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Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2716 (Published 14 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2716

Rapid Response:

Re: Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies

The authors themselves say
"People with a high intake of whole grains might have different lifestyles, diets,
or socioeconomic status than those with a low intake, thus confounding by
other lifestyle factors is a potential source of bias. "

The confounding is very obvious. That being the case, I can't see the point in publishing studies like this at all. They merely add to the confusion that does so much to discredit science.

It might be better to read John Ioannidis (BMJ 2013;347:f6698 doi: 10.1136/bmj.f6698 ), on Implausible Results in Human Nutrition Research. As he says
"Almost every single nutrient imaginable has peer reviewed publications associating it with almost any outcome"
The subtitle of his paper is
"“Definitive solutions won’t come from another million observational papers or small randomized trials“.
That being the case, is it really worth publishing yet another analysis of observational data?

Competing interests: No competing interests

16 June 2016
David Colquhoun
Research professor
UCL
Gower St, WC1E 6BT