Every year, hundreds of various scientific conferences are held around the world. The ostensible purpose of these conferences is to provide a forum whereby top scientists in their fields can present and discuss new scientific information. Most of the time, some good information emerges from these conferences with the advantage being that the new information is often presented in advance of publication in a science journal. Often, press releases are issued that are fed to various news agencies, which post them on popular science news sites around the Internet. But since many of these studies have not been reviewed for accuracy or good science, they are often sensationalized. This explains the premature reports that appear almost daily on the Internet about "cures for cancer," or "New way found to prevent Alzheimer's disease." The exercise and nutrition sciences are equally culpable in this regard, but with an added dimension. Sports nutrition, and products to promote muscle size gains, as well as promote body fat loss, are big business. Indeed, the current existence of bodybuilding magazines depends on having a plethora of such sports supplement ads, which explains why bodybuilding magazines are rarely an unbiased source of information about nutrition.
The growing popularity of sports supplements inspired the creation of an organization devoted to disseminating new information about sports nutrition. This organization, the International Society of Sports Nutrition, produces a highly regarded science journal available online and also certifies people in sports nutrition. They also hold an annual conference. I attended two of their conferences a few years ago. I had been forewarned not to expect much, and I found this to be true. While the various seminars presented at the conference were informative, they were also mostly regurgitated information that had already been published in various scientific journals. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the conference, however, was not the stale box lunch handed out to the attendees that itself was not a paradigm of optimal nutrition, but rather the presentation of brand-new studies. These studies were presented in poster form; that is, they were literally posted on boards throughout a large room. Some of them were quite good, and I took notes on them for later incorporation into my articles. But since the main benefit of this conference lay in those poster presentations, which were later available online, I saw no further need to physically attend the conferences, and I've never gone back. This decision was underscored when I asked a few questions at the seminars that the researchers giving the seminar failed to answer.
Over the years, the majority of poster presentations have degenerated to nothing more than thinly disguised advertisements for various food supplements. As you might expect, these poster studies are sponsored by companies that sell products featured in the posted studies. And therein lies the problem: The majority of these studies are poorly designed, often featuring no actual placebo to . . .