Come cherry pick with me

Twitter is wonderful, because it never ceases to entertain. This morning, for example, we woke up to this revelation:

Cherry picking

‘Great scientists cherry pick the truth.’ It’s enough to make one’s head hurt. Or to sell a cool couple of t-shirts? (But would people understand that they’re not from The Onion?)

But wait, there’s more! As evidence for this claim, it was further revealed that Einstein also made shit up, which clarified (thanks Spurrett) that it must be some kind of special day:


So in the spirit of great (fake) science, let’s investigate something that has confused me lately, and perhaps someone can help me cherry pick the truth about soy(a).

This from the Banting Bible:

Noakes say

To explain why this ‘toxic non-food’ is so bad:

Noakes say2

OK, so clearly I don’t have a shred of scientific nutritional knowledge, because I don’t mind recommending that sushi should really not be eaten without soy sauce (or wasabi or pickled ginger). But rice. Never mind. So, OK, fine. It’s toxic and horrible and will probably give me cancer. Let’s have some better-for-you saturated fats, then, like a lovely bit of pork belly (still from the same book):

pork belly

Wait, the glaze contains what? Now I’m really confused. Until I remember the ‘with the exception of a little MSG-free soy sauce now and then’ caveat above (which by the way makes as much sense as saying ‘umami-free tomatoes’). So this must be one of those times that it’s OK to ignore the essential inconvenience of this “lifestyle”. Plus Hoisan [sic]. You don’t want to know what’s in that stuff.

But I still want to know more, mostly because I’ve largely heard good things about eating soy products.

So what do the other experts out there say? Let’s ask another esteemed doctor, by the wonderful name of Oz:

Dr Oz say


Dr Oz say2


Now which cherry should prevail? Should we put Noakes and OzĀ on the battlefield and see if it ends as gruesomely as the recent battle for Tyrion Lannister’s life (spoiler alert)?

While that could be enormously entertaining, it’s of course stupid. The really clever thing to do here is to remember that in addition to the fact that Googling doesn’t make you a scientific expert, neither, evidently, does being a trained scientist.

And that soy isn’t a superfood that’s going to do your laundry for you, but it’s probably not that evil either. How do I know this? Because I read the fine print. From the last page of the Real Meal Revolution:

soy ink




P.S. If anyone is still in doubt, this is what a cherry looks like.