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Protein powder might be behind increased eating disorders in men.

More and more men are using more and more supplements.

Protein powder might be behind increased eating disorders in men.

Protein shakes: I know, you can get them everywhere. But those seemingly healthy workout supplements you're consuming (or, if you're like me, have been telling yourself the past five years you're going to start consuming) might do more harm to your mental health than good for your body.

Don't take it from me, though — listen to the experts.


Pictured here: not an expert. All images from Thinkstock.

New research suggests increasing consumption of workout supplements might actually be fueling eating disorders among men.

A study presented at the American Psychological Association's 2015 conference in Toronto analyzed online responses from 195 men aged 18-65 who'd recently used workout supplements like whey protein and creatine — essentially, things that are supposed to help you get a more muscular, leaner body. The researchers asked questions on topics like self-esteem, gender roles, supplement use, and eating habits.

The study found more than 1 in 5 men admitted to substituting meals with supplements that should not replace regular meals. It's likely a growing problem, too, as more than 40% of respondents said their use of supplements has increased over time.


This is serious business, fellas. Because while you may be aiming to bulk up in all the right places, whey protein (commonly used in such products) has also been linked to kidney dysfunction and liver damage, among other medical issues.

Abusing these sorts of products can certainly lead to health problems, but from the looks of it, many are already aware of that.

The researchers were most alarmed by the fact that nearly 30% of respondents were concerned about their own use of workout supplements.

"These products have become an almost ubiquitous fixture in the pantries of young men across the country," said researcher Richard Achiro, Ph.D., of the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. Achiro, who presented the findings, noted how easily men can find such products in America — everywhere "from grocery stores to college book stores."

A product's easy accessibility might add to the idea that men shouldn't worry about its effects on their bodies or self-esteem (after all, if it was dangerous, wouldn't it be harder to find?), while also reinforcing the idea that eating disorders and body image are women's issues.

And that couldn't be more wrong.

Eating disorders can affect anyone. And society's expectations based on gender aren't helping.

While eating disorders may disproportionately affect women, we don't talk nearly enough about the fact that many men deal with those same conditions, too.

And while supplement abuse might look differently than, say, anorexia does, Achiro's findings touch on a driving force behind many conditions that deal with a person's relationship to food and their body: gender expectations.

"Body-conscious men who are driven by psychological factors to attain a level of physical or masculine 'perfection' are prone to use these supplements and drugs in a manner that is excessive and which was demonstrated in this study to be a variant of disordered eating," Achiro said, also noting that marketing efforts for such products often go after men's insecurities associated with stereotypical masculinity.

Guys, I know muscles and abs are in right now. But they're never worth sacrificing your mental and physical health to obtain.

Need help? Learn more at the National Eating Disorders Association's website, or give them a call at 1-800-931-2237.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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