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Short term vs long term academic studies: which do you use for practice?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 05, 2012 at 8:55 PM

When evaluating research for what you eat, do you focus on short term studies and/or what the substance does to small parts of the body, or long term studies that compare intakes with mortality or health?

Examples: high fat dairy intake (whole milk and cream vs. skim milk) is good for you in long term studies, but short term dairy can cause higher insulin responses.

Caffeine can have immediate effects on blood sugar, blood pressure, adrenal and thyroids, but long term studies correlate high coffee intakes (4 cups) with lower rates of Alzheimer's declines, lowered depression, lower rates of diabetes, and fewer cardiovascular events and strokes.

Short term saturated fat intake can lead to increased cardiovascular events (in the context of a SAD diet), but long term studies suggest the more saturated fat the better.

I tend to look at long term studies, and all their problems, when making food decisions (thus, I drink raw whole milk, eat butter, drink coffee, and eat lots of saturated fats), but tend to dismiss short term studies.

Long term or short term studies for what you personally eat?

54f75fb54778cfa947990bec1175307a

(665)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:37 AM

Agree, ghee or sour cream even better. But there was whole milk in question.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 23, 2012
at 06:51 PM

Definitely disagree with funding sources "negating" research.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on July 23, 2012
at 03:43 PM

For example, a high saturated fat meal intake may elevate risk for heart attack, but a diet high in saturated fat shows no long term risk.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on July 23, 2012
at 03:42 PM

But, that is the whole point to my question. You have (multiple) competing studies showing that a short term bad may be a long term good, or something good in the short term is bad in the long term. When making food decisions, which do you go by?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 23, 2012
at 02:48 PM

I generally use academic studies to decide to do N=1 experiments.

785efa3950951957e65fa17efb25b078

(452)

on July 23, 2012
at 02:28 PM

I wouldn't say negates it all, but definitely makes it suspicious (eg almost all of the pro-CLA research was funded by Kraft).

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on July 23, 2012
at 02:13 PM

So, when making eating decisions, which do you use? N=1, or a mix of academic studies?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 23, 2012
at 01:15 PM

The N=1 experiment can be very valuable.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 23, 2012
at 01:10 PM

Bad example as not all high fat dairy has growth hormones in it, and casein has mixed results. Heavy cream has very little, if any, lactose.

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7 Answers

1
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 23, 2012
at 01:13 PM

The problem with all food studies is that long term are always observational, with so many confounding variables as to make it impossible to isolate one thing. And short term studies isolate too much as to not get the benefits of the way all foods blend. There are some black and white areas, but a whole lot of grey when it comes to what is or is not healthy.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on July 23, 2012
at 02:13 PM

So, when making eating decisions, which do you use? N=1, or a mix of academic studies?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 23, 2012
at 02:48 PM

I generally use academic studies to decide to do N=1 experiments.

0
785efa3950951957e65fa17efb25b078

(452)

on July 23, 2012
at 02:27 PM

You seem to be confusing short-term effects of intake vs long-term health effects.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on July 23, 2012
at 03:43 PM

For example, a high saturated fat meal intake may elevate risk for heart attack, but a diet high in saturated fat shows no long term risk.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on July 23, 2012
at 03:42 PM

But, that is the whole point to my question. You have (multiple) competing studies showing that a short term bad may be a long term good, or something good in the short term is bad in the long term. When making food decisions, which do you go by?

0
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:39 PM

Clinical>epidemiological (only good for suggesting hypotheseis)

Double blind>other types

In vivo>in vitro

Sponsored by a corporation or done by researchers with corporate ties negates all.

785efa3950951957e65fa17efb25b078

(452)

on July 23, 2012
at 02:28 PM

I wouldn't say negates it all, but definitely makes it suspicious (eg almost all of the pro-CLA research was funded by Kraft).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 23, 2012
at 06:51 PM

Definitely disagree with funding sources "negating" research.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:21 PM

Neither really. I prefer a more informal theoretical framework - a sniff test. Does X pass the sniff test from an evolutionary-biology standpoint? More often than not, more formal studies confirm these educated guesses.

0
E6c14efded576a0bea38a2fe2beced6a

on July 23, 2012
at 01:07 PM

I will use both long and short, as long as I was the test subject. Otherwise it's just someone's best guess as to what effect something will have on me.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 23, 2012
at 01:15 PM

The N=1 experiment can be very valuable.

0
54f75fb54778cfa947990bec1175307a

on July 09, 2012
at 03:53 AM

Food should be beneficial both short term and long term.

High fat dairy intake is bad for you in long term also due to growth hormones, casein and lactose.

Caffeine is good short term also as it helps fat burning.

Animal saturated fat is good short term also.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 23, 2012
at 01:10 PM

Bad example as not all high fat dairy has growth hormones in it, and casein has mixed results. Heavy cream has very little, if any, lactose.

54f75fb54778cfa947990bec1175307a

(665)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:37 AM

Agree, ghee or sour cream even better. But there was whole milk in question.

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on July 06, 2012
at 02:35 AM

Long............

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