CBC list of top health news stories of 2014

A Dec. 28, 2014 CBC article is entitled: “What weight loss, drinking water and pot had in common in 2014.”

Below are some highlights from the above-mentioned article, along with updates regarding a range of topics from several sources.

The evidence is not necessarily congruent with commonly held understandings.

Scientific evidence stands in contrast to truthiness, which has a strong emotional appeal for many people. I’ve had reason, during the course of my life, to become motivated in following the evidence, wherever it may lead. I have what can, in some circumstances, be described as a minority perspective.

The excerpts note:

Weight loss

A story about how our biology taunts us by making short-term weight loss fairly easy but permanent weight loss nearly impossible was the top health news story of the year.

Artificial sweeteners

A food-related story rounded out the top three. Researchers said artificial sweeteners may have directly contributed to enhancing the obesity epidemic that the calorie-free sweeteners were intended to fight.

Drinking water

The next most-viewed story explored how drinking water was contaminated by excreted drugs from people. Trace evidence of acetaminophen, codeine, antibiotics, hormones and steroids passed through most sewage treatment processes and eventually in our drinking water. No one knows whether the cocktail of biologically active compounds, consumed at low levels over a lifetime, is a human health risk. A related story comparing bottle and tap water also made the list.


Ebola cases and deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia quickly exceeded the totals for all previous outbreaks of the disease combined. A look at Ebola by the numbers was the most viewed story on the topic, followed by a story on the  first Ebola case diagnosed in the U.S. Among the top 10 included:

Another virus, enterovirus D68, sent hundreds of children to hospital in the U.S. and Canada. A frequently asked questions and answers story provided eight facts parents should know.

Prescription drugs

To complete the list, two stories reconsidered use of prescription drugs for two common conditions, depression and heart disease.

[End of excerpts from  a Dec. 28, 2014 CBC article entitled: “What weight loss, drinking water and pot had in common in 2014.”]


The CBC link related to heart disease brings to mind an article from 2014:

Oyebode O, Gordon-Dseagu V, Walker A, et al. J Epidemiol Community Health 2014;68:856–862.

Some excerpts:

Consumption of vegetables appeared to be significantly better than similar quantities of fruit.

Raw vegetables have been shown by others to have a stronger inverse association with mortality than cooked vegetables

… frozen/canned fruit consumption was apparently associated with a higher risk of mortality.

Fruit and vegetable consumption is inversely related to household income.

[End of excerpts]

Defining powerhouse fruits and vegetables

Also of relevance is Di Noia J. Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach.

The list in the above-noted study is of a provisional nature, as I understand from the text.

A July 27, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Superfood rankings overvalued, dietitian says.”


The topic of vegetables and longevity is also discussed at a post at my website entitled:

Fruit and vegetable intake: five a day may not be enough, scientists say (April 1, 2014 Guardian article)

As a result of reading and re-reading the evidence, I’ve managed to increase my intake of uncooked vegetables. Most of the time (some days over the Christmas holidays being an exception), I’ve been managing to keep sugar consumption to under 25 grams a day.

Update: An August 1, 2015 New York Times article is entitled: “My Dinner With Longevity Expert Dan Buettner (No Kale Required).” The article notes: Not a lot of dairy products.

Portions of vegetables and fruits

Click here to access Canada Food Guide charts that explain what accounts for a portion, for given vegetables and fruits.

This is practical information, which is useful if you aim to have 7  portions of fruits and vegetables – say, 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit – per day.


A related post is entitled:

World Health Organization recommends that no more than 5 percent of your caloric intake – that is, 25 grams – should come from sugar

A Feb. 2, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Toddler foods with excessive sodium, added sugar set taste preferences: Parents may incorrectly assume foods designed for young children follow higher nutritional standards.”

A Feb. 7, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Why toddler foods have so much sugar and salt: ‘The child’s biology really makes them vulnerable’ to food industry.”

A March 4, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “‘Leanwashing’ marketing tactic used to drive junk-food sales: Advertisers emphasize exercise rather than cutting back on their high-calorie products.”

A March 4, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Sugar intake should be reduced to 5-10% of calories, WHO says: Guidelines aim to reduce risk of obesity and tooth decay for all ages.”

Wine and chocolate

Also of interest is a post entitled:

Health benefits of wine and chocolate unlikely, new study finds – May 13, 2014 Globe and Mail

As well, a Jan. 31, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Jason Dyck, University of Alberta researcher, reveals truth behind wine study: Researcher confirms not everything you read on the Internet is true.”

Get Up (2014)

A related resource of value is a book entitled Get Up: Why your chair is killing you and what you can do about it (2014).

A blurb (see link in previous sentence) notes:

According to Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University obesity initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk, for every hour we spend sitting in our chairs, we lose two hours of our lives. In fact, excessive sitting is more dangerous to your health than smoking, Levine insists.

He explores the history of the workplace, from the evolution from agrarian to industrial economies, and the dominance of sit-down jobs and leisure that is spreading to developing nations as well.

Levine draws on research showing the rise in myriad health issues, from diabetes to cancer to heart disease, that can be traced to a sedentary life style.

He goes on to highlight businesses and schools that are working to change their culture to encourage more activity and documenting the benefits in health and greater productivity.

At the end of each chapter, Levine challenges readers to test their own levels of chair dependency and devise strategies for unshackling themselves from the chair. Levine mixes fascinating research, levity, and sound advice in a call to action against the modern sedentary life.

–Bush, Vanessa

Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

[End of text from Toronto Public Library website]


As I’ve noted in a February 1976 Cinema Canada article, written close to 40 years ago, there’s not much to be said for spending endless hours sitting at a desk.

A March 16, 2016 statnews.com article is entitled: “Despite your fancy standing desk, you’re still sitting too much.”

A March 21, 2016 Quartz article is entitled: “There’s not enough evidence to say standing desks are good for your health.”

Other updates

A Jan. 7, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Food purchases, calories go up after holidays: Despite resolutions, consumers spent more on both healthy and less-healthy foods.”

A Jan. 8, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Dr. Oz, The Doctors’ TV advice not always supported by evidence: Review of shows by Alberta doctors concludes people need to be skeptical.”

A July 27, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “One hour of activity needed to offset harmful effects of sitting at a desk: Risk of dying increases among desk-based workers who sit for eight hours and do low amounts of exercise, new research finds.”

An April 25, 2017 Science Daily article is entitled: “Parents’ use of emotional feeding increases emotional eating in school-age children.”

A summary of the research report from the Society for Research in Child Development, on which the article is based, reads:

“Emotional eating is not uncommon in children and adolescents, but why youth eat emotionally has been unclear. Now a new longitudinal study from Norway has found that school-age children whose parents fed them more to soothe their negative feelings were more likely to eat emotionally later on. The reverse was also found to be the case, with parents of children who were more easily soothed by food being more likely to feed them for emotional reasons.”

An April 25, 2017 Guardian article is entitled: “Backlash after report claims saturated fats do not increase heart risk: Relying on low fat foods to avoid heart disease is misguided, say cardiologists, but critics say comments ignore evidence.”

An April 26, 2017 CBC article is entitled: “Pass the butter: Cutting saturated fat does not reduce heart disease risk, cardiologists say: Focus should instead be on eating ‘real food,’ walking and reducing stress.”

Vitamin D

A March 26, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Rickets on the rise for aboriginal children in the North: Doctor says public health’s efforts to stop resurgence ‘abysmal failure.’ ”

A March 29, 2015 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “The vitamin D dilemma: How much should we be taking?”

A Nov. 16, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Do we have it backward on giving kids low fat milk instead of whole? Whole milk consumption linked to leanness in early childhood, Canadian study finds.”

Also of interest: A Dec. 26, 2017 Guardian article is entitled: “Protein hype: shoppers flushing money down the toilet, say experts: Consumers fuelling demand for high-protein products unlikely to see any benefits as people already eat more protein than they need, say dietitians.”


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