How do we deal with strange theories?

The Question posed on LinkedIn.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of this study the past couple days, there are a couple things bothering me in the coverage. First, I realize the point of the study was to show that most of the fat being burned is exhaled. However, this is somewhat a simplification and sort of gives the impression that the body is a bomb calorimeter (which is one aspect of many fitness/nutrition articles that bothers me anyway). I guess I would’ve personally addressed that in the explanation had I been the one to write it. Second, and more troubling to me, an unintended consequence of the way that this is covered means that many people are taking this to mean that hyperventilating or taking more oxygen in means that they will exhale more carbon dioxide and therefore lose weight without activity or diet changes. The second point is one I would have never thought to address in writing the article, so it’s made me wonder how far we have to go to address ‘strange unscientific theories’ that will pop up as a consequence of explaining research to those who aren’t as scientifically literate.”

My comment/advice:

Unscientific? Strange? The biochem knowledge seems stable (I learned the same thing in the early ’90’s with regards to carbon dioxide and water). Nothing strange about the metabolic pathways.

The paragraph about hyperventilation said do not do it and in no way advocates it. If the conclusion was to breathe more and pass out causing you to not eat as much, that would have been poor advice and potentially unscientific (passing out vs metabolic rate changes and so forth).