We’ve all come across articles like this. A new study shows ____ *insert random diet claim here.

The example above is made up, but is based on many, many articles I’ve seen recently. These articles pop up all the time, so I want to help you navigate through them.

1. Understand that it’s tabloid clickbait. People will ALWAYS be looking for diet shortcuts, and the media knows it. Don’t fall for purposely misleading headlines. The article above may never reveal the “secret”- they don’t care about what you take away from it, they just want you to share it.

2. The study is likely not very credible. If I were to say “a study done at Harvard University”, it immediately sounds legitimate. But it could be a study of 10 people, all extremely overweight, who have never worked out a day in their lives. That study might claim that jump rope is the fastest way to burn fat based on that very limited study.

3. These types of studies usually show an association of some kind, so the media interprets that as causation. Those are two VERY different things. People think sugar makes you fat because people who eat a lot of sugar tend to weigh more- but that’s not CAUSED by the sugar. There’s just an association because high-sugar foods are also typically high calorie.

4. If there was truly a scientific breakthrough in weight loss, you wouldn’t be hearing it from Buzzfeed.

Reading these types of articles is totally fine, and sometimes (rarely) there’s some decent information in them. But never ever ever ever come to a conclusion based on headlines like this!

A new study shows that new studies are often worthless.

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