“New Research finds that Buyers should Beware”

If you are like me, you are completely gullible when it comes to facts and food.  Tell me that blueberries will cure my flabby belly fat and I am at the store that weekend, stocking up on fresh and frozen blueberries, blueberrry vitamins, and blueberry juice; yes they sell it, if you are wondering.  But then have you noticed a couple of months later, the information is completely different and those blueberries that you have been remembering to to down only helped with afternoon concentration, not the belly flab disappearing act?

The actuality of it all is that advertisers pull just enough information to use what they need to sell their products.  Those blueberries that claim to cure my flabby belly fat actually only cures “up to 12% belly fat”, not enough to change my world.  But every health magazine and website prints this material like its the best thing since sliced bread.  The truth of the matter is that science is changing all the time and when scientists find out something new, old news becomes replaced.  Remember when the hype was against carbohydrates?  The poor potato companies took a while to get over their carb stigma and are now just making a comeback with their Vitamin C, low-fat, and low-cal properties.

So now that you know you are being duped, what can you do?  Remember those scientific studies you looked at in like the 5th grade?  It’s time to rehash those memories and apply that knowledge to real life.   Find the primary source in which the articles pull their studies from.  Usually there is a hyperlink that will take you to the downloadable study.  Research studies follow pretty much the same format with a literature review section, a subject section, a method section, a result section, and finally a discussion section.  The literature review section introduces what the study is about and what current research is out there.  It wouldn’t be a study if actually people, or subjects weren’t being tested.  The subjects section tells you who was studied, how many were studied, and the specifics on why they were selected and what characteristics they have that make them good for the study.  The methods section gives you information on how the data was collected and how they measured this data.  The results section is obviously the most important of the study, showing you what the outcome is and the discussion section evaluates the results and offers any additional thoughts or concerns.

So what does all this mean?  What highlights should you look for?  I am giving you the tools to do your own research to see if the material presented is accurate and applicable to your needs.  If the blueberries are going to get rid of my belly fat, I should be skeptical right?  It’s like taking a pill to make it your flab go away: you’re going want answers as to why it works and what will the side effects be, and if the Cinderella magic will stop the moment I stop taking the pill.

Good studies test a lot of subjects , not just a couple of people.  What’s the point of telling people that blueberries reduces your belly fat if only two people were in the study, and one happens to be a monkey?  Of course I am exaggerating, but companies, the media, advertisers.. they all are going to skew the information in their favor.  The more people the study tests the more results they get, hence the more accuracy as to how the results are going to come out.  You also want to see a variety of people tested too; if a study tells me that they think having an influx of calcium decreases my duration of PMS, I want them to test a ton of women AND men to single out that the effects are applicable to women only.

So the next time you read a headline that starts with “New research finds…” beware of things that could be falsely claimed.  Look at the source of the information.  Make sure that whoever is writing the article is not being biased to make their product look good.  See the whole picture and decide for yourself if you are going to buy into the latest research.

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