The folks at Lift
(a phone app) are doing a dieting study for 2014. If losing weight is your 2014 resolution, you might want to check it out and potentially sign up to participate (it's free).
I'm hugely interested in how psychology and tech can work together so I asked Erin from Lift a few questions about their plans.
1. Tell us what you're doing and why you're doing it?
We're launching the largest online randomized trial on diets ever attempted on January 1st: the Quantified Diet. It's free, open to anyone, and will include 10 popular diets:
- paleo, - vegetarian, - gluten-free,
- whole foods, - Slow-Carb (from Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Body), - no sweets,
- DASH, - calorie counting, - sleep more, and
- mindful eating.
2. What are you doing to make it scientifically worthwhile?
We're designing and executing the study with advice from researchers at UC Berkeley and Stanford so that the our data is scientifically sound. The whole idea started when a researcher emailed us to point out biases in diet research we did last year. We asked him to help us improve it! We were surprised how excited academics are about doing a randomized trial via your phone/web. It is a bit nutty when you think about it! This opens up the ability to do research at a scale never before possible.
3. What are you expecting to discover?
No expectations: we don't want to bias our interpretation of the results, right?! We know we'll learn something valuable, as we did in our pilot project last year with a few thousand people following the Slow-Carb diet: 86% of people who stuck to the diet program lost weight and the average weight loss was 8.6 pounds. It's mind-blowing.
4. Are you meaning people's affinity for the diet they get randomized to?
Yes we're designing the study/analysis to account for biases like that one. Participants will go through an initial selection process to pick which of the 10 diets they're willing to follow. Then they'll be assigned one of those diets (or a control group diet) to follow.
5. How can people get involved if they'd like to?
Yes, they should sign up here: https://lift.do/p/quantified-diet We also encourage them to invite/share with friends and family. More participants in the study = better science.
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