Adam Ruins Nutrition

Dec 13 2015

In this episode, Adam explained why vitamin supplements don't make us healthier and showed us the weird history behind the idea that they do, revealed that the balanced breakfast that advertisers push down our throats is anything but balanced and told us how due to faulty research and credulous reporters, much of the nutrition science reported on by the media isn't science at all. Here are his sources.


"By definition, vitamins are nutrients you only need a tiny little bit of."

"Vitamin." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster Incorporated, 2015. Web. 

"In 2006, they [Airborne] were sued for false advertising, and ending up paying out 23.3 million."

Nizza, Mike. "Makers of Airborne Settle False-Ad Suit With Refunds." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 04 Mar. 2008. Web.

"At least fifteen different studies have concluded that vitamin C does not treat the common cold."

Offit, Paul. "The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 19 July 2013. Web.

"In 1994 he [Linus Pauling] died of cancer, the very disease he claimed vitamins would cure."

Offit, Paul. "The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 19 July 2013. Web.

"Fresh orange juice has a very short shelf-life. To stop it from spoiling long enough to sell in grocery stores, manufacturers remove all the oxygen from the juice. But that same process also removes all the orange flavor… So juice-makers artificially jam the orange flavor back in by infusing them with 'flavor packs'"

Hamilton, Alissa. "Freshly Squeezed: The Truth About Orange Juice in Boxes." Civil Eats, 06 May 2009. Web.

"An 8-oz. glass of Tropicana orange juice can contain 22 grams of sugar."

"100% Pure Squeezed Sunshine." Tropicana. Tropicana Products, Inc., n.d. Web.

"That’s almost as much [sugar] as a Pepsi, which makes sense, by the way, since Tropicana is owned by Pepsi."

"The Facts About Your Favorite Beverages." Pepsico. PepsiCo Inc., n.d. Web.

"Repeated research has shown milk doesn’t help you build strong bones or lose weight. One study actually found that people who drink a lot of milk have a higher risk of bone fracture."

Carroll, Aaron E. "Got Milk? Might Not Be Doing You Much Good." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 17 Nov. 2014. Web.

KELLOGG: "Masturbation causes insanity. And circumcision is the cure."

Kellogg, John Harvey. Plain Facts for Old and Young. New York: Arno, 1974. Print.

"Kellogg was following the teachings of an evangelical minister named Sylvester Graham who thought that sugar and spice were tools of the devil."

Braun, Adee. "Looking to Quell Sexual Urges? Consider the Graham Cracker." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 15 Jan. 2014. Web.

JOHN BOHANNON: "In the spring of 2015 I purposefully conducted a fraudulent study on the health benefits of chocolate, and ended up convincing the media that eating chocolate makes you lose weight."

Cohen, Paula. "How the "Chocolate Diet" Hoax Fooled Millions." CBS News. CBS. New York, NY, 29 May 2015. Web.

JOHN BOHANNON: "There are journals out there that will publish any garbage you send them as long as you pay a fee."

ADAM CONOVER: "We titled it 'The Possible Irritating Effects of Nutritional Facts,' and they published it without ever realizing it wasn’t a real paper. Check it out, we can cite it like any other source."

Conover A., Skinner E., and Bohannon J. “The Possible Irritating Effects of Nutritional FactsAdvances In Nutrition And Food Technology. Aperito. 29 Sep., 2015. Web.

"Skechers was hit with a class action lawsuit over it [making false health claims about their product]. They ended up paying out 40 million dollars."

Smith, Aaron. "Skechers Pays up for Shape-ups." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 16 July 2013. Web.

For More On This Topic

The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements: from The Atlantic, a work of long form journalism that chronicles the tragic history of the brilliant but ultimately disgraced Linus Pauling, Nobel Prize winner and advocate for vitamin C mega-dosing.

From PhD and author, Alissa Hamilton: Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice, and 
Got Milked?: The Great Dairy Deception and Why You'll Thrive Without Milk.

Health Nuts: a podcast episode from ‘The American History Guys’ at Backstory. This history of nutritional advice takes a deep dive into the 19th century obsession with the link between food, lust, and morality.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How: John Bohannon’s first person account of how he turned the spotlight on fraudulent science journals and the media outlets who love them. 

Watch Adam explain why OJ is totally unnatural and reveal the weird reason we incorrectly think vitamins are good for us.