We’ve all done it: shared a story about some study showing that chocolate is a weight-loss miracle food or a story about how KFC serves deep-fried rat before realizing—too late—we perpetuated an untruth. We spread an inaccurate, viral story and made everyone online a little dumber. Hopefully, such experiences make us a little more skeptical, a little less inclined to take hyperbolic headlines at face-value. You might have seen this infographic making the rounds lately, claiming to show “what happens to your body an hour after drinking a can of coke.” It’s the most recent example of why you shouldn’t always believe what you read.
The infographic comes from the mind of Niraj Naik, a former U.K. pharmacist whom, according to Buzzfeed, derived the “facts” entirely from a blog posted on the website Blisstree in 2010. (Blisstree is the site that produced such hard-hitting reports as “Your Favorite Beach Is Probably Covered in Poop” and “The Mom Bod is a Thing and it’s Freakin’ Awesome.”) The article, which has been around since at least 2007, cites no evidence for the claims. Real physicians, however, like Kimber Stanhope, Ph.D., RD, associate research nutritional biologist for the University of California Davis, looked at the claims made by the infographic and found that them to be “not true” or “overstated.” Similarly, Michael A. Taffe, Ph.D., associate professor for the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders at the Scripps Research Institute found the claims “way overblown.”
So, we at CEI decided to make our own little infographic poking fun at those who get their nutritional advice from conspiracy-peddling blogs and ignorant food evangelists without bothering to do their own research on whether the claims have any validity.
Remember, sugar might rot your teeth, but junk science will rot your brain.
Update 8/7/2015: This post pokes fun at those who trust bogus, nutritional advice they find on the Internet. Unfortunately, some of you didn't quite get the joke. So, just to be clear, CEI is not claiming that kale or kale juice is unhealthy OR that people should over-indulge in drinking soda. Our point is consumers should not assess the quality of their diet or the diets of others on the basis of infographics or Internet memes. And, dearest kale-eaters, we have nothing against you, kale was simply the newest miracle-food fad that we chose to use to parody junk science, like the viral Coke graphic mentioned above.
Please note: No kale or kale-eaters (including one of the authors) were harmed in the creation of this graphic.