In Episode #207, Dr Gil Carvalho explains how to approach nutrition information from an evidence-based viewpoint, breaking down the details of data analysis.
“The mental hygiene of being able to navigate a question and find reliable information and answers is a crucial life skill nowadays.”
In recent years, we’ve seen a huge influx of information being presented as fact without any real scientific foundations. Being able to assess the validity of these claims is critical, and Dr Carvalho offers useful insight into how a layperson can approach them.
“You have to be very careful with the logical leap, because we are trying to guess what the full picture looks like by looking at one pixel.”
Dr Gil Carvalho is research scientist, physician, science communicator, speaker, and writer. As both a medical doctor and researcher, he is in the rare position of having both clinical experience and experience with data and evidence. He has published peer-reviewed medical research across a variety of fields and uses this extensive knowledge to share the facts with wider audiences.
“No experiment is perfect, and [different types of studies] cover for each other’s blind spots.”
In today’s episode, we shift the focus away from what to think about the science of nutrition onto how to think about it. You’ll learn how to assess scientific claims with Dr Carvalho’s “Three P’s” framework. We apply this framework to a few examples, exploring cooking oils, red meat, eggs, and cholesterol. We also discuss the nuance of evidence hierarchies, and much more.
Specifically, we cover:
- Intro [0:00]
- Gil’s Story [4:50]
- How we Think About Nutrition [10:30]
- What is Proof [14:50]
- Observational & Randomized Control Trials [28:40]
- Evaluating the Impact of Oil [44:07]
- Red Meat [1:22:14]
- Outro [1:54:33]
Being able to interpret scientific claims yourself is an incredibly useful skill to have. Dr Carvalho uses years of research skills to deliver a simple solution to help assess independently. I love the way he thinks about science and communicates it, and hope you find this knowledge useful.
You can learn more about Dr Gil Carvalho here, and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook. For straightforward, science-based nutrition information, visit his YouTube channel Nutrition Made Simple. You can also access his research publications for more.
Thank you to The Proof friend, Eimele Essential 8, for sponsoring today’s episode. Eimele Essential 8 offers the right nutrients, in the right doses, to complement a plant-rich diet. To save 5% on your first order, head to theproof.com/friends.
More about Gil Carvalho, MD PhD
Gil Carvalho, MD PhD is a physician, research scientist, science communicator, speaker and writer. Dr. Carvalho trained as a medical doctor in the University of Lisbon, in his native Portugal, and later obtained a PhD in Biology from Caltech (California Institute of Technology). He has published peer-reviewed medical research spanning the fields of genetics, molecular biology, nutrition, behavior, aging and neuroscience.
In parallel with his research career, Dr. Carvalho also has a passion for science communication. In 2018, he launched Nutrition Made Simple, which aims to convey fundamental nutrition concepts to a lay audience via educational videos. His content has been watched by over a quarter million people.
Dr. Carvalho’s research contributions at Caltech, where he trained with pioneer geneticist Seymour Benzer, included the identification of genetic and nutritional mechanisms of longevity.
Dr. Carvalho also pursued research, with neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, on mechanisms of neural signal transmission in the sensory system and the neural basis of interoception and feeling.
He has been a member of the Genetics Society of America and the American Society for Neuroscience. His accolades include a Delill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics and a Mathers Foundation award. Both his research contributions and his expert commentary are regularly featured in the media, including The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Methods, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Quanta magazine and ScienceDaily. He is also a contributor to the Institute of Limbic Health and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
- A randomized crossover trial on the effect of plant-based compared with animal-based meat on trimethylamine-N-oxide and cardiovascular disease risk factors in generally healthy adults: Study With Appetizing Plantfood—Meat Eating Alternative Trial (SWAP-MEAT) PMID: 32780794
- Apolipoprotein B Particles and Cardiovascular Disease: A Narrative Review PMID: 31642874
- Assessment of Causal Direction Between Gut Microbiota-Dependent Metabolites and Cardiometabolic Health: A Bidirectional Mendelian Randomization Analysis PMID: 31167879
- Blood Pressure Response to Submaximal Exercise Test in Adults PMID: 27703976
- Consumption of Olive Oil and Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Among U.S. Adults PMID: 35027106
- Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association PMID: 28620111
- Dietary lipids and blood cholesterol: quantitative meta-analysis of metabolic ward studies PMID: 9006469
- Effects of Olive Oil on Markers of Inflammation and Endothelial Function—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis PMID: 26378571
- Effects of red meat, white meat, and nonmeat protein sources on atherogenic lipoprotein measures in the context of low compared with high saturated fat intake: a randomized controlled trial PMID: 31161217
- Low-density lipoproteins cause atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. 1. Evidence from genetic, epidemiologic, and clinical studies. A consensus statement from the European Atherosclerosis Society Consensus Panel PMID: 28444290
- Mediterranean diet, traditional risk factors, and the rate of cardiovascular complications after myocardial infarction: final report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study PMID: 9989963
- Physical Activity and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease—A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies PMID: 22470299
- Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts PMID: 28684083
- Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease PMID: 26068959