As a journalist for more than 20 years, I’ve learned to define “common knowledge” and “common wisdom” like this: They’re just theories no one has rigorously researched yet.
When scientists and pollsters finally get around to studying these topics, the results are rarely what everyone knew to be true. Sometimes facts contradict common wisdom.
Here’s what I learned just in the month of April…
1. Smoking makes women fatter
“Cigarette smoking may blunt fat and sweetness perceptions among female smokers with obesity, leading to higher consumption of fat and sugar for more intense flavor,” says the Obesity Society.
How did researchers figure this out? With vanilla pudding.
They fed pudding to four groups of women: “smokers with obesity,” “never-smokers with obesity,” “normal-weight smokers,” and “normal-weight never-smokers.”
They concluded, “female smokers with obesity perceived less creaminess, sweetness and pleasure while tasting any of the puddings than the women in the other groups.”
Of course, this “contradicts the idea that cigarette smoking could help women to control body weight.”
2. Skinny women have fat kids
While it’s no surprise that women who gain too much weight when they’re pregnant are more likely to raise children who become obese, apparently the opposite is also true.
“Women with a normal Body Mass Index measurement before pregnancy who gained less than the recommended amount were 63 percent more likely to have a child who became overweight or obese,” according to a new study from Kaiser Permanente, a health research firm.
Says the study’s lead author, Sneha Sridhar…
Gaining either too little or too much weight in pregnancy may permanently affect mechanisms that manage energy balance and metabolism in the offspring, such as appetite control and energy expenditure. This could potentially have long-term effects on the child’s subsequent growth and weight.
3. Hot cars don’t make men hotter
A Harris Poll of more than 2,100 men and women reveals, “A majority of women associate fancy cars with negative character traits: 56 percent say that they view men who drive exotic/fast cars as being show-offs or arrogant; 17 percent perceive them as being insecure.”
Instead, “Women prefer a man who drives a sensible car, because it reflects his level of stability. And a third (32 percent) of women believe that the type of car a guy drives determines what kind of family man he will be – a guy who drives a sedan, for example, may be preferred over one who sports a Ferrari.”
4. More people carry out pizza than order in
Americans who eat pizza once a month prefer to fetch it for themselves, declares a food industry research firm called Technomic. It polled more than 1,000 adults and found 65 percent carry out their pizza while 54 percent have it delivered.
Apparently some do both, since that otherwise adds up to 119 percent.
5. Salt Lake City is a great place for divorcees to score
In the creepiest survey I’ve ever seen, dating site Zoosk “analyzed nearly 1 million conversations” among its users — seemingly without their permission — to “determine where the most and least open-minded daters live.”
The least-surprising result was that Las Vegas is the most open-minded dating city in America. Most surprising? The Mormon capital of the world is less conservative than I thought: “Singles in Salt Lake City, Utah, are most open to dating someone who was previously married.”