This was a very complete analysis of an intriguing, but limited, research finding. The story addressed all 10 of our criteria. The strong caveat in the second sentence – and others later – leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind.
It’s OK to report on preliminary findings when you question the quality of the evidence as clearly as this story did.
The story explained that alginate as an aid to weight loss is already available in pill form, selling for around $45 for a seven-day supply.
The story quantified the weight loss, with caveats about “no significant difference between the two treatment groups when all 96 original participants were included in the analysis.
The story was clear about the unpleasant nature of the supplement – and how it contributed to study dropouts. And the story mentioned concerns about long term safety – with some study participants having bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. The story also noted that blood pressure did not drop as much in the supplement group as with placebo, perhaps due to the sodium content of the supplement.
Excellent job explaining the caveats and limitations of the research.
No disease mongering.
Two independent sources were quoted. Industry funding for the study was disclosed.
There was an important reminder that “just feeling less hungry due to a supplement won’t make you lose weight unless you eat fewer calories.” The story could have mentioned other evidence-based weight loss approaches including behavioral weight loss counseling.
The fact that alginate is already available in pill form – and that the FDA does not regulate such supplements – was mentioned.
References to past research on seaweed supplements were made.
It’s clear the story didn’t rely solely on a news release.