New Online Tool for Evaluating the Science Behind Diet and Habits

Does eating red meat increase one’s risk of heart disease? Would eating more vegetables help? Is leaving high blood pressure untreated really a death wish? The answers might vary, depending on who a person asks, which friend or TikTok nurse, and when. Researchers at the University of Washington want to make it easier to find current, evidence-based health advice.

A new tool from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, unveiled Monday in Nature Medicine, uses a 5-star rating system to show how much evidence exists to support some diet and lifestyle changes. The researchers analyzed hundreds of studies in hopes of helping consumers, clinicians and policymakers — awash in a landscape of wellness influencers, food lobbyists and quack advice — cut through the chatter and know the scientific consensus. The result is what they are calling the “Burden of Proof studies,” since it’s on the research to prove something is legitimate.

The Burden of Proof Studies