Gin is the in-vogue drink of choice for everyone from hipsters and city slickers to the yachting classes, nowadays. So, if you recently came across the headline “Drinking gin can speed up your metabolism, scientists say,” you’d probably like to buy a shot for the obscure Latvian researchers who made the discovery.
However, the story has been both shaken and stirred. According to news reports, the study found that a shot of gin can speed up your metabolism and can be used to burn off calories and lose weight. The researchers from the University of Sigulda in Latvia supposedly published their findings in the journal Food & Nature, where they concluded this health kick was likely to be associated with gin's antioxidant-rich juniper berries.
Study author Professor Thisa Lye reportedly said: “Consumption of gin resulted in a marked increase in metabolic rate, which indicates the spirit may have a slimming effect on the body.”
Before you crack out the tonic water and a lemon, there's something very off about all this.
We snooped around a bit and found that the lead author, Professor Thisa Lye, doesn’t appear on PubMed – an online database of references and abstracts on life sciences studies. A quick search on Google also shows that the University of Sigulda and the journal Food & Nature do not exist, other than in news stories about this weightloss-miracle discovery.
The story first gathered steam through an article on Yahoo Style, originally written and syndicated by Prima magazine, published on April 1 (hint hint). If you click through to the original article on Prima.co.uk, it comes with a pretty clear warning at the top of the story: “Only joking. In case you hadn't guessed, this is the April Fool’s joke we very much wish was true!”
When Yahoo News published it, however, it wasn't so apparent the story was a joke. From then onwards, interest in gin is at an all time high and good news at an all time low, as a fair few websites jumped on the boozy bandwagon and didn't appreciate that it was a wannabe viral April Fools' joke.
Sorry to do this to you, gin. We'll still be your pal.