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A journal is retracting a high-profile dietary study based on the self-reported limitations within the same paper that made it through the peer-review process.

The publishing and retraction process of the paper now has some criticizing the editorial process at the journal PLOS ONE, according to Retraction Watch, the scientific watchdog site that first reported the withdrawal of the study.

The controversial paper was based on the diet presented in the bestselling recipe book The Gut Makeover by Jeannette Hyde, who is a co-author of the paper.

The study reported the results of a “microbiome restoration diet.” It claimed to show that 21 people changed their food and beverage intake, and then self-reported their weight loss and improvements in gastrointestinal health.

The paper’s self-admitted limitations, which passed through the peer-review process, included that there was no control group, and the participants were not blinded to the protocol.

Those are the very factors cited in the retraction notice published by the journal last week.

Also included were the self-reported symptoms and weight measurements, lack of potential confounding variables such as medications and dietary supplements, and the specifics of the prebiotic and probiotic components themselves, according to the paper.

The authors also did not assess the microbiome composition, according to the retraction notice.

But the methodology itself, which was approved by the peer-review editors was also cited, according to the notice.

“The authors did not report a statistical analysis plan and methodology clearly in their Methods section, and the applications of Cronbach’s alpha in the study has been questioned in light of the diverse symptoms assessed with the scale,” the journal writes.

The paper had drawn some scrutiny after publication, with one of the journal editors even quitting his post as a result. Duane Mellor, of Coventry University, publicly tweeted his departure on June 16.

“Sorry PLOS ONE when you publish uncontrolled diet book #nutribabble like (study link) now you have 1 less Academy Editor. Bye!” wrote Mellor.

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