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cranberry juice UTI

Does cranberry juice really treat a UTI? Let’s check the science

It’s that time of year when Americans have cranberries and turkey, which made me wonder if the belief that cranberry juice could treat a UTI (urinary tract infection). Now, I love cranberry sauce — yes, I love the stuff that comes out of the can, and I will die on that hill, though I’m not a fan of the juice version. But I’ve had girlfriends who swear by cranberry juice for treating a bout of UTI.

I kept hearing about this magical curative power of cranberry juice for decades. So much so, that I began to wonder if it was just one of the myths that are repeated so often that we think they are a fact. Or is it supported by real science? You know, like the old adage that sugar causes your children to be hyper, which proved to not be supported by any science.

Well, your cranky old dinosaur wanted to find out whether it was a myth or science, so I jumped into cranberry bog with both feet.

Read More »Does cranberry juice really treat a UTI? Let’s check the science
Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving turkey and sleep — tryptophan isn’t the reason

As your favorite feathered dinosaur has been struck with COVID-19, he hasn’t been up to writing new content, so I’m bringing back my turkey and tryptophan myth busting article. Just in time for Thanksgiving, which I won’t be celebrating because I’m sheltering in place.

The old Thanksgiving turkey and tryptophan causing sleep myth appears every year on the fourth Thursday in November when the United States celebrates a holiday called Thanksgiving. You’ll hear about it over and over and over.

Basically, after eating mountains of food, including turkey, one of the guests at the table (fully vaccinated, of course) will pontificate about how eating turkey, which they claim is high in tryptophan, makes everyone want to sleep after the meal. 

Read More »Thanksgiving turkey and sleep — tryptophan isn’t the reason
Red No. 3

Red No. 3 food coloring — does it really increase risk of cancer?

Red No. 3 is a food coloring used in some foods, many of which will be familiar to you. As the name implies, it’s a red dye that makes candies and foods look better. It’s really not been in the news for decades, but then someone sent me an article about it, which piqued my interest.

Predictably, the chemophobia crowd, like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who thinks any chemical is a lousy chemical while ignoring the fact that every living thing on this planet is made up of billions of chemicals, is pushing the narrative that Red No. 3 causes cancer. You know what happens next, I go looking for any published evidence of whether the food coloring is linked to anything, including cancer.

Anyway, let’s take a look at Red No. 3 and find out what it does or does not do to humans.

Read More »Red No. 3 food coloring — does it really increase risk of cancer?
low-carb diet prediabetes

Low-carb diet helps reduce HbA1c in prediabetes — new research

In my ongoing series of articles on diets, I ran across some good research about low-carb (low-carbohydrate) diets and prediabetes. A new study published in a peer-reviewed journal indicates that the diet reduces blood glucose levels in prediabetics. More than that, it might be a valid treatment strategy to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Like I do with other primary research like this, I’ll present what they published and then give my take on the quality of the study.

Read More »Low-carb diet helps reduce HbA1c in prediabetes — new research
high fructose corn syrup honey

Compare honey to high fructose corn syrup — not much difference

I am a person that keeps saying “sugar is sugar,” but there are so many people who think honey is somehow “healthier” than high fructose corn syrup which we use in many foods. The fact is, from a chemical standpoint, there are very minor differences between honey and other sources of sugar.

One of the reasons for this belief is that honey is “natural” while high fructose corn syrup is an evil chemical. The appeal to nature is a logical fallacy that states that “natural” is good or better than the alternatives.

Let’s take a look at sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and honey. There’s a bit of science involved, but I’ll try to keep it easy to read.

Read More »Compare honey to high fructose corn syrup — not much difference
eight glasses water

The eight glasses of water a day myth — you will survive without it

I’m sure you have all read or seen it — drink eight glasses (about two liters) of water a day to stay healthy and hydrated. I see people carrying their Nalgene bottles of water constantly drinking and, of course, heading to the bathroom to eliminate some of that water.

This is one of those myths that keep getting repeated so that you might think was actually true, like walking those 10,000 steps every day.

As the old feathered dinosaur is meant to do, let’s take down this myth.

Read More »The eight glasses of water a day myth — you will survive without it
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
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?
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