Can We Trust Industry Funded Research?

Much of today’s food and nutrition research is paid for by commercial interests. Nutrition Diva explains how to detect bias—of all types.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
September 27, 2011
Episode #156

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It can get pretty messy. But the more data we collect, the truer the picture that emerges. To the extent that industry-funded research produces more data to inform that big picture, I think we’re better off with it than without it.

How to Evaluate Research

Here’s the bottom line: We shouldn’t assume that all industry-funded research is false and we can’t assume that publicly funded research is always true.  No matter where it came from, you need to poke around under the hood a little to see whether the study design makes sense, whether the actual data are in sync with how the study results are presented to the media, and whether there are studies from other sources that either confirm or refute the results. It’s also important to be aware of your own beliefs and ideological biases and how they may be coloring your evaluations.

See also: How to Find Reliable Sources of Nutrition Information?

Finally, scientists and scientific commentators must be ready and willing to adjust or even abandon long-held beliefs in the face of new evidence. And that can be difficult for know-it-alls like us.  That’s why I’m always glad to hear from Nutrition Diva readers and listeners with different points of view or research that I may not have considered.  So keep those emails and comments and links Facebook posts coming! 

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