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Navia et al – Integrating the totality of food and nutrition evidence

Navia, Juan L., Tim Byers, Darinka Djordjevic, Eric Hentges, Janet King, David Klurfeld, Craig Llewellyn, John Milner, Daniel Skrypec, and Douglas Weed. 2010. Integrating the totality of food and nutrition evidence for public health decision making and communication. Critical Reviews in Food Science & Nutrition 50 (01/02): 1-8,

Key words: dietary guidelines, nutrition, and epidemiology

Dietary guidance which is solely population-based is challenged with the aspect of taking into account the entire realm of evidence. This evidence includes preclinical, epidemiological, clinical, and translational research. In conferences alike, the major issue is discussing the role of epidemiology in the formulation of dietary advice for the public. The challenge that the article discusses is the issue of weak associations and distinguishing the moderate effects that have important public health consequences from other that are merely artifacts.

A problem discussed is that not only should randomized, controlled trial (RCT) be considered as sufficient evidence, but also other types should be considered such as epidemiology. The article artgues that RCT can be flawed just like any other research design. In general, they conclude that laboratory studies using appropriate model systems are vital because each study method (i.e clinical, epidemiological) is better suited using a different system. In addition, no single amount of evidence is enough to infer a causal relationship; therefore, it is essential to examine the totality of the current available data, thus integrating data from all sources such as nutritional biomarkers, genetic markers, and elements of lifestyle over the span of an individual’s life.

In conclusion, it is critical to consider the totality of data in the decision making process. Due to the complex nature of the issue due to different types of diets and subtle differences between nutrients and individuals themselves, both of which are intensified when considering a chronic health outcome. The author concludes that it is essential that more integration and critical evaluations of data can be accomplished which will directly help improve research standards, thus aiding the decision making process.

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