"Science sense" list trashes celebrity health tips
By Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) - Science campaigners laid bare some of the most dubious celebrity-endorsed health tips on Wednesday, rubbishing ideas such as reabsorbing sperm and wearing silicone bracelets to boost energy.
In an annual list of what it sees as the year's worst abuses against science, the Sense About Science (SAS) campaign group debunked diet and exercise suggestions made by actors, pop stars and others in the public eye in an effort "to help the celebrities realize where they are going wrong and to help the public make sense of celebrity claims."
In the health and fitness section, SAS noted that soccer player David Beckham and Prince William's fiancee Kate Middleton have both been spotted wearing hologram-embedded silicone bracelets which makers claim can improve energy and fitness.
It also listed a diet reportedly used by supermodel Naomi Campbell and actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore in which followers survive on maple syrup, lemon and pepper alone for up to two weeks. Campbell told U.S. TV host Oprah Winfrey in an interview in May: "It's good to clean out your body once in a while."
But SAS said in a statement: "Many of these claims promote theories, therapies and campaigns that make no scientific sense."
Pop star Sarah Harding told Now magazine in April that she crumbles charcoal over her food, saying: "It's doesn't taste of anything and apparently absorbs all the bad damaging stuff in the body."
Dr John Elmsley, a chemical scientist and writer asked by SAS to comment on this idea, said charcoal is known to absorb toxic molecules when used in gas masks and sewage treatment, but is "unnecessary when it comes to diet become the body is already quite capable of removing any 'bad damaging stuff'."
One of the highlights for SAS was a tip from cage fighter Alex Reid, who told The Sun tabloid newspaper in April that he "reabsorbs" his sperm to prepare for a big fight. Continued...