The Seven Deadly Sins of Junk Science – Food Insight

Spot Junk Science Like a Trained Scientist

Before we begin, there is something I need to disclose: I am a scientist by training and received my PhD in microbiology and immunology, centered on nutritional immunology.

Whew! Real science credentials are not always popular in conversations about food, so I’m relieved to get that off my chest. Now that the cat is out of the bag, let’s dive into the real meat and potatoes: junk science.

Nothing gets me more riled up more than this. Broadly speaking, ‘junk science’ refers to studies that don’t adhere to the central and guiding scientific method, can’t be reliably tested or reproduced, and therefore present inaccurate claims or results.

I’m not the only one feeling fed up with questionable science. Fellow scientist and science writer John Bohannon has worked tirelessly to expose issues surrounding publishing and promoting bad (and sometimes fake!) science. Bohannon led a fascinating exposé that looked at publishing rates of a fake study in open access journals. Turns out, when Bohannon submitted his fake study to more than 300 journals, nearly 60% of the journals wanted to publish his results. That highlights some serious problems in the realm of scientific study.

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