Sometimes, food and diet is a weird and tricky thing. A great example is eggs. We keep getting conflicting information as to whether eggs are good for us or bad for us. People are confused about them and it’s hard to blame folks.
But it also seems that chocolate cake, something often maligned as bad for us may actually turn out to be healthy. Let’s talk about why.
No, it’s not. Not really.
Then why did I say it was? Because it’s April Fools Day and this is the only day of the year people seem to read things critically. It’s the one day when health advice is taken with a grain of salt, the only day when posts making extraordinary claims are viewed with skepticism.
On every other day, wild claims are taken at face value if they come from the right source.
I’m not even talking about “source” as in researchers, either.
If Dr. Brad Schoenfeld published a study saying kettlebell swings were bad for you, I’d take a step back and listen. After all, he’s an established expert with a long track record of scientific research to his name. If he says it, I’m willing to entertain the claim.
And I say that as a kettlebell guy.
But that’s not what most people do. Instead, they trust the media. While they’ll dismiss a site like this one, they’ll trust CNN or the Washington Post if they publish a claim.
The problem is, they’re often just rewording a press release and sending it on. They’re not scientists or even well-trained in science. They’re just sharing what someone else said.
As we learned in 2015, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a very good study.
However, people still believe that study.
No, seriously, I’ve had people cite the news reports from this hoax as evidence that chocolate can help you lose weight, which the above-linked post clearly says was a hoax.
Part of the problem is that people don’t really know how to look at stuff like this critically. We trust the media to filter out the BS, but we shouldn’t. The journalists often don’t know any more about the topic than the average man or woman on the streets. They went to school for journalism, maybe English. They rarely have more than the minimum of scientific training at most.
Understand, they’re not lying to you. For it to be a lie, they have to know it’s false and say it anyway. They’re not telling you the truth, but they don’t know it’s not the truth. They’re not dishonest, just wrong.
The problem is that most people are lazy. Journalists are people to, after all, and they’ll take the path of least resistance. If possible, most of us–myself included, to be fair–will run a press release with little or no additional work. After all, the work is done, right?
So using the media as a gatekeeper is probably not the best idea.
On April 1st, people are skeptical. The rest of the year, they’ll take anything the media says at face value. That’s a bad idea, as illustrated above. We need to approach everything with a degree of skepticism.
Not just on April Fools Day.