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scientific method

-nutrition experts rely on this to base recommendations
1. observation
2. hypothesis
3. test


possible explanation about an observation that guides scientific research


reports of personal experience


personal characteristic or other factor that changes & can influence an outcome
something you measure (ex. age, location, environ)

laboratory experiments

a systematic way of testing a hypothesis

experimentation: 2 groups

1. treatment group
2. control group


a fake treatment

in vitro

"test tube" experimenting on parts derived from living organism, such as cells

in vivo

testing on whole living organisms, such as mice


is the study of occurrence, distribution, & causes of health problems in population

epidemiological: 2 types

1. experimental
2. observational

experimental epidemiological study

-can obtain information about health conditions that may have resulted from specific dietary practices
2 groups: 1. experimental 2. control (placebo)

observational epidemiological: case-control study

individuals who have a health condition are compared with individuals with similar characteristics who don't have the condition

observational epidemiological: co-hort study

study that measures variables in a group of people over time


-look forward
-follow healthy people into future & look for factors that have changed their health


-look back
-look at peoples past exposures to explain why some have condition & some don't

limitations of epidemiological studies

1. can't establish causation
2. when 2 events or observation occur at the same time cannot assume related


1. a relationship btw variables
2. occurs when 2 variables change over the same period

elements of epidemiological study (7)

1. review scientific literature
2. develop hypothesis
3. design study (double blind)
4. conduct human research
5. analyze data, draw conclusions, report findings
6. spread the news
7. follow up w/more research


-promoting useless medical treatments
-practicing medicine w/o proper training=illegal
-providing nutrition info & advice, w/o training=legal

red flags

1. quick, easy remedies
2. sounds too good to be true
3. scare tactics
4. personal attacks on experts
5. statements on superiority
6. testimonials & anecdotes
7. promotes benefits, doesn't discuss risks
8. vague, meaningless or scientific sounding terms
9. sensational statements
10. recommend based on single study
11. disclaimers

reliable sources

college or university nutrition instructors
registered dietitians
peer reviewed articles

dietary supplements (3)

-adds to a person's dietary intake & contains one or more dietary ingredients, including nutrients or botanicals
-taken by mouth
-is not promoted as a conventional food or the only item of a meal or diet
-regulated as a food

dietary supplements examples

-nutrient pills (multivitamin, mineral products
-protein powders
-herbal extracts
-energy bars

complementary & alternative medicine

-using supplements, such as herbal products, to treat disease or promote good health
-chiropractic manipulations
-homeopathy & naturopathy
-massage therapy

dietary supplement use (2)

-micronutrients generally safe
-herbal supplements may be toxic

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