How NOT to do science: very low carbohydrate diets and Type 1 diabetes

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.

Every now and then a piece of research is published that's just not very good quality. Despite the (presumably) best efforts of editors, peer reviewers, and the editorial boards of major journals, not all pieces of research are as rigorous as others.

And then sometimes research is published that is so egregiously poor that it's an embarrassment to the journal that published it, the peer reviewers who gave the manuscript the green light, and the major news media who cover it.

Today's article is one such and has been published in the June issue of Pediatrics (

The authors surveyed a group of people who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and followed a very-low-carbohydrate diet (VLC diet), defined as less than 50 grams of carbohydrate per day. The authors found that those who followed that VLC diet had "measures of glycemic control in the near-normal range, low rates of hypoglycemia and other adverse events, and generally high levels of satisfaction with health and diabetes control." They go on to state that "these findings are without precedent among people with [Type 1 diabetes]."

Sounds like a miracle cure, doesn't it? How NOT to do science »

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