2.10.15

Your Guide To Sorting Through The “Latest Research”

Can We Trust a Study's Findings?

Odds are, right before you opened this article, you saw the findings of a recent research study blasted across your Facebook. Or Yahoo. Or the evening news. Or the radio. The scientific method has pushed our society forward on many accounts–producing the likes of penicillin and middle school science fairs–but it has also made choosing a healthy lifestyle incredibly complicated. Now the average joe can tell you how many grams of carbohydrates and protein are in a bagel. My grandpa could care less about all those numbers, but he knows that getting outside, walking a few miles a day, and eating apples makes him feel good.

After reading a recent article published widely across many diabetes platforms, I decided that we all needed a refresher course on how to approach research findings.

Feel free to use these tips next time you see a bit of research come your way:

1) Know your own bias.

We all come from somewhere. We all believe in things. The hardest part is dropping that when we try to learn about something else. I eat a vegan diet. I will probably have a different take on the results of the bacon and eggs diet than the person eating a bacon egg mcmuffin while reading the article.

2) Figure out who funded the research.

Have an understanding that a good amount of research starts with a hypothesis, which if found to be true in the study, is a conclusion that the funding company will use to get you to spend money. In every news article about a study, they will link to the original release. If you would like to practice your skills, click on this link and then click through to the original writeup. Once there you will usually find who the group is that is funding the study.

3) Be careful when applying the findings of one study in your life, that same day.

I’ve been there. I want to do something that will help me. RIGHT NOW. Unfortunately, that’s not how this whole life thing works. Change takes place over time. Change is the accumulation of many choices. Well, except for putting coconut oil in your coffee. That works right now.

4) If you have diabetes, you are a target of the food and supplement industry.

I’m talking about all of us, type 1 and type 2. We consistently look for ways to improve our health. We want to be healthy. We know that we’ll live longer if we eat healthier. You know who else knows that we feel that way? Yeah, those guys in the industries above.

5) If something catches your eye, learn more about it.

If it’s truly something that you connect with, find out more! Let it be an opportunity to grow. Ask someone you know in the industry what they think about it. Start following a source you can trust online. Then ask them!

If you want the simplest, purest outlook on a healthy lifestyle, take a look at this book by Michael Pollan called Food Rules. It’s terrific and pretty damn funny. You could fit it in your pocket.

Former co-founder of DiabetesDailyGrind, Ryan's mission is to motivate others with diabetes to live their own authentic life. Most days, when not in the hospital during his medical residency, you can find him on the bike, surfboard, or yoga mat. He believes in the power of clean eating, and loves his Dexcom.

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