Is it us, or was most of the information on the internet created purely as an experiment to see how gullible people are?
There's probably no better example than the outlandish and, quite frankly, retarded food "facts" that get spread around. To listen to these people, half the stuff in your refrigerator is a dangerous substance that was originally designed as a chemical weapon.
This rumor names Coca-Cola, but presumably applies to Pepsi, RC, Dr. Pepper, all of those drinks that you always thought were just harmless caramel-flavored CO2 and high fructose corn syrup. That is, until this email came along with horrifying factoids like:
"You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be gone in two days.
The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous material place cards reserved for Highly corrosive materials."
We get it! It's an acid! An acid so powerful it can eat your bones! Fuck!
There are so many Coke rumors that Snopes has an entire section of their site dedicated to them. Yes, Coke does contain an acid. So does a whole lot of what you eat and drink (orange juice is more acidic, for instance). The key is that the acids are diluted enough that they won't eat a hole through your innards. Products that do that tend to sell poorly.
Now it's true the trucks carrying the concentrated syrup used to make Coke do have the Corrosive Chemicals signs on them, but that's because they're dealing with the concentrated components, not the Coke itself. Using that as proof Coke is poison is like saying you can't drink whiskey because it's flammable. That's what makes it good.
If an innocent Coke can eat a hole in your guts, who the hell knows what Red Bull can do, right? Well, if this email (that may or may not have been forwarded to you by your mom) is to be believed, it can give you a brain tumor:
"Ever wondered what's in a can of Red Bull Energy drink? The small print lists a host of ingredients and among them is an artificially manufactured stimulant developed in the early 60's by the American Government.
Glucuronolactone was first used in the Vietnam conflict to boost morale amongst GI's who were suffering from stress and fatigue, but was banned after a few years following several deaths and hundreds of cases involving anything from severe migraines to brain tumors in personnel prescribed the stimulant.
An article in this month's edition of the British Medical Journal has highlighted a growing number of cases reported by Doctors and Surgeons involving the very same side effects from the 70s. All of the patients examined were regular drinkers of RedBull and it is believed that the safety of Glucuronolactone is currently under review in at least three major European countries."
Every word of that is a lie. Really, every single word. Well, maybe except the part about Red Bull containing glucuronolactone.
The chemical was not invented by the government (it occurs naturally in the body). The whole Vietnam story is a lie, the British Medical Journal article does not exist and the FDA doesn't have shit about glucuronolactone being dangerous.
Now, there was this one kid who drank three Red Bulls in a row and then died some hours later, which caused some countries to ban the product. Though this means that the brain tumor theory is out (unless he magically grew a tumor so huge that it gave him a heart attack--but we're pretty sure they would have mentioned that).
As for glucuronolactone, a can of Red Bull does contain 600 mg of the stuff, which is 250 times a person's normal intake. What are the effects? Nobody knows. The reason there are so many rumors about it is that there have been almost no studies into what it actually does. We don't even know if it actually gives you energy.
Maybe this is what Red Bull is for.
The same can be said for the other key ingredient, taurine. In some cases it even acts like a sedative.
So how does a can of Red Bull give you that burst of energy? Check out the amount of sugar and caffeine on the label. If you want a reason not to drink it, why not that?
Monosodium glutamate--or MSG--is a common food additive. You probably can't pick up a can of soup, TV dinner or bag of Chinese takeout that doesn't include MSG.
The rumors probably started with some people complaining of headaches after eating at Chinese restaurants. From there the story mutated into, "MSG BURNS YOUR BRAIN-CELLS! RUN!!!!" Now the story even gets repeated on health websites:
"Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a dangerous food ingredient compound known as an excitotoxin. Excitotoxins are proteins which make brain cells fire their impulses rapidly when they make contact with it. The cells become so hyper-excited that they continue to fire until the cell is exhausted, and subsequently die.
Monosodium glutamate isn't just sensed by the taste buds in our tongues, it also triggers and excites the neurons in the brain. Free glutamic acid is able to reach the brain where it can injure and kill the neurons.
This acid doesn't cause a problem in anyone when it is a part of whole, natural, God created unprocessed food. It becomes a problem when man separates it through a chemical process in a laboratory."
Have you noticed how all of these rumors seem to assume there's just nobody at all looking out for food safety? They make it sound like they could replace the filling in Ding Dongs with baboon semen and we'd have no defense if not for the dedicated email forwarders of the world.
Look at that little guy.
Fortunately in the real world, countries have agencies like The Food and Drug Administration to test these things. And no, MSG won't eat your brain, or cause any other long-term illnesses. Not unless you eat a wheelbarrow of the stuff every day, at which point you would have other problems.
Now, to be fair, it does appear that some people do have a sensitivity to MSG and may feel like shit for a few hours after eating a lot of it. And you will eat a lot of it. Another side effect is obesity, because MSG actually stimulates the appetite (or blocks the brain chemicals that tell you to stop eating). So, like Coca-Cola, it won't kill you but will force you to buy bigger pants.
Cold water? Seriously? Yep, if you believe every retarded thing you read.
The theory goes, we've all seen how grease solidifies when it cools, such as in your drains. Well, your intestines are exactly like drains, right? So drinking cold water after a fatty meal will make that shit solidify in your guts! Oh, no!
Your heart, every time you drink cold water. Probably.
"For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you. It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed.
A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life. Once this "sludge" reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal. A serious note about heart attacks: You should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting. Be aware of intense pain in the jaw line. Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms."
Here's a good general tip: If the person giving you medical advice seems to easily confuse cancer and heart attacks, as this person does in their second paragraph up there, they might not know what they're talking about.
"Get the paddles, he's having a cancer!"
As for the "cold water will solidify grease in your guts" thing, do we even need to explain this? After all, between your mouth and your intestines is a little-known organ called the "stomach." Even if you eat half a dozen Snow Cones after every meal, it's all going to land in your stomach and reach body temperature within a few minutes. Even if you stuff them up your ass you'll be fine (trust us).