It’s now official.
Beer and pizza are good for you. It’s true! Because some research has “proved” it. Aren’t you happy?
Dr. Silvano Gallos, of a very “serious” pharmaceutical institute in Milan, found the miracle component in pizza that can help reduce the risks of developing certain cancer risks by 59%: tomato sauce! Or actually, the magic lycopene, an antioxidant found in cooked tomatoes.
Hey, I’m not joking about that. I saw it on the news. The headline was “Eating pizza ‘cuts cancer risk“.
Actually, a lot of foods that we previously thought were bad for us are now officially rehabilitated as “good”, thanks to a few bogus research reports that media LOVE to use for their articles.
Next on the list of recently rehabilitated food villains is beer. Once thought to be nothing more than an intoxicating beverage that as an added quality helped aging males around the world to develop a Homer Simpson-like beer gut, it’s now been found that beer contains “vitamin B6 which prevents the build up in the body of a chemical called homocysteine thought to be linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease (BBC News).
I’m bringing this up because it seems that every week, magazines and newspapers are filled with these bogus news such as, “Chocolate eaters found to be healthier than non chocolate eaters” or “Clean your arteries with dry martinis” and what not.
And the media are pretty happy to print such nonsense, rather than educating their readers about what they should *avoid* to become healthier.
The entire thing looks to me like half conspiracy, half stupidity.
A recent article published in WebMD really got me mad. I’m referring to the article “Coffee: The New Health Food?” where it is suggested that “downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. But having six cups or more each day slashed men’s risk by 54% and women’s by 30% over java avoiders”.
Awesome! Actually the article goes in great details to describe how caffeine is such a “miracle drug”, when it’s actually quite clear from all the serious research that has been done on the subject that drinking such a high amount of caffeine every day can lead to serious health problems.
The article even makes coffee a sort of miracle of nature that can offset the damage caused by other vices. “People who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they regularly consume large amounts of coffee compared to those who don’t,” says DePaulis.
How were such conclusions reached?
I would say, if you want the whole truth on the subject, read “Caffeine Blues”. This book recently made its appearance back on my shelf and made me decide once more to completely give up the black stuff (I had recently started drinking coffee again… an old addiction! I’ll tell you more on this later).
One of my favorite quotes, attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, is “there are three kinds of lies: lies, big lies (or damned lies) and statistics”.
Whenever you read somewhere that “such and such food that we previously thought was bad for you has now been found to be good”, read, “big food lobbies want us to reassure the populace that their product is not only safe but healthy so we’ve sponsored some sold out bogus researchers in some foreign country to make up some numbers based on some obviously flawed research, and that’s how we’ve come to the conclusion that…”
I’ve said it before. You don’t get a lot of health benefits by “adding” good things to your diet. You get most health benefits from “removing” harmful things from your diet.
In other words, eating an apple a day is *not* going to keep the doctor away if you have 2 slices of pizza a day. You’d better skip the pizza, rather than find something healthy that you could just “add” to your diet without changing anything else.
That’s the truth.
But that doesn’t sell. So whenever some valuable research or piece of data comes along that could actually help people, it doesn’t get published. If a journalist is audacious enough to write about it, his editor will say, “We can’t publish that. Find a way to make it *positive*. People don’t want to hear that what they love to eat is bad for them.”
That’s why you see the kind of garbage that gets published everyday in the health sections of newspapers and in magazines.
It makes people feel good about what they’re already doing, it keeps advertisers happy, and most certainly it keeps big business happy and well, and it keeps people addicted to their favorite drug or junk food.