Dr. Greger can’t reply to your post, I thought I would try to help out. It’s my (lay person) understanding that kala namak is just salt, but with some natural sulfur in it.

      I know that Dr. Greger generally recommends limiting salt, but I don’t *think* he says we have to cut it out all together. I’m not aware of any videos that directly address kala namak.

      Personally, I LOVE the kala namak. I call it “egg salt” or “sulfur salt” and think it does amazing things to beans and tofu to give those foods an authentic egg taste. (Why do people call it “black salt”??? It isn’t actually black…)

      Have you made any great recipes with kala namak?

  6. The latest headlines hitting British newspapers are a case in point. I normally pay little attention to these things, but this latest research from Scientists is on the front page of all newspapers over here in the UK for the past few days and I can already see it’s having a big effect on people’s views. I struggle to argue with my colleagues and family the virtues of a meat and dairy free diet when things like this come up. Reading newspapers articles like this really throws up a lot of confusion. Here is a typical link:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2948567/What-irony-scaring-s-butter-ve-fatter-unhealthy-writes-JOHN-NAISH.html

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