The lead researcher for a new medical study is under fire for comments and conclusions he drew from his study.
Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University presented data from his experiment at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes' annual conference.
There he explained his findings and summed his advice to avoid diabetes:
"As a rule of thumb, your waist size should be the same now as when you were 21."
This recommendation was met with harsh criticism.
Taylor's study followed twelve people with type 2 diabetes and a "normal" body mass index (BMI), an average of 24.5 for all participants. From there, they were placed on a strict, low-calorie diet for two weeks, consuming only 800 calories per day.
They continued this program for up to three rounds, until they lost 10 to 15% of their body weight. After which it was found that 8 of the 12 participants had their diabetes go into remission, with their blood sugar under control without any medication.
Taylor said that the results, while preliminary, show that diabetes can be fought by losing weight, even if you aren't overweight.
Issues with the study aside, the rule of thumb that Taylor came up with has its own bag of worms that people took issue with.
Especially if you're someone who has given birth.
Beyond that, there's the study itself.
In addition to this being a very preliminary study, it was only performed on 12 people. That is a very small sample size to draw conclusions to base your life around.
However, the results can lead to a large, more widespread test, along with peer review to determine if the results are reproducible.
Additionally, though Taylor's rule of thumb focuses on waist size by referring to a person's pants, the study talks of BMI, a controversial methodology to determine obesity. The history of BMI and better alternatives are widely discussed, yet it seems little effort is made to change the standard.
All said and done, many aren't convinced of the efficacy of this "rule."
The actual idea present in the conclusion of the study, that losing 10-15% of your weight when you have type 2 diabetes, even if you're already considered average weight, may be the more important piece of the study here.
But it shouldn't just be blanket advice given to the population.
Having a conversation with your doctor is going to help more than listening to the interpretation of the conclusion of a preliminary study performed on 12 people engaging in an extreme diet.