Thursday 18 December 2014

The BBC and the Secret of Nuclear Dieting

I've been busy, so it's taken me a while to get to this. Let's leave the gentle world of world religion, bidding a quick prayer of bidding to Libby Lane on her imminent elevation, and move on instead to the ever-dangerous world of BBC Science Reporting.

When I read the headline, Fat "breathed out" of body via lungs, say scientists,  I mean, what - actual fat molecules being exhaled? I can imagine the odd fat molecule somehow contaminating the air you're breathing out - but actual routinely breathing out fat? I suppose it would explain how you feel if you've had a hard night on the bread and dripping, but really?

And then I discovered what they were trying to tell us. And it's terrifying.

"The Australian team traced the route of fat out of the body as atoms. Their findings are published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. When fat is broken down to its constituent parts, a couple of things happen. Chemical bonds are broken, a process which releases heat and fuel to power muscles. But the atoms - the stuff fat is made of - remain, and much of these leave the body via the lungs as carbon dioxide, say the scientists."

Stone me. You mean, as in the secret and until now never-heard-of process, (broadly, for I am writing this at a level that even BBC science correspondents might understand) decrees that we break food and oxygen down into water and CO2? Why had nobody ever noticed before?  Oh, they had? Even a fun-facts page like this?

I don't really get it. Maybe this is "persuade the BBC something everybody knows is radical research" week, and it's just not been publicised as well as "Speak like David Attenborough Day"? If so, they've totally conned this particular reporter. Who presumably has a degree in media studies.

Let me finish with this quote from the article:
"Dr Tom Barber, associate professor of endocrinology at Warwick University and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, said the work was interesting and novel, and busted the misperception that fat is simply burned off as energy - something that even many doctors think."
Let me give you some advice. If your doctor seriously thinks that an Einsteinian process of mass being converted into energy is happening every time you eat fat, stay well away from them. They know nothing about the human body, and even less about physics. At e=mc2, if you lose 1 kg of fat on a diet, you will release the same amount of energy as 1,000 Hiroshimas. And I don't think you want that on your conscience, do you? Stay off the diet.

1 comment :

  1. I learned the fat(cts) about dieting by the obvious route. A severe dose of the screaming heebie-jeebies convinced me that those extra chilli's on the curry are good for weight loss. I'm quite sure that I lose at least a stone every Saturday morning after my regular friday 15 pints and a monster curry from the Bombay Blues down the High street. Good job I eat normally the rest of the time or I'd look just like a super model (of either gender).


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