Let’s not get crazy now
Women, if you’re past retirement age and you want to live longer AND reduce your risk of stroke, the results of two new studies suggest you should follow these simple guidelines:
1) Don’t take vitamin supplements
2) Eat as much chocolate as you can get your hands on
Now, some of you might be tempted to follow that second guideline. (Personally, I’ve been waiting for years to see a guideline like that!)
But realistically…does it seem the least bit logical that either of those guidelines could be of genuine benefit?
Of course not. But as usual, mainstream media simpletons took one look at these results and overreacted like wildly impressionable children.
Supplements will kill you! Unlimited chocolate makes strokes go away!
Okay, little children, settle down. Let’s dial back the insane exaggeration a notch and allow the adults to get a clear-eyed look at what’s really going on here.
The observation deck
First up — chocolate.
Yes, dark chocolate contains flavanols that are actually heart healthy. But when Swedish researchers asked about 33,000 middle-aged and older women about their diets, then followed their health records for 10 years, one key result emerged.
Here’s how Reuters Health puts it: “The more chocolate the women said they ate, the lower their risk of stroke.”
And the Reuters headline: “Chocolate lovers have fewer strokes: Study.”
Now…let’s hear from the lead researcher of the study. She told Reuters: “Given the observational design of the study, findings of this study cannot prove that it’s chocolate that lowers the risk of stroke.”
Put another way: “Ignore the ridiculous results. Do NOT eat as much chocolate as you can stuff in your mouth. Come on — it’s only an observational study.”
Now let’s turn to the REALLY insane mainstream media reaction to a study I’m SURE you heard all about. Here’s one of the headlines you might have seen…
Consumer Reports: “Supplements linked with death in older women”
Let me go on record right now with a bold sweeping statement: Supplements do not increase your risk of death. Not in older women. Not in younger women. Not in boys. Not in men. Nobody. If a 90 lb. crate filled with supplements fell on your head, THAT would increase your risk of death. But, with very few exceptions, if you swallow the supplements, you’ll be just fine.
University of Minnesota researchers asked about 39,000 older women about their supplement intake and followed their health records for nearly 20 years. Results showed a razor-thin link between death during the study period and supplement intake.
And how much credibility should we give this outcome?
Well, after giving older women a shock with the headline above, Consumer Reports admitted: “Still, it was an observational study, not clinical trial, so it’s possible that other factors contributed to the results.”
Possible? Many of the women were in their 80s by the end of the study period. So it’s PROBABLE that other factors might have contributed.
Especially because it’s an OBSERVATIONAL study. And just like the chocolate observational study, this one is as flimsy as a pile of dry autumn leaves.
When you sort through all the frightening gibberish most of the major news outlets put out about this study, here’s an interesting nugget you’ll find buried in the details: Calcium supplements were linked with a LOWER risk of mortality.
But why harp on that, right? Why tell aging women about the supplement that (according to this study) might help them live longer? No, according to editors and news managers all over the country, the absurdly slight death link was the only logical focus.
Once again, it’s glaringly obvious that we cannot trust ANY mainstream media source for accurate reporting on healthcare. They’re just crazy kids, all hopped up on too many chocolate bars.
“Chocolate lovers have fewer strokes: Study” Reuters Health, 10/11/11, reutershealth.com
“Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women” Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 171, No. 18, 10/10/11, archinte.ama-assn.org
“Supplements linked with death in older women” Consumer Reports, 10/11/11, news.consumerreports.org