It seems like nearly every day there is a headline on the latest study claiming to have found the answer to better health and a longer life. All you have to do is avoid one food or eat more of another.
Take, for example, a study claiming that eating a lot of spicy food makes you live longer. Mainstream media outlets published splashy headlines to draw in the reader. But if you took the time to read the study, you’d be disappointed.
An observant journalist who did take the time read the study pointed out a small but critical disclaimer from the authors of the study:
"Our analyses showed significant inverse associations between spicy food consumption and total and certain cause specific mortality… Nonetheless, given the observational nature of this study, it is not possible to make a causal inference."
In other words, our study proves nothing.
The important thing to remember is that “observational studies” are just that…observational. They do not show cause and effect. Many of the studies that show up in the news today are observational. But people often believe them to be fact, due in large part to the careless way in which they are reported by the media.
Fortunately some journalists are waking up to the fact that every study published isn’t necessarily grounded in science and that accurate reporting involves a little extra digging.
We understand that making sense of all the conflicting information out there can be a challenge. That’s why we created Let’sClearItUp.org. Let’s Clear It Up is a resource that provides science-based answers to your questions about beverages, backed up by legitimate researchers and government authorities. So next time you see a sensational headline about a new “groundbreaking” study, think twice before you believe it.