Taking studies with a pinch of salt

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The problem that many people have when it comes to health these days is inconsistency.  Many people are inconsistent about their diets and about exercise and for that reason they are not really able to enjoy the healthy lifestyle that they deserve.  This is not really news, but what might be interesting to some of you is that it can be argued that this inconsistency, rather than being the fault of the individual people that fall victim to it, is actually a by-product of a system that encourages it.

Take studies done on various foods for example.  Almost everyday of the week you can see a study in some newspaper or magazine that has found a link between a particular food and a particularly good or bad health effect.

However, so many of these studies contradict each other that people following what the studies advise often end up doubling back on their own diets and then getting confused and apathetic when they realise that as a whole the medical community does not really seem to know what it is talking about.

This is a bad feeling and it is one that is only encouraged by the large number of contradictory studies available out there on foods like fruits, dairy, grains and everything else under the sun.

The best piece of advice when it comes to these studies is to take them with a grain of salt.  Correlation does not imply causality in statistics and that is a principle that many health studies ignore.  Ignoring that principle can lead to statements like “working the night shift causes cancer”.  A better way to deal with health is to pick a plan and then stick to it.

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