March 29, 2022

My most popular writings and lectures involve myths.  I have written on myths and refutations in various contexts. Why are articles on myths so popular? What is the origin of myths? How can the spread of myths be prevented?

Diet Revolution or Diet Sham?

With so many diet plans and books on the market how do you choose? What do you really know about these diets? Is the information scientifically sound? Are these diets effective for weight loss, or maintenance in the long-term? Or are they quick fix schemes?

The booklet provides a concise introduction to each diet and my thoughts on the diet, frequently asked questions (exercise and nutrition) and sample eating plans. Thirty-six diets are discussed in the booklet. read full article

Exercise Myths Die Hard

Advice on exercise is not hard to find. The media identifies new fitness experts often and your local gym probably employs at least a few so-called fitness experts. These days a large number of different sources offer exercise advice —websites, television, newspapers, your best friend, college professors, barbers, mechanics, personal trainers, dietitians etc.. Much of the information provided is conflicting. All of this conflicting information is confusing. Consumers often find themselves drowning in a sea of information; some of the information is correct, while much of it is nonsense. full article

Examining Common Obesity Myths

Obesity is associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and respiratory problems. Obesity is a condition of having a BMI (body mass index) of 30–39.9. People labeled as extremely obese have a BMI of 40 or greater. The BMI is determined using a calculation involving the mass and height of a person. It is reasonable to suggest that a high BMI represents excessive body fat in most cases. However, not everyone rating high on the BMI have excessive body fat. As examples, football players, bodybuilders, and strength athletes may rate high on the BMI but have low to moderate amounts of body fat.  full article

The Truth About Nootropic Brain Supplements and Brain Power

Nootropic substances—from the Greek words meaning “mind-bending” –are ingestible chemicals often promoted for their cognitive enhancing properties (Jasanoff 2018). According to companies selling nootropic products, benefits of using the products include prevention of cognitive decline, enhanced memory, increased learning, improved concentration, and rapid cognition. Nootropic drugs include stimulants like amphetamine and methylphenidate, marketed under the names Adderall and Ritalin, as well as sleep suppressants like Modafinil. Nootropics also include a range of dietary supplements. full article

The articles above are a tiny sample regarding my work on myths. My books Knowledge and Nonsense    

and Should I Eat the Yolk examine a range of myths.

My new project- 20 Fitness Myths that should die!- will address some of the topics I have written about extensively in the past, and it will include new topics. The contents will provide an interface between cognitive science and exercise & nutrition science. The project will include PDF booklet, Power Points, maybe videos and apps.

Myth: Lactate is a toxic by-product of metabolism.

Key points from Brooks, 2009:

“Once thought to be the consequence of oxygen lack in contracting skeletal muscle, we know now that lactate is formed and utilized continuously under fully aerobic conditions. Lactate is actively oxidized at all times, especially during exercise when oxidation accounts for 70–75% of removal and gluconeogenesis for most of the remainder.”

Lactate is used by glygolytic and oxidative fibers. Lactate has an influence on metabolic regulation in multiple cells at diverse levels.”The presence of cell–cell and intracellular lactate shuttles gives rise to the notion that glycolytic and oxidative pathways be viewed as linked, as opposed to alternative, processes, because lactate, the product of one pathway, is the substrate for the other.”

From Mann (2007):

Conclusions. “Lactate is now acknowledged as an important intermediate of carbohydrate metabolism, taken up from the blood by tissues such as skeletal and cardiac muscle as a substrate for oxidation. Furthermore, lactate formation consumes a proton, thereby buffering against muscle acidosis. For this reason, lactate production forms an essential aid to endurance performance rather than a hindrance.”

Myth: Neural training programs are completely distinct from metabolic or endurance training programs

It is important to point out all exercise involves vast amounts of neural activity. I avoid using the term neural training to refer to a specific training regimen. Neural involvement changes as learning progresses, and simple movements involve less neural activation than complex movements (movements with more degrees of freedom and more interactions). Novel and routine motor skills have different requirements.

“From one point of view, we can consider the entire nervous system to be the motor system: it functions to move the body” (Full reference available upon requestKolb & Whishaw, 2009,

p.223). Consider a seemingly simple task, such as locating a db, and picking it up to perform curls. The visual system inspects the db in an effort to determine where to grab db (involving occipital lobe’s visual cortex and frontal lob motor areas- distinct areas). Instructions are sent (via motor neurons) to part of spinal cord involved with controlling muscles involved with arm, hand and any others having role in the movement. Once grabbed sensory receptors involved with info receiving sensory stimuli, send signals to primary sensory cortex, (in parietal lobe). Sensory cortex transfers signals to the motor cortex, relevant to awareness that the db is now being held. The basal ganglia assists in applying appropriate amount of force, and cerebellum participates in regulation of timing and adjustment of movement errors, as the movement is taking place. Some training regimens activate nervous system more than others, but referring a single sort of regimen as neural can lead to a misconception regarding the nervous system’s role in movement. In terms of neuroscience, the motor system is often a term describing elements of the nervous system most directly involved with movement, and for circuits of the spinal cord that issue commands to muscle through peripheral nerves.

What do you think is the most popular fitness myth? How can fitness pros prevent the spread of myths?

If you or your company or school are interested in hosting a seminar / lecture/ workshop let me know.