A group of scientists has released a list of the year's worst celebrity-backed health myths. Perhaps the weirdest: that "reabsorbing" your sperm is somehow nutritious.
According to Reuters, a British group called Sense About Science (SAS) compiled the list in order "to help the celebrities realize where they are going wrong and to help the public make sense of celebrity claims." Some of their corrections:
— Silicone bracelets like those worn by David Beckham and Kate Middleton won't improve your health, no matter what their manufacturers say.
— Master Cleanse (maple syrup, lemon and pepper) is not necessary and will not make you healthier. Sorry, Naomi Campbell.
— Putting ground-up charcoal on your food (like pop star Sarah Harding) does not absorb "all the bad damaging stuff" — your body gets rid of that for you.
But perhaps the best myth busted by SAS is this one, promulgated by cage fighter Alex Reid (pictured):
It's actually very good for a man to have unprotected sex as long as he doesn't ejaculate. Because I believe that all that semen has a lot of nutrition. A tablespoon of semen has your equivalent of steak, eggs, lemons and oranges. I am reabsorbing it into my body and it makes me go raaaaahh.
Says reproductive research scientist John Aplin, "In fact sperm die after a few days, and the nutritional content of the ejaculate is really rather small." Good to know! SAS also issued some more general reminders, including, "Nothing is chemical-free: everything is made of chemicals, it's just a case of which ones" and "Energy and fitness come from...food and exercise: there are no shortcuts." At the end of the year — as at every other time — it's a good idea to remember that just because a celebrity says something doesn't mean it's true. And since health claims backed by celebrities often reach an undeservedly wide audience (see Jenny McCarthy), it's important to counter them just as publicly with common sense. Remember, people: neither bracelets nor charcoal nor your own semen will make you go raaaaahh. You have to go raaaaahh on your own.