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high fructose corn syrup diabetes

Does high fructose corn syrup cause type 2 diabetes?

The internet claims that high fructose corn syrup causes diabetes and a bunch of other maladies. Usually, based on some weak evidence, the usual suspects have tried to link high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to Type 2 diabetes.

Like many of these medical myths, there is, at its core, some tiny bit of evidence that is generally misinterpreted or misused that might support their claim. But let’s take a close look at Type 2 diabetes, HFCS, and the evidence that either supports or refutes the hypothesis that drinking HFCS is any more responsible for the disease than other sugars.

Read More »Does high fructose corn syrup cause type 2 diabetes?
scrabble pieces on a plate

Intermittent fasting diet — study shows that it might work, maybe

I’m a huge skeptic of diets, but I just read an article that seemed to indicate that the intermittent fasting diet can actually help lose weight. Now, the diet is not magical, it doesn’t make calories suddenly disappear, but it seems to work by a mechanism that causes a calorie deficit.

Now weight loss is a simple equation — calories burned must be greater than calories consumed. Humans are, in effect, a closed system — we don’t create calories from sunlight like plants, and we don’t absorb calories from the air. And we burn calories by doing anything from typing a long blog article to hiking up a mountain. There are no magical ways to change this calculation, despite the claims of many health nuts.

We are going to take a look at what is an intermittent fasting diet and this new research paper. Maybe some of you have tried it and it worked (or failed), then tell me in the comments that I’m either right or wrong.

Read More »Intermittent fasting diet — study shows that it might work, maybe
black tea

Does black tea increase lifespan? I hope so, but time for science

I was researching nonsense claims about foods when I came across a few articles that claimed that black tea could help you lead a long life. As I am a devoted drinker of black tea (only in the iced form, I’m not British, Australian, or Indian), I was intrigued. Was this some nonsense pushed by woo quacks, or was it based on robust science?

Now, I am especially skeptical about any nutritional study that attempts to link some food to any health benefit, and most of the recent articles were mostly on quack websites that support just about anything a scientist or my loyal readers would scoff at.

As you know, I’m going to get to the bottom of this story. Is there science? Or is it just typical junk science?

Read More »Does black tea increase lifespan? I hope so, but time for science
mucoid plaques

Mucoid plaques and colon detoxification junk science (UPDATED)

The internet is filled with all kinds of nonsense, but one of the more annoying is the issue of mucoid plaques and how they can ruin your life. Colon detoxification or, sometimes, colon cleansing to remove mucoid plaques is one of those strange alternative medicine ideas that hang around without one single bit of evidence supporting it.

Of course, it is time to take a look at this and debunk this junk science. Spoiler alert — it doesn’t do anything except take money from your pocket, like most pseudoscientific scams on the internet.

Read More »Mucoid plaques and colon detoxification junk science (UPDATED)
fatty fish

Two servings of fatty fish every week — does it help your heart?

Nearly 30 years ago, I attended an American Heart Association meeting and sat in on a presentation about fatty fish in the diet. The presenter claimed that two servings of fatty fish helped reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and other issues.

This presentation occurred way before I made a presence on the internet debunking nutritional claims. I thought that the researchers behind the study were smarter than me, so who am I to dismiss their claims? Plus, I enjoy fatty fish with my sushi, salmon, and lox with my bagels. I mean, I was already practicing the diet, so my cardiovascular system must be working well.

The study was eventually published, and it became gospel in the cardiology world. Everyone who had anything to do with cardiology — physicians, researchers, cardiovascular device manufacturers — jumped on board with their two servings of fatty fish.

Then I grew up to be a cranky, snarky skeptic. And I wondered if this recommendation was actually supported by science. And that’s when the foundation of this belief that I held crumbled very quickly.

Read More »Two servings of fatty fish every week — does it help your heart?
vitamin c cancer

Vitamin C does not prevent or treat cancer — let’s end this myth

One of the frequently made claims from the alternative medicine world is that vitamin C prevents cancer. Or cures cancer. But is there any real science behind vitamin C and cancer?

Of course, there are over hundreds of different cancers, each with a different etiology, pathophysiology, and prognosis, so it’s rather difficult to believe that vitamin C has that much effect on any of those cancers. But the claims, and their adherents, persist despite the lack of robust evidence supporting these claims.

Frankly, there are just a handful of ways to prevent cancer. One of those ways, eating a balanced diet, implies consuming appropriate amounts of nutrients, like vitamin C, I suppose. But does it mean that taking a handful of vitamin C tablets has some beneficial effect on cancer prevention or treatment? Well, let’s take a look.

Read More »Vitamin C does not prevent or treat cancer — let’s end this myth
sugar addictive

Is sugar addictive as cocaine ? Once again, let’s review the science

In my continuing effort to debunk or support nutritional claims, I will focus today on whether sugar is addictive. You cannot spend more than five minutes in a comment section on nutrition before someone says “sugar is as addictive as cocaine.”

And again, I believe a lot of simply accept that as a fact, even among reasonably scientific people. My default position regarding any nutritional claim these days is that there’s a 95% chance that it’s bogus.

There are a lot of nonsensical claims about sugar, and I’ll get to them during the next few weeks, but again, we are going to target the claim that sugar is addictive. And we’ll use real science, which is definitely missing from almost every nutritional claim.

Read More »Is sugar addictive as cocaine ? Once again, let’s review the science
keto diet

Keto diet – what does the scientific evidence say about its effectiveness?

As an ancient dinosaur, I’ve seen every diet fad from the popcorn diet to the South Beach diet to the paleo diet to the keto diet. Most of these fads are based on almost no good science, though they try to bring really bad science to convince themselves or others to “buy” into it, sometimes literally.

I’m sure that the ancient Romans had some diet fad diet that the aristocracy followed to keep themselves healthy – oh wait, the Roman upper class followed the Mediterranean diet, which may be one diet fad that stood the test of time and science.

Outside of the aforementioned Mediterranean diet, which includes whole grains, olive oil, seafood, legumes, and nuts, most of these diets lack robust scientific evidence supporting their usefulness in weight loss or maintaining some unbiased standard of health. But they certainly make a lot of money for those promoting them. The worldwide diet management market is estimated to be over $192 billion in 2019.  Wait, what? Obviously, I’m in the wrong business.

One of the current fads is the keto diet, which is all the rage among those looking to lose weight, improve their health, and, I’m sure, prevent cancer. Before someone thinks it really prevents cancer, it does not. In fact, it may increase the risk of cancer. But that’s another story for another day.

Let’s get into this keto diet fad. Is it supported by any robust, repeated, published evidence? Or, like most diet fads, is it mostly supported by testimony and anecdotes? 

Read More »Keto diet – what does the scientific evidence say about its effectiveness?
gluten free diets

Gluten-free diets, another food fad that is overhyped

In my effort to broaden the focus of this blog, I want to discuss a food fad that lacks scientific support — gluten-free diets. If you listen to the quacks on the internet, apparently organic, GMO-free, gluten-free diets will fix all that ails you and your kids.

Except it won’t unless you suffer from very rare medical conditions that make you very sensitive to gluten.

Like a lot of food fads, such as avoiding fats or carbohydrates, gluten-free diets seem to have a basis in real science and medicine, but it has exploded far beyond what real science-based medicine would recommend, and that would be to a very tiny patient population.

Let’s take a look at gluten and this diet fad.

Read More »Gluten-free diets, another food fad that is overhyped
artificial sweeteners obesity

Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity – poor evidence

This article about artificial sweeteners and obesity was written by Linda Tock, an American living in Denmark, who has an extensive research background in the biomedical sciences. She has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Chemistry and Health and will be pursuing a Ph.D. Ms. Tock has a fascination for Daphnia, an interesting planktonic crustacean, that is an important organism in studying pollution and environmental stresses. 

So I received a message from a friend of mine, wanting my opinion on this news article, which loudly proclaims that artificial sweeteners are linked to obesity. Because it was a genuine question regarding the science behind the study, and not a ‘concern troll’ about my preference for diet cola, I went and looked at the study itself to see what the fuss was about.

Read More »Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity – poor evidence