19 thoughts on “The Cupcake Giveth Life, the Cupcake Taketh It Away”

  1. I think CBS19 forgot to include the part where the mothers (apparently) go into labor VERY SOON after eating the cupcakes, as someone pointed out in the comments.

    All were within 24hrs of eating the cupcake.

    Using that added bit of info, if 19 people died within 24 hours of eating the cupcakes, I think we can all agree that would be a problem.

  2. This is all fine and dandy Waldo, but don’t you have some baby ducks to be reporting on?

  3. Are you f-ing kidding me? This must be the single stupidest attempt at a story I’ve ever seen in the DP, and that’s saying a lot.

  4. I think CBS19 forgot to include the part where the mothers (apparently) go into labor VERY SOON after eating the cupcakes, as someone pointed out in the comments.

    That makes no difference.

    Let us consider the two possible scenarios:

    1. Women who are days overdue to give birth—a cohort that tends to try goofy things to hurry things along—are women who are likely to give birth very soon.

    2. Cappellino’s is putting “extra love” in their cupcakes, which is causing women to give birth.

    I’m going with #1 here.

  5. If 19 people died within 24 hours of eating a cupcake, then yes, it would be reasonable to hypothesize a connection between eating the cupcake and dying, because those people (presumably) weren’t on track to die soon, and because tainted foods have many times in the past led to death. But if 19 women go into labor within 24 hours of eating a cupcake, it is not the same. Those 19 women, who according to the story were all past their due dates, were on track to go into labor any day regardless of what they ate. Moreover, there is no well-established and scientifically validated history of a connection between eating a certain food and beginning labor. So it’s not logical to conclude that the eating of the cupcake caused the beginning of the labor. Jesus H., people, has no one heard of post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

    I’m just dumbstruck by the completely credulous tone of the “journalist” who wrote that story. I mean, yay for Cappellino’s if they’re selling more lemon drop cupcakes, but I have to think Splendora’s is furious that they didn’t think of this first. “Eat our rose petal gelato and go into labor!”

  6. If getting “extra love” was all it took to give birth, we’d be havin’ triplets. Getting pregnant isn’t working though. Don’t know what we’re missing.

  7. I’m just dumbstruck by the completely credulous tone of the “journalist” who wrote that story.

    I’m with you, Claire. With a smirking, Jeanne Moos schtick—fine, whatever, I don’t care. But, as you well put it, the completely credulous tone just makes CBS-19 look foolish.

    Some of the comments are even worse. Like this:

    One of my coworkers didn’t believe the story and ate one 2 weeks before she was due. She went into labor when she got home.

    If this is true, somebody needs to alert the CDC and the Department of Health immediately, because if we’re to believe that correlation is causation, then that means that Cappellino’s is putting something in their cupcakes that could cause women to miscarry.

    Incidentally, I didn’t see this on CBS-19—I saw it on WUSA’s site. So the story is in D.C.

  8. Why should it not have an effect? Do you think labor-inducing drugs are made by magic? While you should be skeptical, you should also ask whether this substance (cupcake) may also have bad effects sometimes, as with the labor inducers.

    Random article about citrus and uterine contractions (with the opposite effect!):

    “Effect of pectin substances on contractile activity of the uterine myometrium in rats.

    “Vyshtakalyuk AB, Sosnina NA, Minzanova ST, Zobov VV, Lantsova AV, Minullina ER, Mironov VF, Karaseva AN.

    “We studied the effects of peptides from Amaranthus cruentus L., Rauwolfia serpentina Benth., and citrus plants on contractile activity of the uterine myometrium in rats. Pectin substances inhibited spontaneous contractile activity of uterine muscles and abolished the stimulatory effect of oxytocin. Pectins had a synergistic effect with epinephrine and acetylcholine.

  9. Why should it not have an effect? Do you think labor-inducing drugs are made by magic?

    It should not have an effect because there’s no evidence that very low doses of lemon juice cause women to give birth. If that were the case, pregnant women would be advised against the consumption of citrus, which they are not. Citrus being a very common food in the United States, that’s a correlation that I suspect somebody would have noticed by now.

    Labor-inducing drugs are not made by magic—they’re made by chemists who don’t merely squeeze oranges. Pitocin, for instance, is simply oxytocin. That’s a substance name that might sound familiar. That’s the chemical that floods a woman’s body to dilate her cervix, which is the step that is necessary to birth a fetus. So it’s not some arbitrary thing like lemon juice—it’s precisely the chemical that causes childbirth. That’s basically how all drugs work—they simply simulate the thing that the body should be creating itself, but is not, and then introduce it to the body so that its receptors will pick it up and act upon it. A woman’s body is neither flooded with lemon juice in order to induce labor, has lemon juice receptors in her cervix, nor does lemon juice contain oxytocin, ergo it’s not going to make a difference in hurrying along labor.

  10. I’d always heard that, among other things, walking was a good way to get the ball rolling when overdue. Since Capellino’s is a few blocks from any significant supply of parking, maybe its the walk there and back thats causing the perceived trend? Perhaps we need a control group of overdue women to walk there, window shop the cupcakes without buying, then go home and wait to see results?

  11. I recall that when I was pregnant one of the Old Wives Tales was that eating pineapple would help get things started as well. I’m not saying the pineapple had anything to do with it, but I had a craving for pineapple right before my son was born 2 weeks early. I also craved smoothies, so maybe it was them? ha! But seriously, at the checkup 2 days before I went into labor, the doc even agreed that things were getting a little tight and if something didn’t happen by the next visit we’d start the process. It was just time.

    This story also made Fox & Friends. On it the owner of Capellino’s did say the cupcakes are “made with love” and they do contain lemon juice and zest but she seemed to really think it was just psychological.

  12. I ate one of those cupcakes the other day- and now I’m going to die? Oh wait a minute, no reported effects of the cupcakes on men.
    Whew, that was close.

  13. I imagine there may be significant underreporting from pregnant women who consume a Capellino’s lemon drop cupcake but do not soon go into labor. One would be my wife, who had one several days past her due date, but had to wait another 5 days before our baby arrived (post castor oil, but that’s another story).

    It was all in good fun, Capellino’s gave us the cupcake for free and my wife enjoyed a tasty, if a bit too sweet, cupcake. It is the type of personal interaction that makes shopping at small, local establishments satisfying. It’s best left at that. Even without the failed logic, the story would never have survived the translation to mass media.

  14. It is absolutely good fun — no doubt about it. And I’m glad Cappellino’s is getting a little boost. But I think the credulous reporting is likely to add to the general pool of scientific ignorance and illogic that plagues the U.S. I just wish the person who wrote the story would have signaled more clearly “this is a cute, fun story but of course we know there’s no scientific evidence for a causal connection here!”

  15. I still think you are all underestimating the danger. The patient should already be in the hospital before such a radical procedure is attempted (cupcake). Labor drugs have dangerous side effects in a significant percentage of patients. If we had decent health care, mothers could lounge around in well-staffed maternity clinics for days, weeks, before birth, eating cupcakes.

    And Waldo, you have no idea how much lemon juice is in those cakes, and from what pure sources it is derived. Heck, it might be part grapefruit, the bane of all side effect profiles.

  16. Cappellinos also has a cookie they call Madeleine which has a lemon glaze, but since it’s been scientifically proven that real French Madeleines cause Involuntary Memories, I’m not sure what you should expect there.

  17. I was in there last week, and the employees told the pregnant woman to keep eating the cupcakes every day until she went into labor. Well, yes, if you are 40 weeks pregnant, and eat a cupcake every day, you certainly will have eaten one in the 24 hours before you go into labor.

    but, if I ever have another baby, a lemon drop cupcake would be a nice addition to my day as I am pacing the mall waiting for labor to finally start…

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