Dead lizard found in bag of Trader Joe’s kale

If you’ve ever groaned at the prospect of eating kale, now you have the perfect excuse to back away from your health-conscious friend’s green smoothie. 

Grace Goldstein opened her fresh bag of Trader Joe’s kale on Tuesday, only to discover a dead lizard nestled among the leafy greens. Her friend shared the mildly gross image on Twitter to the joy of all those who reject the superfood. 

Goldstein told People magazine that after she made the shocking discovery, there was a lot of “asking [her] boyfriend to see the bag of kale and identify the lizard and shrieking and pushing it away and refusing to go near it…and then asking to see it again.” 

An understandable reaction to this grotesque find.

If you wanted a closer look at the unexpected salad guest, Goldstein also shared the photo on Instagram.

Goldstein told People that she reached out to Trader Joe’s corporate. The chain is investigating, but there have been no further updates. 

Trader Joe’s responded to Mashable’s inquiry about the incident:

“We are committed to providing customers with great products of the highest quality and are currently working with our vendor to look into and address the matter.”

Hopefully, this is an isolated incident that does not speak for all Trader Joe’s stores, bags of kale, or corporate-minded lizards.

UPDATE: April 5, 2018, 3:05 p.m. EDT This story was updated with comments from Trader Joe’s.

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Can the ad industry make us eat more veg?

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Popeye encouraged children to eat spinach in the 1930s. Should something equally creative be tried today?

Advertisers are the experts at persuading us to eat burgers, crisps and fizzy drinks. But what if they tried to sell us something healthier?

Popeye may be half the size of his arch-rival Bluto, but one gulp from his can and he is tossing his enemy high overhead, wrapping him up in rope, or bopping him round the head with those trademark pumped up forearms.

Popeye’s green-veg-fuelled antics were credited with boosting US spinach sales by a third during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Cities in spinach-growing regions erected statues of the sailor man-hero out of gratitude. And a generation consumed more vitamins than they would otherwise have done.

These days, though, without a frontman like Popeye, vegetables don’t get much of a look-in on the marketing front. In the UK only 1.2% of all advertising spend on food is aimed at promoting vegetables, according to campaign group the Food Foundation.

Popeye moment

Former ad man Dan Parker thinks we’re missing a trick. He says it’s time once again to deploy the weapons of the marketing industry in the battle to shift us to healthier diets.

Image copyright KEO films
Image caption Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a supporter of the campaign to advertise veg

Working in conjunction with campaign group Peas Please and backed by chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, the plan is to roll out an advertising campaign that will radically alter our perceptions of vegetables.

“At the moment vegetables are the bad guys. We don’t want them to be the bad guys,” he says.

There’ll be no more “playing the health card”, he says, like Public Health England’s five-a-day message, which only serves to make eating veg feel like a chore.

“People don’t buy health, they buy happiness. That’s a mantra for all advertising,” he says.

Image copyright Dan Parker
Image caption Dan Parker says he sometimes feels guilty about his career in food advertising

Dan’s own transformative spinach-gulping moment came when after 20 years in the industry, working for the likes of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, he discovered he had type 2 diabetes.

His job had been to use every possible psychological and creative technique to persuade people to eat more of the food products his clients sold.

In his words advertisers like him were “arrogant, ignorant, blinkered,” with no idea of the harm their work was causing.

In a light bulb moment, he realised the lessons he had learned through marketing fizzy drinks, burgers and chips could help turn the tables and persuade us all to eat more healthily.

He closed down his advertising agency and founded a new charity, Living Loud, with others from the industry.

After all who knew better than he did what makes people eat what they eat?

Snack attack

Most important of all these tactics, he says, is “normalising”.

For decades the food industry has played on our desire to fit in, a strategy that has already stealthily altered our eating habits.

We’ve been persuaded that a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack are part of everyone’s day, and that it’s normal to have frozen pizza and ready-meals in your shopping trolley, and you don’t watch television in the evening without a snack to hand.

Now, says Dan, advertisers are busy feeding us the message that eating larger portions is OK, even a bit cheeky and fun. Walkers crisps ads show Gary Lineker eating a bumper pack on his own, and a Galaxy chocolate ad suggests it’s ok for Audrey Hepburn to eat a family-sized bar.

Image copyright Walkers
Image caption Gary Lineker’s ad campaigns for Walkers show him refusing to share large bags of high salt, high fat snacks

If advertisers can normalise these habits, there’s no reason they can’t normalise a portion of veg on your plate too, says Dan.

Frozen food giant Birds Eye, one of the few companies that spends money marketing vegetables, is supporting the Peas Please campaign and is increasing its own ad spend by 42% this year to £4.8m. Normalising frozen veg is at the core of their message.

While there will be “infomercials” about healthy eating on social media, and portraits of the farmers behind their frozen peas, the TV campaign focuses on telling “the story of families coming together at the moments when Birds Eye veg is served up at home”.

Image copyright Birds Eye
Image caption Birds Eye is aiming for traditional family fun with its pro-veg campaign

For Dan Parker, however, that message doesn’t quite go far enough. He would like to see the wider Peas Please campaign pack more of an emotional punch.

“Great advertising stirs emotions. That’s its point,” he says. “If you’re in an emotional state then you are more susceptible to subliminal messaging, you’re easier to influence and more likely to buy without giving thought to diet or budget.”

Whether it’s stress and comfort, celebration and reward, relief or nostalgia, there are ways to sell us food to meet our emotional impulses.

Impulses often subtly planted by advertisers.

Unspoken messages

Ideally he’d like to see an ad that does for veg what the “I want to teach the world to sing” ad from the 70s did for Coca-Cola. It offered almost no information about the product. Instead it gave viewers “a cause for celebration, a sense of togetherness with a contemporary hippy vibe”.

In that same vein, Damon McCollin-Moore at creative ad agency Ifour points to the recent Nike ad showing Londoners, plus a smattering of celebrities, overcoming different challenges to get to their training sessions.

Image copyright Ifour
Image caption Ifour’s advert treated carrots and peas as a bit of fun

He describes it as “a hymn to London” which sends an unspoken message that Nike customers are resilient and adventurous.

The holy grail would be creating something that makes us feel rather than think differently about veg.

In the meantime, Ifour has already had a go designing an ad for veg on behalf of Peas Please which showed a cartoon boy playing with his carrots, holding them up to his head, to look like Batman.

“We’re not trying to make any outlandish promises,” says Ifour’s creative director, Graeme Hall. “It is just raising the idea veg can be fun.”

The image they created was simple but it offered the chance to tap into another great marketing ploy: participation.

School children (such as those pictured from Pentrefoelas Community School in Wales), chefs and whole teen football teams, posted pictures of themselves on social media having a bit of fun holding carrots to their heads.

Graeme says current marketing fashion is to convince consumers the whole thing is about them, rather than about the product, whether that’s through quizzes, personality tests or shareable memes.

He also thinks “trinkets and collectibles” like McDonalds gives away with its meals for kids could help to make veg more fun.

But if it came to TV advertising, his colleague Damon thinks the way to go would be a series of “life hack” videos, showing parents ways to “get one over on their kids”.

They suggest a narrative revolving around a celebrity, one who is relatable for ordinary people and emphatically someone not associated with healthy eating, and show their mother sneaking vegetables into their dinner.

Image caption Would Miranda Hart be the right person to reform the nation’s eating habits?

“You could have an adult child, like Miranda Hart, and have her mum cooking for her. She could be tricked over and over again into eating vegetables,” says Damon.

The irreverence and humour might go some way to supplanting the burdensome image veg has earned in recent years, he thinks.

And if that idea rings a bell with older consumers, it’s not perhaps a surprise. Tony Hancock was being told to “Go to work on an egg”, by his bossy housekeeper five decades ago.

And she always got one over on him in the end.

Related Topics

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Johnson & Johnson accused of failing to warn patients at higher risk from vaginal mesh

Company allegedly knew devices posed added risk for patients with compromised immune systems

The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson allegedly failed to warn women that its vaginal mesh devices posed a particular risk for patients with compromised immune systems, despite it being well known before they were first sold in Australia.

The federal court is currently deliberating on a landmark class action involving hundreds of women who have sued the multinational giant over the impact of its vaginal mesh devices.

The mesh was surgically implanted to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, common complications of childbirth. It was marketed to surgeons as a simple, safe and affordable implant, which would boost their profits and speed up operations considerably.

But the devices left many women in debilitating pain and unable to have sex, ruining lives and causing long-term impairment.

Over a six-month hearing, the federal court heard allegations that Johnson & Johnson either knew of the risks or failed to properly test the devices before launching them on the Australian market.

On Monday, the women won the right to add a new allegation to its case: that Johnson & Johnson knew the devices posed an added risk for patients with compromised immune systems but failed to warn women.

Kathryn Gill, the lead applicant in the case, was among those who were not warned, the court heard.

Gill suffered from psoriasis but says she was not told of the added risk she faced in undergoing the surgery. She said she never would have gone ahead with the procedure had she known.

It was not until after Gills operation that warnings about immune problems were added to the instructions for a number of the mesh devices.

The warning read: In patients with compromised immune systems or other conditions that would compromise healing, the risks and benefits should be carefully weighed.

The court was also told that US regulators wrote to the manager of regulator affairs at Ethicon, Johnson & Johnsons product development arm, in October 1990, well before the products were first sold in Australia. The letter adverted to potentially delayed wound healing in patients with compromised health due to a number of factors, according to the federal court.

The court also heard from a biomaterials expert, Prof Paul Santerre, who said it was well known that immune system problems made it more difficult for biomaterials to integrate with tissue. Santerre cited a 1997 report on the issue.

Mesh was not sold in Australia until after 1997.

The allegations about the immune system response were not initially included in the class action against Johnson & Johnson. But lawyers for the women launched a late bid to have them included in their formal pleadings, which was opposed by the company.

Federal court justice Anna Katzmann allowed the pleading to be changed in a judgment handed down on Monday afternoon. She rejected the arguments that doing so would put the company in an unfair position, having already argued its case.

Having given careful consideration to the points raised by both parties, I am not satisfied that the amendments would cause any injustice to the respondents, she said.

Katzmann has also allowed the women to seek an injunction that would prevent the mesh devices being sold or marketed in Australia without a comprehensive warning about the risks.

The company had attempted to argue that was a role best left to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), an argument Katzmann rejected.

Katzmann has reserved her full judgment in the case and it will be handed down at a later date.

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49 Health “Facts” You’ve Been Told All Your Life That Are Totally Wrong

Carrots give you night vision. Swimming after eating will give you cramps. You need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Organic food is more nutritious and free of pesticides. 

Nope, nope, nope, and nope.

Who hasn’t shared these and other amazing-sounding notions about about health and the human body, only to feel embarrassed later on — when you find out the information was inaccurate or flat-out wrong?

It’s time to put an end to these alluring myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies passed down through the ages.

To help the cause we’ve rounded up and corrected dozens of the most popular health “facts” that we’ve heard.

Have any favorites we missed? Send them to

Kevin Loria, Lauren Friedman, Kelly Dickerson, Jennifer Welsh, and Sean Kane contributed to this post. Robert Ferris contributed to a previous version.

MYTH: Milk does a body good!

This is an incredibly successful bit of advertising that has wormed its way into our brains and policies to make milk seem magical.

The US Department of Agriculture tells us that adults should drink three cups of milk a day, mostly for calcium and vitamin D.

However, multiple studies show that there isn’t an association between drinking more milk (or taking calcium and vitamin D supplements) and having fewer bone fractures.

Some studies have even shown an association with higher overall mortality, and while that doesn’t mean that milk consumption itself was responsible, it’s certainly not an endorsement.

Sources: Business Insider, NYTimes, Journal of Bone Mineral Research, JAMA Pediatrics, The Lancet, British Medical Journal

MYTH: Organic food is pesticide-free and more nutritious.

naotakem via Flickr

Organic food isn’t free of pesticides and it isn’t necessarily better for you.

Farmers who grow organic produce are permitted to use chemicals that are naturally derived — and in some cases are actually worse for the environment than their synthetic counterparts. However, pesticide levels on both organic and non-organic foods are so low that they aren’t of concern for consumption, according to the USDA.

Eating organic food also doesn’t come with any nutritional benefits over non-organic food, according to a review of 98,727 potentially relevant studies.

Sources: University of California – Berkeley, Annals of Internal Medicine, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

MYTH: Eating food within 5 seconds of dropping it on the floor is safe.

It’s the worst when something you really wanted to eat falls on the floor. But if you grab it in five seconds, it’s ok, right?

The five-second-rule isn’t a real thing. Bacteria can contaminate a food within milliseconds.

Mythbusting tests show that moist foods attract more bacteria than dry foods, but there’s no “safe duration.” Instead, safety depends on how clean the surface you dropped the food on is.

Whether you eat it or not after that is up to you, but if the people that walk on that floor are also walking around New York City, for example, we wouldn’t recommend it.

Sources: Business Insider,

MYTH: The chemical tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy.

Who doesn’t love the post-Thanksgiving nap? After all, turkey contains tryptophan — an amino acid that is a component of some of the brain chemicals that help you relax.

But plenty of foods contain tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has even more than turkey, yet cheddar is never pointed out as a sleep inducing food.

Experts say that instead, the carbs, alcohol, and general size of the turkey-day feast are the cause of those delicious holiday siestas.

Sources: Business Insider, LiveScience

MYTH: Eating chocolate gives you acne.


For one month, scientists fed dozens of people candy bars containing 10 times the usual amount of chocolate, and dozens of others fake chocolate bars.

When they counted the zits before and after each diet, there was “no difference” between the two groups. Neither the chocolate nor the fat seemed to have any effect on acne.

Source: JAMA

MYTH: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Apples are packed with vitamin C and fiber, both of which are important to long-term health, but they aren’t all you need.

And if certain viruses or bacteria get into your system, an apple will unfortunately do nothing to protect you.

Go ahead and get that flu shot, even if you eat apples.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: Natural sugar like honey is better for you than processed sugar.

A granola bar made with honey instead of high-fructose corn syrup is not better for you.

That’s because sugar in natural products like fruit and synthetic products like candy is the same: “Scientists would be surprised to hear about the ‘clear superiority’ of honey, since there is a near unanimous consensus that the biological effect of high-fructose corn syrup are essentially the same as those of honey,” professor Alan Levinovitz told Business Insider.

The problem is that candy and other related products typically contain more sugar per serving, which means more calories — a difference you should actually be watching out for.

Sources: Business Insider, SciShow, Dr. Joy Dubost/Huffington Post

MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth.

Susanne Nilsson/Flickr

Most research finds no correlation between caffeine consumption and bone growth in kids.

In adults, researchers have seen that increased caffeine consumption can very slightly limit calcium absorption, but the impact is so small that a tablespoon of milk will more than adequately offset the effects of a cup of coffee.

Advertising seems to be largely responsible for this myth: Cereal manufacturer named C.W. Post was trying to market a morning beverage called “Postum” as an alternative to coffee, so he ran ads on the “evils” of Americans’ favorite hot beverage, calling it a “nerve poison” that should never be served to children.

Sources: Business Insider (1, 2), Smithsonian Magazine

MYTH: Eating ice cream will make your cold worse.

If you’re home sick with a cold, you can totally go ahead and comfort yourself with some ice cream.

The idea that dairy increases mucous production is very fortunately not true, according to researchers and a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, who says “in fact, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.”

Bless him.

Sources: Business Insider, American Review of Respiratory Disease, Mayo Clinic

MYTH: Sugar is as addictive as heroin.

In the 2009 book “Fat Chance,” the author, Dr. Robert Lustig, claims that sugar stimulates the brain’s reward system the same way that tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and even heroin does, and therefore must be equally addictive. Lustig even cites studies that show parts of our brain that light-up from a sugary reward are the same parts that get excited for many types of enjoyable activities, from drinking alcohol to having sex.

The problem, however, with these types of scientific studies of the brain is that “In neuroimaging, there is no clear-cut sign of addiction,” Hisham Ziaudden, an eating behavioral specialist, told Levinovitz.

So, scientists don’t know what addiction in the brain looks like, yet, and until that mystery is solved we should not be living in fear from something as fanciful as sugar addiction.

Source: Business Insider (1, 2), “Fat Chance

MYTH: Sugar and chocolates are aphrodisiacs.

In the mid 19th century — before sugar purportedly caused diabetes or hyperactivity — sugar was thought to ignite sexual desire in women, children, and, more controversially, the poor.

One vintage Kellogg advertisement even claimed “Candies, spices, cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and all strong essences powerfully excited the genital organs and lead to the [solitary vice].”

So don’t get worked up over sugar. There’s little to no evidence to support the notion that it — or any food, including chocolates — stimulates sexual desire.

Sources: Business Insider, Mayo Clinic

MYTH: Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

Numerous scientific studies have tried and failed to find any evidence that supports this off-the-wall notion.

The myth probably emerged in 1974, when Dr. William Crook wrote a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which published it. “Only in the past three years have I become aware that sugar … is a leading cause of hyperactivity,” the letter stated.

A letter does not include the rigorous scientific research that a paper does, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health: “The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it.”

Sources: University of Arkansas for Medial Sciences, Business Insider, NIH

MYTH: Your blood turns blue when it’s out of oxygen.

Your blood is never blue: It turns dark red when it’s not carrying oxygen.

Blood only looks blue because you are seeing it through several layers of tissue, which filters the color.

Source: UCSB ScienceLine

MYTH: Humans have five senses.

Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch are just the beginning.

Don’t forget about balance, temperature, and time, as well as proprioception — the body awareness that helps us not walk into things all the time — and nociception, our sense of pain.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: The hymen is a sheet of tissue that blocks a women’s vagina.

Flickr / CarbonNYC


Guys, the hymen is a thin membrane that only partially blocks the vaginal opening — if a woman is born with one at all.

Also, plenty of activities other than sex can stretch or damage the hymen, including exercise or inserting a tampon.

Sources: Columbia University, College Humor

MYTH: Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night

Vitamin A is a major nutrient found in carrots, and it is good for the health of your eyes — especially those with poor vision. But eating a bunch of the vegetables won’t give your all-seeing superpowers.

The myth is thought to have started during as a piece of British propaganda during World War II. That government wanted to secret the existence of a radar technology that allowed its bomber pilots to attack in the night.

Source: Tech Insider, Smithsonian Magazine

MYTH: Pregnancy gives you “baby brain” and makes you dumb.

Studies on this turn up mixed results, at best.

Some studies on changes to working memory during pregnancy do show a small effect on the brain, though other studies show no negative impacts whatsoever.

There’s actually growing evidence that being pregnant makes women more organized and smarter, at least, according to a study on rats.

It makes sense, though, since pregnant women and new mothers have a lot more to worry about and think about — for their brains to keep up they may even be getting a boost.

Sources: Dr. Myra Wick/Mayo Clinic, New Scientist

MYTH: Hair and nails keep growing after death.

Hair and fingernails do not keep growing once someone dies.

Instead, the skin dries out and shrinks, giving the appearance of further growth.

Sources: Lecture Notes: Dermatology, Tech Insider

MYTH: Humans can’t grow new brain cells.

You are not born with all of the brain cells you will ever have.

There is plenty of evidence that the brain continues to produce new cells in at least a few brain regions well into adulthood, through a process called neurogenesis.

Source: The Scientist

MYTH: It takes 7 years for gum to digest if you swallow it.

flickr user: sembrandogirasoles


Gum is mostly indigestible, but the occasional swallowed piece will pass through your intestines and exit the other side, just like anything else you eat that your body doesn’t need and can’t digest.

The only cases where swallowed gum has caused a problem is when that gum is swallowed along with other things that shouldn’t be in your stomach.

Scientific American cites a case where a 4-year-old girl suffered a gastrointestinal blockage — from a wad of gum with four coins inside of it.

Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American

MYTH: Your microwave can give you cancer and disrupt your pacemaker.

Microwave radiation won’t cause cancer, it just heats food up.

Only a few types of radiation cause cancer, and these depend on the dose. Radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer, for example, but just enough helps your body make Vitamin D, too.

Microwaves also won’t disrupt a pacemaker. However, things like anti-theft systems, metal detectors, powerful refrigerator magnets, mobile phones, and even headphones can mess with the heartbeat-keeping devices.

Sources: Cancer Research UK, American Heart Association

MYTH: Drugs make “holes” in your brain.

That doesn’t mean drugs are good for your brain.

Many drugs (illicit and otherwise) can significantly alter your brain’s structure and disrupt its function. But none will turn a healthy brain into a stack of Swiss cheese.

Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American

MYTH: You need to wait an hour after eating to swim or you can cramp and drown.

The theory behind this seems to be that digesting food will draw blood to your stomach, meaning that less blood is available for your muscles, making them more likely to cramp.

But there’s no evidence to support this claim.

In fact, many sources say there are no documented cases of anyone ever drowning because they’ve had a cramp related to swimming with a full stomach.

Cramps do happen frequently when swimming, but they aren’t caused by what’s in your stomach. If you do get one, the best policy is to float for a minute and let it pass.

Sources: Business Insider, Washington Post,

MYTH: Taking your vitamins will keep you healthy.


Vitamins sound like a great idea: One pill that can provide you everything you need to be healthy!

If only they worked.

Decades of research on vitamins hasn’t found any justification for our multivitamin habit, and in some cases, vitamins have actually been associated with an increased risk of various cancers.

Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American

MYTH: Everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day.

Hydration is very important, but the idea that eight glasses of water is essential is a strange one.

In healthy people, researchers have not found any connection between fluid intake and kidney disease, heart disease, sodium levels, or skin quality.

But water is a calorie-free alternative to other beverages (especially sugary ones like soda or sports drinks), and people who drink water instead of those beverages consume fewer calories overall.

A good rule is to drink when you’re thirsty — you don’t need to count the glasses.

Source: Business Insider, FiveThirtyEight, Nutrition Reviews

MYTH: Carbonated water isn’t as hydrating as flat water.

Just because water is fizzy and refreshing doesn’t mean it’s bad for you.

In one of many studies that bust this myth, researchers made men bike on several occasions until they sweated off 4% of their body weight — then immediately handed them a drink.

One time the cyclists got flat water, another time carbonated water, yet another sugar water, and during a final trial everyone drank carbonated sugar water.

The results? Carbonation did not make any difference when it came to rehydrating.

Source: International Journal of Sports Medicine

MYTH: Yogurt will help put your digestive system back in order.

Yogurt is often marketed as helping digestion and slimming our figure because of probiotics — the idea that “good bacteria” living in the yogurt will shack up in our guts.

Bacteria are well-connected to our metabolism and obesity rates, among other things, so the connection seems logical.

However, we don’t yet understand how the millions of bacteria already in our bodies work together, let alone when yogurt is added into the mix.

This is not to say that yogurt is unhealthy, just that its benefits are oversold. Keep in mind, though, that a lot of yogurt is packed with sugar, which we do know contributes to obesity and other problems — so if you enjoy the dairy product, find some that isn’t full of empty calories.

Sources: Business Insider, Tech Insider

MYTH: You lose 90% of your body heat through your head.

Not really.

You lose body heat through anything that’s uncovered, and your head is more likely to be exposed than other areas of your body.

“Most of the time when we’re outside in the cold, we’re clothed,” Dr. Richard Ingebretsen told WebMD Magazine. “If you don’t have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts.”

Sources: Business Insider,”Don’t Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health,” WedMD Magazine

MYTH: Breaking the seal means you’ll have to pee more all night.

Alcohol is a diuretic, so it’s already going to make you pee a lot.

“Breaking the seal” the first time will not increase the amount of times you have to go to the bathroom — but drinking lots of alcohol will.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: You can cure a hangover by drinking more.


The “hair of the dog” is a myth — a mimosa or Bloody Mary in the morning won’t make you feel better. At best, you’re just prolonging the hangover.

Same goes for coffee after a night of drinking. Like alcohol, coffee is a diuretic, so it will dehydrate your body even more and likely prolong the hangover.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: Drinking alcohol kills your brain cells.

Excessive drinking can damage the connections between brain cells, but won’t actually zap any of your neurons.

That said, children with fetal alcohol syndrome often have fewer brain cells, and excessive drinking over long periods of time can indeed damage the brain — just not in the way you may think.

Sources: Business Insider, NIH, New York Times

MYTH: Eating before drinking keeps you sober.

Business Insider

Eating before drinking does help your body absorb alcohol, but it only delays the alcohol entering your bloodstream, it doesn’t restrict it.

Your body absorbs the alcohol more slowly after a big meal, so eating before drinking can help limit the severity of your hangover. Eating a lot after drinking, however, won’t do much to help your hangover.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: Beer before liquor, never sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.

Alcohol is alcohol, and too much of it will make anyone feel sick.

“There is no evidence that drinking in a particular order alters how sick you get,” Julia Chester, a behavioral neuroscientist at Purdue, told NBC.

However, people who switch from beer to mixed drinks (with senses and judgment already dulled) may be less likely likely to monitor their alcohol consumption and thus drink more.

This may be because your body metabolizes beer and mixed drinks faster than higher-concentration alcohol (like a shot of whiskey). Adding liquor to a stomach-full of beer could, in theory, create a sort of mixed drink that would metabolize faster than one or the other on its own.

But while “liquor before beer” seems partly true, we’ll mostly chalk up “never sicker” to bad decision-making.

Sources: Business Insider, NBC News, Gizmodo

MYTH: Memories lost during alcohol-induced blackouts can be remembered.

If you wake up fuzzy on the details from the night before, you probably shouldn’t even bother trying to remember: It’s impossible. When we drink too much the part of our brain that encodes memories actually switches off.

People claiming they remember what happened after they blacked out are probably having what are called false memories.

Sources: Business Insider, Memory

MYTH: Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar.

Sugar that’s the color of dirt doesn’t make it more “natural” or healthier than its white counterpart. The color comes from a common residual sticky syrup, called molasses.

Brown sugar retains some of that molasses. In fact, brown sugar is mostly white sugar with some molasses — so refining it further would give you white table sugar.

While molasses contains some vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium, there is not enough in your standard brown sugar packet that should make you reach for it if you’re trying to eat healthier.

As far as your body is concerned, white and brown sugar are one-in-the-same.

Sources: Business Insider,”The Dispensatory of the United States of America,” Self Nutrition Data

MYTH: Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar.

Sugar that’s the color of dirt doesn’t make it more “natural” or healthier than its white counterpart. The color comes from a common residual sticky syrup, called molasses.

Brown sugar retains some of that molasses. In fact, brown sugar is mostly white sugar with some molasses — so refining it further would give you white table sugar.

While molasses contains some vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium, there is not enough in your standard brown sugar packet that should make you reach for it if you’re trying to eat healthier.

As far as your body is concerned, white and brown sugar are one-in-the-same.

Sources: Business Insider,”The Dispensatory of the United States of America,” Self Nutrition Data

MYTH: Sitting too close to the TV is bad for your eyes.

The most this will do is give you a headache from eye fatigue.

This rumor probably started with old TVs, which produced some X-rays, but newer ones don’t.

Source: New York Times

MYTH: Vaccines cause autism.

If you decide to wade into this one at the dinner table, we’d recommend calmly explaining that this idea started with a now thoroughly-debunked — and retracted — study of only 12 children that appeared in 1998 in The Lancet, which claimed there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

That study was not only flawed, but it also sneaked in false information to try and make its point.

Since then, numerous studies that have analyzed data from more than a million children have shown that there’s no connection between vaccines and autism.

Fears about that connection persist because of public figures making (unknowingly or otherwise) false claims about vaccines. This has led to scary diseases like measles coming back and to vaccination rates in some wealthy Los Angeles neighborhoods that are similar to those in Chad or the South Sudan.

Sources: Business Insider (1, 2, 3), PBS, The Lancet

MYTH: Sugar causes diabetes.

Eating sugar in moderation won’t give you diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association, while it recommends that people avoid soda and sports drinks, is quick to point out that diabetes is a complex disease, and there’s not enough evidence to say that eating sugar is the direct cause.

However, both weight gain and consuming sugary drinks are associated with a heightened risk, and (large) portion size seems to be most crucial when it comes to sugar and diabetes.

Sources: Business Insider, Tech Insider, American Diabetes Association, PLoS ONE

MYTH: Chinese food with MSG will make you sick.


The myth that MSG (monosodium glutamate) is bad for you comes from a letter a doctor wrote to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1968, where he coined the phrase “Chinese restaurant syndrome” and blamed a variety of symptoms including numbness and general weakness on MSG.

Further research has not backed him up.

The scientific consensus according the American Chemical Society is that “MSG can temporarily affect a select few when consumed in huge quantities on an empty stomach, but it’s perfectly safe for the vast majority of people.”

MSG is nothing more than a common amino acid with a sodium atom added. Eating a ton of food or tablespoons full of the salt could cause the general malaise attributed to the flavor enhancer, and the placebo effect is more than strong enough to account for the negative effects sometimes associated with MSG.

Sources: Business Insider (1, 2), Tech Insider

MYTH: Children who drink soda are at a greater risk of becoming obese.

In “Fed Up,” a documentary film that probes the supposed causes of America’s obesity epidemic, you hear the alarming statistic that “One soda a day increases a child’s chance of obesity by 60%.”

Authors of the study this statistic comes from note their findings “cannot prove causality” — but that’s not what sugar-shaming movie producers would have you think.

Drinking too much calorie-loaded soda is likely unhealthy, but it’s not the sole factor driving a rise in childhood obesity.

The CDC advises parents to do what they can to protect against obesity by encouraging healthy lifestyle habits that include healthy eating and exercise, both of which will likely do more for a child’s waistline than trying to completely cut sugar.

Sources: Business Insider. “Fed Up,” The Lancet, CDC

MYTH: Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.

Fortunately, this isn’t true either.

Cracking your knuckles may annoy the people around you, but even people who have done it frequently for many years are not more likely to develop arthritis than those who don’t.

Sources: Business Insider, Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

MYTH: Starve a fever, feed a cold.

A tiny and largely misinterpreted study in 2002 recently fanned the flames of this myth, but limiting your caloric consumption may actually hurt your immune system more than helping it — it would certainly be a bad idea to not eat during the six- to eight-day duration of a cold.

Instead, doctors say to go ahead and eat if you can. The more accurate expression would be “feed a cold, feed a fever.” And make sure to drink plenty of fluids.

Sources: Business Insider, BBC, Scientific American

MYTH: Green snot means a bacterial infection and yellow snot a viral one.

The color of your snot can’t indicate a bacterial versus a viral infection. It varies from clear to yellow to green with a variety of illnesses and lengths of infection.

Whatever your snot’s color might be, if you’re not feeling well and haven’t been for days, it’s time to see a doctor.

Sources: Tech Insider, Medline Plus, Cleveland Clinic, Medline Plus

MYTH: A juice cleanse will detoxify you after an eating binge.

Your body naturally removes harmful chemicals through the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract — there’s nothing about juice that will hurry that process along.

At best, juicing removes digestion-aiding fiber from fruits and vegetables. Also consider that many sugary fruit juices are as bad for you as sodas.

And while some juices are just fine, they don’t provide anything that you wouldn’t get by eating the whole components instead.

Sources: Tech Insider, Business Insider (1, 2, 3)

MYTH: All people with Tourette’s syndrome yell swear words.


Only a small percentage of people with Tourette syndrome randomly yell out swear words.

It actually encompasses a lot more than that, including involuntary movements and different sound tics.

The swearing tic is called coprolalia.

Source: Child Mind Institute

MYTH: Being cold can give you a cold.

There’s no evidence that going outside with wet hair when it’s freezing will make you sick — provided you avoid hypothermia.

But there is a scientifically sound explanation for why people catch more colds in winter: We spend more time in close quarters indoors, it is more likely that we’ll cross paths with a cold-causing virus spread from another person during the winter.

Sources: Business Insider, LiveScience, CNN

MYTH: Being stressed will give you high blood pressure.

Stress doesn’t play a large role in chronic high blood pressure.

Acute stress can temporarily increase blood pressure, but overall it’s not a main cause of hypertension. Things like genetics, smoking, and a bad diet are much bigger factors.

Source: British Medical Journal

MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.

Frogs or toads won’t give you warts, but shaking hands with someone who has warts can.

The human papillomavirus is what gives people warts, and it is unique to humans.

Source: WebMD

MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

HIV probably didn’t jump to humans through human-monkey sex.

It probably jumped to humans through hunting of monkeys for bushmeat food, which led to blood-to-blood contact.

Source: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives In Medicine

Read the original article on Business Insider. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2018.

Read next on Business Insider: 4 exercise routines you can do without a gym membership, according to fitness experts

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Male Birth Control Pill Is Effective And Safe, According To A Recent Trial

Scientists are one step closer to achieving gender parity, at least as far as birth control is concerned. While there are currently several contraceptive options targeted at women, there are only two for men – condoms and vasectomies.

The good news is that there are various reversible male birth control prototypes currently undergoing clinical trials. And the latest, a male oral contraceptive called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU), appears to be safe and effective when taken daily for a month. The results of a recent study were presented by researchers at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, on Sunday.

“These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill,” Stephanie Page, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said in a statement.

Eighty-three men aged 18 to 50 completed the study, which tested the effects of different doses (100, 200, and 400 milligrams) and formulations inside capsules (castor oil and powder) of DMAU. The men took the contraceptive or a placebo once a day for 28 days with food.

At 100 milligrams, the contraceptive was comparable to effective male contraception in long-term trials, Page said. At 400 milligrams, it produced “marked suppression” of testosterone levels and two other hormones necessary for sperm production.

So, how does it work? The drug combines the activity of a male hormone (or androgen) such as testosterone with synthetic progesterone. The pill also contains a long-chain fatty acid called undecanoate, which slows the breakdown of the testosterone so that it remains effective all day in contrast to older editions. These cleared the body too quickly and would, therefore, have required at least two doses daily to make it as a viable form of birth control.

As for any negative side effects, the volunteers did show signs of weight gain and a decrease in good cholesterol but these were mild. All passed safety tests including those suggestive of liver and kidney health, a hurdle previous attempts at male contraceptives have failed to meet.

“Despite having low levels of circulating testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess,” Page said.

This is excellent news. Previous studies on male birth control have been cut short, not because they were ineffective but because they may have produced side effects such as depression, changes in libido, and acne. All of which, incidentally, happen to be well-known side effects of female birth control. 

While the results so far are promising, the next step is to see how DMAU stacks up efficacy and health-wise when taken on a continuing basis. According to Page, longer-term studies are already taking place.

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Under Fire and Losing Trust, Facebook Plays the Victim

On Tuesday morning, Facebook employees were quiet even for Facebook employees, buried in the news on their phones as they shuffled to a meeting in one of the largest cafeterias at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Mark Zuckerberg, their chief executive officer, had always told them Facebook Inc.’s growth was good for the world. Sheryl Sandberg, their chief operating officer, had preached the importance of openness. Neither appeared in the cafeteria on Tuesday. Instead, the company sent a lawyer.

The context: Reports in the  and thethe previous weekend that Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that advised President Trump’s electoral campaign on digital advertising, had effectively stolen personal information from at least 50 million Americans. The data had come from Facebook, which had allowed an outside developer to take it before that developer shared it with Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook tried to get ahead of the story, announcing in a blog post that it was suspending the right-leaning consultancy and that it no longer allowed this kind of data sharing. Its users—a cohort that includes 2 billion or so people—weren’t ready to forgive. The phrase #DeleteFacebook flooded social media. (Among the outraged was WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who in 2014 sold Facebook his messaging app for $19 billion.) Regulators in the U.S. and Europe announced they were opening inquiries. The company’s stock fell almost 9 percent from March 19-20, erasing about $50 billion of value.

QuicktakeFacebook and Cambridge Analytica

In most moments of crisis for the company, Zuckerberg or Sandberg have typically played damage-controller-in-chief. This time, the employees got all of 30 minutes with Paul Grewal, the deputy general counsel. the news reports were true—a blame-deflecting phrase that struck some as odd—Grewal told them, Facebook had been lied to. Cambridge Analytica should have deleted the outside developer’s data, but it didn’t. Reporters were calling this a breach, but it wasn’t, because users freely signed away their own data and that of their friends. The rules were clear, and Facebook followed them.

One employee asked the same question twice: Even if Facebook played by its own rules, and the developer followed policies at the time, did the company ever consider the ethics of what it was doing with user data? Grewal didn’t answer directly.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment for this story, referring to a January post by Zuckerberg stating the CEO’s aim to get the company on a “better trajectory.” On Wednesday afternoon, Zuckerberg published a post promising to audit and restrict developer access to user data. “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you,” he wrote. “I've been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn't happen again.”

Read more: Silicon Valley Has Failed to Protect Our Data. Here’s How to Fix It

Of course, Facebook has weathered complaints about violating user privacy since its earliest days without radically altering its practices. The first revolt came in 2006, when users protested that the service’s news feed was making public information that the users had intended to keep private. The news feed is now the company’s core service. In 2009, Facebook began making users’ posts, which had previously been private, public by default. That incident triggered anger, confusion, an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and, ultimately, a consent decree. In 2014, the company disclosed that it had tried to manipulate users’ emotions as part of an internal psychology experiment.

As bad as each of these may have seemed, Facebook users have generally been unfazed. They’ve used the service in ever-greater numbers for greater amounts of time, in effect trading privacy for product. They were willing to give more and more data to Facebook in exchange for the ability to connect with old high school friends, see pictures of their grandkids, read only the news that they agree with. The concept was dubbed Zuckerberg’s Law in 2008, when the CEO argued at a conference that each year people would share twice as much information about themselves as they had the year before. Notions of privacy were eroding, Zuckerberg said in 2010. “That social norm,” he added, “is just something that has evolved over time.”

For a while, the only thing Facebook needed to do to keep growing was to remove barriers to downloading and using the product. By 2014, it had reached almost half the world’s internet-connected population, and Zuckerberg realized the only way to expand further was to add people to the internet. While Facebook invested in internet subsidy programs in developing countries, it also went on an acquisition binge, buying up popular social software makers such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

These moves led to annual revenue growth of about 50 percent, with most of the increase coming from mobile ads, and converted the company’s Wall Street doubters. Last year, even as Facebook was forced to acknowledge that it had played a role in the Russian disinformation campaign during the election of Trump, investors pushed its stock price up 53 percent.

But the big blue app, as employees call Facebook’s namesake service, hasn’t changed much in years. The company has tweaked its algorithm, at times favoring or punishing clickbait-style news and viral videos, but most people use the service the same way they did two or three years ago. And some people are simply over it. In North America, Facebook’s daily user counts fell for the first time in the fourth quarter, and time spent on the site declined by 50 million hours a day. Facebook claimed that this was by design: Zuckerberg was focusing on helping users achieve “time well-spent,” with the news feed de-emphasizing viral flotsam.

The company positioned its new algorithmic initiative as a reaction to a study co-authored by one of its employees, arguing that while Facebook could be bad for users' mental health if they used it passively, more active use was actually good for you. The study could be viewed as a rare show of corporate transparency or a novel way to goose engagement.

Some of the moves, however, look even more desperate. Now, when people stop going on Facebook as often as usual, the company sends them frequent emails and text messages to encourage them to re-engage. It’s also getting more aggressive about suggesting what users should post.  According to some employees, the focus on time well-spent just means the company will point to metrics such as comments and personal updates as signs of growth, rather than genuinely improving the user experience.

In the long run, Facebook wants to make its product even more immersive and personal than it is now. It wants people to buy video chatting and personal assistant devices for their homes, and plans to announce those products this spring, say people familiar with the matter. It wants users to dive into Facebook-developed virtual worlds. It wants them to use Facebook Messenger to communicate with businesses, and to store their credit-card data on the app so they can use it to make payments to friends.

Employees have begun to worry that the company won’t be able to achieve its biggest goals if users decide that Facebook isn’t trustworthy enough to hold their data. At the meeting on Tuesday, the mood was especially grim. One employee told a reporter that the only time he’d felt as uncomfortable at work, or as responsible for the world’s problems, was the day Donald Trump won the presidency.

BOTTOM LINE – As its share price tanks and regulators circle, Facebook is struggling to answer basic questions about its next moves, even from its own employees.

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Twitter Is Having A Field Day Roasting The Luxe Diets Of International Students

We’re very familiar with the stereotype that all international students are wealthy. They’re the ones ordering bottle service at the club, going out for dinner with one of their myriad credit cards, indulging in expensive coffees and going on casual designer shopping sprees. While the stereotype is certainly not 100% accurate, people on Twitter have been riffing on the trope and posting photoshopped “designer” foods to poke fun at the foreign students. We may not be able to afford it, but that Louis Vuitton cupcake looks miiighty tasty.