You can’t seem to go a day without hearing Gwyneth Paltrow’s thoughts on how great detoxing is (it’s a myth), or Jenny McCarthy warning you about vaccinations (she’s wrong), or Jessica Alba touting her “all natural” products (her company is being sued for false advertising … again).
Why do we listen to what celebrities say at all on these topics? They aren’t experts, and the people who are experts (they’re called scientists) routinely debunk this celebrity pseudoscience.
One of those scientists is Timothy Caulfield, the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and a professor at the University of Alberta School of Public Health. His new book has my vote for title of the year — Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash.
While we all like to think that we’re not influenced by the rich and famous, Caulfield has empirical evidence that we are, in fact, unconsciously swayed by celebrity culture. Obviously, this is not a good thing when celebrities often have no idea what they’re talking about.
Caulfield says that when celebrities play the science game, what they’re really doing is playing to our intuition. Problem is, our intuition about how the world of science works is not alway correct.
- That terminology, detox, is such a great example. It seems intuitively correct. There’s this idea that we have all these toxins in our life that we have to get rid of them. When I met with Gwyneth’s doctor, Dr. Alejandro Junger, in Hollywood, he talked about the idea that our cities are like a dirty fishbowl. And that has an appeal; it really rings true for people. So I think that also increases their power. But there’s no evidence.
It’s tempting to want to believe what people we admire have to say, especially when they’re so fabulous. Luckily, I’ll never steer you wrong.
A study spanning almost four decades and involving more than 100,000 adults in Denmark has found that those with an ‘overweight’ body mass index (or BMI) were more likely to live longer than those in the ‘healthy’, ‘underweight’, and ‘obese’ categories.
It’s very likely that you are getting more calories and sugar when you drink a smoothie than when eating whole fruits or vegetables, said Sarah B. Krieger, a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist.
Strategically skipping bread, pasta and other carbohydrates at dinner might improve subsequent athletic performance, provided those low-carb meals are combined with the right types of workouts, according to a new sports nutrition study.
Wharton School management and psychology professor Adam Grant declined the opportunity to invest in Warby Parker, the “Netflix of eyewear.” This prompted him to investigate innovative thinking in depth.
I Wouldn’t Say I’ve Been Missing It, Bob
Your first challenge is deciding which meetings to decline. A little discipline goes a long way here. Establish a set of criteria for participation and stick with it.
Roll With It
“It was a Thursday morning in August of 2013 and it came on a conference call along with hundreds of co-workers. I had been working in one way or another since the age of 13 — babysitting, apple picking, camp counselor, journalist. It was the first time I had ever been involuntarily out of work.”
Recent research has located specific areas of the brain which seem to rein in our better nature. The findings suggest that selflessness is our default option.
I Can’t Feel Your Pain
Acetaminophen reduces people’s empathy for the pain of others, new research finds. Acetaminophen is an ingredient in over 600 different medications, including being the main constituent of Tylenol.
Run, Forest, Run!
It’s something of a cliché among runners, how the activity never fails to clear your head. Does some creative block have you feeling stuck? Go for a run. Are you deliberating between one of two potentially life-altering decisions? Go for a run. Are you feeling mildly mad, sad, or even just vaguely meh? Go for a run, go for a run, go for a run.
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