Controversy and Debate: Memory based Methods Paper 4

ArticleinJournal of Clinical Epidemiology 104 · August 2018with 11 Reads
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  • Article
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    • Didier Brassard
    • Simone Lemieux
      Simone Lemieux
    • Amélie Charest
      Amélie Charest
    • Benoit Lamarche
      Benoit Lamarche
    Traditional food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) are influenced by systematic error, but web-based FFQ (WEB-FFQs) may mitigate this source of error. The objective of this study was to compare the accuracy of interview-based and web-based FFQs to assess energy requirements (mERs). The mER was measured in a series of controlled feeding trials in which participants daily received all foods and caloric drinks to maintain stable body weight over 4 to 6 weeks. FFQs assessing dietary intakes and hence mean energy intake were either interviewer-administered by a registered dietitian (IA-FFQ, n = 127; control method) or self-administered using a web-based platform (WEB-FFQ, n = 200; test method), on a single occasion. Comparison between self-reported energy intake and mER revealed significant under-reporting with the IA-FFQ (−9.5%; 95% CI, −12.7 to −6.1) and with the WEB-FFQ (−11.0%; 95% CI, −15.4 to −6.4), but to a similar extent between FFQs (p = 0.62). However, a greater proportion of individuals were considered as accurate reporters of energy intake using the IA-FFQ compared with the WEB-FFQ (67.7% vs. 48.0%, respectively), while the prevalence of over-reporting was lower with the IA-FFQ than with the WEB-FFQ (6.3% vs. 17.5%, respectively). These results suggest less accurate prediction of true energy intake by a self-administered WEB-FFQ than with an IA-FFQ.
  • Article
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    • Edward Archer
      Edward Archer
    • Carl Lavie
      Carl Lavie
    • James O Hill
      James O Hill
    Controversies regarding the putative health effects of dietary sugar, salt, fat, and cholesterol are not driven by legitimate differences in scientific inference from valid evidence, but by a fictional discourse on diet-disease relations driven by decades of deeply flawed and demonstrably misleading epidemiologic research. Over the past 60 years, epidemiologists published tens of thousands of reports asserting that dietary intake was a major contributing factor to chronic non-communicable diseases despite the fact that epidemiologic methods do not measure dietary intake. In lieu of measuring actual dietary intake, epidemiologists collected millions of unverified verbal and textual reports of memories of perceptions of dietary intake. Given that actual dietary intake and reported memories of perceptions of intake are not in the same ontological category, epidemiologists committed the logical fallacy of ‘Misplaced Concreteness’. This error was exacerbated when the anecdotal (self-reported) data were impermissibly transformed (i.e., pseudo-quantified) into proxy-estimates of nutrient and caloric consumption via the assignment of ‘reference’ values from databases of questionable validity and comprehensiveness. These errors were further compounded when statistical analyses of diet-disease relations were performed using the pseudo-quantified anecdotal data. These fatal measurement, analytic, and inferential flaws were obscured when epidemiologists failed to cite decades of research demonstrating that the proxy-estimates they created were often physiologically implausible (i.e., meaningless) and had no verifiable quantitative relation to the actual nutrient or caloric consumption of participants. In this critical analysis, we present substantial evidence to support our contention that current controversies and public confusion regarding diet-disease relations were generated by tens of thousands of deeply flawed, demonstrably misleading, and pseudoscientific epidemiologic reports. We challenge the field of nutrition to regain lost credibility by acknowledging the empirical and theoretical refutations of their memory-based methods and ensure that rigorous (objective) scientific methods are used to study the role of diet in chronic disease.
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