The Star pisses me off–again.


I pity TheStar, it gets whacked from both sides of the political spectrum, one for being too pro-government, and for not being pro-government enough. However, my sympathy has its limits when I saw what is undoubtedly the single stupidest article in any newspaper titled “Spicy food can trigger aggression

Now sure, the wonderful world of science sometimes throws us a surprise every now and then, but to link spicy food to aggression without any form of scientific study is tasteless (in every sense of the word). Not only can it reinforce bias on cultures that love their spicy food (Thais and Indians), it also serves to mis-inform the public by passing off what is one mans opinion as scientific fact–when it truly isn’t.

The report goes on to say that:

Alternative medical practitioner Dr Gurdial Singh Sandhu agrees.

He says hot and spicy foods and high consumption of sodium chloride, acid and mucous-forming foods leads one to become hot-tempered and aggressive.

“Road bullies, hooligans, gangsters and drunkards who have consumed hot, spicy food or one that’s high in sodium chloride will find their blood pressure levels rising.

“If they are carrying weapons like guns, pistols or revolvers, they won’t hesitate to use them because their body chemistry is out of balance.

“An acidic body is one that’s aggressive and hot-tempered,” he says, adding that hot atmospheric temperatures and radiation are among the other causes of irritability and aggressiveness.

Chinese traditional medicine specialist and health columnist Dr Ellycia Tan Pin Ting sums it up as “we are what we eat”.

“Hot and spicy food are yang and can make a person aggressive, hyperactive, hot-tempered and agitated,” she says, adding that deficiencies in nutrients, magnesium, Vitamin C and B may also cause someone to have a shorter fuse.

Folks, any form of medicine that promotes itself as “alternative”–is bullshit.

If it truly worked, then it would cease to be alternative, and Doctors and scientist would use it. But it doesn’t work, from homoeopathy to magnetic bracelets to those funny surgeries they perform with only their hands–all of that is bullshit, and to promote this pseudo-science on a national newspaper is a disservice of the highest order.

Now I tried to find some scientific journal that proved this claim that spicy food caused aggression, and instead found a whole host of studies confirming trans-fatty acids to be linked to aggression–looking at you margarine lovers and roti Planta fanatics, but couldn’t find a single study analysing the association of spice with aggression.

As a country, we should stop consulting these phoney-baloney ‘alternative’ medicine practitioners, and bomohs. It’s high time we started improving scientific literacy in Malaysia to a level where we stop believing in ancient chinese medicine. If the ‘ancient’ and ‘traditional’ medicine really worked, how come China had a life expectancy of just 43 years in the 1960’s, and it was only the introduction of real ‘scientific’ medicine that the life expectancy of China increased. How do countries that don’t practice Chinese traditional medicine like Norway, Finland and Denmark, outpace China in nearly every health indicator?

Interesting questions indeed. Maybe The Star can elaborate.

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