Objective: To understand and learn the challenges in conducting systematic reviews and developing guidelines in the field of nutrition.
Background: The Academy’s Evidence Analysis Library (EAL) conducts stand-alone systematic reviews (SRs) and SRs that inform Evidence-based Nutrition Practice Guidelines (EBNPG). EAL’s methodology for conducting SRs and developing guidelines is based on gold-standard methods that have been normally used in medical fields. Some tools have required modification to fit the unique challenges in nutrition-related literature. Currently, there are no standardised tools specific to nutrition-related topics.
Methods: Identify unique challenges in conducting systematic reviews and developing nutrition guidelines.
Conclusion: Common issues faced are: lack of strong study designs; level of exposure (no true placebo); heterogenity of intervention; confounding variables (single nutrient vs. dietary patterns, nutrient status); blinding not possible; lack of health outcomes (most nutrition outcomes are biomarkers or intermediate); and, lack of standardised outcomes. Another challenge faced by the EAL is the lack of methodological experience of the workgroups which are routinely composed of topic experts.