Finnish scientists redraw the map
Several readers told me about the big headlines in Finland yesterday. A new PhD thesis was interpreted as proving that carbohydrates protect against type 2 diabetes. Therefore, low carb diets were said to increase the risk of diabetes.
As usual this is a case of a single observational study (i.e. statistical correlations from a survey) and headline-seeking journalists. But it’s more irresponsible than usual.
Observational studies never prove causality, they only give us theories that need to be tested. Moreover this is just one such study. If we look at all similar studies combined there is a clear correlation between carbohydrates (GI or GL) and diabetes, as well as several other diseases.
Furthermore, if we leave the uncertain science and look at more trustworthy studies (well-conducted intervention trials) it’s been shown that food with less carbohydrates both protect against developing diabetes and improve the health of diabetics.
Journalists have the proverbial memory of gold fish when it comes to studies on diet and health. They start from scratch with every new study, no matter how insignificant. They gladly redraw the map upside down, against all logic, when given the opportunity of a selling headline. But scientists should be more responsible than that.