Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Follow Friday: Spurious Correlations



I love this site that my twitter friend Gabrielle (@pedagogologist) shared a few weeks ago. It’s a great reminder that correlation does not equal causation. I especially love the correlations with “Number of films Nicolas Cage appears in”.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

5 thoughts on “Follow Friday: Spurious Correlations

  1. Diana – I’d be really interested in your take on this new study/book by Nina Teicholz, author of “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.” It contradicts a lot of things I thought I knew about nutrition.

    As I alluded to in one of my previous posts, it seems as if you wait long enough, just about anything will be good (or bad” for you!

    Below is a link to a yahoo article about it and interview with the author.



    • I do think that we all jumped on the low-fat, use only olive oil, bandwagon too quickly. I agree that a variety of fats can be (and should be) a part of a healthy diet. I don’t think that this means that we should cut carbohydrates out though. Whole grains provide a great source of fibre and other nutrients such as B vitamins and even (gasp!) healthy fats. Demonizing nutrients has, time and time again, proven to do us more harm than good. I think it’s much better to consume a wide variety of foods and macronutrients.


    • The author in the yahoo article seems to ignore the differences between carbs that have actual nutrients in them and processed sugar. She seems to be saying that the chemical reaction is all the same and it’s all just sugar— so it’s just as bad to eat quinoa as it is to eat the sugar. Huh? Nutrients are what we’re trying to get so that must figure in the equation somewhere.

      Or maybe I’m missing the point.


  2. Thanks. That was pretty much my take as well. I do get concerned, however, that when people read articles like this they use it as an excuse to eat too much of things they know they really shouldn’t. I’m always skeptical of any diet that (to borrow your word) vilifies a certain food – or food group – as opposed to simply preaching balance.


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