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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fun with statistics

Have you heard the news? People who take any dosage, any amount, for any duration, of Vitamin E are twice as likely to die from any and all causes. I've posted about this hilariously scary statistic a time or two. Imagining the horror of someone popping open a bottle of Vitamin E and just as the pill touches their tongue an airplane engine comes crashing into their bedroom and wipes out the house and takes them out in a flaming ball of doom.

Yeah. I'm terrified. Let's clean the shelves and get rid of that stuff. Not. 


Home made rice pudding - healthy eating

Here's how these funny statistics devolve. You're doing a research study on dead people looking for something, anything, that they have in common. Apparently 2/3 of them had taken Vitamin E in some portion of the years previous. The data doesn't say how much, how often, or for how long they've been taking it. But that's statistically significant. Approximately 2:1 ratio. Twice as likely to die. No matter how much or for how long. Vitamin E. Then we look to see how they died. Every way imaginable. Stabbing, shooting, heart attack, old age, scabies, mad cow disease. Yeah. Any and all causes.

So apparently any dose of Vitamin E means you are twice as likely to die from any and all causes. Got it? Scared yet? 

If you take a step away from academia for just a second, you know this is utter nonsense. Correlation and causation having nothing to do with each other, especially in a study as flawed as that. Yet I'm sure it was peer-reviewed, and it was all over the news. Scary stuff sells Happy Meals I suppose. By the way - did you know that over 98% of people who died last year in the USA had eaten ketchup? Yeah. Be warned.

Where we run into conflicts with this is in the industry I'm most familiar with - diet, nutrition, and fitness.

Believe it not. Up to you really. Many, if not most, of the most cherished of fitness, diet, and nutrition principles are based on flawed studies like the above. Here are a few examples, and if you have half a brain to remember these in an objective manner, you'll see the flip-flop of science over time.


  • Fat is good/bad for you
  • Meat is good/bad for you
  • Organic is good/bad for you
  • Vitamins are good/bad for you
  • Carbs are good/bad for you
  • Weight training is good/bad for you
  • Stretching is good/bad for you
  • Running is good/bad for you


Get the picture yet? Remember reading the articles about sound, peer-reviewed scientific studies that prove all of those points? You might have noticed that I don't really jump all up and down and get really excited for either reason. If a study proves something I'm doing works, or doesn't work, I don't much care.

Upper Back development at 180 pounds and 12% bodyfat

I am my own laboratory!

While working my way down from 238 pounds to 180 pounds over two years I learned a lot about how my body works. I learned about training and about eating. I went from being barely able to stay on an elliptical at the lowest level for 20 minutes to taking 5th place in Elbrus Race 2013.

I am currently sharing this info in a number of ways. For less than a dollar you can get the ebook The 100 Calorie Diet Plan - instruction manual for a new way of eating. I love the controversy surrounding this book already. People who haven't read it at all are using the same logic as the Vitamin E study to claim it doesn't work for them. Read it and decide for yourself ARTICLE.

Updated:


I finished publication of my magnum opus, Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging and in the first two weeks that it was listed I sold more paperback editions than I had anticipated. I was shipping books out left and right. You can get it on Amazon HERE for a spectacular price right now, so be sure to check it out. If you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited you can even get it free (be sure to follow the directions for Prime or you will be charged).