Contribute to Science! Dr. Hearris is Recruiting Cyclists and Triathletes

Yea agreed. I mean I’m about as aggressively liberal as one can be…but running a study is just…challenging. One could make an argument that there should be more women only studies, but to attack one particular study because it selected a subset of men is over the top IMO.


Believe me…I like a good fight as much (more) than the next one. But makin wording choice of a forum thread title for a scientific study recruitment seems an odd hill to die on.

It’s not about a fight, it’s about honesty. Especially for scientific studies. If you are only studying a subset of a problem, be honest about the limitations.

Yeah, while I was one of the first ones to criticize the scope of the study, as I further noted, I think it is great that it is being presented to us for participation. I didn’t think the criticism was gonna blow up like this and that is unfortunate.

Running clinical studies is really, really hard…and it is also sometimes an iterative process. You need to get some learnings as a baseline and then see how that can then extend into other areas.

“OK, we now undertsnad how this groups responds…do those learning now extend to other groups? Let’s find out!”

Trying to do everything at once can be quite challenging and actually prohibitive (not to mention expensive).


That’s what…the study is for. I think it’s a bit unrealistic to get 100% transparency about everything in a 5 word forum title…

There are a million things that “could” (and do) impact metabolism. What is the basis for targetting menstration as the justification for excluding women when you aren’t even sure if it has an impact?

As noted, the results will get applied to women as if they were in the study anyway. If having them in the study skews the results, then good. Maybe then the results will be that much more useful to women. (God forbid they potentially be slightly less useful for men.)


If you don’t know how something will impact the study, how are you going to get reliable results? When you’re adding variables to a study that you don’t understand that would just call into question the results from this study.

Yes it would be better to include women and increase the sample size, but that adds a lot of complexity and cost to a study. Generally researchers don’t have huge budgets and are trying to get the most bang for their buck from what I understand.

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SIS is sponsoring this study, so I’m cynically calling them overSelling In Science as the word Optimal triggers my individualism radar. See Dr Mark Hearris response above about variation in females and older individuals. I guess the study can potentially give us a minimum variation for males 18-40, which could be large enough in itself to have the study conclude there is no optimal for that subset of the population.

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OK, no studies at all then unless they contain total random samples of massive populations that include all conceivable factors as well as accounting for them so we really KNOW the answer to the question posted?

I get it, this proposed study and sample set are not perfect. But are any studies that we so often see bandied about here? Not from what I have seen.

Participant counts in the low double-digits if we are lucky, populations that skew towards younger males, “untrained” individuals (short of the well trained groups here) or total “elites” that we can never dream to compare.

This seems more a basic limitation due to budget and/or complexity (minimize unknown or uncontrollable variables at the goal budget) and not some deliberate exclusion to benefit one population over another. Getting blown out of proportion from what I see.


It would be quite interesting to run the same study with only females of a similar age as the study and see how the results compare between the two and if there are statistically significant differences. At a minimum it would answer the question if the results should potentially not be applicable to the opposite sex. I know as I have gotten older my metabolism has changed due to changes in hormonal levels, etc, so I can see why a researcher has to try to control certain variables to come up with conclusions that might be more meaningful. However, I do agree that if the population is limited, the ultimate conclusion should be qualified by siting the sample population that was utilized.

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I dont think the issue is that having women in the study skews the results…it’s that the results themselves are objectively worse for the reasons the researcher noted above. Working around the menstrual cycle I have to assume would negatively impact the data. Of course…it MIGHT be more relevant for women…but IMO that is an unanswered question. Heck it may be the case that a male study could be more usefully applied to woman than a female study of the same cost applied to women.

That said…if I were a woman I certainly would not want to hear any of this lol. I 100% would take the stance of “screw you, study me!” But I think it’s a sad burden of having the more complex physiology of the sexes, not necessarily any gender bias/sexism. There’s plenty of other places to find that overtly…

The real solution here is to have a sort of title 9 approach where any gender based study needs to be run concurrently on the opposite sex if possible…but that might create worse outcomes in the end…

This is exactly why women need to be part of the study to have the results be meaningful to women. If the answer is “women are too complex physiologically to study”, then don’t say you can extrapolate results from studying the “simpler” physiology of men. You can’t have it both ways: we can’t study women because it will be harder to get useful results, so we are going to study men and then just assume the same applies to women.

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I don’t disagree with you at all. We just need to convince researchers and the people giving them funding now…

and assume less variability and therefore it might serve as an upper/lower bound for those outside the male 18-40 year old subset.

And the way to do that - or at least one way - is to call them out when the exclude women. IMHO giving researchers a pass just reinforces that it is okay to exclude women because they are perceived to be harder to study / get results that you can publish.

So the question that needs to be answered is: are you looking to get results you can publish? Or get actually useful results (or non-results)?

Hopefully when they publish, they include all the base data, so we can see outliers on the plots and understand the variations better. Its certainly not perfect (no study could be), but it sounds like a step in the right direction to me.

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^^^ That is the key, because only showing a summary, and not the individual variability, should be grounds to deny publishing!!!

Maybe. Or maybe the same results would apply to those outside the studied age range. We don’t know. So without studying those outside the studied age range you can’t make an informed recommendation either way. You could maybe make an educated guestimation if you had large enough sub-sample (e.g., large enough pools in sub-age ranges 18-23, 24 - 29, … 35 - 40) that you could compare the recommendations across the sub-age ranges and thereby extrapolate to men over 40 from the “curve” built from the sub-age ranges. This would still be less than perfect, but at least you would get a sense for how nutrition needs vary as people get older (or not vary)

I think this is something that has to be done through legislation. Researchers, IMO, should be given a pass. They’re forced to grovel for funding, and make due with what they get. I dont think it’s reasonable to put the onus on them to choose between running a male study, or passing on funding indefinitely and waiting to start a study until they have the resources to study both.

There needs to just be legislation forcing the inclusion of women as standard practice.

This is a bonkers comment section.

In relevant information that hopefully @SarahLaverty can add to the OP - you have to be based in UK to join this study since you’ll have to go into the lab to do some testing.