News That Matters

Podcast: Exercise builds gut health; US blocking COVID origins investigation? ‘Natural’ food is a scam

Keeping the microbes living in your gut healthy is important to your overall well-being, and recent research suggests that regular exercise may be one of the best things you can do for your microbiome. Has the US hindered efforts to investigate the origins of SARS-CoV-2? Economist Jeffrey Sachs says his Lancet COVID-19 Commission has been obstructed at every turn as they try to uncover the pandemic’s origin. “Natural” is a bogus marketing term used to sell overpriced foods with no added benefit. In fact, nobody seems to know what the word means.

Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on episode 186 of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:

For many years, the science community viewed the growing interest in gut health as a passing fad with little data behind it. But recent studies have shown that the microbes living throughout your body influence your health in a variety of important ways. The habits you maintain, such as regular exercise (or lack thereof), affect how these microorganisms function. After all this research, how much have we actually learned about the microbiome?

We still don’t know for sure how the pandemic virus originated, but economist Jeffrey Sachs says the US government doesn’t seem very interested in getting to the bottom of this mystery. From redacted records to uncooperative experts, Sachs says numerous obstacles have thwarted his efforts as chair of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission. Are his frustrations justified, or is there enough evidence to show that SARS-CoV-2 likely jumped from wild animals to humans in a wet market?

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Spending your hard-earned money on natural food is a waste. Why? A recent review of how these products are marketed indicates that natural food companies and their customers define the term “natural” differently. If they can’t agree on the meaning of “natural food,” how can we know that the products are really better for us?

Kevin M. Folta is a professor, keynote speaker and podcast host. Follow Professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta

Cameron J. English is the director of bio-sciences at the American Council on Science and Health. Visit his website and follow ACSH on Twitter @ACSHorg

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