Category: Stress

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.

“How to Not Die”

Good news everyone. I’ll be giving a keynote at next month’s Psychology, Health, & Medicine conference in Limerick.

Here’s the abstract:

How to Not Die: What we really know about stress and heart disease

Everyone knows that stress increases blood pressure, and nearly everyone knows that such fluctuations in blood pressure constitute a risk factor for disease.

Indeed, demonstrating this empirically has been psychology’s most impactful contribution to the health sciences: it has influenced public policy, changed medical practice, and saved lives.

Such links have conventionally been discussed in terms of sustained elevation by stress of cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) such that disease onset becomes inevitable. However, the stress-CVR association is not that straightforward.

At least four anomalies exist: (a) elevated CVR is not always bad; (b) deflated CVR is not always good; (c) individual differences suggest that CVR might in fact be a secondary outcome of risk mechanisms; and (d) laboratory models tend to ignore the role of stress habituation.

This lecture will attempt to show how recent studies help resolve these anomalies by corroborating a unified, more nuanced, model of stress-related cardiovascular ill-health. Tips on not dying will be incorporated.

So there. You’ll need to register now.

Oh, by the way, anyone with any tips on how to not die, please get in touch…

‘Smart bra’ only works if you’re stupid enough to believe it

mail bra

So here’s something to get the pulse racing. And that’s all there is to it. Sorry if it means absolutely nothing. Despite a tidal wave of news coverage, the only newsworthy element here is that the manufacturers of this so-called “smart bra” have succeeded in getting a Press Release to go viral. And as is increasingly the case, they’ve done so via the Science News pages. Continue reading “‘Smart bra’ only works if you’re stupid enough to believe it”

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