Use of GRADE in evidence syntheses published in high-impact-factor nutrition journals: A methodological survey Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To identify and describe the use of the GRADE approach for rating the certainty of evidence in nutrition systematic reviews (SRs). STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We systematically searched for SRs using GRADE that were published between 2015 and 2019 in the 10 "nutrition" journals with the highest impact factor according to the JCR 2018. RESULTS: Out of 800 SRs, 55 SRs of randomized control trials (RCTs) and/or nonrandomized studies (NRSs) used GRADE. Forty-seven SRs (5.9%) rated the outcome specific certainty of evidence (n = 36 in 2018/2019). We identified a total of 465 certainty of evidence outcome ratings (n = 335 RCT ratings), ranging from very-low (28.8%) to low (41%), moderate (26.5%), and high (3.7%). Very-low and high certainty of evidence ratings accounted for 61.4% and 0.8% of ratings in SRs of NRSs, compared to 16.1% and 4.8% in SRs of RCTs. Certainty of evidence was downgraded mostly for risk of bias (37.8%) and imprecision (33%) in SRs of RCTs and for imprecision (32.7%), risk of bias (29.4%) and inconsistency (29%) in SRs of NRSs. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests a need for directing more attention toward strengthening acceptance of GRADE as well as building knowledge of the GRADE methodology in nutrition evidence synthesis.


  • Werner, Sarah S
  • Binder, Nadine
  • Toews, Ingrid
  • Schunemann, Holger
  • Meerpohl, Joerg J
  • Schwingshackl, Lukas

publication date

  • July 2021