It is insidious how easily the modern technological age has been abused to garner attention for advertising. Today, what we call ‘news’ is more often than not a blogger just trying to get viewers by using flashy headlines. It is so bad that even the mainstream media gets sucked into dubious and even outright false ideas wholeheartedly, turning around and reporting it as actual news.
It is scary. It has huge ramifications for your health. It is what makes everything so damn confusing.
Recently a blog….sorry…I mean a news article was written with the following headline:
Omg. That is scary stuff. STOP EATING KIMCHI RIGHT NOW OR YOU WILL GET STOMACH CANCER!!!!! Forget the health claims of the last dozen decades! Stop eating kimchi right now!
This is how the media manipulates us. Their only goal is to create scary headlines that get you to click on the article so you can be fed ads. If you think I am being a little overboard here, please read the above mentioned book.
‘Eating kimchi increase the risk of cancer.”
And lets not forget the photo of the poor young girl doubled over in stomach pain. Definitely not there to elicit an emotional reaction…
Scare tactic 101.
And two journal sources are cited because as soon as you cite a published journal article the weight of truth becomes that much stronger. To be fair this blog actually cited two articles in legitimate journals (yes, there are a LOT of shitty journals out there…), which you already knew because you went an read them right?
No. You probably didn’t. You probably threw your kimchi in the garbage and told everyone you know they should do the same!
This is why it is so dangerous.
If you actually dive into the studies (yes, I read them both including all the boring statistical parts and methodology etc. etc.) you will see that:
1) Kimchi was not proven to cause cancer
2) There are serious flaws in the studies
3) The studies are not new
How is this?
The blogger….sorry, journalist, who wrote this piece is looking to create views and likes on the blog….sorry, news source, she works for. In the last few years she has written over 1500 ‘news stories’, ALL with headlines designed to illicit an emotional response from you. Her aim is not to deliver news but to scare you into reading the headline. Somewhere she heard someone mention that kimchi is related to cancer, did a quick search of available literature, found a couple of articles that could easily be defended as actual evidence, and then wrote a scare piece. You read it and then see all the ads embedded in the piece and surrounding it. Mission completed.
If you read the rest of the article, or even better the cited sources, you quickly come to realize that no one anywhere has actually studied the relationship between kimchi and cancer.
It is a correlational relationship with no direct evidence of causation.
Essentially, they asked people who had stomach cancer if they like eating salty foods. The people who liked eating salty foods tended to have more cancer. Kimchi is fermented with salt, therefore kimchi causes cancer.
The other study conducted interviews with cancer patients about what they ate over the last year and tasked some non-cancer patients what they ate over the last year. The ones who reported they ate more fermented foods had a higher incidence of cancer. Bam. Fermented foods cause cancer.
No. This is what is known as a correlation and it is based on extremely bad evidence. In fact the authors of one study state in their own conclusion that a host of other factors could be at play, including the idea that people with gastric cancer gravitate towards these foods subconsciously as their symptoms begin.
This doesn’t mean that if you suddenly start craving kimchi you now have stomach cancer.
See how easy that was to believe?
Why am I writing this?
Because I want you to be smarter than the average person. I don’t want you to instantly believe every headline. You need to question everything, yes, even me!
Dig into the data. If you have no training in dissecting research and statistics then you need to find trusted resources to do it for you, like me! I will do this for you! See above…I did it for you!
But question everything because the world of human health, nutrition and fitness is very personal and very important to all of us and is therefore extraordinarily easy to manipulate. And trust me, you are being manipulated way more often that you would ever believe!
When it comes to kimchi and fermented foods, they are good for you. They do far more benefit then they do harm and you need to have them in your life.
Do your own ferments to know the true quality and ingredients. They are tasty, delicious, and healthy. They have been eaten for the entire history of humanity and they need to make a resurgence.
Here is one you can do: