This week’s episode Show Notes brought to you by Shannon.
A couple quick announcements…
First, if you haven’t already taken Nick and ETT up on the amazing opportunity, send Nick an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free fitness consultation (online, phone or Skype – you don’t have to be local!). Because who doesn’t need a little motivation and inspiration on their health and fitness journey?
Second, we’re thrilled to be able to announce the voting for Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay 2017 has officially opened! Simply visit cltampabay.com/botb2017, log in and you’ll find ATF at the top of the list for Best Local Podcast in the “People, Places, Politics” category. You can vote every day if you want, so feel free to show your support!
Now, let’s get into it.
Training for Nick and I this past week included Nick returning to jiu jitsu classes and also kicking off training with Spanish from 102.5 The Bone for the Mike Calta’s Punchout – a local radio show event that Nick’s been involved with for the past few years as a trainer for on-air personalities. We’re both cheering on Spanish, who has already been putting in some great training time.
I meanwhile have been just trying to stay active whenever I can (we all have those weeks, right?). We quickly touch on how being pregnant has made even some of my go-to exercises, like my beloved peloton rides, a bit more challenging, but I’m keeping after it!
As for today’s title topic, we’re getting into that health trend that has appeared across numerous industries – skincare, food, supplements, even dental care – and that appears on more and more peoples’ Instagram feeds, charcoal. Specifically, we talk about activated charcoal, which is what the charcoal products we’re discussing include.
Now, don’t worry. This isn’t the briquettes you use in your grill or what you may possibly used in high school art class, this is a bit different. A wonderfully simple description of activated charcoal was included in this nice overview article in Real Simple magazine, which summarized as a byproduct of burning coconut shells, wood, or other plant materials. It’s considered “activated” due to its negative charge, which gives it the capability to bond with positively charged ions (like chemicals).
You’ve likely seen or heard at least one of the following claims that activated charcoal is supposed to do, but Nick and I take a closer look to see whether these claims are real solutions or just marketable ploy.
- Skin Care Claim – Removes Impurities:
- Does it really pull all the gunk out of your skin though? Don’t be suckered in by some products that promise miracle results. Though charcoal masks with activated charcoal can provide a lovely facial, they’re not an instantaneous win for skin. Be smart about what you purchase and beware that there are a lot of gimmicky goods to sift through. Nick asked my personal opinion, as I’ve tried a number of these skin care items, and I recommend the Origins Charcoal Mask.
- Dental Claim – Whitens Teeth:
- Does black charcoal paste produce pearly whites? Well, as it turns out, no. One dental expert in a recent Guardian article pointed out the complete lack of evidence that activated charcoal whites teeth. Plus, the expert points out that charcoal is abrasive, which could remove the enamel on your teeth if used too frequently. Eek!
- Diet Claim – Detoxifies:
- The science proves that activated charcoal does bind to certain substances in the stomach when you ingest it. However, activated charcoal shouldn’t be taken in large amounts because it doesn’t discriminate against what it attaches to and carries out of the body through the digestive tract. It will remove good things like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and even some medications. Plus, it can attach to water molecules and cause dehydration, leaving some with a bad case of constipation (oh no!).
- One recent article by The Refinery went into a further look at the risks involved with consuming too much activated charcoal.
- The Hangover Claim – Will Cure Your Hangover:
- This is just a flat out myth, but even Nick admitted to having heard this before. Sadly, there’s not much truth at all to it. Activated charcoal doesn’t bond with alcohol, so even in larger amounts (which you should only get at the hospital), it can’t help. Plus, it only helps to limit absorption in the stomach, and alcohol gets absorbed into your bloodstream long before the onset of a hangover. Perhaps some people use activated charcoal to purify their booze, but it’s not going to help shake the headache and stomach aches that follow a night/day of alcohol overindulgence.
- Poisoning Cure Claim – Prevents Poisons From Being Absorbed
- This is a scary topic regardless, and one of the oldest actual medical uses for activated charcoal. There are written records going back to Ancient Greece, that describe charcoal being used to decrease the impacts of some poisons. Even the Mayo Clinic lists activated charcoal as a type of treatment for certain types of poisons, but only in emergencies situations. However, they mention that it does nothing for poisons like corrosive agents or strong acids. Large doses can be used for specific cases, but activated charcoal should not be taken that way normally.
We finish off this week’s episode with a new segment – Straight from the Headlines – where we reference a timely health/fitness article that deserves a callout.
You likely remember our recent podcast on Coconut Oil and an especially damning article that USA Today published citing the American Heart Association (AHA) and its recent “presidential advisory” which basically vilified all saturated fats, including coconut oil. It created quite the buzz as we’ve been told in the recent past that not all saturated fats are created equal, and scientific studies had been disproving what the AHA had been pushing for years.
Well, Nick dug into it during that recent episode of ours, and is now backed up by an op-ed written by an excellent investigatory journalist, Nina Teicholz (article link). The piece details how Teicholz examined all the data and sources that were cited in the aforementioned article and deduced that it was primarily driven by “long-standing bias and commercial interests” more than sound science. Afterall, the AHA needs to reaffirm the “heart healthy” advice it’s been saying for nearly 70 years, all the while being conveniently funded by some commercial companies whose interests don’t lie with saturated fats in almost any form. As I summarized so nicely – it’s mostly PR fluff from the AHA. Very well-placed fluff, but still.
That’s really it for this week’s episode! Thank you for listening and please give us a rating and review if you haven’t already – it means so much to us.
Hopefully, you’ll vote for us in CL’s Best of the Bay, and if you already have or are about to we deeply thank you!
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Links to this week’s episode