Does anyone else feel like there are very few legitimate studies on nutrition? And I'm not talking about poorly designed studies, I'm referring to the idea of people that live in our society having a "controlled" diet. I am in contact with somewhere around 50 people on a regular basis and I wouldn't trust any of them as a subject in a study on nutrition. I wouldn't trust them to follow a strict diet. And I wouldn't even trust myself, because if I was supposed to lose weight on a study, I'd try that much harder to make sure that I lost weight.
It's generally accepted that the science of nutrition is extremely complex, but I think it might simply be that we don't have a lot of true, honest information to go off of.
I really liked Stephan Guyenet's reference of a hospital study in which patients were allowed to drink from a feeding tube, containing a bland solution of calories and vitamins, to satiety. This was a truly controlled study, the patient's couldn't go to the store and get donuts or bologna, they weren't mice eating some weird ass combination of maltodextrin and hydrogenated oils, they were just eating this bland vitamin fluid stuff. The obese patients lost weight and the slender patients maintained weight, very interesting results. But most large scale studies are on people that are living in society. I think to realistically assess the margin of error is to make the study illegitimate. And of course you also have epidemiological studies which often just tell us things that fat people do and things that skinny people do, but they only lend themselves to hypothesis. I'd even argue that epidemiological studies on the whole are detrimental to conclusive science, albeit mostly because of sensationalist media.
Why don't we do nutrition studies on prison inmates? They are isolated and not necessarily unhealthy like hospital patients, making them better subjects. I did do a little research and I see that studies on prison inmates were abused by exposing them to carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. But is this not a realistic proposal? A prison inmate is an infinitely better candidate for a study than someone trying to live in our society with all the food and "food" we are surrounded by. And to suggest that you could possibly torture them via (legitimate) nutrition study greater than the torture they experience by being locked up in a facility for an extended period of time seems pretty absurd to me.
Just an idea...