A California nutritionist who routinely extols supplements, fad diets, and alternatives to medicine is prominently covered by corporate media for claiming food diaries using twins shows that vegan diets are healthier.

Yet it is so full of confounders that even IARC epidemiologists would have to ask awkward questions about his conclusion using that methodology.

Professor Christopher Gardner, a Berkeley-educated nutritionist now residing at Stanford, says his study is valid because when he interviewed the twins involved, they had similar haircuts and clothes on. You know, they looked more twins-ies. Good enough for Berkeley, where a biologist once claimed that a weedkiller turns frogs gay and had to be banned and no one in his department thought that should have been peer-reviewed.

Even Professor Frank Hu, of the Harvard School of Public Health, which is ground zero for suspect food claims using food diaries, a staunch 'meat is murder' activist, thinks the study is problematic - “the recruitment of identical twins into dietary intervention studies is challenging; this is why the design has been rarely used in nutritional studies. Also, the findings from identical twins may not be generalizable to the general population.”

Want to be happy? Eating roughage and you'll laugh all of the time, according to vegan proponents. And you'll lose weight - mostly because you won't want to eat at all. A vegan diet would certainly cause me to lose weight. In reality, though, vegan diets only make you laugh when companies selling them create ad campaign for rich, white women - with a token minority thrown into images so they look diverse.

Dressing alike does not mean they are clones. That is not a controlled study even if a nutritionist calls it a trial, and miracle benefits after a few weeks, when the only changes were in things that epidemiologists correlate to risk factors for a disease, are even more problematic. 

The vegan dieters did lose weight, for example, but it wasn't because of the diet itself - it was because they couldn't stand the thought of eating more vegetables. Did all sets of twins exercise equally? Do we know they followed the diets, or just believe their diary claims? It is firmly in the EXPLORATORY pile, despite corporate media making it sound definitive.

A vegan diet is not a miracle cure, any more than the fish oil supplements the lead author touts are.

We're in a post-modern world where a PR person paid to endorse a client who sells solutions for "pre-diabetes" responds to my critique by quoting the Obama CDC that invented it - a claim which no other country in the world accepts as valid. And he insists because his client believes it, the rest of us must be wrong. So it's no shock that corporate journalists say this is science - but the world of science knows better.