If you’ve ever Googled anything related to your health, you’ve probably been bombarded by a billion articles claiming a variety of useless diagnoses. So, when you read one article that says that soy will kill you and another one that says it can decrease your risk of cancer, you’re probably like, “WTF?” With all these contradictory health claims, who can you believe? You’re right to be skeptical. As much as we love to waste hours scrolling through random stuff on our phones, the internet is filled with a bunch of people who think they’re experts but definitely are not. We’re talking to you, Becky—you’re not a fitness guru just because you love post-workout selfies. Also, a lot of things in science are still unknown (duh). Plus, studies can be funded by food companies and therefore can have inherent biases.
Basically what I’m trying to say is:
Good news: scientists are aware of this. In fact, they’ve even published some super helpful articles about the influence of contradictory health claims and information on consumers. Their conclusions? That there was wasn’t enough empirical evidence to clearly say anything, but people seem like they may be a little confused. No duh.
That being said, here are some of the most popular “health claims” that have totally contradictory science and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt.
Claim 1: Soy Is Bad For You
Soy is literally in everything. No, not just if you’re vegan or vegetarian, it’s literally in everything unless you, like, grow your own plants and raise your own cattle. It’s fed to most livestock, so you indirectly consume it that way, plus soy protein isolate and other processed versions are put in most protein bars, powders, and snacks.
According to this Harvard briefing (so, like, probably legit), soy is fine as long as you don’t eat too much of it. But that begs the question: how much is too much? It may improve your heart or it may cause weirdly high levels of estrogen. It may reduce the risk of breast cancer but it also may increase the risk of cancer. It also may slow down your metabolism by messing up your thyroid. SOS someone please tell me if it’s bad to be eating so much tofu.
Claim 2: Carbs Are The Devil
Often vilified, carbs have become more popular recently with the grain bowl revolution and the whole “not demonizing food” movement. On the other hand, being keto or paleo is super #trendy, both of which avoid carbs. So, should we never eat a cupcake again? Or can we go full Mean Girls and eat all the carbs to lose weight?
Seriously though, I’m really confused if gluten is going to, like, kill me or if it’s just a harmless ingredient in my breakfast cereal. Someone please LMK because the internet had no answers. Some people say carbs are great, specifically in whole-grain items. Others claim high-carb diets are terrible for you. IDK man. I just want a cookie.
Claim 3: Caffeine Will Kill You
I think I drink maybe eight cups of coffee a day (this is not an exaggeration), so I would really like someone to find out, once and for all, if this habit will kill me. Or if in fact, it’s actually great for my metabolism. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than four cups a day is not ideal. And coffee is not at all particularly beneficial to your health. If you want to know all the potential ways your coffee habit may kill you, check out this deeply terrifying collection of studies. BRB got to figure out how to cut my coffee habit. But wait—now, get confused further by checking out this list of all the benefits of drinking coffee.
Claim 4: You Should Limit Dairy Intake
When we were little, the popular idea was that kids should drink milk every day so they can have strong bones and what not. Like a billion celebrities did Got Milk ads so they could sport that iconic milk ‘stache. Now, little kids drink almond and oat milk because dairy is apparently going to kill us all. However, some recent studies have found that dairy isn’t actually that bad for us. Other doctors try to argue that it is bad for you. Are we all giving ourselves osteoporosis from calcium deficiencies? This is really starting to stress me out, NGL.
Claim 5: Red Wine Is Good For Your Heart
This seems like something that everyone just wants to be true so they can justify blacking out while watching The Bachelor ordering a glass at dinner for their heart health. Does wine *actually* benefit us? The Mayo Clinic seems to think that moderate amounts do help your heart. But Harvard health seems to think the evidence is weak. So…pick your favorite hospital? DGAF and drink a whole bottle anyway? Great plan.
Anyway, since no one knows if this stuff is true or not, go get yourself a nice fat slice of like, mocha cheesecake. Live your best life because clearly, no one knows if anything is good or bad for you. Plus like, who cares? Diets are boring. Do you think when you’re 90 you’re going to be like “damn wish I had eaten more broccoli.” No way. You will def be happy you ate that goddamn slice of cheesecake.
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