Mindless Eating’s fall from grace

Posted on October 1, 2018

(Last Updated On: October 1, 2018)

Cornell Food Researcher’s Downfall Raises Larger Questions For Science

If you need to catchup, Brian Wansink was, I think a case can easily be made, the most famous nutrition researcher in the world. Primarily because he wrote a book called Mindless Eating. I wrote, glowingly, about this book many years ago:

How your environment makes you overeat, how men and women are different with food, and how to get your bartender to give you more alcohol

I distinctly remember publishing that post because, at the time, it was by far the most popular thing I had written. At that point most of my readers were my in-person clients. I’d send an email out once a month with new articles. That one got a lot of attention from them. Many bought his book, because of my recommendation.

Turns out Wansink broke god knows how many sacred research practices in finding coming (making?) up his research. To the point he was fired resigned. Remember, this is academia. You can practically throw a student off a building and still have a job #TenureBitch.

More in-depth look at what he did, with emails


First, fuuuuuuuuuuuuck this guy.


Second, this only adds to the never-ending dilapidated labyrinth of bullshit that is the world of nutrition research.

Why are we so confused about how and what to eat?

I repeat, this was a top researcher in the field. From CORNELL. Too many of us hear an Ivy League affiliation and think it’s reputable. This is what we should really think:

The weight of the school’s name is way, way too heavy. You just throw Harvard on something and it’s automatically credible. Gary Taubes is a perfect example. He has been eviscerated by those who actually know what they’re talking about (Alan Aragon), but because he has Harvard behind his name, everyday people keep going along with him.

For what it’s worth, I place ***no*** extra credence in research from “prestigious” schools. If anything, I’m more skeptical. I’ve been around enough prestigious school graduates to know plenty engage in stupidity at the highest level, but I also know, for better or worse, they are more motivated, so they know how to navigate the system better, if they wish to.


Third, we have our yearly reminder of how nobody in any realm of health research seems to comprehend or care what a p-value actually is.

-> Past reminders,

Is there about to be a revolution in ACL surgery?

Is an obese mom as bad as a drunk one?

I’m at the point now I can hardly read

1) anybody trying to do a research review because there is a 99% chance they do not have a background in basic statistics / don’t know what the word “significant” means statistically <- this causes probably 95% of the issues

-> This is not a lack of intelligence. It is ignorance or laziness.

2) any mainstream article about research because much of it is dictated by the researchers who have proven enough times they do not care so much about science as they do publicity

-> Also not lack of intelligence. It is fraud.

I used to read and read various accounts of research, thinking I was “staying up to date.” After being fooled enough times, it now takes me a legit two damn weeks to interpret a study. That’s what happened in this one,

Schoenfeld’s new volume and muscle strength and size study

The futility of averages in exercise science research (new info on Schoenfeld’s new study)

I have to,

  • Read the press release / author’s mainstream account to see what they’re publicizing
  • Read the abstract to see what they know many will only read
  • Get the full study (not always feasible)
  • Read the full study multiple times
  • Read citations in the study because the study often doesn’t want to detail its full methods
    • Seriously, many study’s now, when you read their methods, will say “Methods can be found in [X].” Making you read another study, which, wait for it, may also say “Methods can be found in [Y].” So now you have to read three studies to see what one did.
  • Contact statisticians who often can’t even guarantee me what the study really did
    • If they don’t know, how the hell am I supposed to?
  • Do a background check on the author(s)
  • Contact the authors who also can’t really tell you how they got what they got, refuse to answer certain questions, see them backtrack their language, or hey, once in a while they outright tell you they knowingly published a mistake (IN THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION!!!)


Fourth, for all you evidenced based elitists who want a citation for every word a person writes, because you think health science is so pure, go chew on Wansink’s 27,000 Google Scholar citations. You and Shooter can eat breakfast together.


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