Reading Beyond the Headlines

by: cancercompass

It seems like every day a new study has concluded that something previously considered unhealthy can now change your life. However, I’ve been noticing more and more that while the headline boasts something really exciting, when you actually read the full article there are often numerous stipulations and caveats.

One huge example that emerges often is whether alcohol causes, prevents or has nothing to do with cancer. Some people say that red wine can actually help ward off cancer, while others thing that even a drop of alcohol is bad news. Either way, when you read any article it is abundantly clear that no matter what, too much alcohol is bad for your system. This is one fact that has been proven time and time again, so proceed accordingly.

Then there is the other red alert that claims diet soda willmake you fat. While water is better than diet soda in any situation, these studies have found that it isn’t the soda that is making people fat, it is the behavior that diet soda can trigger (the aspartame can increase rather than decrease the appetite). On that same note, many are still trying to determine whether or not artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of cancer, so again moderation is the key term.

I was thinking about this topic because today I saw an interesting article that stated that popcorn can be really good for you. Popcorn has always been a food that is considered healthy when not slathered in salt or butter, but this article goes on to say it is on par with fruits and vegetables! The first paragraph of the article states: “popcorn contains more of the 'good for you' antioxidants called polyphenols than some fruits or vegetables.” As you continue to read the article, however, the expert consulted stresses that unless the popcorn is air popped without oil, salt or butter. Otherwise, you could have a “bucketful of trouble.” Also, the article states that popcorn should not replace your serving of fruits and veggies. While this article isn’t as bad at some in terms of drawing you in with an amazing headline and then adding in caveats throughout, it is a prime example of why you can’t just read a headline and follow what it says.

I’m sure you encounter these types of headlines every day, but if you need more examples, how about this one: Guiltless Coffee? The Drink May Actually Make Us Healthier. Coffee can make me healthy? Does that mean I can have countless cups every day! Nope. In fact, hidden way down the sixth paragraph is dedicated to pointing out the “caveats” with the results.

It is completely understandable that newspapers use an attention-grabbing headline. I just make sure to read the rest of the article as well. Also, no matter what you read in print, it is still always a good idea to ask your physician what he/she thinks about a certain topic or brand-new discovery. Chances this discovery is far from new, and your medical experts are the ones who will know which studies are reliable, and which were only printed to sell papers.

Stay healthy this Spring and don’t forget to read between the lines!