Category: Food

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.

On alcohol guidelines and social desirability

I’ve posted a piece at Psychology Today on the methodological problems surrounding Britain’s new alcohol consumption guidelines:

The UK government has published new guidelines on healthy alcohol consumption and, yes, as might be predicted, they are controversial. According to the new advice, adults — male or female — should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. That approximates to around 6 glasses of beer or 7 glasses of wine. Beyond this, the UK Department of Health argue that the risk of alcohol-related death, especially cancer, is significantly increased.

To say that folks were unhappy about the new guidelines would be putting it mildly. 

Feel free to read the rest of the piece here, if you are sober enough.

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Some pieces and bits

It’s early January. That time when other people’s New Year’s resolutions mean that you get lots of emails. About really important stuff that you simply must deal with, like, immediately. These folks need a reply because they only have stamina for a few days’ frantic emailing. After the New Year energy burst, they lose all energy and then you don’t hear from them again until next year. It’s like the Monarch Butterfly migration — all flapping and fluttering and in-your-face attention-grabbing and suddenly…well suddenly it’s all over and off they disappear for another twelve months.

This year I avoided posting about science at Christmas or reviewing what amazing science-related things happened in the year gone by. Daringly, I felt compelled to ignore the clichés. (That, and I was busy, trying to finish a book no less (more on which coming soon…)).

So in tidy-up mode I was going to post something about a forthcoming public talk. But before I did that I felt it would be good etiquette to post the slides from my last public talk, from Science Week back in November. So here they are:

Like the Pony Express, I always deliver.

Happy New you-know-what!

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