A list of wellness myths, debunked
September 24, 2019 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Vice debunks wellness myths, all in one handy list. A look into what the real science says about apple cider vinegar as a cure-all, whether gluten-free food is healthier, whether detoxing is good for you, microwaves and radiation risks, the benefits of colonics, and whether antiperspirant causes breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, to name a few.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (117 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
 
All of this makes a lot of sense, although I am disappointed that my dark chocolate is nothing but a snack.

How about organic foods. Are they really better for you, in a meaningful way?
posted by Midnight Skulker at 9:40 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Look if I want to eat my placenta, no one is going to stop me.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:42 AM on September 24 [23 favorites]


Finally, I can hug my microwave without any guilt.
posted by Fizz at 9:45 AM on September 24 [11 favorites]


Finally, I can hug my microwave without any guilt.

But what will you do with the protective suit you've made from foil?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:47 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Like I get that not everyone has celiac but are people really trying to avoid gluten rather than just simple carbs?

When I avoid simple carbs, even fancy low sugar whole grains, even the much lauded steel cut oats, god do I feel so much better. My skin clears up, I sleep better, my mood improves.

I would rather forego breakfast than eat a pile of simple carbs. I’ll eat sweet potatoes and cauliflower and broccoli all day though.

I’m not celiac but eating regular pasta or pizza dough makes my belly visibly puffy. And me puffy. If I eat gluten free variants I don’t feel spacey and bloated.

I hate these articles that act like eating low carb or avoiding wheat and other grains is all due to some misguided notion over gluten. I know several people with celiac and a bunch who are low carb/paleo/keto/whatever. None of the non-celiacs ever mention gluten as an issue. They all mention simple carbs.

Is there some kind of fringe notion that gluten is the problem rather than piling on simple carbs?
posted by affectionateborg at 9:48 AM on September 24 [13 favorites]


counterpoint: when I drink ACV straight I feel the fire inside me, like I could reach out and punch God in the back of the head if I wanted to

I'm pretty sure it's what's in estus flasks
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:52 AM on September 24 [21 favorites]


Detoxing is great for you; in fact, everybody should have a liver.
posted by acb at 9:53 AM on September 24 [78 favorites]


The thing about lists like this is that they feel so futile. No one will stop publishing those catchy "Eat Chocolate For Health!" articles (except to publish the occasional "Chocolate: Can It KILL You?" article).

That's the frustrating thing about this data-overload age: Little of it is actually tested for accuracy, and it's all treated the same. Or worse: The one big metric that's used for sorting through it all is how popular it is among readers. Not that I have a solution, other than to be personally careful and discerning about my sources.
posted by heyitsgogi at 9:57 AM on September 24 [14 favorites]


The notion that gluten is bad for everyone isn’t a fringe thing, at least in my circle, especially among women. Marketing combined with lack of nutrition knowledge combined with Goop and its ilk. I was shopping for a dinner party with someone who insisted we get gluten free crackers because they were “healthier.” Why are they healthier? They just are. The same people who reflexively buy the reduced fat versions of any and all products. If no one you know has fallen for this, feel lucky!
posted by sallybrown at 9:58 AM on September 24 [73 favorites]


I don't know about it being a cure-all, but ACV most certainly takes care of my heartburn from time to time.
posted by jquinby at 10:02 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free", as if that were a surprise for the product or made it more healthy. "Morton's salt: now gluten free!"
posted by Nelson at 10:02 AM on September 24 [16 favorites]


Scanning through the articles I note that the health claims of the various items are presented collected together into a big straw-man to be debunked by a single expert. Careful reading of the expert testimony seems to indicate that some of the health benefit claims exist, some are hypothetical, others are fully debunked and finally some practices are actually unhealthy.

As a skeptical person I’m torn between my skepticism about for example probiotics vs my skepticism when I’m presented with information in this format.
posted by interogative mood at 10:04 AM on September 24 [25 favorites]


Apple cider vinegar is indeed good for salads! Also for poaching eggs, or for french fries, or for any other cooking thing where a nice lightly flavoured vinegar is called for.

For cleaning, I prefer plain vinegar, but that's just because it's cheaper.

Is there some kind of fringe notion that gluten is the problem rather than piling on simple carbs?

Yes, there are a large number of people who believe that gluten, specifically, is unhealthy and, despite not having any reaction to it or being sure what it is, are consuming processed products with rice flour or corn starch just to avoid gluten.

Just like there are people who think that fructose (aka "100% fruit juice) is better for you than sucrose (when it's probably the other way around), and that sucrose from "natural" sources (e.g. agave) is better for you than the exact same chemical that comes from ... the equally natural sugar cane.

Now, if I met someone who said they don't eat cane sugar because of the horrific working conditions in a lot of cane sugar production, I would totally support that choice. But sugar is sugar is sugar. My lovely dark brown sugar has a better taste on my oatmeal, due to some additional chemicals, and molasses has a good iron content, but the sucrose they also contain just the same as "refined" sugars.
posted by jb at 10:05 AM on September 24 [24 favorites]


CTRL-F honey

They need to mention that eating local honey does fuck all for allergies, despite what your friend/aunt/whoever says about it making their allergies better.

So tired of people telling me that local honey will help my allergies
posted by Fleebnork at 10:07 AM on September 24 [27 favorites]


Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free", as if that were a surprise for the product or made it more healthy. "Morton's salt: now gluten free!"

Someone I knew once saw donuts advertised as "cholesterol free!", as if that made up for all the fat and sugar.

I love donuts. I know they don't love me.
posted by jb at 10:08 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Aside from bacteria, the strong pressure of the water can also lead to colovesical fistula (an abnormal opening between the colon and the bladder) and perforation (rupture) of the rectum or bowel wall—definitely not places where you want holes. Even without perforation, colonics can lead to rectal pain and bleeding. One recent case report described a 34-year-old man who’d been experiencing such pain after his fifth colonic.

I used to play music with a group of folks that included a retired ER doctor. He was a reliable source of some pretty gnarly stories.

He once explained the dangers of colonics by means of an anecdote that began with, "So this patient comes in with what turned out to be a ruptured sigmoid colon..."

He had another story about a misplaced candle that also involved a ruptured sigmoid colon and an anesthetist whom he paged out of a Christmas party. According to him, she became visibly annoyed when she arrived and he explained the reasons for the emergency surgery for which her skills were required.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:08 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free", as if that were a surprise for the product or made it more healthy. "Morton's salt: now gluten free!"

a friend once bought laundry detergent at whole amazon and it was labeled 'gluten free' ffs.
posted by supermedusa at 10:12 AM on September 24 [21 favorites]


a friend once bought laundry detergent at whole amazon and it was labeled 'gluten free' ffs.

What's the problem, don't you want people with Celiac to have clean clothes
posted by Automocar at 10:15 AM on September 24 [13 favorites]


Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free", as if that were a surprise for the product or made it more healthy. "Morton's salt: now gluten free!"

This might sound ridiculous on its face, but gluten really does show up in places you wouldn't expect, like soup, ketchup, soy sauce, etc. It's used as a thickener in a lot of things.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:16 AM on September 24 [43 favorites]


How about organic foods.

There are some differences between organic and non-organic foods but whether that actually translates into organic food being safer or healthier is questionable.

In the US, organic foods have on average less pesticide residue than non-organic foods, and maybe slightly increased nutrients. But the level of pesticide residue on non-organic foods is well below what is considered safe, and the marginal differences in nutrient values haven't been shown to be important. And then there is the fact that organic foods can't be GMO, but there really is no evidence that matters.

Really, the way "organic" is treated in marketing and in the public consciousness is as a synonym for "natural", which is meaningless. Some of the criteria might matter (for individual health, for the environment, for political reasons), but it's a bundle of criteria, not a single meaningful thing.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:23 AM on September 24 [15 favorites]


a friend once bought laundry detergent at whole amazon and it was labeled 'gluten free' ffs.

A few years ago I bought a bottle of corn syrup to make a pecan pie, and noticed when I was pouring out the whole bottle into a pie shell that it was prominently emblazoned with a banner proclaiming it to be free of high-fructose corn-syrup.
posted by Mayor West at 10:31 AM on September 24 [9 favorites]


All I knows is, if other people aren't eating gluten that's more seitan for daddy.

(yes, yes, hail seitan)
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:39 AM on September 24 [19 favorites]


wow I had no idea about the gluten free fanaticism
posted by affectionateborg at 10:39 AM on September 24


whether detoxing is good for you

of course it's good for you, that's why we have a liver and kidneys inside of us. oh is that not what the article is about? it's about huge morons who think drinking sugar water for a week cures diseases? I see.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:40 AM on September 24 [9 favorites]


Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free", as if that were a surprise for the product or made it more healthy. "Morton's salt: now gluten free!"

My favorite example was a large (2 gallon) container of pork rinds, proudly labelled "gluten free." Though laundry detergent is impressively random.
posted by corvikate at 10:41 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I'm of the opinion that ACV helps keep a lot of people sober (me included!), and I enjoy being able to freely drink ACV-based beverages in public without being treated like a complete weirdo, so I'll ride this fad for as long as it lasts.
posted by Ruki at 10:42 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Re: stuff like "gluten free" and "cholesterol free" they can also be used as a sort of code that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what's directly being advertised

For example "cholesterol free" in a product that normally has cholesterol attracts me not for any reason to do with cholesterol but because dairy doesn't agree with me and dairy contains cholesterol. And at least in my experience a lot of people think "dairy free" = "worse version for lactose intolerant people".

Or how I will often opt for gluten free stuff at a restaurant/bakery/whatever, despite literally having a sack of vital wheat gluten in my pantry, because I take it to mean "we make this in a way you haven't tried before" and like the variety. I can't imagine "non-traditional" carrying positive connotations.
posted by ToddBurson at 10:46 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I definitely know people who quit eating gluten, not because they were diagnosed with Celiac, or a gluten allergy, but because they wanted to prevent "inflammation." Not necessarily inflammation of the GI tract, either. Muscle or joint inflammation, atopic dermatitis, even things that aren't inflammation at all (like migraines).

Also, when you are doing "oil pulling," you are not cleaning your teeth. You are simply making aioli in your mouth.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:46 AM on September 24 [17 favorites]


This one is kind of interesting: pre-workout fasting doesn't change how much fat you burn, but it might help with where the fat you burn is on your body. So within this list they're claiming that spot reduction maybe isn't a myth after all (though it isn't achieved the way people think it is).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:48 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Also, if you enjoy apple cider vinegar simply as a beverage, try some balsamico in sparkling water!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:49 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


It's used as a thickener in a lot of things.

i've seen bottles of water labeled as gluten-free so i devoutly hope no one is drinking thick water.

people with severe celiac do actually need all the things they eat and use to not have been exposed to gluten during their manufacturing, but none of these warnings were put on with their interests and needs in mind, they're done as marketing towards the fad dieters. so the existence of the labels is a little tedious but probably makes a small number of people's lives legitimately a lot better. i bet it feels annoying, though, to have struggled with something your entire life and to have it only made widely validated by people who believe nonsensical things about it.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:49 AM on September 24 [30 favorites]


i devoutly hope no one is drinking thick water

A bit afield, but I have some bad news.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:52 AM on September 24 [8 favorites]


like if the new Obsessive Health Awareness Campaign was suddenly "yeah invisible disabilities causing severe chronic pain are actually caused by secret microwaves from cellphones that the government doesn't want you to know about but it's something that everyone on earth now believes is extremely important to be aware of and will passionately discuss the validity of at great length" i would probably do war crimes
posted by poffin boffin at 10:53 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


the reduced fat versions of any and all products.

Those would be the ones with added salt or sugar, of course...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:53 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free", as if that were a surprise for the product or made it more healthy. "Morton's salt: now gluten free!"
As someone with celiac disease, I am finding the opposite problem, like how many things can seriously contain gluten? My current favourites:
- spices (cross contaminated as part of the packaging process, also health Canada found some coriander brands were 2% wheat and not labeled)
- herbal tea (turns out they use barley malt as a sweetener)
- salted mixed nuts (also cross contaminated in the packaging process)
- cauliflower reduced gluten pizza crust (contains wheat, because why fucking not)
- dried lentils (turns out crop rotation is a thing, mmmm unexpected wheat kernels)
- shampoo (hydrolyzed wheat protien, technically safe to put on your skin, just you know wash your hands after so you don't ingest any)
- chocolate (sub 70% usually has barley malt, then that shit gets everywhere).
- supplements/medication (hey y'all hold my beer, turns out you can use gluten as a binding agent!)

Basically anything over 20ppm screws up my day, and I fricken love gluten free labeling because it means the manufacturer will get their ass handed to them by health Canada if they have any contamination.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 10:54 AM on September 24 [69 favorites]


Thank you. I have a friend who will not shut up about lemon water.
posted by falsedmitri at 10:55 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


When you suffer from a chronic illness, especially with chronic pain, it can lead you down some pretty out there alleyways. You get desperate for any kind of relief so I can only imagine that gets worse when you live in a country without consistent universal health care. So as stupid as some of these are I have some empathy as being sick sucks.

I will say that the list is missing one of my favourite out there cure-alls - colloidal silver. My in-laws got indoctrinated into that a bit a couple years ago when they went to Florida one winter. My partner didn't know much about it but got talked into it from their parents so they dutifully accepted a container and brought it home to use for their chronic inflammatory disease. I spotted it and showed them a picture of the politician Stan Jones and that was the end of that.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:57 AM on September 24 [20 favorites]


Oh, and what does upset me? Is bullshit gluten free labelling, usually found in restaurants. That gluten free pizza made in the same pan used for regular pizza and shoved in the same oven and prepared in the same room with a bunch of flour? Its not gluten free dammit. At least most of the time rudimentary questioning will tell you that the person preparing the food is clueless about safe allergy controls.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 11:00 AM on September 24 [19 favorites]


Lemon water irritates my throat. I figured maybe it wasn't so great to drink.
posted by bananana at 11:13 AM on September 24


Its not gluten free dammit. At least most of the time rudimentary questioning will tell you that the person preparing the food is clueless about safe allergy controls.

Gluten intolerance is not an allergy. Wheat allergy is an true allergy and can cause, rarely, anaphylactic reactions. Gluten-free does not mean wheat-free. So the idea of gluten cross-contamination being dangerous is kind of silly. If you have a wheat allergy, you shouldn't be eating anything containing wheat, whether gluten-free or not.
posted by JackFlash at 11:18 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


If you have a wheat allergy, you shouldn't be eating anything containing wheat, whether gluten-free or not.

Reminds me of my mother's dippy friend who said that my mom (who has celiac disease, as do all her siblings) couldn't eat dinner rolls because they were dusted on top with flour.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:21 AM on September 24


Nelson: "Morton's salt: now gluten free!"

Also Asbestos-free! (XKCD)

Which now feels like it makes light of real issues dealt with folks like Pink Fuzzy Bunny. I'm sorry.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:24 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


When you suffer from a chronic illness, especially with chronic pain, it can lead you down some pretty out there alleyways. You get desperate for any kind of relief so I can only imagine that gets worse when you live in a country without consistent universal health care. So as stupid as some of these are I have some empathy as being sick sucks.

yeah...my future is increasingly looking like a chronic pain type of event so although I am generally skeptical I do find myself getting intrigued by various woo methods that promise relief from, say, joint pain (the 5 month trial of Glucosamine Sulfate did not yield any results). we all fantasize about a universal panacea but life is pain, princess.
posted by supermedusa at 11:25 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Also, when you are doing "oil pulling," you are not cleaning your teeth. You are simply making aioli in your mouth.

when oil pullers mate with ACV shooters they make adorable salad dressing babies <3
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:28 AM on September 24 [13 favorites]


Gluten free: my son was diagnosed with celiac about ten years ago. So we made the home gluten free, changed his life, and he became much, much healthier. Grew something like 4 inches in a year, mood improved, school improved, etc.

He (and we, as his parents) have gone through what Pink Fuzzy Bunny describes. First, gluten in every other damn thing. Next, bad labeling. (We boycotted a local restaurant because, after my son carefully ordered a GF meal, the manager insisted some glutinous bread wasn't really a problem for people with celiac)

I think Owain likes some of the positive side effects of the GF diet craze, like having more information and more options.
posted by doctornemo at 11:31 AM on September 24 [12 favorites]


Gluten intolerance is not an allergy. Wheat allergy is an true allergy and can cause, rarely, anaphylactic reactions.

Cœliac disease is neither of these two things, though.
posted by ambrosen at 11:31 AM on September 24 [14 favorites]


Regardless of accuracy in a target rich environment, why in the world would anyone listen to Vice about anything that isn't related to partying or party drugs? Or maybe how to join the Proud Boys?


This is anecdotal but I find that alleviating seasonal allergies with local honey works if they're actually just seasonal pollen caused allergies, and not allergies caused by mold, mildew or other sources.

But the local honey also needs to be unfiltered and unpasteurized, which means you really need to find a hyper-local beekeeper who actually has active, producing hives within your area. It has to contain pollen from your local geographic area. You can also just buy local bee pollen and sprinkle it over your food like nutritional yeast.

I've been using this method for like 15-20 years or so, and it notably will not work when it's not hyper-local, unfiltered honey.

If I don't do this my seasonal allergies will reliably last over a month and I will get sinus infections and such.

When I do remember to go find some local honey I have maybe one or two miserable days of allergies and it's over and I am allergy free until next time.

I suspect I could find the same relief and benefit if I just went and smelled all the flowers and exposed myself to as much variety of pollen as I could in the space of a day or two, but this is impractical to accomplish.
posted by loquacious at 11:33 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


when oil pullers mate with ACV shooters they make adorable salad dressing babies <3

it's cute until the inevitable separation
posted by aws17576 at 11:34 AM on September 24 [35 favorites]


Re organics, I like Kurzgesagt's take (sources in the "more" section).
posted by cowcowgrasstree at 11:35 AM on September 24


During a previous food-labelling craze, a lot of items started being marked as A FAT FREE FOOD, notably things like jellybeans that are close to 100% sugar.
posted by gimonca at 11:43 AM on September 24 [8 favorites]


Regardless of accuracy in a target rich environment, why in the world would anyone listen to Vice about anything that isn't related to partying or party drugs? Or maybe how to join the Proud Boys?

Vice actually has some good reporting; I've noticed it especially around Indigenous issues, which are often ignored by other news outlets. I particularly liked this op-ed piece by Anishinaabe/Metis writer Ryan McMahon: Canadians Need to Face Uncomfortable Truths About How We Treat Indigenous People. It's a very powerful piece that pulls no punches.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:45 AM on September 24 [21 favorites]


Midnight Skulker, I did a little research about whether organic food is better for people and couldn't find much of anything. This sort of makes sense, considering how hard it would be to find out what's in what people actually eat.

I also found out (and I hope I have this right) is that legally speaking, "organic" means that the pesticides have to be biologically produced. Plants and insects make nasty compounds to protect themselves.

This means that organic food may not have less or safer pesticides (assuming that it's dangerous to eat the amount of pesticides in food) than conventionally grown food.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 11:45 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


To be fair to Ketogenic diet pushers, it does actually appear to beat out weight loss drugs in some clinical trials. The problem is survivor bias, the people who can't handle how much the diet sucks drop out at a higher rate than the weight loss drug group. Additionally, I'm not sure any non-surgical intervention is effective long term on weight. People have to make tremendous lifestyle changes to maintain weight loss and to some extent their body will always be trying to return to it's heaviest weight. It needs caloric restriction to work, but I'm not convinced it's not easier to maintain a sense of satiety to restrict calories on protein and fat rich diets.

As a diabetic who has been trying to avoid ketosis most of my adult life a ketogenic diet is difficult to even contemplate, but there are potential benefits beyond weight loss like possibly clearing up NASH or other liver ailments.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:45 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I'm mostly weary of the gluten-free craze, but it has had one side benefit: you can get bags of almond flour and hazelnut flour at regular grocery stores now. Either is a great ingredient in old-school tortes, pastries and cookies. I used to make my own almond flour by grinding blanched almonds in an electric coffee grinder--now I can just buy it.
posted by gimonca at 11:47 AM on September 24 [10 favorites]


43. You can lose weight without cutting carbs.
Going low-carb isn’t a sustainable diet in the long term, or a particularly healthy one. Read the full story.


What an odd choice of sub-title for this one. Just because low carb isn't a great diet choice doesn't mean that any other diet will work, either. If A doesn't lead to B, that doesn't mean Not-A leads to B.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:49 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


There is a difference between the High Fructose Corn Syrup that is being kept out of the pie shell and the regular corn syrup you put in the pecan pie. The former is made from the latter by converting some of its glucose into fructose. Also, High-Maltose corn syrup is a thing and it too is gluten free.
posted by soelo at 12:00 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Lemon water irritates my throat. I figured maybe it wasn't so great to drink.

Call me wacky, but I found that adding sugar to lemon water makes a rather refreshing drink, especially in the summer. (I do use about half as much sugar as the recipe calls for.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:03 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


Lower carb diets (not necessarily ketogenic) will likely be the recommended diet in the next 10-20 years, and in that time frame we'll have much better targeted diet advice and treatment based on advances in gut bacteria science. Most diet advice is pre-scientific, and not just because people have something to sell and want to keep you in state of learned helplessness. It's because we're maybe 1/4 of the way to a complete picture of how nutrition works in human bodies.

I think a lot of people who do not have Celiac disease but genuinely feel better going gluten free are probably getting benefits from being lower carb - not that gluten free necessarily means lower carb. If you just switched from wheat thins to corn chips nothing is going to change.
posted by MillMan at 12:13 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free", as if that were a surprise for the product or made it more healthy.

I've seen nail polish labeled gluten free at Whole Foods. I wish I'd had a camera.

A lot of my gory gastro problems as well as fatigue seem to be tied to wheat, but not all wheat-containing items all of the time.
posted by jgirl at 12:17 PM on September 24


I have an acquaintance who works in the "health food" marketing business. His company helped launch Kind Bars to the big profile they have today. He told me that in many cases it's illegal to advertise things like water or nail polish, which do not normally contain things like gluten, as "gluten free." Might be different from state to state though.
posted by SoberHighland at 12:37 PM on September 24


Two words: Placebo. Effect.

I WANT to believe!
posted by BlueHorse at 12:39 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Omg I am so excited for this. Going to read, hoping stupid bone broth is on the list!
posted by agregoli at 12:43 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Sigh, no bone broth. Good list though.
posted by agregoli at 12:49 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


For everyone talking about how great ACV is, please keep in mind that ACV (Alcohol Content by Volume) is only a unit of measure. Do not be fooled by all the "health" industry marketing. Just because a bottle claims ACV on the label, does not mean it is good for you. You want at least 40-60% ACV for any true beneficial effects. The more you know...
posted by booksarelame at 12:55 PM on September 24 [15 favorites]


This is anecdotal but I find that alleviating seasonal allergies with local honey works if they're actually just seasonal pollen caused allergies, and not allergies caused by mold, mildew or other sources.

I really shouldn't need to provide a link, but here is the science.

I don't understand why this myth is so difficult to combat. I guess it just sounds "truthy"
posted by Fleebnork at 12:59 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


Gasp! You mean wheat is actually good for you? I just watched 15 hours of gripping Youtube videos about Zonulin being released by wheat consumption, which widens the intra-cellular gap in my intestinal wall thereby releasing the bad bacteria in my gut into my bloodstream. Who knew that mere wheat consumption could be so deleterious to my overall well being and can only be healed by copious applications of more Youtube videos, creams, ointments and web sites promising eternal vigor and youth.
posted by diode at 1:00 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


I think Owain likes some of the positive side effects of the GF diet craze, like having more information and more options.
Very much this. I roll my eyes about gluten intolerance, but it has vastly expanded options for people who have coeliac disease (I don't have coeliac, but have a friend who does). There now exist gluten-free chocolate hobnobs, which I can only conclude has improved life for coeliacs by at least 700%.
posted by Vortisaur at 1:00 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


as a diagnosed celiac for lifer my favorite billboard was the one that advertised gluten free wheel alignment.
posted by wmo at 1:04 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


My favorite "ridiculous labelling" on something was the owner of a gym that I knew posting a "paleo mayonnaise" recipe on her instagram and it was... literally just how you make mayo from scratch.

nthing the thing that lots of people are gluten-free because "inflammation" and "gut health." I do have a few legit celiac disease folks as friends/coworkers though, and I'm sorry but intestinal damage and severe weight loss and anemia are a different world than "I feel bloated".

I am happy for the ridiculous fads, though, because my son is on the ketogenic-diet-for-epilepsy which is super strict compared to what most people think of as keto, but it means there are a ton of useful products out there, as well as all the lower-carb gluten-free things like nut flours and such. I can shop for him at normal grocery stores instead of specialty woo health stores or shopping entirely online. I'll take it.

on preview: vortisaur I found a recipe for medical-ketogenic-diet-friendly hobnobs and was SO EXCITED to make them for my son even though he is not even 2 and doesn't even know what a real hobnob is. BUT NOW HE SHALL KNOW.
posted by olinerd at 1:05 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


My favorite "ridiculous labelling" on something was the owner of a gym that I knew posting a "paleo mayonnaise" recipe on her instagram and it was... literally just how you make mayo from scratch.

Lots of recipes for mayonnaise include white sugar, which I assume is not Paleo.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:12 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


I’ve never understood the “inflammation” and “gut health” stuff. Your gut is your instinct not a body part! And my gut says that stuff is a bit wacky.

I do find a lot of “paleo” stuff is really making things old style and not relying on white sugar for flavor. I might be wrong but I think sugar used to be quite expensive so other things had to make do. I used to think people were crazy for finding apples sweet but once I stopped eating so much food with added sugar or HFCS (even something like ketchup), suddenly apples were like candy. It’s wild.

( and not sure if the reference to bloated was to my earlier comment but I definitely know that celiac and feeling bloated are different. I personally feel better not eating wheat and most grains, but they don’t make me ill the way gluten does for a celiac. I was in no way trying to minimize what celiac or those with food allergies go through!)
posted by affectionateborg at 1:19 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I really shouldn't need to provide a link, but here is the science.

I can see some flaws in the methodology. What common aeroallergens? Was it restricted to pollen or did it include mold, pet dander or other allergens not present in honey? What was the other ambient exposure in the study subjects lives? How did they constrain the study to study specific allergies to local pollen that matched the flowers that bees were harvesting from?

I understand they're trying to address the general issue and theory in a really general way, but the full folk remedy doesn't actually claim "local honey cures all allergies" and it definitely is not claiming that it will cure symptoms of histamine reactions and rhinoconjunctivitis after someone is afflicted - it's not claiming to solve that - but is rather saying a much more specific, limited thing about helping make seasonal allergies from pollen in particular slightly less miserable to adapt to and live through if you eat local honey some time before allergy season swings into full force.

It's not claiming to be a cure for symptoms, it's claiming to be a preventive thing that intentionally exposes you to local pollen in a way that inoculates you and helps your body defend itself better and produce less histamines when exposed to airborne pollen.

I don't get very severe allergies but I've found it works for pollen, and I'm really generally skeptical about woo, and so I'll keep doing it because pollen seasonal allergies are lame.
posted by loquacious at 1:27 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Would love to add yoga to the list. I've been told so many times it's the answer to all my physical problems, and it just makes me worse.
posted by Peach at 1:27 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free"

Where I'm from we call this a "supermarket" or "grocery store".
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:31 PM on September 24 [11 favorites]


A tablespoon of ACV in a glass of water will decongest my sinuses in about 30 minutes to the mark. I don't do this regularly, though. Just when I need it. It seems to stop working after a couple of days. If I'm still stuffed up at that point, it's doctor time.
posted by bryon at 1:46 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


That sounds better than Sudafed. I’ll have to remember that.
posted by affectionateborg at 1:49 PM on September 24


I do think that paying attention to carb intake has been very useful for me, since I was diagnosed pre-diabetic. I cut out all simple sugars, switched to low glycemic index carbs (Parboiled Rice and Quinoa in my case), do regular intermittent fasts, eat protein with every meal, etc. It has stabilized/lowered my A1C hemoglobin level.

So this low carb thing may not be a good universal advice for someone who is already healthy; if you are doing it for a specific metabolic purpose; it is a useful thing. My doctor wants to put me on medication for this and I was adamant to fixing this with a change in diet combined with exercise. It is working so far.
posted by indianbadger1 at 2:10 PM on September 24 [9 favorites]


This is one of many studies showing that non-celiac, non-allergic gluten sensitivity is a real entity.

And in fact, gluten immunochemistry is so broad, complex, and multifaceted it would be astonishing if gluten sensitivity did not exist.

The real mystery is why so many otherwise well informed people are determined to tell other people their reactions to a foodstuff cannot be real in the face of so much research and other evidence to the contrary.
posted by jamjam at 2:13 PM on September 24 [16 favorites]


Sham wellness behaviors are a critically important way to give the worried-well an outlet for their nervous energy. If it were not so we would have far less time to care for actual sick people. In that respect I am quietly ok with them.
posted by docpops at 2:22 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Gluten intolerance is not an allergy. Wheat allergy is an true allergy and can cause, rarely, anaphylactic reactions. Gluten-free does not mean wheat-free. So the idea of gluten cross-contamination being dangerous is kind of silly. If you have a wheat allergy, you shouldn't be eating anything containing wheat, whether gluten-free or not.

Cross contamination being dangerous is a thing for people with Celiac disease, which is why gluten free labelling in food products has VERY strict definitions that the product HAS to test under 20ppm, if a batch doesn't its subject to a recall. For people with Celiac disease small amounts of gluten (which is a component of wheat, rye, barley and other similar grains) trigger an immune reaction that causes the antibodies to target not just the gluten protein but also other body tissues, leading to all sorts of fun. This is not immediately life threatening, but over time causes intestinal damage, malnutrition and a variety of fun things leading eventually to a higher risk of several forms of cancer.

The amount needed to trigger the reaction necessary to cause intestinal damage? around 10-50 mg of gluten per day, so picture a drop of water. Or 1/250th of a slice of bread.

So no, I don't think being worried about cross contamination is silly. Unless you are doing it for the fad diet reasons, at which point what the hell is wrong with you, I would sacrifice so many animals to whatever deities you want for the ability to eat pastries without getting sick. Croissants? so fucking good, thin crust Italian pizza with the really gluteny crust? Why would you not eat that?
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 2:28 PM on September 24 [16 favorites]


Sham wellness behaviors are a critically important way to give the worried-well an outlet for their nervous energy. If it were not so we would have far less time to care for actual sick people. In that respect I am quietly ok with them.

A lot of it seems to me to be coming from a kind of religious impulse to avoid impurity. If people aren't obese, don't smoke, don't have substance abuse disorders, they are doing pretty well, really, health-wise. But they don't seem to be content with that.
posted by thelonius at 2:33 PM on September 24 [9 favorites]


Related and even more excellent: Snake Oil Supplements, a data visualization from Information is Beautiful. It tracks evidence for supplement effectiveness/ineffectiveness for specific conditions, and arranges it as an easily-read "balloon race". They share all their data, and they've got a version for superfoods, too.
posted by ourobouros at 2:33 PM on September 24 [14 favorites]


One things that hurts these conversations in multiple ways is both confusion over different kinds of food issues & their associated terminologies, folks misusing those terms in conversations like these and making that issue worse, BUT ALSO other folks weaponizing the terminology and using it to tell other people they don't have medical issues they do in fact have.

Concrete example: my mother and I both have an egg intolerance. She refers to it as an allergy, because it's pretty severe, impacts her life seriously, and wants people (like in restaurants) to take it seriously when she's checking ingredients. It is ... not an allergy. It's our digestive systems, not our immune systems, that take the hit, and we're not at risk for anaphylactic reaction. Her calling it an allergy is wrong -- but in many practical conversations "not an allergy" means "not important." (There are of course assholes out there who also don't take allergies seriously, but fewer.)

Gluten is even tougher, because there are 3-4 categories (Celiac, gluten intolerance, wheat allergy, and "maybe it's FODMAPs actually"), some of those categories have science behind them that is still in flux, AND there are some fad dynamics that have both helped people with the relevant issues AND confused things and added noise to the system -- and ALSO there are folks who love to use debunking as a way to tell other people how to eat.

Which is not good! The science around MSG intolerance being not a thing is pretty solid at this point -- but if I slip MSG into someone's dinner because their unsubstantiated belief annoys me, I'm pretty sure I'm the asshole, not them.
posted by feckless at 2:44 PM on September 24 [20 favorites]


Placebo effects can be pretty powerful, as can the related (but less mediagenic) nocebo effects. The problem with snake oil and wellness shamfads isn't really people getting good placebo results from things that aren't bad in themselves (I mean, whether or not it does a thing for allergies, fresh-from-the-hive honey is amazing; and really, everyone could probably stand to eat fewer simple carbohydrates). The real problem is when the fads start getting enough gravity that they start pulling people into nocebo orbits around them--which of course intersects by complicating both the lives of, and treatment of and attitudes towards, people with real(er) conditions.
posted by Drastic at 2:47 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


A tablespoon of ACV in a glass of water will decongest my sinuses in about 30 minutes to the mark.

well now that got me thinking, has anyone tried ACV in a neti pot?
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:49 PM on September 24


That sounds better than Sudafed. I’ll have to remember that.

Well, if you already have rhinitis and symptoms you might as well take the Sudafed if you're not adverse to it. To be honest I miss being able to get plain old Ephedrine for the same use. That stuff cut through a head cold like a laser, because ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are effectively stimulants as well. Some people can't take anti-histamines of various kinds if they have addiction issues or history there.

Eating local honey definitely will not cure or do anything if you're already reacting, and it isn't a claim that I've heard made by the folk remedy in it's full form. Maybe if you put it in a cup of hot tea it'll be soothing and nutritious but that's about it.

I think that there's a lot of legitimate and useful folk medicine and remedy that's misinterpreted and overinflated like this, and the legitimately useful folk or holistic remedy stuff isn't "You can cure cancer and depression with nootropic HGH kelp smoothies and weird deionized water" but much more "this may help a little. yes, you can numb a toothache with clove oil, but it doesn't solve the cavity. Yes, chamomile and hops makes you sleepy, lavender is calming, terpenes are a thing that can be soothing or energizing. Yes, you should definitely eat more vegetables, have some nice herbal tea instead of sugary drinks or too much alcohol and eat less processed food. Yes, you'll feel better if you take care of yourself like a complicated houseplant with emotions, but no it won't prevent or cure cancer or depression and yes, you should go to an actual doctor."

I'd probably be dead if I didn't know about the use of megadoses of raw garlic as a home remedy for some tooth infections when I didn't have access to health care. It works but it requires a lot of garlic, like a head or two a day and you treat it just like a course of antibiotics and keep at it for days and days until you smell like an old soggy loaf of garlic bread. (I would have happily taken modern antibiotics first if I had access to them, but I didn't.)
posted by loquacious at 2:51 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


has anyone tried ACV in a neti pot?

The general consensus when that question hit AskMe was "that would probably hurt a lot and I wouldn't recommend it".
posted by hanov3r at 2:52 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Your gut is your instinct not a body part! And my gut says that stuff is a bit wacky.

The "gut" is the biology-wide (including, AFAIK, medicine) term for the digestive tract in any animal with enough cells to have one. The instinct seems to be associated with the base of the stomach, where gut feelings come from, yes?

Somewhere there must be a gallery of products absurdly labelled "gluten free"

There's this Peel Back The Label thing on Twitter, which posts irregularly & would probably love to have your contributions.
posted by sneebler at 3:09 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


The science around MSG intolerance being not a thing is pretty solid at this point

I love telling health nuts that love Vietnamese food that pho has MSG and watch them lose their minds.
posted by numaner at 3:48 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Lower carb diets (not necessarily ketogenic) will likely be the recommended diet in the next 10-20 years

I sure hope not. It might be better for the gut but it sure isn't for the planet.
posted by noxperpetua at 4:06 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I can see some flaws in the methodology. What common aeroallergens? Was it restricted to pollen or did it include mold, pet dander or other allergens not present in honey? What was the other ambient exposure in the study subjects lives? How did they constrain the study to study specific allergies to local pollen that matched the flowers that bees were harvesting from?

All of this skepticism and questions leveled at the study and yet you keep on believing the honey works somehow based on... what?

This is exactly why the stuff we are talking about in this thread is so hard to dispel.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:31 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


It's not claiming to be a cure for symptoms, it's claiming to be a preventive thing that intentionally exposes you to local pollen in a way that inoculates you and helps your body defend itself better and produce less histamines when exposed to airborne pollen.

And furthermore, that’s how allergy shots work.

The difference is, the allergy shots inoculate you against the specific airborne pollens, while honey is made from bee-carried pollens, which aren’t airborne and are not the kind you’re allergic to.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:45 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


I was gluten free for 10 years, because an allergist told me I was “probably” allergic to wheat and that was causing my stomach problems. Six months ago a GI doctor told me I’m probably not allergic to wheat, my problem is rapid gastric emptying, and as long as I eat small portions, don’t drink water + lay down for 15 minutes after each meal, I can eat as much wheat as I want. Specifically, I should eat a lot of refined carbs, because whole grain stuff is harder on my particular gut.

Y’all, it’s fucking GLORIOUS. I can’t believe there are people who go gluten free just because. Holy shit. Life is so much easier and enjoyable now. Love yourselves.
posted by brook horse at 6:40 PM on September 24 [17 favorites]


Sigh, no bone broth. Good list though.

I actually recently learned an amazing thing you can do with bone broth. You can add various herbs and aromatics, and even root vegetables, and then simmer it for a little while. You can then add tofu after simmering, or, if you prefer, animal proteins like chicken, beef or fish, just before you start your simmer.

Apparently, it's called "soup."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:57 PM on September 24 [22 favorites]


One of the article in here is about how meditation can be bad for you.

Well, bullshit. Count your breaths, or whatever tantric stuff you do. Chances are it's going to open things up for you. Keto, gluten...whatever. But awareness is good, period. If meditation triggers unpleasant feelings, and of course it may, well, deal with it. Better than suppressing it.

The most common results of meditation are peacefulness and bliss. Take a chance! I apologize in advance for those who don't care for evangelical proclamations, but I swear by it. Diets come and go.
posted by kozad at 8:00 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


"deal with it" is awfully flippant advice when "it" could very well be "emotional trauma that needs help from a therapist but one isn't necessarily immediately accessible because mental health systems suck". I've had to be careful and selective about how I go about meditating because of this.
posted by divabat at 8:10 PM on September 24 [16 favorites]


But awareness is good, period.

Not if you're me my dude! Hyper-awareness as an Autist is the way to anxiety and freakouts! Meditation: Best for the neurotypical! (disclaimer: some neurodivergent people *can* meditate, bully for them, but holy shit not me or any other autist I personally know!)
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:48 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


meditation is great for adhd bc you get to sleep anxiously sitting up on the floor in an uncomfortable position which is not really something you get to do otherwise
posted by poffin boffin at 11:01 PM on September 24 [14 favorites]


How about organic foods. Are they really better for you, in a meaningful way?

'Food' is an awful big umbrella term. With fruit/veg, human lifespans probably aren't long enough to notice most deleterious effects from pesticides firsthand but the natural world certainly suffers and you would feel the knock-on if all the pollinating insects are wiped out.

But when it comes to consuming animal products, you are avoiding growth hormones and other additives (hello chlorine chicken). The animals are more likely to be fed appropriate feed and not so intensively reared with accelerated life cycles.

There's an animal welfare issue too (for example I'm led to believe organic egg hens have much better living conditions than free range hens, who often still have their beaks clipped) so if feeling better about yourself counts towards wellbeing, that's also a reason.

And finally you will be helping stem the overuse of antibiotics in farming - and to be honest if anything is going to be better for you and the rest of the world it will be not catching some antibiotic-resistant superbug.
posted by Shatner's Bassoon at 3:22 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


They missed flossing on their list.
posted by fairmettle at 3:27 AM on September 25


https://www.insider.com/why-meditation-can-be-bad-2018-3

One way of looking at this is that meditation is a challenge, and it's a good level of challenge for a lot people and too much for others.

If it goes wrong, it can cause serious mental problems which last for years.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:01 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


This past thread on meditation being yoked to market fad-forces also touched on meditation not being an unalloyed panacea.
posted by Drastic at 7:00 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Reading this list is a great way to feel smug about how you didn't fall for obviously fake health fads and misinformation, but I would encourage folks to follow the links to their "evidence" against these things and decide for themselves. A lot of it is more or less one researcher's opinion contrary to a mountain of peer-reviewed evidence, and a couple even present evidence for the thing they are saying is fake.
posted by FakeFreyja at 7:03 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


1. Pink Himalayan salt. But the proceeds go to making people feel better about breast cancer.

2. Lectins are not bad for you. O, rilly? Then why are they named like a supervillain?

3. Probiotics. Sauerkraut and kichi are tasty; you should eat them. Gut health is a fad, but may yield useful research. If your gut actually leaked, you'd be in Intensive Care.

7. "Alkalizing" your body with alkaline water allows us to put cheap-ass baking soda in water and charge a ton.

8. Apple cider. If apple cider vinegar were not ridiculously cheap, it would be hailed as a culinary treasure.

9. You don’t need to detox with a juice cleanse. Most Americans really don't eat nearly enough fiber. Want to detox? Eat way more fiber, drink water.

10. Activated charcoal. Charcoal is activated by grinding it into a fine powder to maximize its surface area. Or maybe with crystals

15. Gluten is perfectly fine for being super annoying.

21. Weighted blankets. They are full of plastic pellets. Find some old wool blankets; they weigh a ton.

25. Microwaves. They tell you not to microwave baby formula or breast milk; that's because you are assumed to be so sleep-deprived you'll overheat it and scald the baby.

29. Epsom salts don't relieve muscle pain. Magnesium may help with muscle cramps. You can get it from nuts and fruits.

30. You can’t cure depression by working out. Outdoor exercise seems to provide real help for depression. Not a substitute, but should be incorporated into treatment. Read the full story.

31. Meditation is probably a good habit for a lot of people.

44. There are no known health risks associated with eating genetically modified foods (GMOs). There is no health risk in avoiding GMO foods, and not trusting Big Ag is not stupid.
posted by theora55 at 8:47 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right I trust Mark Bittman about food and diet. If you follow his recipes and food recommendations, you'll eat healthy food that tastes great.

Food manufacturers devote a lot of effort to making cheap snacks and foods that will sell a lot and be profitable. An awful lot of processed foods are pretty bad to eat as a regular diet. Organic foods might be a little healthier; I wish I could afford them. So much of what's in the grocery's Natural section may be organic, but it's also full of sugars and empty calories,just fancier ones. The supplement industry in the US is basically unregulated, and mostly snake oil. Very profitable snake oil.

I have a poorly diagnosed autoimmune disorder that causes inflammatory arthritis and I'm lactose intolerant. Giving up dairy really helped my joint pain, but it's anecdata. I have friends who eat such restricted diets, I can't eat with them, and it's a shame; food is even better when shared. I'm really tired of people proselytizing about gluten, lectins, leaky gut, blah. I've done trials of eliminating various foods, but it's boring. Have a lemon blueberry bran muffin and hush.

Rice, by the way, has a fair amount of arsenic in it, because it's a heavily irrigated crop. The arsenic is natural and carcinogenic. Eat rice but rinse it.

Thanks for posting this, I feel better having gotten a lot of my food opinions off my chest.
posted by theora55 at 9:14 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Let me share with you my juice cleanse:

1. Acquire a bottle of Miralax and a carton of orange juice.
2. Each day for however long it takes, drink a glass of orange juice with a dose of Miralax stirred into it.
3. (Optional) Take one stool softener each morning and night.
4. Enjoy your very cleansed digestive tract!
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:33 PM on September 25


By a remarkable and highly intriguing coincidence, from its discovery in the 19th century into the 1960s, MSG was derived mainly from wheat gluten:
Why the confusion over gluten-free status? MSG wasn’t always produced using fermentation. It used to be isolated from protein sources that contained high amounts of glutamic acid (monosodium glutamate is a monosodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid). The protein source typically used was wheat gluten. In fact, glutamic acid was first isolated in 1866 from the wheat prolamin gliadin. When MSG first became available commercially in 1909 it was isolated from wheat flour. Wheat gluten remained the primary source of MSG until the 1960s when other methods of production were developed, including chemical synthesis and fermentation.

If you are still concerned about MSG… keep in mind that under FALCPA if a food regulated by the FDA includes an ingredient that contains wheat protein, the word “wheat” must be included on the food label either in the ingredients list or Contains statement. In other words, if MSG was isolated from wheat gluten or produced via fermentation using wheat starch, AND it contained protein from wheat, “wheat” would appear on the label of an FDA-regulated food.

BUT even if MSG is either isolated from wheat gluten or fermented using wheat starch as a starting material, keep in mind that MSG is the monosodium salt of the single amino acid glutamic acid. MSG is NOT gluten, or gliadin, or even a celiac-toxic chain of amino acids. Might it contain residual gluten? Possible—maybe–but highly unlikely. This was confirmed by Thomas Grace of Bia Diagnostics in Burlington, Vermont, “It is unlikely that you will find any trace of gluten in MSG.” MSG is a highly processed and purified substance. It has to be in order to impart its flavor “enhancing” properties.
When I found out a number of years ago that gluten had long chains of glutamine in its amino acid sequence, and that the longer those stretches were the more toxic that particular gluten was to celiac sufferers, I assumed that gluten was a major feedstock for the manufacture of MSG, and that MSG's reputation for giving people problems was due to the impact MSG contaminated with gluten or gluten fragments was having on people with celiac disease — and since something like 97% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed, those people were not connecting their reaction to MSG to problems with gluten.

So I was surprised to learn that gluten had been superseded as the primary source of MSG.

Yet note that the page I quoted from does not say that no MSG is currently produced from gluten, but only that if it is, regulations require that wheat be listed as an ingredient unless gluten is eliminated from the MSG so produced.

In a world where melamine made its way into dog food and infant formula, and where the head of a Georgia firm is serving time for knowingly selling contaminated peanut butter, I'm not sure how much we can count on such 'regulation'.
posted by jamjam at 5:48 PM on September 25


Now, if I met someone who said they don't eat cane sugar because of the horrific working conditions in a lot of cane sugar production, I would totally support that choice.

that's kind of you, but nobody needs anyone's support or good wishes to ratify their decision to not eat something.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:41 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Sure some of these are a bit cranky but here's a couple of reasons why I have never owned a microwave and try and avoid eating anything microwaved:

Amino-acid Isomerisation and Microwave Exposure, 1392-3, The Lancet December 9 1989. Lubec, Wolf andBartosch. Department of Paediatrics, University of Vienna. No online file; I have the pages if anyone's interested.

"The conversion of trans to cis forms could be hazardous because
when cis-aminoacids are incorporated into peptides and proteins
instead of their trans isomers this can lead to structural, functional,
and immunological changes."


And according to this it's a fairly unusual heating process; Fast and furious. New Scientist 28 Feb 1988.

Whenever I see a common product or process that doesn't have a lot of peer-reviewed research it always makes me ask why not?

And as for gluten; if you read around and look for gluten contents in pre-1920's wheat you'll see they're approx a third of today's levels. And we have crap bread that is not filling and doesn't provide the chewing healthy teeth provide.

I'll go back to my tin-foil, uv-free cellar...
posted by unearthed at 10:07 PM on September 25


And as for gluten; if you read around and look for gluten contents in pre-1920's wheat you'll see they're approx a third of today's levels.

This is nonsense. Gluten is the metabolically costly part of wheat for the plant to produce, and also the part that makes bread work well.

It's also the part that's designed to be hard to digest, and the part that 1% of the population, including me, is harmed by eating.
posted by ambrosen at 11:56 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I don't know anything about the gluten content of pre-1920s wheat but at least today there are many different kinds of wheats with differing gluten levels like bread flour, all-purpose, pastry flour, cake flour, etc. Where I live "all-purpose" is (unsurprisingly) "standard" wheat flour and is formulated to be within a specific range of gluten. And since it's a range two different AP brands can vary in ways that affect the outcome or consistency of your bread.

1/3 is a HUGE amount of difference in gluten that would have an extreme effect on a loaf of bread if baked in the same manner (which you wouldn't do for that reason) - no comment on the accuracy of that statement - however I don't see any reason why the "typical" gluten content of flour couldn't vary over time or geographic region when it varies between different brands of the same type flour in my local market in significant ways. Not all countries even grade their wheat flour identically.

Source: amateur bread baker in a previous life
posted by ToddBurson at 4:51 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


I only Googled this for 2 minutes so I'm hardly an expert, but Can an Increase in Celiac Disease Be Attributed to an Increase in the Gluten Content of Wheat as a Consequence of Wheat Breeding?. This peer-reviewed paper concludes no, largely "I have not found clear evidence of an increase in the gluten content of wheat in the United States during the 20th century". Mind you this paper is one in a series of papers back and forth on the topic, and some get into the details of specific kinds of gluten proteins and their variance. No idea if there's a consensus on the topic.
posted by Nelson at 8:34 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


25. Microwaves. They tell you not to microwave baby formula or breast milk; that's because you are assumed to be so sleep-deprived you'll overheat it and scald the baby.

And they aren't wrong.
posted by Tehhund at 2:58 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


This is why I have neither a microwave, nor a baby.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:13 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Lentrohamsanin, IIRC subcutaneous fat is less of a health risk than visceral fat. So if that result actually holds, then exercising while fasting is actually the less-healthy option.
posted by Tehhund at 5:41 PM on September 26


Tehhund, It's not wrong, but many people assume the microwave alters the milk in some weird, scary way, not just heat, which it does not.
posted by theora55 at 11:19 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


Often these debunking articles will grab onto the most extreme, faddish implementations of a health concept., whereas there can still be something useful going on behind the fad.
posted by mecran01 at 7:53 PM on September 27


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