AtkinsFacts.org Ignores the 34 Studies "Supporting Atkins"
Over a Quarter of the "Research Studies" Are Not Even Published
In fact, as documented on the Atkins website (http://atkins.com/science/researchsupportingatkins.html), there are currently no fewer than thirty-four studies demonstrating the weight loss and other health benefits -- and absence of adverse health effects -- of a low carbohydrate diet.
First of all, 9 of the 34 cited studies "supporting Atkins" are not published studies at all,[643-652] but merely abstracts (brief paragraph(s) written about an unpublished study) presented at meetings, which in general, wrote an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, "must be presumed to be unreliable sources of public information." This is another tried and true tobacco industry strategy.
Information provided in abstracts is considered "of little use to the general medical community" because the information presented is "limited and insufficient to allow critical appraisal of the work." "Abstracts of papers presented at meeting," concluded a review in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "have been seen as an untrustworthy basis for scientific communication."
Another review states: "the validity of material presented in abstract form but not published is difficult to evaluate; abstracts usually have not undergone rigorous peer review, and citation of data found only in abstract form may be misleading or inappropriate. Last, several studies have shown that abstracts are less likely to be published if their results are considered negative rather than positive, leading to potential problems with publication bias when meta-analyses of the existing literature are performed." Abstracts "cannot and should not be considered equivalent to peer-reviewed articles."
Meeting abstracts cannot be examined for their validity nor reviewed for their credibility. "Because abstracts have not undergone the same stringent peer review as have full-length articles, one cannot be sure of the validity of the abstracts' methods, results, or conclusions." As such, data presented in meeting abstracts should be viewed with caution. As one medical journal editor concluded, the guiding principle when considering abstract credibility is "caveat emptor." "It is hard to criticize a formal manuscript," one medical journal editorial reads, "when none has been offered."
Less than half of studies presented as abstracts may ever be published at all. As the New England Journal of Medicine editorialized, "Presumably, most of the other papers were so flawed or so unimportant that either they were never submitted for publication or they were rejected as a result of peer review." If and when the studies are published, one finds that the abstracts may routinely overstate the case.
The purpose of meeting abstracts is to stimulate dialogue, not to be used to support a position or product, as you seem to be doing. A past editor of the New England Journal of Medicine considered abstracts so unreliable that he felt that news media shouldn't even report research findings presented only in abstract form. Conference abstracts "were never meant to be viewed in the same light as full-length, peer-reviewed articles."
The "Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals" drafted by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and in use by over 500 journals specifically admonishes researchers to "Avoid using abstracts as references." The validity of abstracts is so questionable that some medical journals entirely prohibit authors from even citing them. Yet abstracts make up over a quarter of the "research studies" that you use as references to "support" the Atkins Diet.