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We cram so much stuff into our bodies in the course of a day or week that if we get sick, it's almost impossible to pin down what caused it. What if we told you that the last round of diarrhea you got wasn't from that shady Indian restaurant, but from your chewing gum? Or that your body odor isn't due to your bathing habits, but the steak you ate last night?

Yeah, it turns out the foods you've eaten this week can mess you up in all sorts of unexpected ways. For instance ...

Red Meat Makes You Smell Bad to Women

With the exception of ATV racing, nothing expresses humanity's dominance over Mother Nature quite like taking a bite out of one of her beloved creatures. Red meat is full of muscle-building protein, meaning that when combined with exercise, eating meat gives you a totally ripped body that the ladies won't be able to resist.

Just oil yourself up with the still-warm blood of your latest kill and you're ready to be served.

That is, unless those ladies place a high emphasis on not smelling like garbage. In a 2006 study, 17 men were put onto a two-week diet -- one group consumed red meat, while the other did not. At the end of the two weeks, samples of their body odor were collected and presented to 30 women, who were made to take a whiff of each odor and assess it on its "pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity and intensity," though we can't imagine a vial of man sweat doing anything but unequivocally failing those first two categories.

It took us to dinner first, so we felt kinda obliged to take a whiff.

The odor of those on the non-meat diet was consistently rated as more attractive, even when the groups switched diets and were tested again a month later. According to the scientists, these results suggest that eating red meat has a negative effect on "perceived body odor hedonicity," which we assume is science-talk for "smelling like a goddamn werewolf."

"Can you smell wet dog?"

So far, there's no medical explanation for why this occurs, although the popular theory is that undigested toxins in the meat get secreted through the pores of the skin. That either generates the meaty stink directly, or the odor is caused by bacteria that subsequently gather on the skin to feed on the secreted toxins.

Either way, this helps explain how white guys with dreadlocks get laid, despite totally sucking at that acoustic guitar they insist on playing at every party. Each missed shower builds up their natural, vegetarian body musk into a stink cloud that women find irresistible.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum Can Cause Diarrhea

If you like having fresh breath and looking like you just don't give a damn, odds are that you chew gum. Some dentists even recommend it, because it increases saliva production and promotes jaw exercise.

And no one likes flabby jaws!

And if you get the sugar-free stuff, hell, what's the downside? You don't swallow it, so it's like all of the benefits of candy with none of the getting fat. But you might have a problem in the opposite direction.

The culprit is a sweetener called sorbitol, a chemical that is found in many sugar-free gums, and one that is poorly absorbed by the intestines. Substances that can't be absorbed tend to shoot right through. So what we're saying is, sorbitol is a laxative. Don't get us wrong, it's fine in small amounts. But if you're the type of person who always has to have gum in your mouth, and is always swapping it out for a fresh piece ... don't stray far from a toilet.

"At least I still feel fresh!"

This was discovered when an article from the British Medical Journal presented cases of two patients who displayed some serious reverse-Captain America weight loss, done entirely by way of thundergut diarrhea explosion.

At first the doctors were baffled by the symptoms, but they soon discovered that the patients chewed 15 to 20 sticks of sorbitol-containing gum a day. When the patients were made to give it up, the symptoms stopped and they were able to healthily gain back the weight they had lost, though presumably not before garroting someone with Bubble Tape in a withdrawal-fueled haze.


The authors of the article state that excessive sorbitol consumption can result in a loss of up to 20 percent of your total body weight, making it an ideal target for the next fad diet.

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Certain Fruits and Vegetables Give You a Sexy Tan

This is one of those things that you'd think only works in a cartoon. "Eat too many carrots, and you'll turn orange!" But it happens. And it may help you get dates.

So much food on the brain right now.

First, you need to learn what carotenoids are. They're color pigments that can be found in several fruits and vegetables such as carrots, plums and cucumbers. They contribute to human skin color, giving it a yellowish tint. In excessive amounts, they can even cause yellow-orange discoloration of the skin. So they're essentially a biological version of Cheeto dust, if Cheeto dust made you look vaguely jaundiced and/or anemic.

"This 10-carrot-per-day habit is killing my liver."

So, unless you have an extremely serious carrot-eating problem or are a cartoon rabbit, why should you care? Well, studies have shown that there is a noticeable connection between carotenoid coloration and how others see you. Specifically, how much they want to see you naked.

A series of studies by three U.K. scientists looked into the relationship between the pigments that affect skin color (melanin and carotenoid) and perceived appearance. The results showed a preference for light, yellow skin tone, with participants being more appreciative of carotenoid coloration than melanin coloration. They also expressed an unnatural fondness for Nick Stahl's performance in Sin City.

"It's the 'child killer' tan the whole nation is talking about!"

The scientists conducting the studies concluded that carotenoid coloration is "a valid cue to human health which is perceptible in a way that is relevant to mate choice." Basically, the yellow/orange tint is indicative of a healthy lifestyle, which portrays the person bearing said tint as a more desirable romantic companion. So if you're continually failing with the opposite sex, theoretically it's because you just aren't orange enough.*

*We'll just let you make your own Jersey Shore joke there, we're kind of tired of them.

As tired as Snooki is of deep-throating carrots. Zing!

Grapefruit Can Mess With Your Medication

OK, maybe it's not shocking that too much coffee and chemical-filled candy can mess with your system. But grapefruit?

Grapefruit is the hallmark of a healthy breakfast, damn it! It contains vitamin C and antioxidants, and it can help lower cholesterol. It seems like the only health problem related to the grapefruit would be if it were fired out of a cannon directly into your face.

Although the cholesterol level of your resulting head wound would be inspirational.

Well, it turns out grapefruit blocks certain enzymes in the small intestine that break down medications. These enzymes normally regulate the amount of whatever drug you've consumed that gets absorbed into your body. If you take your medication (or "medication," if your pharmacist wears a denim vest and answers to "Ratboy") when you have grapefruit in your system, you get a much larger dose of the drug than you normally would.

"I'm so Xanaxed out right now, I almost poured you a screwdriver."

As little as one glass of grapefruit juice can elicit the maximum blocking effect, which can often last for more than 24 hours. Grapefruit affects so many medications that there's even a list of them on Wikipedia.

It includes an anti-diarrhea drug and an anti-psychotic, effectively killing two birds with one stone.

The effect can be hazardous and, yes, even fatal in some cases. If you do take medication, your best bet is to just cut grapefruit out of your diet completely and eat those fudge Pop-Tarts like the rest of us. Or, you know, ask your doctor. Whatever.

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Too Much Coffee Leads to Auditory Hallucinations

Coffee is an essential component of fast-paced modern life. It lets us work hard, play hard and go straight back to working hard without taking a break. If it weren't for coffee, you'd actually have to accept your body's physical limitations and rest for a while.

Coffee: less life-threatening, but more importantly, less insufferable.

But despite its benefits, an Australian study suggests that overreliance on coffee's stimulation can fuck with your brain in a pretty serious way. And by serious, we're talking one of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

And not even the cool schizophrenia where you become a math genius and win an Oscar.

In the study, participants sat for three minutes and listened to white noise being played through headphones. They were told to listen for snippets of Bing Crosby's rendition of "White Christmas," and to press a button whenever they heard it. However, in a bold Shyamalan punch to the face, no part of the song was ever played. Goddamn, we're starting to suspect being a scientist is a hilarious job.

"It turns out you can make people crazy just by lying to them and feeding them drugs. SCIENCE!"

Anyway, although the song was never played, participants who drank five or more cups of coffee a day were much more likely to think that they'd heard it. Simon Crowe, the lead author of the study, said that high levels of stress and caffeine make people "more likely to 'overreact' to their environment -- i.e., to hear things that just aren't there." So if you start to hear hearty renditions of Christmas carols in the middle of July, you might want to throttle back on the coffee.

You might also be at a Chinese buffet.

Soy Can Lower Your Sperm Count

Soy is generally known as the food of choice for vegans/people who want every meal to be a miserable, tasteless experience, often using bizarre soy "meat" substitutes. But soy really is everywhere -- if you've ever cooked with "vegetable oil," there's a good chance that you've cooked with soy. Then you have Asian cuisine, where soy sauce is used so often it's just sort of assumed to be present in every dish. And so on.

Soy also has the weird effect of making you live a terrible, humorless life.

In a Harvard study, scientists assessed the diets of 99 men who were having their semen analyzed at a fertility center, taking specific note of 15 types of soy-based foods. Even after accounting for age, alcohol intake, abstinence and other words beginning with the letter "A," the scientists noticed that there was an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration, meaning either the participants were experiencing an adverse effect on their body chemistry or were ejaculating every time they took a bite.

Mathias Sjoberg
Picture unrelated.

This was not a minor difference. Those who consumed the most soy food had an average of 41 million sperm/ml less than those who didn't eat soy food at all. For perspective, the average sperm count is around 60 million sperm/ml, meaning significant soy intake could more than halve your collection of potential offspring.

Every slice is another stolen childhood.

It turns out that soy has a pro-estrogenic effect on your system, meaning it can increase estrogen levels in your body, which can potentially lower your sperm count. It gets worse if you're obese, which also causes you to produce more estrogen. So, a hefty gentleman who crams an excessive amount of soy products into his face stands at an even greater risk of lowering his sperm count. Which is a shame, because the world definitely needs to be populated with more fat vegans.

Simon Bower is a freelance writer and amateur comedian (read: unemployed). You can follow him on Twitter or email him.

For more tasty treats you should watch out for, check out 5 Horrifying Food Additives You've Probably Eaten Today and 8 Health Foods That Are Bad For Your Health.

And stop by LinkSTORM to help cure your Pop Tart addiction.

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