Johns Hopkins Medicine asserts that the trouble with making dietary decisions based on the findings of scientific studies lies in the fact that headlines can often be misleading. Blaha points out that because food research is largely conducted on an observational basis rather than in a controlled study, these studies often cannot provide conclusive evidence. Instead, they mostly provide theories.
The American Heart Association (AHA) explains this further, citing the relationship between correlation and causation. Participants being observed while eating a particular food are not leading identical lifestyles. So while the data might indicate that some people involved in the study experienced a particular outcome — like weight loss, for example — that does not necessarily mean that the food in question is the cause of the weight loss. The presentation of data may make a correlation between the food and weight loss, but the weight loss might actually be caused by a myriad of other things the participants were doing to lose weight.
The AHA also implores you to consider the role of marketing in these explosive food fads and the reality that sometimes, certain foods are highlighted in the media as a way to generate income in an area where it may have been previously lacking.
So, instead of looking for a cure-all in individual foods popularized by the media, Blaha declares that it’s best to adhere to an overall healthy eating pattern, like the Mediterranean diet, and make food decisions in line with that.