The lie reared its ugly head again. As the U.S. celebrated National Tequila Day, “news” outlets fell all over themselves to remind us that drinking tequila may be a great way to lose weight.
Seriously. Britain’s Independent ran with the headline, “TEQUILA IS LINKED TO WEIGHT LOSS, STUDY CLAIMS.”
According to the article, “…a study has found a link between tequila and weight loss.” And, “According to research… everyone’s favorite party spirit, which is being celebrated today in the US for National Tequila Day, can help lower your blood sugar too.”
The only problem? It’s complete B.S.
Millions rely on the Web for health information. Here’s why that’s often a bad – even potentially fatal – idea.
Numbers Have Become More Important Than Truth
Newscaster Walter Cronkite was once the most trusted man in America. When he closed his nightly newscast with “And that’s the way it is,” millions of Americans knew it was true.
In those days, networks took news coverage seriously. The nightly news – both national and local – wasn’t expected to turn a profit. It was expected to inform. It was the cost for filling the rest of their airtime with programming aimed at making a buck.
At some point, this view began to change. The network with the most news viewers started prime time with an advantage. Getting up to change the channel was a hassle. So the biggest news audience could boost prime time ratings. And profits.
Human interest stories began to crowd out actual news stories. Journalists were replaced at the anchor desk with pretty faces. And sensationalism took the place of accuracy in headlines.
Which brings us to the tequila story.
We Got You to Read It… Who Cares If It’s Not True?
Apparently, not some major media outlets. Here are the headlines they ran on the same study The Independent covered…
Time Magazine – “Study: Sugars Found In Tequila Could Help You Lose Weight”
Cosmopolitan – “It turns out tequila is GOOD FOR YOU”
Britain’s Daily Express – “Weight loss: How THIS alcoholic drink could help you lose weight”
All of these stories – and dozens of others I checked – claim drinking tequila may help you lose weight. All cited the same 2014 study.
It wasn’t till I reached page 3 of the 8.6 million results for “tequila weight loss” that I found a dissenting voice.
That’s disturbing. Because drinking tequila won’t help you lose weight. And the study all these stories cite tells you exactly that.
The study found agavins – a carbohydrate in agave plants – helped keep blood sugar levels lower in mice. They also boosted insulin levels in these mice.
That may be good news for diabetics. But not for tequila drinkers. Why?
“All ethanol in tequila comes from the fermentation of glucose and fructose generated after agave pines are cooked,” says a press release from the publisher. “But because the agavins are converted to ethanol, agavins are not found in the finished product.”
This is the source material for most of these articles. But hundreds of media outlets went for the sensational headline… and skipped the truth.
An isolated incident? I don’t think so. The Independent also published this headline: “DRINKING TEQUILA IS GOOD FOR YOUR BONES, SCIENCE SAYS.”
Which is also complete B.S. But that didn’t stop other media outlets – such as The N.Y. Post and L.A. Times from publishing the same misleading crap.
There’s only one way to protect yourself from this kind of bad reporting.
Get the Real Story From the Source
You’ll often get a different story reading the source material health reporters use. Sometimes an article includes a link to the source. If it doesn’t, you may have to dig a little.
If an article’s source is a university study, the college has probably issued a press release. Just search online for the topic and the university name. Or go to the university’s website and search there.
Organizations often publish research presented at conferences. They also issue press releases. A search for the organization and the topic will often turn up the source material.
You can’t always trust media reports. As we’ve seen here, the drive for viewers can trump facts. And when it comes to your health, you need facts.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
Hosie, R., “Tequila Is Linked to Weight Loss, Study Claims,” The Independent. Jul 26, 2018.
Sifferlin, A., “Study: Sugars Found In Tequila Could Help You Lose Weight,” Tiime. Mar 18, 2014.
Harvey-Jenner, C., “It turns out tequila is good for you,” Cosmopolitan. Jun 1, 2017.
“Weight loss: How this alcoholic drink could help you lose weight,” Express.co.uk.
“Tequila plant is possible sweetener for diabetics — helps reduce blood sugar, weight,” American Chemical Society. Mar 16, 2014.
Young, S., “Drinking Tequila Is Good For Your Bones, Science Says,” The Independent. Jul 24, 2018.
Downey, A., “Drinking tequila could boost bone health,” N.Y. Post. May 8, 2017.
Fantozzi, J., “Drinking Tequila Is Good for Your Bones,” The Daily Mail. May 10, 2017.
“In search of a treatment for osteoporosis from the tequila agave,” ScienceDaily.com. Apr 9, 2016.
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