The facts of food

Alternative facts have long existed in the world of food. When you create a powerful enough fiction, you are no longer bound by the need for evidence, for fact checking, for responsibility and a concern for the safety of the vulnerable. The people peddling the candida myth have discovered that in making up a problem, valuable new markets can be created from nothing.

From Captain Science vs the Army of Fungus

I always thought flossing was good for my teeth

This SBM article leads me to question the idea that flossing my teeth helps to prevent dental cavities and gum disease.

It’s more complicated than that.

Done “by professionals” it can reduce dental caries (tooth decay) but if you’re not flossing at least five times a week there’s little benefit to it. Maybe the professionals had a technique the rest of us don’t know, or perhaps they were more diligent about flossing during those trials. Who knows?

To floss, or not to floss? That is the question. Now that you are armed with the evidence, you can make the choice which is best for you. If you want to prevent tooth decay, you should focus on reducing your sugar intake, use a fluoridated toothpaste, and perhaps a fluoride mouth rinse. Whether you decide to floss or not depends on your desired outcome. For a fresh, debris-free mouth, yes, go ahead and floss away. If your desire is to prevent cavities or periodontitis, other methods are more effective.

Many years ago before I started flossing regularly I rushed to the dentist while on holiday with a terrible pain in my mouth. Fearing that a tooth would have to be pulled or cavity filled I sat in the chair, leaned back and the dentist took one look. He grabbed some floss and removed the crumb that had lodged between my teeth. The pain was gone!

So, just like the author of that article, Grant Ritchey, I’ll continue to floss every night. There’s no downside and my mouth feels better for it, even if the science doesn’t fully back me up on this.

Why the hell is sitting so bad for us?

The numbers are scary. Sitting really seems to be bad if the observational studies and meta analysis studies are to be believed. Sitting for lengthy periods of time contributes to all sorts of nasty diseases like cancers and heart disease. It’s a wonder I’ve reached this age at all!

It doesn’t matter how much you exercise, it has no effect on how bad sitting is for you. You’re better off getting up and walking around for 2 minutes every half hour or hour than doing that intensive hour of walking in the morning. (damn)

And the findings were sobering: Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.

By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes, the authors said.

Looking more broadly, they concluded that an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV.

Get Up. Get Out. Don’t Sit.

I’m just glad I have a standing desk but I need to use it more often in it’s elevated position.

Varidesk Pro Plus

I have no idea why sitting is bad for you. The video above suggests a few reasons but it’s all speculation.

Via this Reddit thread.

Why Is Fluoride Good for Teeth?

It’s well known that fluoride is good for teeth, that it stops or slows down tooth decay. How does it do that? This video explains the process by which fluorapatite is formed and remineralises the teeth. For a more detailed look, there’s also this technical article I found that’s worth getting your teeth into digesting. 🙂

The hydroxyapatite of tooth enamel is primarily composed of phosphate ions (PO43–) and calcium ions (Ca2+). Under normal conditions, there is a stable equilibrium between the calcium and phosphate ions in saliva and the crystalline hydroxyapatite that comprises 96% of tooth enamel. When the pH drops below a critical level (5.5 for enamel, and 6.2 for dentin), it causes the dissolution of tooth mineral (hydroxyapatite) in a process called demineralization. When the pH is elevated by the natural buffer capacity of saliva, mineral gets reincorporated into the tooth through the process of remineralization.

When fluoride is present in oral fluids (i.e., saliva), fluorapatite, rather than hydroxyapatite, forms during the remineralization process. Fluoride ions (F–) replace hydroxyl groups (OH–) in the formation of the apatite crystal lattice (Figure 3). In fact, the presence of fluoride increases the rate of remineralization.

Fluorapatite is inherently less soluble than hydroxyapatite, even under acidic conditions. When hydroxyapatite dissolves under cariogenic (acidic) conditions, if fluoride is present, then fluorapatite will form. Because fluorapatite is less soluble than hydroxyapatite, it is also more resistant to subsequent demineralization when acid challenged.

There’s more sugar in skim milk

image

If sugar is the new bad guy, taking over from fat, should we drink skim milk?

If you take out the fat, everything left behind is more concentrated, so you get marginally more sugar per volume of liquid. I guess it really matters if you’re consuming liters and liters of milk per day but it probably won’t make much of a difference to your porridge and a few cups of tea.

We Quit Sugar

Before I watched this video and looked up her name I had no idea who Sarah Wilson is but apparently she’s an advocate of eliminating sugar completely from your body. Ridiculous. It’s another quack diet. Eat everything in moderation and that includes sugar. Eat too much sugar and of course you’ll suffer. Bah.

How to improve your sleep in seconds….

In this post Richard Wiseman recommends reducing the use of screens late at night because of the blue light emitted by them as that can keep you awake for longer.

I read books on my phone but I use Screen Filter To bring the brightness way down. Once I start reading a book I generally get sleepy within a dozen words or so! Anyway, I just installed the Twilight app that changes the temperature of the screen at different times of the day. At night it will make the screen go slightly red. I’ll give it a go tonight. Maybe I’ll look at the screen and fall into a deep sleep..

The irony is, I’m typing this at my PC where I should really have something like f.lux installed if I’m that worried about it.

Creating narratives to stay sane

Halo

One of my favourite podcasts is You are not so smart and the Halo effect episode last month brings together parts of David McRaney’s books and previous shows in a very entertaining two and a half hours plus.

Frankly, the halo effect scares the hell out of me. It’s impossible to be objective when judging others. No matter how hard you try, if one aspect of a person annoys you then you’ll unfairly judge the rest of their personality or ability.

Go listen to the podcast. It’s great.

PS. yes I noticed the scratched vandalism on the picture above, did you?