The Ask Marilyn column in this week’s Parade Magazine featured this question from a reader: “If you wished to test the effects of a placebo, what would you give the control group?” Good question. In her reply, she tells about a study in which sham acupuncture was pitted against sham pills for chronic arm pain. The patients reported that the acupuncture worked better, she says, although objective measures, such as grip strength, showed no difference. But here is another interesting finding: “…Before the study began, subjects were advised of possible side effects. About 25% of the false-acupuncture patients and 31% of the fake-pill patients reported experiencing them!” Just as eye witnesses to a crime are notoriously bad at identifying the perpetrator, human subjects are not very reliable when searching for scientific truths.

Another thing to remember about research studies is that correlation is not causation. Billions of dollars have been wasted on worthless studies that can never prove anything, and many are flawed by the bias of the researchers who tend to find what they expect to find or misinterpret the results to fit the hypothesis.

Here are two examples:
The study trumpeted as “proof” of the theory that eating cholesterol causes heart disease was a study of one group of men eating a low-fat diet versus another group of men eating the SAME low-fat diet while taking a cholesterol reducing drug.]

The author of The China Study incorrectly reported the results of his 20-year, observational study, involving 65 thousand subjects, to support his own agenda. He got away with it because no one (until now) was willing to plow through thousands of pages of data to ferret out the contradictions. You can see how Denise Minger, who was one of the speakers on the last Low-carb Cruise, devastated T. Colin Campbell’s case using nothing but his own words. You can hear her talk here:

Unfortunately, much of modern medical practice is based on shoddy research, which is very hard to dislodge once it becomes institutionalized. Never fear! The good guys are riding to the rescue. You know one of them already, I’m sure. His name is Gary Taubes. Saddle up and see how you can help out.

“This morning, at 9am Eastern Time, we officially launched The Nutrition Science Initiative — NuSI (pronounced “new see”). NuSI is a non-profit organization, technically a 501(c)(3). Its purpose is to facilitate and fund rigorous, well-controlled experiments targeted at resolving unambiguously many of the outstanding nutrition controversies — to answer the question definitively of what constitutes a healthy diet…”

Continue reading Gary’s announcement here:

The new organization’s website is here:

“If we knew what it was we we’re doing, it would not be called research, would it?”  ~~ Albert Einstein

(c) 2012, Judy Barnes Baker,

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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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Judy Barnes Baker
11 years ago

Hi John, and thanks for the comment. Explain, please.

John Smith
11 years ago

Great job creating that video and imp still enjoying the honest waddle on.

11 years ago

This is good news, Judy. Thanks for sharing.

Judy Barnes Baker
11 years ago

Thanks, Carolyn! Just in case anyone is confused, YOU are the former scientist, not me. (If I could have seen into the future, I would have taken all those hard classes in school. Been playing catch-up ever since!)

11 years ago

ooooh, good stuff, Judy. And as a former scientist, you make me SO happy when you write things like correlation is not causation. Indeed! 😉