3 Health Trends That Make No Sense

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Why is it that every time a grilled chicken salad or some other healthful meal gets added to the lineup of a fast-food restaurant, a new “extreme” item—like a burger with quadruple layers of beef, cheese, and chocolate cake—also appears? Somehow the dark side always wins out.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, New York City–based nutritionist

Take One and Pray in the Morning

There is a push by the managed-care industry to get doctors to change some of their prescriptions. They do this by convincing patients that if their doctors prescribed something else, it would be cheaper for them. It’s certainly cheaper for the insurance company. But now I’m stuck explaining to a patient that baking soda is not the same as Nexium when treating their reflux/heartburn, or that a real antibiotic is more effective than scraping mold off an old piece of bread. Okay, I’m exaggerating. But I’ve seen requests that come close. Something tells me that the insurance company executives get whatever they are prescribed.

Douglas Farrago, MD, editor of Placebo Journal

Antibacterial America

Purell, I’ve got two words for you: ha and ha. Turns out kids need a little dirt to be healthy. Read the studies coming out—maybe we’re playing it too safe. Is that why everyone’s got an allergy today but didn’t back when we all drank from the same cup and dried our hands on raw hamburger?

“Imagine a touchable world,” goes the Purell slogan. I did. It looks just like this one, except nobody’s chasing us around with a pump full of glop.

Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids


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