Beware of diet trends

Published On: Mar 14 2014 02:57:30 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 16 2014 12:00:00 AM EDT

A new study is causing a lot of confusion-and showing that science and social media might not mix. Research published in the journal Cell Metabolism has made a lot of headlines with findings that a high protein diet means an increased risk of dying from cancer.

That headline quickly spread across social media. But Kansas State University Human Nutriontist Mark Haub points out that it doesn't tell the whole truth.

"I think the study is valuable in that I think it does show we need to investigate this further," Haub said. "A problem is when the headlines come across in social media, they allude to cause effect and so if somebody is only looking at headlines or the first paragraph, they may see that and say oh I need to avoid protein when in fact, due to the weaknesses of the study, that's not going to be the case for everybody."

Haub says the study found that adults between 50 and 65 that ate more protein did show a higher risk of dying from cancer. However adults over 65 had a decreased risk of death. Haub cautions people to look past 140 characters and don't choose a diet or way of life just based on what's trending.

"Social media is a great way to get information, but people need a filter and to be educated on what some of the problems may be when looking at health related information and trying to make judgments or decisions about what might be best for them," Haub added.


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