|Research suggests only about five per cent of people who try to lose weight ultimately succeed, but we cling to their stories as proof that losing weight is possible. (Canadian Obesity Network)|
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.
The second-most ready story was an analysis of public health inspection reports from national chain restaurants. It revealed a range of health violations, including temperature and food storage issues, food handling and handwashing problems, pest control, cross-contamination and general kitchen cleanliness.
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.
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.