Actually, that description is being way too generous -- most of his "research" is based on his own personal observations and anecdotal evidence, meaning that the good doctor claims to have personally observed dramatic improvements in his patient population after putting them on a diet of his own design (now available for the low, low price of $16.99). Seems legit.
The wonky lynchpin of Davis' theory is that when a person digests wheat, a specific variety of peptide is produced. These wheat peptides then interact with the body's opioid receptors (the same receptors that narcotics bind to), turning us all into honest-to-goodness wheat junkies. And, no different from when a human body becomes addicted to more nefarious substances, a veritable cascade of unhealthiness ensues.
"It's like a Rube Goldberg device that ends with you dying."
Now, to be fair, in an article published in Cereal Foods World, Dr. Julie Jones compared his claims against currently available scientific data and found that about half of what he says is pretty much spot-on. Unfortunately, it's the more fantastical half that Dr. Davis yanked straight out of his wheat-free (and, as a result, admittedly svelte) rear end.
And while we're on the subject of diet advice you got from your yoga instructor ...
You Need Yogurt (and "Probiotics") to Fix Your Poop
At some point, the world decided that you should be able to set your watch by when and how often you poop. And then the world decided that no one wears watches anymore because it's not fucking 1985, but you get our point: if you're not popping a squat twice a day, every day, then you're simply not normal, and you're in need of fixing.
"I am extremely interested in your poop."
Enter probiotics, and the wonders that probiotic-infused yogurt can do for Jamie Lee Curtis's poop chute, and presumably yours. What's that you say? You never, ever, not once in a million years needed to know the intimate details of how often the Halloween lady drops a long, healthy deuce? Well ...
The Guy You Can Thank for It:
Metchnikoff was a Nobel prize-winning, Russian zoologist who had a serious bone to pick with the human colon -- he thought of it as a reservoir for all manner of rotting, malady-inflicting nastiness -- as well as a serious hankering for some delicious yogurt.
Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Try as they might, scientists were never able to trump his argument of "it's where shit comes from!"
See, Metchnikoff had spent a goodly amount of time observing mountain peasants in Bulgaria that were known for their long lifespans. He credited their longevity to their tendency to drink fermented milk products and, as a direct result, consume buttloads of bacteria that kept their colons squeaky clean. His claims kicked off a new craze in Europe in which slurping spoiled milk became fashionable and, though they didn't have the fancy name for it yet, the probiotics craze was born.
Our fascination with probiotics may ebb and flow throughout the years, but it never completely dies out. Those Jamie Lee Curtis ads we mentioned? They were pretty much phased out after Dannon reached a $21 million settlement with the FTC because the ads were, perhaps fittingly, chock-full of shit. Also, in stark contrast to the European obsession with yogurt that happened during Metchnikoff's lifetime, the European Food Safety Authority has ruled that, unless you're suffering from some kind of specific gut malfunction, the benefits of probiotics are a big ol' nil. Yet if you do a Google search for "probiotics" right now, you'll find approximately a gajillion results for everything from drinkable versions to pill versions to suppositories. No shit.
Jason is an editor for Cracked. His Facebook page is unabashedly unhealthy.
For more ways you're being mislead, check out 8 Health Foods That Are Bad For Your Health and 4 Healthy Eating Habits (That Are Killing People) .
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