Nutrition Over Easy: Is Industry Sponsored Research Useless?

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What a waste of everyone’s time.

A company that manufactures a soy-based meal replacement drink funds a study comparing a soy-based meal replacement (i.e., their product) with a “standard breakfast” which had the same number of calories but was lower in protein, higher in refined carbohydrates. They found–gasp!–that the high protein breakfast controlled hunger better and regulated fat-burning metabolism.  Conclusion: Meal replacement regimes high in soy protein are beneficial for weight loss and metabolic syndrome.

What about this study design suggests that soy had anything to do with this?  The results were completely predictable based solely on the glycemic load and protein content.  Here, in fact, is a different study showing that you get more or less the same results using casein (milk protein).

I’ve argued in the past that industry-funded research can play a valuable part in the expensive world of nutrition research.  This study, however, was a waste of time, money, and resources. It generates no useful, new information and serves only to promote a product. Shame on the researchers who dignified the study with their time and to the journal that published it.

About Monica Reinagel

A licensed nutritionist, noted author, and trained chef, Monica Reinagel, MS, LN, CNS, is creator of the #1-ranked Nutrition Diva podcast (, author of the Nutrition Over Easy blog (, and is a frequent contributor to leading health and lifestyle websites and magazines.
Monica's books include Amazon best-seller The Inflammation Free Diet Plan, as well as The Life Extension Revolution: The New Science of Growing Older without Aging (with Philip Miller, M.D.) and The Secrets of Evening Primrose Oil. Her latest book is Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About (
Monica holds a Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and is a board-certified nutrition specialist. She's the creator of the IF Rating system, a scientific method of predicting the inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects of foods. Professional affiliations include the American Dietetic Association, the American College of Nutrition, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She makes her home in Baltimore, MD. Connect with Monica on Facebook (