Daily Archives: October 11, 2010

Tryptophan: Eat Turkey and Lose Weight


Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008

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Since when does a medical study with a cohort of ten make a conclusive medical study?  I am not a doctor, scientist or researcher, but I do look a bit deeper than the hype when “studies” are released.  Particularly  studies that offer insights into our behavior, health, or psychology– since they seem to become scientific quoted fact in short time.  Because we have the internet, yes, you can find the abstracts as well:  Annals Of Internal Medicine,

Last week the news broke out on the radio, television, newspapers, magazines and blogs: Sleep helps you lose weight.

A quick Google search and everyone now is taking the study as fact; all the major media outlets carried the story.  Who does not want good news on the weight loss front?    Here it is the easy answer, the silver bullet we all look for in weight loss, and yes, the media is eager to give us the news.  Just throw out the news of “a study” with the answers we want and you get readership.

On NPR’s   Science Friday,  Dr. MICHAEL LACEY (Neurologist; Director, The Atlanta Sleep Medicine Clinic, The Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and Technology), twice made mention of the small sample size.  I had read the actual abstract earlier and was curious if at least on Science Friday, the sample size would be an issue, it was.  But, I don’t think many people paid attention.

Quote #1 Dr. LACEY: Yes. In this cohort of, as you said, only 10 people – so one always has to be cautious about drawing grand conclusions from such a small sample -but everyone lost weight….

Quote #2 Dr. LACEY: Well, I think we need to have larger cohorts of different kinds of controlled subjects, you know? Because if you take a group of people that basically, they’re healthy, they are not sleep deprived people, and for a very short period of time you look at them with the lone variable that you’re changing being sleep, it’s very interesting, the conclusions that are drawn.
Quote #2:
But I think it just falls short of being a sufficient study size or different kinds of – coexistent medical conditions and things that would allow us to be able to more accurately make recommendations to people who have sleep apnea or who have diabetes or who have other conditions and things like that in terms of what the optimal way to manage their sleep, and what things we should be measuring in those kind of people. And you know, that’s – this is really just kind of a jump off.

How soon will we start seeing products selling sleep gimmicks for weight loss?

How irresponsible is the media hype?  How  irresponsible are the Universities and researchers who release the data for publicity without any of the education necessary on the merits of a study?  I am sure now people will start selling sleep aids like melatonin, valerian, chamomile, or simply turkey dinners, yes, tryptophan.

“I lost twenty pounds eating Thanksgiving Dinner every night for three months, you can do it to.”

Excuse me, I have to go back to figuring out how to spam everyone with my new “chamomile weight loss treatment”, my ” sleep tapes” and my  “turkey dinner in a pill form”.   Care to invest?


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