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Why Do You Think Nutrition Science, Data & Evidence Is Ignored?

Hi Ellington,
In your opinion why do so many sportspeople ignore the science, data and evidence around optimal nutrition protocols and revert to “bro science?”

The same reason some people think the virus is fake news and that it’s over!

I guess those big strong ass bros are doing it wrong then…some one should muster the courage to tell them they are wrong. :wink:

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Magazine pictures, false supplement advertisements, bodybuilders, athletes and celebrities making false claims could be some answers

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Seriously, who cares if the “bros “ eat 50 eggs for breakfast or inject a gallon of steroids or fruit loops? We all know these giant guys most likely eat and injest stuff that would kill a Buffalo in short notice. It’s quite obvious these big guys have to come off their crazy eating and drugs every so often or their kidneys ,livers and heart would fail.

I’m not Dr Darden, obviously. But here is my $0.02

It is difficult to do well controlled experiments on nutrition, especially when you are talking about health issues that may take years to develop. So there is a great deal of reliance on observational studies, which are inherently unreliable because they rely on human recall, which is notoriously poor. As a result, there is a lot of noise in the results that are reported. Many studies get published that are probably not worth much attention, but still get highlighted in the press.

With something very specific, like the impact of protein intake on protein utilization, it is a little easier to run a controlled experiment, but the true implications may still be hard to draw.

So I suppose the answer depends in part on what specific advice Jeff thinks is being ignored.

Because so many of the people touting science, data and evidence concerning optimal nutritional protocols are not sporting impressive results themselves. Just a lot of talk.

“This is what I do and this is why I do it” is a perfectly acceptable thing to announce to everyone.

“This is what I do and this is why I do it and this is why it’s the best” is when you’ll encounter people asking for results.


If bro science is coming from someone you know and trust that comes forward with all the details connected with how they train and eat and so forth then that could be very useful but If bro science is some huge guy at the gym who claims this or that but doesn’t really give much in details of what he actually does then that can be of very questionable use. I would find what someone with Dr Dardens experience and openness opinion much more useful than some study results but on the other hand I would find some guy who has 21’inch arms and the perfect body’s opinion almost useless if he won’t open up about all he does and even then I’d have to have strong trust in what he says before I’d believe him. Finding trust in what some big bodybuilder says about food and drugs etc could be a hard thing to come by.

“Bro Science” existed first. People figured out how to make gains before any data had ever been collected. And “optimal nutrition protocols” are EXPENSIVE. Whole milk is cheap.

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Someone please establish what is bro science?

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Can you give a specific example of where bro science is commonly ignoring science, and blatantly wrong? Just so I know what area you’re looking at.

When interpreting science, we need to keep in mind that they usually just report the mean, not individual data. Also, you need to know if it was a meta analysis, RCT, observational, etc, as each have varying levels of reliability, as well as parameters such as sample size.

With all of those points in mind, in most cases, science is a guide, giving you a starting point and pointing you in the right direction. From there you may need to individualize.

Bro science and research are not necessarily opposed and can both be used to get you where you want to go.

I asked earlier what is ment by the term bro. I generally am not hanging around with people who use the term bro often but when I do hear it it usually refers to some big muscular lunkhead not an educated bodybuilder who through their own extensive experience has learned what works well for him so I ask again , what is a bro you guys are referring to?

I guess a brief definition of bro science could be “a commonly held belief amongst bodybuilders that doesn’t have research that supports it.” That could mean research was done and doesn’t agree, but also that research hasn’t even been done on it yet.

I should add that just because one muscular guy believes it, doesn’t make it bro science. It may actually fit better as the opinion of the masses as gained through experience.

I think that a lot of scientific findings are ignored because they’re a finding. One single element in a vast body of knowledge, and they lack relevance and practical application.

It happens on these boards all the time. Someone finds a study that says one single thing and tries to froth it up into an entire training strategy.

All I can think is “kudos on the enthusiasm and good luck with that!”.


according to google “bro science is a term for misinformation circulated among men, usually body-building claims not backed by science”

Mic drop. End thread.


my research methods professor said that one of his former professors would automatically deduct 10points off of any assignment if the student claimed that a study “proved” somethjng


Your professor was a wise man.

Hi anna,
That’s why I used the terms data and evidence and not the word proof. There is a vast body of knowledge on human nutrition going back a long way but we both know that bench to field does not equal field to bench.

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Oh, I didn’t mean to imply anything about your interpretation. I was speaking more broadly about the tendency of certain influencers to take a single study as gospel

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