Controversy and Debate: Memory based Methods Paper 2

ArticleinJournal of Clinical Epidemiology 104 · August 2018with 27 Reads
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  • Article
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    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.
  • Article
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    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
    Milk and dairy products containing milk fat are major food sources of saturated fatty acids, which have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke. Therefore, current recommendations by health authorities advise consumption of low-fat or fat-free milk. Today, these recommendations are seriously questioned by meta-analyses of both prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting inconsistent results. The present study includes an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of follow-up studies, an overview of meta-analyses involving RCTs, and an update on meta-analyses of RCTs (2013-2018) aiming to synthesize the evidence regarding the influence of dairy product consumption on the risk of major cardiovascular-related outcomes and how various doses of different dairy products affect the responses, as well as on selected biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk, i.e., blood pressure and blood lipids. The search strategies for both designs were conducted in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Web of Science databases from their inception to April 2018. From the 31 full-text articles retrieved for cohort studies, 17 met the eligibility criteria. The pooled risk ratio estimated for the association between the consumption of different dairy products at different dose-responses and cardiovascular outcomes (CVD, CHD, and stroke) showed a statistically significant negative association with RR values <1, or did not find evidence of significant association. The overview of 12 meta-analyses involving RCTs as well as the updated meta-analyses of RCTs did not result in significant changes on risk biomarkers such as systolic and diastolic blood pressure and total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Therefore, the present study states that the consumption of total dairy products, with either regular or low fat content, does not adversely affect the risk of CVD.
  • Article
    Background: A limited number of studies have evaluated self-reported dietary intakes against objective recovery biomarkers. Objective: The aim was to compare dietary intakes of multiple Automated Self-Administered 24-h recalls (ASA24s), 4-d food records (4DFRs), and food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs) against recovery biomarkers and to estimate the prevalence of under- and overreporting. Design: Over 12 mo, 530 men and 545 women, aged 50-74 y, were asked to complete 6 ASA24s (2011 version), 2 unweighed 4DFRs, 2 FFQs, two 24-h urine collections (biomarkers for protein, potassium, and sodium intakes), and 1 administration of doubly labeled water (biomarker for energy intake). Absolute and density-based energy-adjusted nutrient intakes were calculated. The prevalence of under- and overreporting of self-report against biomarkers was estimated. Results: Ninety-two percent of men and 87% of women completed ≥3 ASA24s (mean ASA24s completed: 5.4 and 5.1 for men and women, respectively). Absolute intakes of energy, protein, potassium, and sodium assessed by all self-reported instruments were systematically lower than those from recovery biomarkers, with underreporting greater for energy than for other nutrients. On average, compared with the energy biomarker, intake was underestimated by 15-17% on ASA24s, 18-21% on 4DFRs, and 29-34% on FFQs. Underreporting was more prevalent on FFQs than on ASA24s and 4DFRs and among obese individuals. Mean protein and sodium densities on ASA24s, 4DFRs, and FFQs were similar to biomarker values, but potassium density on FFQs was 26-40% higher, leading to a substantial increase in the prevalence of overreporting compared with absolute potassium intake. Conclusions: Although misreporting is present in all self-report dietary assessment tools, multiple ASA24s and a 4DFR provided the best estimates of absolute dietary intakes for these few nutrients and outperformed FFQs. Energy adjustment improved estimates from FFQs for protein and sodium but not for potassium. The ASA24, which now can be used to collect both recalls and records, is a feasible means to collect dietary data for nutrition research.
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    The authors evaluated the performance of a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (SFFQ), web-based 24-hour recalls (ASA24s), and 7-day dietary records (7DDRs) compared to biomarkers among 627 women in Women's Lifestyle Validation Study (US, 2010-2012). Two paper SFFQs, one web-based SFFQ, four ASA24s (beta version), two 7DDRs, four 24-hour urine samples, one doubly-labeled water (repeated among 76 participants), and two fasting blood samples were collected over a 15-months-period. Dietary variables evaluated were energy, energy-adjusted intakes of protein, sodium, potassium, and specific fatty acids, carotenoids, α-tocopherol, retinol and folate. In general, relative to biomarkers, averaged ASA24s had lower validity than SFFQ2; SFFQ2 had slightly lower validity than one 7DDR; the averaged SFFQs had similar validity to one 7DDR; and the averaged 7DDRs had the highest validity. The de-attenuated correlation of energy-adjusted protein intake assessed by SFFQ2 with its biomarker was 0.46, similar to its correlation with 7DDRs (de-attenuated r = 0.54). These data indicate that the SFFQ2 provides reasonably valid measurements for most energy-adjusted nutrients assessed in our study, consistent with earlier conclusions using 7DDRs as the comparison. The ASA24 needs further evaluation for use in large population studies, but an average of 3 days will not be sufficient for some important nutrients.
  • Article
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    The authors evaluated the validity of a 152-item semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire (SFFQ) by comparing it with two 7-day dietary records (7DDRs) or up to 4 automated self-administered 24-hour recalls (ASA24s) over a 1-year period in the women's Lifestyle Validation Study (2010-2012), conducted among subgroups of the Nurses' Health Studies. Intakes of energy and 44 nutrients were assessed using the 3 methods among 632 US women. Compared with the 7DDRs, SFFQ responses tended to underestimate sodium intake but overestimate intakes of energy, macronutrients, and several nutrients in fruits and vegetables, such as carotenoids. Spearman correlation coefficients between energy-adjusted intakes from 7DDRs and the SFFQ completed at the end of the data-collection period ranged from 0.36 for lauric acid to 0.77 for alcohol (mean r = 0.53). Correlations of the end-period SFFQ were weaker when ASA24s were used as the comparison method (mean r = 0.43). After adjustment for within-person variation in the comparison method, the correlations of the final SFFQ were similar with 7DDRs (mean r = 0.63) and ASA24s (mean r = 0.62). These data indicate that this SFFQ provided reasonably valid estimates for intakes of a wide variety of dietary variables and that use of multiple 24-hour recalls or 7DDRs as a comparison method provided similar conclusions if day-to-day variation was taken into account.