Tricking Moms into Believing Bacon Produces Smarter Babies

November 3, 2010

Laughably inept science writing from the Republic Of Bacon:

A study by researchers from the University of North Carolina suggests that bacon might not just only be for grown-ups: the study showed that bacon could be beneficial for unborn children, too.

The study didn’t involve babies, it involved mice. But please, go on:

The reason is because of a special molecule. Bacon – like many meat products – has particularly high levels of a molecule called choline.

That special molecule is also found in abundance in soy, peanuts, and certain vegetables. Oddly, there’s no mention of that in this story.

Stephen Zeisal, one of the scientists involved in the study, said, “Our study in mice indicates that the diet of a pregnant mother, especially choline in that diet, can change the epigenetic switches that control brain development in the fetus.” In normal-speak, that means: bacon can help make your unborn child smarter.

That’s not normal-speak, that’s moron-speak. It makes the rather staggering assumption that human fetus and mice fetus brains respond similarly to choline, and it ignores the fact that bacon is hardly the only rich source of this nutrient.

While it’s fun to ridicule a site like Republic of Bacon, the sad fact is that probably 80 percent of Americans lack the ability to evaluate the shortcomings of this sort of bad-faith science writing. There will definitely be moms who, inspired by this story, will eat more bacon during pregnancy under the misguided belief that they’re doing right by their babies.

And that’s precisely what this study was designed to trick them into doing. (Via Village Voice.) Link.

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