Skeptics with a K: Episode #019

Sausages, bacon, black pudding, pig’s blood, swine flu and Peppa Pig.  Plus wanding what ails you, frozen sea captains and an uncle named Olaf…  Of course it’s Skeptics with a K!


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  1. #1 by Mike on April 9, 2010 - 14:21

    Visit Skeptical Voter at

  2. #2 by Michael on April 9, 2010 - 18:15

    Sorry. You dumbasses, FAT does not make you FAT carbohydrates do. Large amounts of eaten fat can cause heart and arterial disease if consumed over a long period of time.
    Most fats are not digested as the body can’t use them, hence they can ‘hang about’ where you don’t want them.
    This is the basis of the Atkin’s diet. Eating your ‘5-a-day’ of fruit and veg makes no difference to health either. A balanced diet is the only way to keep fit and healthy. Just look at me!

  3. #3 by Michael on April 9, 2010 - 18:17

    Oh I am starting a quest and need everyone’s help. I am trying to find a podcast which doesn’t either have Marsh on or refers to him. This is not as easy as you think.

  4. #4 by johnno on April 11, 2010 - 09:24

    can i have a link to peppa pig dancing to your theme song please!!!

  5. #5 by Allan on April 11, 2010 - 17:40

    Atkins diet?

    You’re quoting Atkins, Ketosis and all as 100% bona fide fact, while stating that fat will not make you fat?

    The mid-nineties called. They want their crazy fad diet back.

  6. #6 by Janis on April 11, 2010 - 21:43

    Hello there.

    ‘Calories’ provided in your diet give your cells the energy to perform tasks necessary for life. Too much of this energy in any form will make you fat. Fat, Carbs and proteins all contain calories. Anti-obesity drugs such as ‘Alli’ (Orlistat) work by preventing absorption of fats. It is worth bearing in mind, that the types of fatty-acids present in the fat eaten is also critical, as once fats are broken down they can also act as signalling molecules, thereby causing information cascades. Even if you do not absorb large quantities of fat therefore, the ability of these fats to ‘talk’ to your cellular systems is still in tact.

    If you are not absorbing any fats because food is passing through your digestive system too fast, I would recommend cutting down on the Chicken Vindaloos.

  7. #7 by Derek on April 12, 2010 - 08:44

    You’ve fallen into the pay of Big Archer is see! It was Oleta Adams who sang “Get here”.

  8. #8 by Marsh on April 12, 2010 - 10:23

    @Derek: Thanks for the clarification. I had a feeling I was wrong RE Archer, my 90s soft-pop knowledge let me down yet again.

  9. #9 by Craig on April 12, 2010 - 10:44

    Hi Guys

    I have listened to all the episodes of your podcast but this is the first time I felt moved to comment.

    You had me shouting at my computer with exasperation at your lack of nutritional scepticism in the item reported as the full English breakfast being better for you than the supposedly healthy cereals and skimmed milk.

    If you are not be familiar with the work of Gary Taubes, but I suggest you google him. He makes a convincing case that the low-fat, high-carb diet is in fact not as healthy as received wisdom would have us believe, and what actually is driving the current obesity epidemic is the consumption of carbohydrates. So bacon and eggs is better than cereal. And the link between fat consumption cholesterol and heart disease not anything like as strong as the conventional wisdom would have you believe.

    And not all calories are the same. Sure, fat has more calorific value than an equivalent weight of protein or carbohydrate when you burn it in a calorimeter – but is that really a good model of how the body uses fat when you eat it?

    The whole area is so full of “nutribollocks” as David Colquhoun calls it that you have to be sceptical about everything. DC’s Improbable Science has an excellent review of Gary Taubes’ book at

    Read it and get nutritional skepticism!


  10. #10 by Mike on April 12, 2010 - 11:07

    Hi Craig,

    I think you’ve slightly missed the point we were making in the fried breakfast story.

    The point of the story, for us, is that you can’t go from “Mice given food which derived 45% of its calorific value from fats, then given food which derived only 10% of its calorific value from fats, had reduced adiposity compared to mice fed the opposite diet” to “the full English breakfast is good for you”. The study only says the former, but the newspapers reported the latter, citing the study to support it. It’s poor science journalism and horribly misleading.

    As we said on the show, this study may make an interesting foundation from which we can develop hypotheses about people and experiments to test those hypotheses, but we are unable to draw direct conclusions about human biology from an animal study.

    Not being a Dietician, I can’t really comment on whether high-fat/low-carb is better than low-fat/high-carb and all that bollocks. Frankly, the subject doesn’t interest me enough to care 🙂

  11. #11 by Craig on April 12, 2010 - 12:34

    Hi again,

    Thanks for the reply and the clarification. I agree with your comments on journalism, but then “fried breakfast is good for you” makes for a much more eye catching story than a headline about mice getting fat (or not).

    But about drawing conclusions from animal studies – not so sure I agree. It’s well nigh impossible to do RCTs of diet on human subjects – so most of the data we have is from epidemiology and is not so conclusive. But taken with animal studies conclusions can be drawn, and it is pretty clear that dispite conventional wisdom eating fat (in reasonable amounts) neither makes you fat nor gives you heart disease.

    So a fried breakfast is good for you. The journalists got it right (but maybe for the wrong reasons!).


  12. #12 by Janis on April 12, 2010 - 14:06

    Hi Craig

    You make good points but I think that if you want to make a full case for the fried breakfast (for health problems rather than obesity) you can’t look only at the original breakdown of the fats consumed, you need to also consider the modification to those constituents by cooking, and by the method of cooking (of course same goes for the cereal).

    There are many benefits to eating certain kinds of fat, and not always the so-called ‘healthy’ fats such as olive oil. For example, despite the studies only being done in animals to date, it seems that animal fats from sources such as butter during pregnancy results in a reduced rate of in the offspring of Rats compared to other sources in a strict calorie-controlled diet.
    so i totally agree that the traditional idea of a healthy diet needs a huge overhaul.

    However, importantly, the headline read: “Why the British fry-up is the healthiest breakfast of all…” when as clearly stated by the dietitian, it should be grilled rather then fried.

    And to Michael;

    in the orignial paper :
    It is clear that this is not a discussion about highfat diet vs low fat diet (or carbs or whatever). This is a discussion about TIME OF CONSUMPTION. It is morning high-fat followed by low-fat vs the opposite. Both diets were controlled for calorific intake. So a better story would have been: eat your fats in the morning rather than at night. As the original authors point out: “consumption of high-fat meal at the end of the active phase leads to increased weight gain, adiposity, glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia hypertriglyceridemia, and hyperleptinemia” which sucks, as i quite like a fry-up tea.

  13. #13 by Janis on April 12, 2010 - 14:13

    oops- that should be “reduced rate of CANCER in the offspring of Rats compared to other sources in a strict calorie-controlled diet.”


  14. #14 by Mike on April 12, 2010 - 14:14

    @Janis: Indeed, again that’s a point we made on the show. The best you can say with this study is that, if you’re going to have a high fat meal, you’re better doing it in the morning than in the evening. And I still think it’s premature to draw that conclusion, based on an animal study.

  15. #15 by Janis on April 12, 2010 - 14:27

    @mike unfortunately, while i agree in principle, it is very difficult to do the experiment any other way due to differences in people’s daily activities, resting metabolic rate, and genetic background causing huge variation within a sample group and making these differences less clear (not to mention ‘cheating’ by the studied group).

    Oh, hang on a minute- doesn’t that mean that its importance for the general population has been hugely overstated then?!

    but for the record- i do think the information found by such studies is very interesting and combined with many other studies could lead us to a much better understanding of dietary health. You just won’t find out about it in the Daily Mail.

  16. #16 by Sean Ellis on April 16, 2010 - 13:02

    I was listening: so glad to hear
    Your compo for rhymes of good cheer.
    I’m confused, I admit,
    So do we submit
    Our Skeptical limericks here?

  17. #17 by Russ on March 15, 2012 - 12:28

    Peppa pig episode is ep48 “The Power Cut”, the music is at the very start of the episode..
    Those in the UK should be able to watch it here:

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