Diet misinformation, science deniers, adjuvants, and more…

FSM Friends news and articles

Update on low calorie sweetenersSo in 2018 we are basically in the same place we were in 2015 – artificial sweeteners are safe, they do not cause obesity or any known metabolic or other health problems, and they can be very useful as part of a weight control strategy. People should not avoid them because of unwarranted fears. Further, we should reject the offer of “all natural cane sugar” and other sugar gimmicks. Unlike the speculative an unknown risks of low calorie sweeteners, there are well-documented and clear health risks from consuming too much simple and refined sugars. I know many people who choose to consume cane sugar rather than sucralose or aspartame because they believe it is better for them. They are wrong, the victims of deliberate misinformation campaigns, fear-mongering, and misguided narratives. But they are also poorly served by popular communication regarding a complex scientific literature. They are exchanging a small speculative risk for a large known risk, and patting themselves on the back for it.

Why people deny science: “What all of this suggests is that people do not usually engage in metacognition – thinking about their own thinking. They may have a cognitive style that they tend to use, but otherwise they engage in whatever type of reasoning serves their purpose on any particular topic. They might vigorously defend the consensus of scientific opinion on one topic, then reject it on another citing a vague conspiracy, and dismiss it on a third without any real justification or by appealing to fallacious logic.”


Weight loss supplements: Are they really safe to use if you want lose weight? “Even though many products are advertised as being natural and completely safe, testing has revealed some of them contain undeclared pharmaceuticals, banned substances or toxic ingredients.”

Three charts on how and what Australians eat (hint – it’s not good): Young children have small appetites and every bite matters. The guidelines suggest 2-to-3-year-olds should have very limited exposure to discretionary foods. In, studies the greatest levels of excess weight are seen in preschool years. Biscuits, cakes and muffins are the key source of added sugars for young children. These are also the top source of energy and saturated fat and a key source of salt in young children. This is the time when lasting food habits and preferences are formed.

Checkmate: How do climate science deniers’ predictions stack up? Climate deniers — or as they prefer, climate sceptics — love to say climate modelling is broken and that climate change is a hoax. But what happens when someone asks them to stand by their words and offers them a bet? They fail spectacularly, of course. Easier money there has never been at hand. But, unfortunately, even that lesson in failure makes no impression on these people and they continue to propagate their erroneous views. This article is worth a look if only for the cover photo: golfers carrying on with their game as the forest burns behind them. It would be hard to find a better analogy for climate deniers.

Abused Health Concept

Aluminium Adjuvants: Sheep vaccine study – aluminium adjuvants alter their behaviour: Adjuvants are generally added to vaccines to extend antigen presence and improve immune response for a lower antigen load. The idea, like vaccines in general, is well understood and has withstood all the safety testing that is applied to vaccines in general. But anti-vaccinators continually push their trope that aluminium makes vaccines dangerous, and are constantly searching for new logics and support for the idea.

Now they have this study looking at vaccine use in sheep. The study claims to show behaviour differences following vaccine use. Yet this is based on a sample of just 7 lambs vaccinated. The study was not blinded, a critical failure in a study looking at subjective change in behaviour. And even if the behaviour had been blinded, the doses used were abnormally large. Anti-vaccinators are bound to claim that this study validates their cult belief. But I would say that any reasonable mined person could recognise this as “garbage in, garbage out”.

Great moments in Health and Science

Water sanitation & hygiene: Not a single moment, but a series of life-saving innovations in technology and policy, water sanitation remains an ongoing effort for much of the world, including within economically-disadvantaged areas of otherwise highly-developed nations.