Should you follow the advice posted on social media?
Dr. Mike, with his 8.32 million subscribers on YouTube, ironically thinks not.
In this episode, Dr. Mike reacts to the worst TikTok advice his fans could find. But is it all that bad? Even Bill Nye said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” With a bit of research and extrapolation, you can learn from these TikTok quacks. For example, when ButterrGirlldips a stick of butter into red sauce and eats it, she is not 100% wrong that this is a combination of connoisseurs.
While both Dr. Mike and Cheese Burgah are understandably grossed out by her actions, let’s talk about how we can use her information.
Butter and red sauce do go together. Experienced cooks use butter in the emulsifying process to help the sauce cling to the pasta and have a glossy finish. Skip this process, and you will finish your noodles but still have a pool of sauce at the bottom of your bowl.
Instead of plopping a whole stick of butter into the jar and then taking a huge bite, she does need to change her method a bit. By following these emulsifying instructions and adjusting her proportions to half of a cup of pasta sauce and up to two tablespoons of butter, she could be winning the likes of pasta lovers everywhere. And Dr. Mike would feel better about the saturated fat content.
Other advice on TikTok suffers from mere lousy packaging. For example, this TikTok from self-proclaimed neurology acupuncture expert, Jimmy Yen, should have been packaged as dating advice, not strategies for better health.
When Jimmy prescribes five movements for five organs to “restore organ function,” he is only one mislabeled organ away from being able to promote his strange dance as courtship.
Jimmy’s “exercise” for your kidneys involves a series of familiar thrusting motions, which seem better suited to increase the function of another member of the body.
Even though Jimmy targets the wrong organ, smart fans see beyond his error and pick up the appropriate application.
Neither is wrong. According to this post, a popular Reddit pick-up line for doctors involves kidneys–“Are you one of my kidneys? Because I could live without you, but I still like to have you inside me.” If doctors use it, mere mortals are sure to have success with it.
Jimmy’s hip-thrusting hop is a catchy dance to pair with an excellent kidney pick-up line. Dr. Mike shouldn’t tell fans to ignore Jimmy’s boogie but encourage it for procreation health.
Finally, is it fair for Dr. Mike’s fans to demand evidence or a diploma to believe someone’s advice will work to our advantage?
Back to Jimmy’s movements, he instructs us to slap the inside of our arms to help our hearts. Dr. Mike’s head explodes at his claim while Patrick vacillates between not directly confirming and believing “without a doubt” what Jimmy says.
Magic6172 is sure what Jimmy says is medical misinformation and calls Jimmy out on his sources.
But here’s what you must consider. The “trust me bro” strategy is how our species found and tested medical remedies, many of which have been scientifically supported.
Take maggot therapy for wound care, which has been documented back to the 16th century. Imagine a military doctor standing over a wounded soldier with a container full of maggots. What else could they say at that moment to convince the soldier to let them put insects on a gaping hole on their body but “trust me, bro?”
We don’t need more people with diplomas or randomized comparative trials. We need more people willing to answer the call of “trust me, bro” to test out new treatments.
While health misinformation is a problem on all social media platforms, according to this peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Twitter has the highest prevalence. You should absolutely ignore any health advice from Twitter.
However, next time you come across any information on TikTok, pause and reflect. Underneath the shock value, bad marketing, and amateur advice, you might become a better cook, snag a date, or find a new remedy.
When she is not cruising the comment sections for ways to inject her dark humor, Ursula Saqui, Ph.D., drinks tea, works out, and practices being a foodie. Find her on Twitter at @UrsulaSaqui.