Research shows that hookah’s are smokey murder machines

I’ve always been wildly skeptical of hookahs only because my dopey Los Angeles friends who don’t appear to be making the most health conscious of choices frequent these hookah lounges so much so the patterns and associations to me connect it to being a poor risk/reward indulgence despite my not knowing anything about the actual science of how it even works.

Turns out hookahs are filthy nasty body killing death pipes or something.

Sounds over-stated, especially after my fair disclosure of my existing confirmation-bias, but how else am I supposed to read the findings that 1 hookah session has 25 times more tar than a cigarette?

There’s a common misconception that hookahs aren’t very dangerous. A recent Rutgers University study revealed that 24 percent of both smokers and nonsmokers under age 25 believe hookahs— shared pipes that allow users to inhale tobacco smoke that’s been passed through a water basin—are safer than cigarettes. But according to a new study from the journal Public Health Reports, this is an even bigger myth than thought.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that one hookah session produces 2.5 times more nicotine, 10 times more carbon monoxide, 25 times more tar, and 125 times more smoke than a single cigarette.

I didn’t even know how hookahs work but it sounds horrifying:

He says studies indicate that more oxygen being pulled through the Hookah bowl could be causing the release of more toxins.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in recent years, smoking Hookah is becoming more popular among young people, with more U.S. high school students saying they smoked Hookah than cigarettes within a 30 day window.

“It’s much more palatable, it’s easier,” says Dr. Primack, referring to Hookah’s appeal.

The process of smoking from a Hookah pipe starts with a hot coal, which is placed over tin foil that heats up dense and often flavored tobacco. The smoke then travels down a stem into a bowl, where it is pulled upwards through water and then through a hose to the consumer. Hookah pipes are also known as “Water Pipes.”

Repent, you hookah hooligans. Cut the habit and find a new way to socially enjoy something.


This “26-Ingredient School Lunch Burger” sounds pretty delicious and nutritious.

NPR did this video on hamburgers served in American schools and achieved the opposite of their desired effect. Their description reads “Thiamine mononitrate, disodium inosinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride. In this episode of Tiny Desk Kitchen we explore why so many hard-to-pronounce ingredients ended up in a school burger”. But as soon as you watch the actual video, every ingredient they analyze looks like a perfectly worthy addition to the food.

Just because an ingredient of something you eat is hard for you to pronounce doesn’t make it bad. Acidopholus is one of the best things you can ingest for your guts ecology.

Red Wine health research claimed to be fraudulent

Oh, about red wine being healthy for you? er. Never mind.

Dipak K. Das, who directed the university’s Cardiovascular Research Center, studied resveratrol, touted by a number of scientists and companies as a way to slow aging or remain healthy as people get older. Among his findings, according to a work promoted by the University of Connecticut in 2007, was that “the pulp of grapes is as heart-healthy as the skin, even though the antioxidant properties differ.”

I kept meaning to buy resveratrol in pill form because of these studies but somehow never got around to it because it was either too expensive in a store or any one of a series of hiccups with my ordering.


The university said an anonymous tip led to an investigation that began in 2008. A 60,000-page report — the summary of which is available at — resulted, outlining 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data. Other members of Das’ laboratory may have been involved, and are being investigated, the report continues.


Is carbonated water good or bad for you?

My cousin Steven drinks a lot of mineral water and since I spent Christmas and New Years with him and his family I tried some and I have to admit that I don’t get it. Why do people want bubbles in their water? So you can burp more? Then I got to wondering about the health effects: does bubbly water clean your insides out maybe? Or is the gas you’re drinking bad for you? It IS carbon dioxide, after all. The stuff we’re supposed to be exhaling and hurts our bodies when we inhale it directly through car exhaust or cigarettes (redundant?).

So I did some googling and found out that mineral water is good for you, cuz – duh- minerals, and is a good way for your body to absorb them if you can’t or don’t get them from other food sources. Okay. So that’s a go on naturally occurring fizzy spring-water – but what about artificially carbonated water? If the minerals are the only good thing about mineral-water then that doesnt make fizzy water good or bad for you.

So the question: Does carbonation make water, any tiny bit more unhealthy or dangerous?

How’s this for inventing a new drink: first, you discover an odd gas produced as a by-product of brewing beer. Next you pop some mice inside a bell jar containing the gas and observe that they all die. In a fit of inspiration you add the gas to some water and notice that it fizzes. Discovering that this sinister gas is, in fact, carbon dioxide – the very substance we make effortlessly when we breathe – you then try and persuade the world to drink the stuff. It sounds crazy but both Joseph Priestley and Jacob Schweppe thought it perfectly reasonable when they introduced 18th-century society to the joys of fizzy water.

The answer appears to be…. no:

There have even been studies looking at the effect of carbonated drinks on the stomach and gut. Among the many that showed there was no harm done was an American study on competitive cyclists. Even when exercising like lunatics and producing maximum amounts of CO2, consuming a little more of the gas via fizzy water made no difference to the bikers. And all of this is without even resorting to animal studies, such as the one from Poultry Science showing that fizzy drinks helped cockerels cope better with heat stress.

Unsurprisingly, given the hefty turnover of carbon dioxide our bodies deal with effortlessly each day, there remains no serious reason to think that carbonation makes water dangerous. Swapping a glass of plain old tap water for the bottled variety adds nothing save a little bit of sparkle.

Reminder: Energy doesn’t come in a can

I never bought into the idea that chemicals and caffeine in a can was “energy”, but I’m not religiously opposed to the consumption of the beverages claiming to pump you up, either. Do whatever. It’s just another brand of soda to me. Just beware of the effects

But the caffeinated energy drinks don’t appear to provide the purported benefits and can cause problems, including serious medical complications, says a review of the scientific literature published online today in Pediatrics.

The paper is already drawing criticism from the beverage industry, which says energy drinks have no more caffeine than a cup of coffee and aren’t widely used by kids and teens.

Steven Lipshultz, chair of pediatrics at the University of Miami School of Medicine, and colleagues reviewed 121 scientific studies, government reports and media sources on energy drinks — different from sports drinks, vitamin waters and sodas.

Energy drinks usually contain 70 to 80 milligrams of caffeine per 8-oz. serving, more than double many cola drinks. Energy drinks also may contain guarana, a plant that contains caffeine, taurine (an amino acid), vitamins, herbal supplements and sweeteners.

Surveys show that 30% to 50% of teens and young adults consume energy drinks, but “we didn’t see evidence that drinks have beneficial effects in improving energy, weight loss, stamina, athletic performance and concentration,” Lipshultz says.

And the research shows that children and teens — especially those with cardiovascular, renal or liver disease, seizures, diabetes, mood and behavior disorders and hyperthyroidism — are at a higher risk for health complications from these drinks, says Lipshultz, a pediatric cardiologist.

There are also claims that energy drinks send thousands to the hospital each year:

There’s been a big spike in the number of people who need emergency medical attention after they guzzle popular caffeinated energy drinks, according to a new government report.

The report shows a more than a tenfold increase in the number of emergency room visits tied to the use of these drinks between 2005 and 2009.

In 2005, 1,128 ER visits were associated with the use of energy drinks compared to 13,114 in 2009. That number peaked in 2008 with more than 16,000 ER visits linked to energy drinks.

Read the full article above for what seems to me to be an effective rebuttal from the drink makers. Still though, they’re not generally advised by health professionals and young people specifically  are recommended to not partake:

The National Federation of State High School Associations says caffeinated energy drinks can raise the risk of dehydration, heat illness, and irregular heartbeat in young athletes. The recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics says that caffeinated energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents.

Some energy drink labels warn that children and pregnant women should not drink them. There are numerous energy drinks on the market, containing caffeine, carbohydrates, sodium, sugars, and supplements.

In the case of pre-teen and teenage athletes using energy drinks while playing competitive sports, the caffeine can increase the heart beat, which is already beating rapidly because of intense athletic activity.

“For a lot of these there’s a large amount of caffeine in them. Folks know that a couple of cups of coffee can make you feel jittery, sometimes make your heart race. Well, if you’re adding even larger amounts of that and going into competition, having your heart race, skipping beats, setting up for problems one cant’ tell what may happen as far as with your cardiac status, particularly with the extra stresses they might be going through with competition,” said Children’s Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Dee Hodge.

Dr. Hodge points out that since energy drinks are considered nutritional supplements they aren’t tested or regulated by the Food and Drug administration for purity of content or potential interactions with medication.

The real way to get energy is through proper nutrition combined with that night time thing we do in our beds (no. the OTHER thing).

Why High fructose corn syrup is icky

This article on Yahoo!

1. The process of making high fructose corn syrup is pretty weird

Weird? Who the hell cares what’s “weird”. Giving birth is weird. doesn’t mean no one should do it (just most people). What they mean is that it’s “weird” in the classic sense, meaning “not natural”:

The process starts off with corn kernels, yes, but then that corn is spun at a high velocity and combined with three other enzymes: alpha-amylase, glucoamylase, and xylose isomerase, so that it forms a thick syrup that’s way sweeter than sugar and super cheap to produce.

2. High fructose corn syrup does weird stuff to your body

This one is a better play, but unfortunately kindov means “dont eat anything ever” since it’s in everything.

The syrup interferes with the body’s metabolism so that a person can’t stop eating. It’s truly hard to control cravings because high fructose corn syrup slows down the secretion of leptin in the body. Leptin is a crucial hormone in the body that tells you that you’re full and to stop eating.

That’s why it’s so closely associated with obesity in this country. It’s like an addictive drug.

3. There might be mercury in your corn syrup

Yikes dude….

“We went and looked at supermarket samples where high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label,” Dr. David Wallinga, a food safety researcher and activist at the nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy said. These 55 different foods included barbecue sauce, jam, yogurt, and chocolate syrup. “We found about one out of three had mercury above the detection limit,” Wallinga said.

4. The environmental impact of high fructose corn syrup is huge

Yawn. don’t care. not true in the real sense, only in the “limited scope of hippie humans” sense. Weakest one in the list.

Why exactly is too much salt bad for you?

I put salt on everything. Even things im not going to eat. even things that arent edible. I’ll salt my remote control sometimes just out of habit. Literally every food item either needs or will benefit from the addition of salt except beverages. I’m always told how bad salt is for you, though its never explained exactly why. Today a Facebook friend came to the rescue with this status update explaining what too much salt does to you and why its not good in a short and easy to understand way:

But what happens when you eat more salt than your body needs? Your body retains fluid simply to dilute the extra sodium in your bloodstream. This raises blood volume, forcing your heart to work harder; at the same time, it makes veins and arteries constrict. The combination raises blood pressure.

A commenter added:

Sodium Chloride and (grey) Celtic Sea Salt act totally different in the body, The Sea Salt has 80 total minerals, all vital to human cellular function..

and now we all know. and of course the government is going to fix it for us.

if you’ll excuse me, i have to go refill the salt shaker i keep in my room.

In the video: Robin Miller, Food Network host, tells Headline Health (a internet show) her No. 1 goal when cooking with spices: its all about the flavor. doesn’t matter how good something is for you if you’re not going to eat it, she astutely observes. salt is the new buzz word on whats bad but its real easy to replace evidently.

“Salt eaters live longer” is something i’d like explored more… for kids too: