According to comedian and writer Adam Conover, ignorance is not bliss. He’s made it his personal quest to expose hidden truths and challenge the most common myths that people take for granted. Spend enough time with Conover and you’ll realize that nothing is sacred. Not that detox diet, the avocado in your guacamole or even the bacon you want to put on everything.

Don’t miss the "Adam Ruins Everything" host on the most recent episode of Milk Street Radio (listen here), and get an extended look at our interview from the excerpts below.

On the myth of millennials
I did about a 20 minute talk titled “Millennials Don't Exist” about how the division of people in different generations is completely arbitrary. It was really made up to sell books. Where we draw those vertical lines on the chart of who's a boomer and who is a millennial, who’s a gen x-er—they’re totally made up and the personality traits that are ascribed to these people in these groups are little better than astrology.

On killer Halloween candy
This is a recurring panic, a sort of press fad that comes back every year. “Could there be a razor blade hiding in the apple?Tune in at 11 on the late nightly news when we tell you how to check your kids' candy.” The truth is, nobody has been poisoning kids’ candy. There are no cases of this happening. The only instances where they found a kid’s Halloween candy was poisoned, had a razor blade or was doctored in any way, a family member did it, which is even more upsetting.

On fat vs. sugar
There were two scientists, Ancel Keys and John Yudkin. Ancel Keys was the king of anti-fat crusader scientists in the fifties and sixties. He demonized fat, and his research showed fat contributed to heart disease and obesity, predominantly. This led to the anti-fat craze of the eighties. So I grew up with low-fat everything. “Avoid dietary fat at all costs.” This other scientist, John Yudkin, said it's actually sugar that causes weight gain, heart disease and diabetes and we should stop eating so much sugar. The sugar industry funded Ancel Keys or supported and encouraged the scientific community to bury John Yudkin’s research.

But Keys and Yudkin were not the “angel” and “demon.” Keys’ work was not cherry-picked; some points were valid. Yudkin’s data wasn't perfect, either. Demonizing any one macronutrient is going to be a problem because these food companies are just going to reprocess and optimize their food to be high in one thing and exclude another thing.

On detox diets
Toxins, the way they're often used in wellness culture as a phrase, are not real things. You imagine these little black particles in your body that are making you sick, but that's not real. There's no particular type of thing called “the toxin.” The truth is any chemical, including natural chemicals, can be toxic if you take too much. Vitamin C is toxic if you pump it into your veins in a huge way. There are tons of things that are toxic in your body all the time and that's the job of your internal organs to filter them out—they do an excellent job and it. That's what your liver and kidneys do every second you’re alive.

On nachos (Brace yourself)
On an episode called “Adam Ruins Nachos,” we go through three ingredients on a plate of nachos. Guacamole, corn chips and bacon.

The avocado industry is run by Mexican drug cartels. If you buy a Mexican avocado, some of your money is going to cartels. But if you stop buying Mexican avocados, if all America boycotted them, that would also hurt the Mexican farmers who are being employed by these cartels. They're still relying on these avocados to make a living.

Corn is everywhere in our foods, and it's not the best grain to eat. We make massive amounts of corn to feed farm animals, and that creates an enormous amount of pollution. There's too much corn in our diet. If you want to get corn out of your diet, you actually can't do it. It's everywhere because our entire food system is built around it. It's sprayed on our cucumbers to keep them fresh. Corn is in almost every single product you're going to see in the supermarket.

“Everything's better with bacon.” People put bacon on everything. That's both in high food culture and low food culture, from bacon on hamburgers and bacon-flavored chips to pork belly. It was a purposeful push by the pork industry. They had all these fatty cuts of the pig and they started marketing pork as the other white meat. The head of the Pork Board is hanging out with the head of Carl's Jr. and says, “Could you come up with a bacon sandwich or something?” They launched the first fast food bacon hamburger, and it was a huge hit. As a result, it seeped into popular culture. These marketing decisions can have an influence on our culture, even when we don't realize that marketing's involved. You didn't need to see one of those ads to feel that cultural groundswell behind bacon. You're eating more bacon without even realizing you're eating more bacon.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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