Someone mentioned in a comment on my last post that the Kellogg’s people probably wouldn’t care much for the study concluding that skipping breakfast doesn’t make people fat.

It so happens I received an email alert from MedPage Today about that study.  The article included this paragraph at the end:

Authors reported financial relationships with Kraft Foods, Kellogg Company, Cooking Light Magazine, Quaker, the Dairy Research Institute, the Egg Board, Global Dairy Platform, Arla, Cargill, McDonald’s, General Mills, Walt Disney Company, Retrofit, Nutrisystem, MetaProteomics, Dunkin Donuts, Au Bon Pain, Bay State Milling Company, and Post Cereals.

The study’s authors have a financial relationship with a bunch of companies that would have LOVED to hear that skipping breakfast makes people fatter — or better yet, that eating cereal in the morning makes people leaner.  And yet the study showed skipping breakfast has no impact one way or another, and that’s what the authors reported.

So let’s give them a hand for honesty.

21 Responses to “Honest Scientists”
  1. Chris Tunstall says:

    Is lack of honesty really the problem, Tom? Or is it systemic bias? Either way, there’s a certain Schadenfreude here in which I rejoice (if that isn’t a redundancy)!

    • Bret says:

      Great question. Did a majority of scientists, researchers, et al all spontaneously decide to be dishonest, extremely poor scientists? Or did government’s silly, arrogant, ‘economically illiterate’ (to use Tom’s phrase) system of politics cause them to do so? Most of the elitists and statists I have run into would try to argue the former with a straight face.

      Kind of like they would try to argue that the housing & financial bubble of yesterdecade was caused by random, coincidental widespread greed on the part of the finance industry. I don’t even know how to argue against positions like that.

      • Tom Naughton says:

        You can argue, but it won’t make a difference. I tried logic on my leftie pals — asking, for example, how the definition of a greedy banker went from someone who wouldn’t lend money to low-income people (Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” red-zoning, etc.) to someone who DID lend money to low-income people, thus “victimizing” them. I discovered, as usual, that leftism is based on emotions and has nothing to do with logic, and arguing logically with an illogical person is a waste of time.

        • Bret says:

          Not to mention a belief in Santa Claus. Except that when you’re (biologically) an adult, you call him ‘Federal Government.’

          • Tom Naughton says:

            Yup. I have adult leftist pals who seem to believe the federal government can spend all it wants with no negative consequences.

            • JCM says:

              Yes of course, a post about breakfast study has made its way to a discussion about how dumb leftists are. How silly of me not to see that coming. May I just add my 2 cents? George McGovern is, like, the worst, and Obama totally said “You didn’t build that.” Tom, maybe this blog has run its course?

              Your stories of leftist pals always sound vaguely apocryphal. Why are you friends with these dumb, illogical and highly emotional people? It’s one thing to have friends you disagree with, but these sound like friends you don’t actually like or respect.

              • Tom Naughton says:

                If the blog has run its course or you’re offended by my comments about leftists, you are of course free to stop wasting your time reading.

                If you think my leftie pals are fictional, you can go to my other blog (which I haven’t touched in many months because I’m busy with this blog, family, working full-time, etc.) and read a 20-part debate with one of them. Trust me, I couldn’t make that @#$% up. My leftie pals aren’t dumb, but they are illogical when it comes to politics and economics. That’s why they belong in Hollywood, which is where I met them. And yes, they refuse to believe spending trillions of dollars we don’t have will lead to negative consequences — at least if Democrats are the ones doing it. When Bush ran up deficits, their opinion was different. That’s partly what I mean by being illogical.

                Yes, I have friends who vote for Democrats. I also have relatives who vote for Democrats. I have friends who are vegetarians and think my diet will kill me before I retire. People don’t have to agree with me to be considered friends.

                • JCM says:

                  Truthfully I generally like your blog, and, like you apparently, I don’t mind interacting with people with different politics from me, which is why I’ve enjoyed your blog for these past few years. What I objected to here was the total non sequitur that the second commenter made about housing and the financial crisis that really had nothing to do with your post.

                  I understand that because of the libertarian slant of Fathead, there will be a lot of like-minded readers critical of liberalism and government, and much of that criticism is legitimate. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get tiresome when it is brought up in a flippant and trolling fashion. IMHO.

                  • Tom Naughton says:

                    Fair enough. But surely you understand I’m not going to delete comments because they include a political opinion.

  2. Nate says:

    Clap, clap, clap!

    Thanks for supporting scientist that tell the truth even though it may go against their economic or other interests.

    Ever since I read about Professor Gardner and his A to Z Diet Study, I’ve wondered why those that are honest about their study results even if it totally disagrees with their opinions are not complimented or, even, rewarded in some way. Gardner had been a vegetarian for 20 years before the study. Then the study showed that the Atkins was the best diet for most people. So…he stood tall and said maybe I’m wrong about the Atkins and other low carb diets. Very good. To me that kind of Samurai Scientist who will kill their original theory for the truth should be honored.

    Another such Samurai Scientist is Allan Savory.

  3. Grant says:

    No, this couldn’t be honest scientists. This is clearly just because all of those companies have, through shell organizations, taken a short position on their own stock – and are paying the scientists to trash them. Don’t you know? Whenever there’s money involved, that AUTOMATICALLY makes objectivity impossible. 75 years old regulation-happy politicians told me so.

  4. B35 says:

    *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

  5. Linda says:

    This one made me really happy! First, something like this after thirty years is wonderful and a sign in the right direction. But, any time I see a dietitian or nutritionist introduced on TV, I cringe, but this one made me happy! She said that the caveat to eating good fats was that we shouldn’t slather them on bread and other starchy carbs!! This surely caused some in the food industry some sleeplessness! I Hope!!

  6. ” the study showed skipping breakfast has no impact one way or another”

    Ok, I’ll maintain my usual position as the cynic. Given the building paradigm shift as the common folk continue absorbing the Wisdom of the Crowd effects in the nutritional arena, perhaps this is a rear-guard action along the same lines as the “it’s all about calories” message the industry pays the Dieticians to push.

    Some media exerpts:

    “Kellogg recently announced that they would be cutting thousands of jobs in an effort to boost profits, and their competitor, General Mills, has shifted their focus away from marketing cereal and are now pushing yogurt brands instead… Another factor is Americans’ changing concerns over nutrition. Some parents are deciding not to feed their kids the sugary cereals kids from previous generations enjoyed. It seems that cereal companies’ efforts to offer cereals with whole grains and fiber have not made enough of a difference.” (NPR)

    “With some consumers either switching breakfast preferences to healthier and compact foods or skipping breakfast altogether, consumption of cold cereals has declined by 1% each year in the last decade.” (FORBES)

    In other words, this may be what the marketing people consider their best defensible position while they scramble for a new market. The study didn’t really address the hypothesis of “Is it healthy to skip breakfast,” did it? Was it designed in such a way as to not answer that question? A lot of IF folks are going to have to very wrong if there’s actually no impact.


    • Tom Naughton says:

      Could be they’re scrambling for a new position. This was included in the MedPage Today article:

      Dhurandhar said the findings are contrary to widely held views that skipping breakfast is an impediment to weight loss.

      She cautioned, however, that since they only measured body weight as an outcome, they can’t draw conclusions about the impact of eating breakfast on appetite, metabolism, or overall body fat.

  7. George Wilson says:

    If you are hungry when you wake up, you should eat. If not, then do what seems to work for you. I’m not usually hungry but I do much better managing my food intake if I do eat breakfast. I have missed a few without a problem. This is another “What Works for You” item, like so much of diet control. Which is a pain because figuring out what your body needs is hard work. it would be so much better if there was a miracle, one size fits all diet. Sorry, there is not.

  8. j says:

    In other news..when the people say no no no, just push harder..shove it down their throats.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      And I noticed the reporter doesn’t even question the notion that lunches lower in fat and salt are healthier for kids. So the story is eeeeeevil Republicans who don’t care about kids’ health versus the heroic First Lady.

      Same old @#$% from the media, cheerleaders for The Anointed.

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