Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 1.18

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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36 Comments

  1. @Torturing babies: Those motherfuckers!

    Off topic (I apologize): Someone stated in a facebook argument I had this morning that atheists believe in God because when you ask them “Do you believe in God?” a lie detector will go off when they say “No”. This is supposed to be concrete proof!
    Religion: Low standards of proof since 5000 BCE.

  2. @hkdharmon: the worst thing is that (dunno for sure, but I would bet money) that person has never used a lie detector, never studied the veracity of lie detector results, never been in the vicinity of an actual lie detector being used, never saw an atheist take a lie detector test, and never read a study that showed that atheists show that result on a lie detector test. Most likely someone told them that and it fit in with their world view so they have repeated it and will continue to repeat it as if it was a fact until they die or come to their senses.

  3. The raw diet craze has hit the pet food aisle. Many pet owners think they are doing the right thing by feeding their pets a raw diet. Raw diets that are complete with Salmonella, E. coli and lots of other little critters that can impact both animal and human health. Rarely are these diets shown to be nutritionally complete. I know it might sound intuitively correct because wild animals eat raw food but that doesn’t make it true. Very little data out there, and a potentially huge risk.

    http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/jan05/050115ww.asp

  4. @Laika: ‘Course, when you think about it, dogs have probably been dealing with cooked food about as many generations as humans. Not exclusively, but they’ve been around us for a good long time.

    Cats less so, since we tend to use them as independent hunters, when they’re not being alarm clocks or moderately sized projectiles.

  5. STOP THE PRESSES!!! Eating healthy food (for some reason eschewing healthy amounts and types of meat and dairy, and cooking, but whatever, it was just a month) and exercising can help people with type 2 diabetes, who normally subsist on a very unhealthy diet and no exercise?

    I am shocked. Shocked!! Almost as shocked as I was to learn that eating nothing but the worst crap from McDonalds every day for a while would have negative repercussions.

    Sorry guys. I’m convinced. I need to go raw vegan and use colloidal silver every single day (to combat the effects of the chemtrails that the Illuminati are poisoning us with systematically so that…um…uh..)

  6. @Laika: The raw food thing was rec’d to me by my vet because my cat has an intolerance to chicken, and every fucking piece of cat food in NZ has chicken in it. Thankfully, I’m now getting some kibble that is imported from Canada which is grain & chix free, so I now don’t have to go that route. What a PITA.

  7. Doing raw food pet feeding is time-consuming and difficult for many people. It needs to be done under a vet’s supervision, following a recommended diet plan to ensure good nutrition. This is why commercial pet food exists – It’s easier. A high-grade pet food is probably cheaper, safer and less labor-intensive.

    Pets have many of the same reactions that humans do to pathogens like e. coli, too. Some claim that animals are “used to” the pathogens. Not in my experience – I’ve cleaned up enough doggie diarrhea to know better. We keep our pet food/water bowls as clean as our own, for the same reasons.

    The raw craze has been around for years…It’s just getting more mainstream. I’m leery of it because of the hazards associated with it. Our pets have sensitive digestive systems (Yes, even dogs). A sudden switch to raw foods (or even between commercial foods) can have unexpected and even dire effects, like diarrhea, vomiting and pancreatitis.

    There are some pets that end up on raw diets because of illnesses, allergies, etc. (like BeardofPant’s cat above), though.

    I can highly recommend Eagle Pack, Verus and Taste of the Wild brands in the USA. It’s better to pay up front to feed your pet high quality food than have to pay the vet even more to deal with pet illnesses caused by crappy food.

  8. I was disappointed in the SBM article on raw foods. What I wanted was 1. claim 2. exactly why it’s wrong. I wanted science. What I saw was outrage and fist-shaking at the woo. The tone they strike at SBM is not really helpful; some of the bloggers seem to think that “this is RIDICULOUS” is enough debunking.

  9. Haven’t read the raw food article, but the first thought that springs to mind is: just because animals (like humans) have evolved over time to subsist on certain types of food doesn’t mean they could not subsist more successfully on something that doesn’t occur naturally, like cooked food.

  10. @sylvan.nak: The claim is that raw foods are better for you (or cooked foods bad). I don’t think anyone’s actually run clinical trials on this as it’s a wacky belief out of the world of woo. That’s why the article attacks the various woo claims of why raw food is better for you, like how raw food is living or contains enzymes. To me it seems a sensible approach. What kind of science were you expecting?

  11. Hi BeardofPants,

    Yes, they are all high-quality foods made of “human grade” ingredients*. They have lines for both dogs and cats. They tend to be a bit pricey, but the increased nutrition has done wonders for our Sheltie’s coats and general health. Their stools are smaller and firmer, and their shedding has gone down considerably. The same for the cats: their coats have a gloss that wasn’t present before.
    http://www.tasteofthewildpetfood.com/
    http://www.veruspetfoods.com/
    http://www.eaglepack.com/

    Re: raw diet. It’s not necessarily woo, but I haven’t seen any scientific comparative studies done. Part of the problem is that pet nutrition is given short shrift in US vet colleges. Many vets sell whichever food that gives them the best sales/deals, as many really don’t know which is best.

    The “Whole Dog Digest” is a good resource as they do evaluate dog foods, recipes, etc. I’m not a subscriber, so I can’t say too much about their newsletter.

    http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/

    * Many pet foods are made from really nasty byproducts that have little or no nutritional value such as feathers, offal digest, beaks, feet, etc. They are then filled out with grains like corn. Corn is a real problem, because dogs can’t digest it properly. The result is gas, diarrhea, bloating, etc.
    My addy is [email protected] if you want more information.

  12. @exarch: One thing that the raw food proponents tend to ignore is the fact that our ancestors were cooking foods before anatomically modern humans came into being. In other words, we evolved eating cooked foods.

    So, your point is absolutely correct, but our actual evolutionary history makes the raw food claims even goofier.

  13. @QuestionAuthority:

    I’ve fed my cat Taste of the Wild in the past, it’s a great grain free food and it’s priced a bit lower than other foods of similar quality. Your other two brands, though, both feature corn as the second ingredient!

    Other good grain-free foods, Nature’s Variety: Instinct, Wellness Core (and some of their normal canned foods are grain-free as well), and Blue Buffalo Wilderness.

    My cat used to vomit, a lot, and I was feeding him cheaper foods such as IAMS and the Good Life. When I switched him to grain-free food, the vomiting pretty much stopped and only happens when he goes outside and gorges on plants. I’m sure cheaper foods are fine for most animals, but they don’t work for all of them.

    Also, I agree with the lack of pet nutrition knowledge, I wish there were more studies about what should be in our pet’s food.

  14. @BeardofPants:
    Chicken allergy, that’s tough! Taste of the Wild is also pretty cheap comparably to other foods. Check out EVO http://www.evopet.com/products/default.asp?id=1704 The fish flavor seems to be chicken free. If you feed canned, Nature’s Variety: Instinct is chicken free (in the non chicken flavors anyways) and some of the Wellness canned is chicken free.

    Depending on where you move to, the EVO and Nature’s Variety can be difficult to find.

  15. @QA, You have Shelties? So beautiful..

    I have had 2 Border Collies, Best of all dogs – in my personal (totally skeptical and unbiased) opinion!

    On another subject, where are the Skepchicks? I begin to get paranoid re e.g. Neo Nazis (BugGirl) antivaxxers (Elyse), etc?

    Honestly, tho I may not post much, I rely on you guys for my daily dose of sanity..

  16. Just finished reading the raw foods article, and I’d say that the general message is that the raw-food health center mentioned in the article is basically taking something that’s already well known by conventional science (losing weight and controlling sugar intake may allow a type II diabetic to discontinue insulin completely) and re-packaging it as some kind of woo (i.e. claiming that it’s something other than eating healthy and getting exercise that’s curing them).

    For what it’s worth, I suspect the reason the raw food diet works is because the human digestive system simply isn’t capable of getting the same amount of nutrients out of raw food compared to cooked/processed food. In other words, those people who are already eating too much could still be eating a bit too much, but simply get less sustenance out of it. Meaning they can eat until they’re full without necessarily gaining more weight.

    Sort of like watering down your beer so as not to get drunk too fast, because you know you don’t have the willpower to simply drink less …

  17. @scraps: Something must have changed with Verus and Eagle Pack. I wonder if someone bought them out (like what happened to IAMS).

    @jack99: We have four Shelties and are involved in Sheltie Rescue, so we occasionally have foster dogs. I like BC’s, Aussies, etc. too. I’ve often said that if it weren’t for Shelties, I’d be in BC Rescue.

    This is one of those days I wish that we had “stepping disks” like in Larry Niven’s SF, so we could just “step over” to Skepchick Island…and then blow up the damned disks. ;-)

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