11 June 2012,

Misleading Papers: Just Publish Something


I was searching the downward spiral known as pubmed for the current paper I’m trying to finish. Scroll, scroll, read. I came across a jaunty little piece about protein and ‘feeling less hunger’, which I couldn’t resist: ‘Consuming pork proteins at breakfast reduces the feeling of hunger before lunch’1. Oh?


Intrigued by the possibility that bacon might enhance my dietary resolve, I put my ‘real’ work aside and read on.


The end result of the investigation was pretty disappointing. Pork protein doesn’t make you eat less- well, not really, not truthfully. Rather, people claim that they feel less hungry, but they still eat the same amount of food. In other words, people who eat protein for breakfast still consume the same amount of calories at lunch as if they were to eat, for example, cereal.


So: eating leads to more eating.


I’m not trying make a parody out of the Danish Meat Research Institute: I think people should eat more meat, and my own personal experience demonstrates the efficacy of high protein diets is pretty high…It’s just… well… I did feel a little bit tricked by the ‘reduces the feeling of hunger…’ business. Shouldn’t reducing the feeling of hunger translate into eating less?


Science is a trade of imperfection. Ask any Masters, PhD or even Professor about the outcome of his experiments, and (if he’s honest), he’ll shrug his shoulders. Luckily, the scientists at the Dutch Meat Institute had elected to measure mood and hunger ratings in concert with caloric intake. If all bets had been placed on the idea that protein reduces caloric intake, well, ‘Consuming pork protein…’ may likely have never seen the light of publication day.


The previous journal article is depressing for two reasons. First, it demonstrates that even when you ‘feel’ full, you still eat the same amount! Second, if my paper gets rejected by the editors at Appetite, I’ll feel more than a little silly. As I had mentioned, science is a messy process translated into presentable papers. The DMRI clearly has this task mastered. Fingers crossed I can manage to do the same.



*when was the last time someone told you to eat sausage or bacon in order to achieve caloric restriction?


1. (Meinert, Kehlet, & Aaslyng, 2012)Meinert, L., Kehlet, U., & Aaslyng, M. D. (2012). Consuming pork proteins at breakfast reduces the feeling of hunger before lunch. Appetite, 59(2), 201-203.



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