Oh Goody, a New Health Horror!


Important Legal Disclaimer: there are no actual Zombie-Prevention tips in this post. You will still be at the same risk level for Zombie attack after reading the Other Important Health Warnings below. Plan accordingly.

So as longtime Cranky Fitness readers may have noticed, I have a love/hate relationship with health studies. But one thing I always love about them, even when I'm busy hating them, is that they give me something to write about. Hooray for actual health-related subjects!

Fortunately, while I was busy taking a break from serious health reporting in order to frolic with friends, the Research Factories did not shut down and stop production. In fact, a bright shiny Annoying Study came off the assembly line recently just made to order for Cranky Fitness!


But rather than just whine about the study and warn you about the awful health hazard that's going to give you a bunch of horrible fatal diseases, wanna have a little fun with it? How about we look at this latest warning as sort of a personality test. A Research Rorschach, if you will.

Test? What test? You mean not everyone sees two
pesky beavers pulling on a skeleton-lady's pigtails?


Here's The Research.

According to a report in Medical News Today, a new study found "a substantial link" between the nitrates, nitrites and nitrosamines we ingest, and death rates from scary diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes, and Parkinson's. The authors said, "not only do we consume them in processed foods, but they get into our food supply by leeching from the soil and contaminating water supplies used for crop irrigation, food processing and drinking."

According to the article, nitrites and nitrates are generally carcinogenic, and are found in lots of foods, like cured meats, cheese, beer and water.

So What's Your Reaction?

Don't worry, it's just a one question personality test.

After reading this study:

a. I am now going to drink only water that's purified and tested for nitrates, nitrites, and nitrosamines. I gave up processed foods long ago, but now I'm going to stop buying produce from any source that does not have data on the purity of its water supply, even if it means I have to live solely on beets and alfalfa sprouts and rutabagas grown in my own basement.

b. I don't give a crap. Nitrates, schmytrates, we're all gonna die someday. Pass the bacon!

c. I'm really afraid of Alzheimer's and those other diseases so I'm going to stay up all night worrying about this. And the next night. And probably the next too, unless I read some other study that's even worse. But how can I not panic about this if the poison is already in our water supply? We're all doomed! Doomed!

d. I already try to limit my intake of processed foods. But if I see more studies like this, perhaps I'll try to investigate the safety of my local water supply and consider a filtration system or bottled alternative if it turns out it's especially funky. Otherwise, there's not much I can do!

e. What kind of a horsesh*t study is this? I clicked on the link and looked at the methodology. They looked at the timelines for increase in fertilizer use, and the increasing death rates, and then concluded that there's a cause and effect relationship? Aren't there a million other lifestyle changes during this period that could also be responsible?

f. Nitrates? Did you just say something about nitrates? I thought this was supposed to be about Zombies.

What's Your Coping Style for dealing with Annoying Research?

Note: it is quite possible to combine strategies, so you may have more than one answer.

If you answered a, you may be an Extreme Health Activist! To prevent anxiety and/or premature death, you do every freakin' thing you can think of to limit your health risks. Upside: to the extent these studies are right, you may actually live longer. Downside: with all the time-consuming, pain-in-the-ass precautions you take, you need extra years just to come out even!

If you answered b, you may be a Devil-May-Care Hedonist! To prevent Annoying Health studies from spoiling your fun, you just ignore them. Who cares what a bunch of bespectacled lab geeks say is good or bad for you? Upside: Fun! Fun! Fun! Downside: sometimes, the studies all say the same things and if you ignore them you may croak early.

If you answered c, you may be a Professional Worrier. It's not that you enjoy worrying exactly, but it's such a natural state you prefer to freak yourself out rather than take concrete action to minimize your risks. Upside: Well, not a whole lot, but it's treatable! See your local shrink or consult an anxiety self-help book. Downside: Worrying about your health is actually bad for your health. Which will make you worry more about your health which will...

If you answered d you may be a Lifestyle Pragmatist. You do what you can to minimize risks, but you're not going to spend a whole lot of time panicking over things you can't control. Upside: you maintain a good balance between virtue and Fun. Downside: You will rarely be a Trendsetter or an Amusing Nutball, and thus might never get your 15 minutes on Jerry Springer or Oprah.

If you answered e you may be a Perennial Research Skeptic. (D's and E's frequently occur together). You don't take the conclusion of a study or an "expert" seriously until you have some notion of how reliable the underlying data is. You may or may not have any clue what makes for reliable data (and may even think a peer-reviewed journal is something fisherman read), but you do know that you can't believe everything you read. Upside: less likely to worry about bogus health hazards. Downside: often over-analytical and kinda tedious at cocktail parties.

If you answered f you are... Normal! What are you doing reading Cranky Fitness? Instead of boring health news, you could be finding out which movie stars are cheating on each other and what Michelle Obama was wearing last night!

What's your coping style? Worried about nitrosamines or zombies attacks or do you take it all in stride?

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