Category: Naturopathy

Um Starbucks, could you not?

The Starbucks I go to is now selling magic beans. Well, matcha tea lattes actually, which are like magic beans in the sense that they possess special powers:

Detox the body

High in antioxidants

Helps the immune system

Burns calories

I was particularly intrigued at the last claim. This latte actually “burns calories”.

Which is strange, because a venti serving of said magic tea latte — sorry, matcha tea latte — contains 316 calories all on its own, making it the most calorie-laden tea drink on the menu:

This is pretty much a similar number of calories as in one of those super-sized chocolate chip cookies they sell.

Hmm. Do the chocolate cookies also “burn” calories?

Obviously this is all ridiculous. When you drink a venti matcha tea latte, you consume calories, you don’t burn them. You consume as many calories as you would if you ate a chocolate biscuit.

Physical activity burns calories. Some other things (like stress) can also burn calories, but not always in a good way.

You can’t burn calories by consuming them.

But I guess anything that claims to perform “detox” is bound to be bunkum.

The costs of complementary medicine

Here is an opinion piece I wrote for in this week’s Modern Medicine magazine. The version below is the final draft prior to some very minor typographical edits. The article also appears online at irishhealth.comwhere you can also read a companion article presenting an opposing perspective on complementary medicine. Modern Medicine is published by Medmedia Publications and edited by Ken Fitzsimons.

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Last year saw the death from cancer of Steve Jobs, the entrepreneur who brought us the iPhone, a visionary credited with enhancing the lives of millions through insight and intellectual brilliance. Nonetheless, although acclaimed as a technological sophisticate, Jobs had a proclivity for the esoteric. When diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he chose to eschew ordinary medicine and instead turned to complementary and alternative medicine (or CAM). His therapies included dietary treatments, “hydrotherapy”, acupuncture, naturopathy, and even the occasional visit to a psychic. Continue reading “The costs of complementary medicine”

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