Dr Caroline Leaf – It’s no joke

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So, stop me if you’ve heard this one … This guy walks into a bar, and says, “Owww, that bar is really hard.”

Ok, that was a bad joke. Hey, I’m no Robin Williams. Some people have the knack of being able to make people laugh in almost any situation. I can get a few laughs, but I’m not a naturally gifted comic.

Dr Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and a self-titled cognitive neuroscientist. She isn’t a comedian either.

Her post today was a light-hearted dig at giant lizards with a taste for organic free-range humans, or perhaps the fact that most people know being “all organic, gluten free” should be left to the sanctimonious foodies of San Francisco.

The other part of her post wasn’t meant to be funny, but certainly contained a healthy dose of irony. In trying to justify her bit of light comic relief, she posted another of her subtly erroneous factoids, this time claiming that, “Laughing 100-200 times a day is equal to 10 minutes of rowing or jogging!”

Not according to real scientists, who have worked out that laughing is actually the metabolic equivalent to sitting still at rest, while jogging or rowing burns between 6 to 23 times as much energy, depending on how fast you run or row [1].

That would mean that I would have to laugh for at least a whole hour a day (or about 700 times based on the average chortle) to be even close to the energy burnt by a light jog.

On the grand scale of things, this meme probably doesn’t really matter. These sort of factoids are thrown around on social media all the time, and it won’t make a big difference to the health and wellbeing of most people. But it does help establish a pattern. Dr Leaf habitually publishes memes and factoids that clearly deviate from the scientific truth, proving that Dr Leaf has become a cross between a science fiction author and life coach, not a credible scientific expert. From her social media memes to her TV shows, all of her teaching becomes tainted as untrustworthy.

While today’s meme may not be so serious, if Dr Leaf can’t get her facts straight, pretty soon the joke will be on her.


  1. Ainsworth, B.E., et al., 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2011. 43(8): 1575-81 doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821ece12

2 thoughts on “Dr Caroline Leaf – It’s no joke

  1. Hello,

    A friend mentioned Dr. Leaf’s works so I was browsing her website and googling her as well, which is how I came across your blog. I often try to find as much information as I can on a person before I purchase their products/books. As I peruse your blog, I can’t help but notice your frequent rebuttals of her posts, quotes, seminars, etc., but I find no other individuals that you have devoted this much time to discredit or at least bring to your readers’ attention what you believe are errors. Not knowing either of you, I’m wondering if you can explain why you have chosen to single her out and devote so much time on this in your blog. Do you feel called to “protect the public” by finding and pointing out her alleged unsubstantiated claims? Am I missing some piece of background that would cause this to make more sense as to what appears (at least superficially upon perusal) to be a personal vendetta against Dr. Leaf and/or her work? (It’s sometimes difficult to detect a stranger’s tone via print so let me clearly convey that my intent is not to be condescending…I seriously want to understand what is going on. I searched your blog to find out any connection or explanation but couldn’t find one, albeit I have yet to read every post.) Please advise. Feel free to email me directly also. Thank you

    • Hi Dr Johnson, thanks for taking the time to seek clarification. Your question is a legitimate and important one.

      While it’s true that the most consistently popular posts on my blog are concerning Dr Leaf, when I actually counted up how many posts were related to Dr Leaf’s teaching, it was less than 60%.

      The reasons for my strong focus on Dr Leaf are probably better explained in more depth by the outline and preface of my critical analysis of the work of Dr Leaf (iBooks = https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hold-that-thought/id908877288?mt=11 or Smashwords = https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466848).

      Further, my blog has been the best medium for discussion on Dr Leaf’s teaching. In the past, I have attempted to engage with Dr Leaf directly and through her Facebook page. Unfortunately this resulted in nothing more than a dismissive reply from her husband (https://cedwardpitt.com/2013/08/29/mac-leaf-responds-to-dr-caroline-leaf-serious-questions-few-answers/), and being blocked from her Facebook page. Dr Leaf’s censorship left me with no avenue, other than my blog, to express my concerns about her teaching.

      Let me state, for the record, I have never met Dr Leaf. I do not have anything against her personally. I do not have a personal vendetta against her, nor am I out to destroy her ministry. I do not have any financial interest – I do not charge for my book, nor do I accept advertising on my blog (WordPress sometimes puts ads on the blog, but I don’t receive any revenue from this).

      My sole intention is to present an alternative view to Dr Leaf’s teaching so others can make up their own mind. If I have enabled others to make an informed choice on the validity of Dr Leaf’s teaching then I have done my job.

      Again, thanks for seeking clarification.

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