Health Warning: Don’t Read Health Stories

For the past month Richard Lutz has collected news stories about what to do and not do to improve his health. He’s more confused than ever.


Warning…this story could either cure your troubles or make you ill from worry.

And that’s because, I have been manically collecting health cure/ scare stories from the wonderful world of the press.

From sitting down to obtaining  geckos, the world wide media can’t stop telling you what to do or not do with your fragile shell of a body.

So, here goes a review and make of it what you will. I am certainly no judge in the matter- simply a mere collator or what I see on my screen as I swim in the soup of the web.

I started the month with a story from the BBC website- which surely is the size of a mid range planet- telling me that a new drug that attacks tumours can be activated by light.

It means that treatment can be targeted in order to not damage surrounding tissue. (Note to self: buy low energy bulbs)

Then comes The Daily Express, which must have a medically-fixated news editor. It warns that sitting next to a window on an airplane can make you ill.

Research (whatever that means these days) suggests it doubles the chance of a potentially fatal blood clot. That’s because, say the sages and sub-editors at The Express, you are more likely to snooze near a window and that can raise blood clot risk. (Note to self: don’t go on airplanes as you never get the seat you want)

Oh, and more research from the depths of this flailing paper. It says never drink coffee standing up. It can lead to increased blood pressure. (Note to self: buy a chair for the kitchen)

But don’t sit either, according to a report on an American website for a broadcaster in the Midwest called WISH-TV. It says that cancer risk increases if you sit too long.

It reports that an Indiana company asks its workers to get off their backsides- and offers treadmills so they stay healthy while they toil away. (Note to self: sell the kitchen chair. Buy a treadmill)

Back to The Daily Express (oh, how I love that paper) and the doom merchants there cast a beady eye on overcooked meat. It claims it can lead to increased risk of cancer.

The dark crust formed on the outside of a well-done steak more than doubles the risk of intestinal tumours, the paper claims. (Note to self: don’t buy The Express. It can lead to stress).

But hey, don’t get too fancy-schmancy either with your food- especially when it comes to gourmet salt. The ever tasteful Guardian reports mid month that high-falutin’ sea or rock gourmet salt is just as damaging to your body  than regular old salt- even though producers claim it contains ‘natural’ ingredients. (Note to self: I’m  confused and it is only the middle of November)

Stick to porridge and brown rice, the paper recommends It cuts the risk of bowel cancer, it says on 11th November. (Note to self: become a hippie)

And so the warnings and scare stories about our bodies roll out. Don’t so this. Do that. Or the reverse.

The FT, when it gets off its high horse, says if you want to lose weight, eat raw food. They talk about ‘groundbreaking’ research that shows that cooking and presenting our grub means you extract calories from it to use later. Eat it raw and the energy goes unused. (Note to self: Put the Kenwood and the toaster on Ebay).

Late in the month, I learned that you will have a better chance of dying if you go into an NHS hospital on the week end (all domestic media); that the nation’s health is waning because we don’t get enough sleep (The Times); and, a no holds barred statement from The World Health Organisation (wait for this) that geckos can’t cure cancer or stop HIV (The Online Star from Malaysia which seems to be The Express of the east).

And finally, on this, the fading last day of November, comes one that will aid all men- males are happier if they own a shed.This from The Telegraph which regurgitated a British Medical Journal article on health and happiness. (Note to self: steal my neighbour’s shed)


(Added note to self: Throw away all the accumulated news articles about health. They make me ill.)