Headlines tend to be concise and sometimes oversimplified, theoretically telling readers what a story is about in a few words. Unfortunately, this concision often leads to imprecision, and readers take reports of “breakthrough” research more seriously than is warranted. As a result, it’s easy to forget that findings published in the fields of health, nutrition, and medicine (among others) aren’t necessarily definitive, nor meant to go unchallenged. On the contrary, the constant flow of new, often conflicting research is designed to either contribute to the dialogue on important issues and perhaps stimulate further studies.
Therefore, when pieces of contradictory research emerge, don’t throw your hands up in despair, or simply discard the results of one study for another; just consider them as opposing sides to an ongoing debate.
In 2016, a number of studies were published dealing with such issues of nutrition and health as whether butter was as bad as sugar, whether body mass index was a reliable indicator of health, and whether the the “five-second rule” really guarantees the safety of food eaten off the floor. You might be surprised by the results of some of this research. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to analyze the existing information and make the final decision about what you believe.
Here’s the best and worst health news of 2016.