Journals and Quality of Science
Many of us consumers are confused about the conflicting trends in nutritional advice: low fat, high protein, low carbohydrate, vegan, no multivitamins, yes multivitamins, and who knows what to make of ~80,000 dietary supplements (https://tinyurl.com/y2fe5pqu) currently on the U.S. market. This confusion results in part from research strategies and methods that do not account for the complexity of naturally-occurring chemicals in foods, the intricacies of genetic variability, and the impact of social determinants of health.
Although everyone involved in biomedical research is responsible for the current situation, journals have a special responsibility as gatekeepers for approving and disseminating study results. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (https://tinyurl.com/y2vvyo4o) is sharpening its focus by introducing 4 new sections: (i) great debates in nutrition to address major controversies, (ii) nutrigenomics and precision nutrition, both systems sciences, to better translate results to individuals, (iii) food systems and the environment to provide evidence to sustain nutrition as the climate changes accelerate, and (iv) women’s nutrition beyond pregnancy and lactation that acknowledges differences in physiology between males and females.
The AJCN plans are remarkably similar to the more granular suggestions for propelling the shift from reductionism to systems nutrition published in Genes&Nutrition in 2017 (https://tinyurl.com/y2lepum3). Editors at both journals recognized, as does the constructive criticism of others (https://tinyurl.com/y3ahh72t), that the status quo must change to produce more reliable evidence for individual and public health.