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Firstly, I want to say I disagree with your opinion that it's ridiculous to criticize a study that is peer reviewed. The reason being is that despite the peer reviewed process being impressive, it does have it's falls. For starters, the primarily implication needed for paper to be seen is given by the "impact factor" of the journal which it appears in. This essentially refers to the counts of the average past "citations" of articles published by a journal in previous years. In this way, reviewers can often disagree about the merits of an article based purely on it's relevancy.
In addition to this, some journals allow and even encourage authors to suggest reviewers names which can lead to reviewers that are accomplices to the authors. Also if we consider that the reviewers are other scientists whom are busy with their own work....they don't get recognition, nor payment for their review so theirs no direct incentive to give the time and thought towards a critical review. With all this being said, I have no issues with Dr. Fung reviewing this paper and I also agree with some of his points.
Just to give a brief overview of the study (1), the design of the study included 17 overweight or obese men in a metabolic ward, where they consumed a high carb baseline diet for 4 weeks, followed by a isocaloric ketogenic diet. During this phase the subjects energy expenditure, sleeping expenditure, respiratory quotient, ad body composition were analyzed. What the researchers concluded was that isokaloric ketogenic diets were not accompanied by increased body fat loss but was associated with small increases in energy expenditure.
If we first look at figures A & B, we see that the subjects on average had a decrease in both body weight and body fat on both diets. During the run in phase whereby they were trying to add a baseline, the subject were fed a 2700 calorie high carb diet meant to replicate the standard American diet. However, if you read graph B.....Hall and his researchers establish baseline at day -15, leaving out the first 2 weeks and only recorded the downward slope at day 15. This leads me to assume that there was little to no significant difference in overall body weight or body fat the first two weeks.
In comparing these numbers then to day 0 and 30 on the ketogenic diet, we can see what Hall was trying to do here. We can see a total body fat loss of 0.5 from days -15 to 0, but on days 15 to 30 a less than significant difference on the ketogenic diet. In this way, I agree with Dr. Fung when he says this caused positive data to then be looked at negativly since the conclusion stated isokaloric diets were not accompanied with fat loss.
Looking at the second part of this study which examined energy expenditure (1.2)...Hall states that a ketogenic diet coincided with an increased energy expenditure...however, the data shows plainly that energy expenditure increased not coincidently, but due to the diet the subjects were eating. So taking everything into context, the study and the data is all true. However, the conclusions made do have a spin as Dr. Fung pointed out.
There was nothing coincidental as the data shows a ketogenic diet has positives benefits in decreasing both body weight and body fat, along with increasing energy expenditure. Looking at the study in a different way, if we take the null hypothesis that is "not seeing any change between a high carb and ketogenic diet if they are isocaloric" we can reject it. This means you have either a non coincidental increase of energy expenditure with dietary changes or a rejection of the data based it being inconclusive due to possible biases.
Since the data presented does not prove the null hypothesis, I agree with Dr. Fung in the idea that there was a negative spin. What I'd like to see is perhaps a similar study with less biases, conducted over a longer period of time that is both randomized, double blind placebo controlled.
(1) Hall, K. D., Chen, K. Y., Guo, J., Lam, Y. Y., Leibel, R. L., Mayer, L. E., … Ravussin, E. (2016). Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 104(2), 324–333. http://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.116.133561
(2) Fung, J. (2016). How Kevin Hall Tried to Kill the Insulin Hypothesis with Pure Spin. https://www.dietdoctor.com/how-kevin-hall-tried-to-kill-insulin-hypothesis-pure-spin