“Drink tequila for good bone health!”
“Love tequila? You might just have got another solid reason to drink up!”
“This isn’t the first time tequila has been hailed for its health benefits either – it can also help lower blood sugar, aid weight loss and even fight cholesterol.”
Dressing Up the Research
Journalists have used catchy health claim headlines and stories for a long time, and “snake oil” remedies for everything that ails us have been hawked for even longer.
Science Isn’t Supposed To Be “Sexy”
Science is like that – it’s not very “sexy” or “flashy” unless you’re an academic. People who’s lives revolve around research – scientists, academics, clinicians – get really excited about this dry peer-reviewed research with solid design and sound statistical analysis. It’s my fun reading as weird as that sounds.
Good research abstracts don’t usually make for good news headlines, though.
If It’s Too Good To Be True…
Always keep in mind that the more spectacular the headline the less likely it is to be true! Be open and be critical.
So, what about drinking tequila for strong bones? What does the “tequila study” actually say?
A group of mice ingesting diets supplemented with agave fructans showed increased blood osteocalcin and calcium and bone calcium compared to controls.
That’s it. The fructans are fructose polymers found in the agave used to make tequila. But, the fructans along with other sugars in agave are broken down during fermentation when making tequila.
So, is tequila a source of fructans? No.
Will drinking tequila make your bones stronger? Nope… sorry.
If you like drinking tequila, you’ll have to come up with something else if you feel you need a justification.
The Moral of the Story?
Always be ready to say, “Hey, wait a minute!”
Always check it out before you believe claims. Journalists giving you the lowdown on the latest health related research need to be taken with a grain of salt! Consider the source. Are you given a link to the research they’re telling you about? Is the feel of the coverage focused on informing you or is it to entertain you? How far has the connection between the research and the recommendations been stretched?
We are living in an incredibly exciting time for health related research. The pace of studies and connections being made between the sciences constantly quickens.
Keep your mind open, but keep it sharpened, too. It’s fine to add something new into your health habits – if it’s reasonable. Just remember to keep those things that make the biggest difference – whole foods, clean air and water, exercise, sleep, nurturing relationships, a sense of purpose, work…oh, and laughter, too, the science proves it!