I recently posted a blogpost about how the popular press often simply regurgitates press releases publicity people at various institutions send them.
And now come two "stories" that are such blatant attempts to trump up business for a certain food -- pears -- that it's laughable. One says pear consumers weigh less than non-pear-eaters, and the other says pears are healthy.
One study was sponsored by USA Pears, the other by the Pear Bureau Northwest, which is, in their words, "a nonprofit marketing organization to promote the fresh pears grown in Oregon and Washington."
Then one paper says, and this is the shocking part, "While the body of evidence connecting pear intake and health outcomes is
still limited, USA Pears has been contributing to research efforts by
commissioning independent studies to learn and affirm the heath
attributes of pears."
Hold on! USA Pears has commissioned research aimed at proving that pears are healthy? Presumably if the research shows that pears cause warts, they won't publish that. But that's not scientific research. Scientific research tries to ascertain the truth, not support some preconceived conclusion. So OK, in fact this ideal is often not reached. But at least you should pretend you have an open mind.
The other study concludes that "intervention studies with pears that show positive health outcomes, most likely improvements in gut health, are urgently needed." In other words, research that shows negative outcomes is not needed.
What bothers me is that this kind of "research" and the ensuing press releases do, in fact, work. Most people seeing headlines like this or hearing them read out on the evening news will only remember, "Gosh. Pears are healthy and if I eat pears I'll lose weight." In fact, when you don't have diabetes, most fruits are healthy in moderation. Each fruit is higher or lower in some nutrient, but they all contain healthy nutrients as well as sugars.
I keep those 100-calorie sugarfree canned fruits on hand to use when my blood glucose goes too low, and they do a good job of raising my blood glucose and taste good as well. But I don't expect to be a lot healthier or to weigh less as a result.
At this point, except for occasional rants like this one, whenever I see a story promoting the health benefits of a single food, I look to see who funded the study. If it's some growers' organization like USA Pears, I don't even bother reading the story. There's enough real science research to read about without wasting time on this sort of thing.