Fake Health News

Fake Health News?

I have played with the Fake News mantra in a couple presentations to my Rotary club.  This example highlights how we have to understand the sourcing of information before accepting the premise presented as true.

From FoxNews.com “Foods to beat inflammation”.


This photo included in the article caught my attention and caused me to open curiously.  As I pointed out briefly in this post, elevated blood sugar can cause inflammation directly, so seeing Orange juice here made me suspect.  Scrolled to the bottom and saw this:

Disclosure: Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN works with the Florida Department of Citrus to help people make healthy food choices.

They get credit for calling out the conflict, but how many people honestly look at that?  Further, the first item on her list was Orange Juice!

I discarded this originally but revisited prior to presenting as at Rotary and looked into the basis for her claim.  Here is her basis:

Research suggests that a glass of 100 percent orange juice may help reduce inflammation given its overall nutrient content and the flavonoid, hesperidin, that it contains. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming 100 percent orange juice with a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal helped to reduce markers of inflammation better than water alone, or water with sugar added to equal the number of calories in the orange juice. Reducing inflammation with 100 percent orange juice may also help support a healthy heart and circulation as well as promote overall health and wellness.

So, I took a quick glance at the article referenced:

Three groups of 10 healthy, normal-weight men and women (body mass index [in kg/m2]: 20–25; age range: 20–40 y) were recruited for this study. All subjects presented for the investigation after an overnight fast to the Clinical Research Center, State University of New York at Buffalo. Subjects in the 3 groups ingested a 300-kcal drink of 75 g glucose (Glucola; Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh, PA), orange juice (“Not From Concentrate” Florida Orange Juice; Florida Department of Citrus, Lakeland, FL), or water along with a 900-kcal HFHC meal (egg-muffin and sausage-muffin sandwiches and 2 hash-brown potatoes that contained 81 g carbohydrates, 51 g fat, and 32 g protein). To compensate for the difference in volume between the drinks, subjects were asked to drink an extra 350 mL water with the glucose drink. All subjects were given 10–15 min to finish their drinks and meals. Blood samples were collected before and 1, 3, and 5 h after the intake of the food and drinks.

Really, they are using McDonald’s Egg McMuffin as the food of choice here?  I will do a post on High Carb High Fat (HCHF) in the future as that isn’t an ideal dietary strategy, in addition, many studies that claim high fat is bad are often based on the inclusion of high carb and junk inflammatory fats.  Ok, on to their findings:

In conclusion, the intake of orange juice in combination with an HFHC meal prevents an increase in ROS generation and the inflammatory response in MNCs in contrast to the increase in both of these indexes after the HFHC meal with glucose or water.

Quick translation; ROS=Reactive Oxygen Species, which are involved in oxidative stress.

So, they were looking at how much oxidative stress and the resultant inflammatory markers occurred as a result of these meal choices in increments up to 5 hours after the meal.

FIVE HOURS?  Reading my earlier linked post, and understanding a few things about chronic disease, I am pretty confident that the risk period for junk food consequences is outside of five hours.   But, they demonstrated a difference between orange juice and sugar water (hungry yet?).

Orange juice is known to have high amounts of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant.  To me, it is highly likely that having Vitamin C present can prolong the oxidative stress of this fantastic meal choice from occurring a little while (apparently even 5 hours).  I suppose it is like allowing a snake bite and providing the anti-venom at the same time.  Sure, you may not get as sick as fast, but does that mean it is a good idea to get bit?

With the inference of this article in question (that Orange juice is anti-inflammatory), I took a quick look at the fine print:

The authors’ responsibilities were as follows—PD: study conception and design, statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation; HG: study conception and design, recruitment of subjects, protocol implementation, sample and statistical analysis, data acquisition, and manuscript preparation, editing, and revision; PM: study design, recruitment of subjects, protocol implementation, and manuscript preparation; VP: study design, recruitment of subjects, and protocol implementation; MU: recruitment of subjects, protocol implementation, sample acquisition, processing, analysis, and data acquisition; KK: sample acquisition, processing, analysis, and data acquisition; and CLS and SA: sample acquisition, processing, analysis, data acquisition, and manuscript editing and revision. PD is supported by the Florida Department of Citrus. HG, CLS, MP, KK, PV, SA, and PM had no conflicts of interest.

Interesting.  PD set the whole thing up and is supported (PAID) by the Florida Department of Citrus. Yep, the same Department of Citrus the author of the Fox News article is supported (PAID) by.

There is a tremendous amount of information out there, and to glean actionable items from it requires a little background and/or time to sort through.  Your time is valuable, and this is just one of the things I would be glad to help you with on your journey to health optimization.  Part of this Service is to help provide information and guidance on the strategy we end up choosing.  There are two parts to this; (1) I hope you can save time googling for all the latest trendy health information so you can keep on living life by utilizing me instead for research and (2) if you do have questions or want substantiation on a health topic I would be happy to gather for you.

I will be posting more Fake Health News information along the way as it is valuable to see the trends in how we are often presented with so many things as fact when there is so much more to the story.


Leave a Reply