Doctor Fact-Checks TikTok Nutrition Advice

Doctor Fact-Checks TikTok Nutrition Advice

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In this video, Mikhail Varshavski, DO — who goes by “Doctor Mike” on social media — reacts to online nutritional information.

Following is a partial transcript (note that errors are possible):

Varshavski: Nutritional information on TikTok can be good or absolutely terrible, and we’re about to react to all of it.

Mac and cheese. That was hot. You got to be careful eating that hot. Remember, I have a whole video on drinking hot fluids: “Increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer by 90%.” I don’t understand this. Like he just ate some yummy mac and cheese, and he is going ham now?

Is that ASMR honey? I want it. Oh, God, I love honey so much. It’s not really healthy to eat in large amounts, but guys honey has legitimate medical uses. Oh, it’s so good. There is also medicinal honey. Like manuka honey can be prescribed for wounds that are poorly healing. When I have worked at a wound care center before in patients who had multidrug-resistant bacterial skin infections, we gave them topical honey, and it worked. It’s incredible.

stylekorean_official: Have you ever wondered how Koreans maintain their good bodies even after a big feast like this?

Varshavski: Is that true? Like I don’t know if that’s medically accurate.

stylekorean_official: You need to drink this once a day. They contain garcinia cambogia and they work to stop carbs from being transformed into fat.

Varshavski: Time out. There was a very famous doctor that decided to call this a miracle cure. That said, “You don’t need to exercise. You don’t need to diet. Just take this supplement and it will help you lose weight.” It’s poop. It’s never been proven. In humans, the results have been mixed to negative. Stop promising people miraculous cures. Even Memorial Sloan Kettering, which is where my mom ended up getting her cancer treatments before she passed, has like a whole page on this. We’re going to pop it up here to show that the results do not show this thing works.

Male 1: Bro, why do you eat your fries before your burger?

Male 2: The logic behind this is fries are carbs and they’re going to process way faster than the protein in the burger, so I wanted the protein fill me up at night and make me feel full.

Varshavski: I hate saying the word bro science. But if you’re eating it 4 seconds apart, the way that it looks in your stomach is… so it doesn’t matter if you eat this bite first and this bite second. In the end, it’s all like that.

Whoa, is that a cougar? You know it’s funny I always get the cats wrong. I’m like, “Oh panther.” They’re like, “No, cougar.” I’m like, “Oh, cougar.” They’re like, “No, panther.” I’m like, “Oh, puma.” They’re like, “No, panther.” I would not mess with that thing. It could be like a lynx. I don’t even know. There are so many cats.

Male 3: Where’s the cheese? I asked for extra cheese.

Varshavski: I’m not going to lie. When my cholesterol levels were through the roof, it was because I was ordering pizza with extra cheese. That’s a surefire way to get your cholesterol up.

Male 3: Time is running out.

Varshavski: Okay. I probably have to have a dermatologist chime in here, but I’m pretty sure the oils on the pizza are also not great for the face. They probably cause breakouts. What did I miss in this video? Why are we slapping ourselves with cheese?

Male 4: This is a bottle of Dr. Jayne’s expectorant from the 1800s.

Varshavski: How did they get their hands on that? Wow, with the one-cent stamp on there.

Male 4: It still has the original label on it and it’s completely full. It’s completely full.

Varshavski: It’s completely full, but it’s so inert. It’s crazy. It says alcohol 13%. You don’t think that alcohol has already expired? No. What’s… when the sun shines on water and…

Sam: Evaporates.

Varshavski: Evaporates! You don’t think all the alcohol has evaporated from this bad boy? Come on now.

Sam: Would it evaporate if it’s been sealed?

Varshavski: Yes, unless it was capped in like the most ideal condition. The cork based on the conditions and the humidity will change shape, and that will allow some air to get in there.

Male 4: As it says it contains alcohol and opium, and it’s for children 14 to 21 years old.

Varshavski: You know what we were doing not that long ago and some doctors still do, and in some rare cases it might be okay? Giving codeine as a cough syrup. We have now taken a pretty firm stance to say that the risks outweigh the benefits for codeine. It’s an opioid.

Varshavski: All right let’s get back to the TikToks. Why are my evil arch nemeses back? You know like they do all these cap, not cap, this is pure cap. Cap, cap, cap, cap, cap, cap.

They’re putting crystals in here. They are just throwing everything in the book. Is this sponsored by Goop? Rub on belly and thighs during the waning… I’m not going to lie. I’m not rubbing on my thighs because my thighs have a problem. Maybe this can fix the energy in my thighs.

Oh, that was dope. I didn’t expect that to be that cool.

When kids say they don’t drink water, add lemon juice, cucumber, jelly beans? What do you want your kids to choke? Olive oil, whipped cream, sprinkles. Tadaa. You just gave your kids an olive oily a milkshake? I don’t understand.

Male 5: Ultimate diet hack. This is a little 25-calorie marshmallow.

Varshavski: I hate the word hack. Ugh.

Male 5: All you need is five seconds in the microwave and… dude, look.

Varshavski: That’s not what happened. That’s a lie. That was deceptive video editing and there’s probably so much refined sugar in there. Oh my God, it’s so easy to overdo it with excess sugar. That’s how your body starts getting confused. That’s how it actually starts poisoning your gut.

Now when I say your gut, I’m really talking about the gut bacteria that live in there. By eating all that refined sugar, you’re feeding and changing the type of bacteria that’s in your gut and increasing the number of bacteria that loves sugar, thereby changing like the gut-mind microbiome, where it’s encouraging you to eat more and have sugar cravings. Just be really careful. Like if you go camping and you have some marshmallows, it’s not the end of the world.

Isn’t that thing just like a pure sugar cookie? Like just a ton of sugar? The same talking point as marshmallows, lots of refined sugar, no bueno. But if you’re doing it for a competition and your life’s on the line, better get to licking.

By the way, do you know why the licking thing works? It’s because your mouth has saliva in it. Saliva has salivary amylase, which is an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates, sugars, and the parts that are the smallest, meaning where the cut outs are, dissolved the fastest, therefore you’re able to push the cookie out with a beautiful star.

Five reasons you should do a juice cleanse. This is hard for me to debunk, because you should give your digestive system a break from processed food, but you don’t need to juice cleanse in order to give it a break from processed foods. You can just eat unprocessed foods, which are whole foods and healthy foods. You like beet juice? Eat beets. You like orange juice? Eat oranges. Why do they want to drink everything? Just chew it. You have teeth.

Kickstarts weight loss. No, you do not need to kickstart your weight loss. You know what eliminates toxins? Your organs. Your organs clean out toxins: kidneys, liver. You have them, use them. Boost energy. It doesn’t even say boost energy. It says boots energy.

Female 2: Are you trying to cut carbs but it’s really hard to do?

Varshavski: Get a knife. I don’t know why…

Female 2: Let me show you how in segments, in wedges, in slices.

Varshavski: She took my joke.

Female 2: If cutting carbs is hard, use a knife.

Varshavski: Wow, she literally stole my joke. Okay. Or I stole hers.

I think I’ve seen this video in my TikTok before. This is like an esophageal dermal fistula, where if you have a connection between two parts of the body you can create a fistula, which essentially creates a passageway.

Gordon Ramsay: I’m turning vegan.

Varshavski: Is he really? Oh. Oh. Wait, what? It looks like steak. What does it taste like though?

Male Speaker 7: I have two simple solutions for how to wake up happier.

Varshavski: I wake up pretty miserable the last few weeks training for boxing, so let’s see what we got here.

Male Speaker 7: Take about 400 milligrams of magnesium glycinate. Magnesium is the mineral responsible for over 3,000 enzymes in your body. If you add a couple magnesium pills and a full glass of water before bed, you’ll start waking up feeling incredible.

Varshavski: That last part. Why? Why make a promise that if you add a glass of water, maybe you’ll just start feeling incredible. My friend, walk into my medical office to my patients who have been suffering with insomnia for 2 years, that are in tears, severe depression because of their insomnia, and make this promise, and watch them feel even more debilitated, more upset, because you’re a little life hack didn’t work. Stop the promises. It truly hurts people.

It’s not the same thing to say magnesium has these actions in cells, as saying taking a bunch more magnesium will make these processes better or faster or more efficient. The reality is if you don’t have the magnesium, those processes don’t happen. But it should be talked about with their doctor not from a random TikTok video promising you success and probably selling you supplements on the side.

Male Speaker 8: Tap water healthy for us to drink? Let’s find out.

Varshavski: Yes. I solved it, yes.

Male Speaker 8: Now what I’m going to take is some medical grade alkaline water, just so we have a different water to compare, and we’ll test the pH. We’ll see what the pH is for it.

Varshavski: Thank God. Let’s test that pH.

Male Speaker 8: Now, in the United States of America all tap comes out alkaline-ish, right? The reason is because the federal government mandates that it has to be like this. They put chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, lead…

Varshavski: Oh, yeah, they put lead in your water. Bro, do you hear what you say sometimes? They actually limit how much arsenic and lead PPM can be there.

Male Speaker 8: I have a straw. We’ll blow bubbles, and we’ll compare.

Varshavski: What is chemical versus molecular? These videos they just take words that are scientific. Chemical versus molecular here is just three words. That’s it, no meaning, just three words.

Male Speaker 8: What happens when we put it inside of our body?

Varshavski: My friend, here is what happens when you put your alkaline water inside my body. It mixes with my stomach acid, which has a pH of 2 on your little red acidic scale there, and it ends up being 2, because the stomach acidity is very tightly controlled. And then it continues on its way down to the gut and then it gets absorbed, and it enters the bloodstream, and the bloodstream is an even more well-controlled pH, 7.35 to 7.45. Even if the blood pH range slightly comes out of that, slightly, it can become lethal. Your little 1 pH difference in your little water bottle there that you’re charging hundreds of dollars for is complete pooh pooh.

Liver King: Liver King here.

Varshavski: Our boy King Liver is back.

Liver King: Eat your heart out primals.

Varshavski: He’s literally eating a beef heart. When I was watching the videos last time, I didn’t realize that he was going to be consuming all of the meats raw, so I didn’t comment on it. But you guys rightfully pointed it out.

The reason we cook our meats is because we want to kill the bacteria that’s found on them, in them. When you consume them raw, a lot of times you’ll be okay because your stomach has hydrochloric acid and your body has an immune system. But the problem is the one time that that little listeria, salmonella, gets through, you’re going to have a really big problem.

I believe in the hygienic theory, like kids should play in the mud. Like we need more bacteria on us, around us, in us. But this is an unnecessary way to do it, in my opinion, at least to recommend to everyone to do. Because most people don’t know how their meats are processed. They don’t know who’s touching them. Because of that, you just don’t know what kind of bacteria is on there, so cook it and be safe.

Mike Varshavski, DO, is a board-certified family physician and social media influencer with more than 8.7 million subscribers.

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