Posts Tagged Coffee

Run For Your Life

It does strike me as vaguely incongruous the amount of time, effort and money I spend exerting myself, whether it be plain running, obstacle running or lifting heavy things at the gym. As all of these activities are now big business I am obviously not alone in my desire to raise a sweat for no good reason.

I have been watching an interesting series called “Blood, Sweat and Luxuries”. The program takes a group of young, rich, spoiled British men and women and shows them exactly what is involved to bring them the luxuries they take for granted. They travel to a sapphire mine in Madagascar, a coffee plantation in Ethiopia, a gold mine in Ghana and an electronics factory in the Philippines. For a day or two they must participate in the same work as the locals and are then paid a corresponding pittance. Needless to say the work is unbelievably difficult and mind numbingly repetitive, and it certainly sheds light on the hard lives that people lead in order to deliver us the things that complement our soft lives.

It is hard to imagine any of these people going for a 10 km run after work or paying to crawl through mud under strands of barbed wire. I would think that, at the end of their working day, they would like nothing better than to have a nice sit down and watch a bit of tellie. If only they had a tellie, or electricity for that matter.

Still, this need to exert ourselves must obviously be hard wired into our DNA. Otherwise, why would people lucky enough to lead lives of physical ease pay big bucks to put themselves through intense physical challenges when they don’t have to?

Dr. F. Bunny

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You Believe What You Want To Believe (Tom Petty)

Scientific research relies on rigorous systematic testing that involves treatment and control groups and extensive peer review to prove or disprove hypotheses. That way we can be confident in the result, regardless of what the findings may be. In reality this is not always the case, people believing what they want to believe regardless of the evidence. Look at the trouble Copernicus and Galileo had trying to convince people that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Sadly, despite being scientifically trained, I am not really any different.

As an example, coffee is a marvellous drink proven, through scientific research, to increase energy levels, improve physical performance, and lower the risk of developing type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, liver cancer and colorectal cancer. Much more spurious research that obviously needs to be repeated with a larger data set seems to link coffee to sleep disturbance, increased blood pressure and raised levels of cholesterol.

The research is similarly biased when it comes to alcohol consumption. I like nothing more than to sit back with my very full glass of red and read how the resveratrol in my Shiraz keeps my heart healthy and further protects me against diabetes and Alzheimer’s. All that nonsense about depression, cancer, cirrhosis and memory loss is surely just that?

The list goes on. Any research that supports an activity I engage in and enjoy is sound while anything that contradicts it is suspect. Science even has a name for this, confirmation bias. I suppose religions would call it faith.

Dr. F. Bunny

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