Cum grano salis

– a phrase attributed to the roman author and naturalist Pliny the Elder (23 AD – 79 AD). In Latin it is used when personal judgment and astuteness are required.

In English, the phrase means “with a grain of salt”, also meaning that a bit of common sense and skepticism are required so as to avoid the literal. Pliny the Elder used it with regards to the discovery of a recipe for an antidote to a poison, of which, one of the ingredients was a grain of salt. Threats against your health concerning poison were thus to be taken “with a grain of salt” and therefore less seriously.

The wisdom of this statement should not be overlooked, especially while reading any health related news or information.  Cum grano salis: Daily Four-Drug Combo Pill Halves Heart Disease Risk.  Twinkie Diet Helps Nutrition Professor Lose 27 Pounds.  Scientists Find “Master Switch” Gene for Obesity – Hopeful Treatments on the Horizon.  USDA’s New Food Plate to Assist in Weight Loss.  World health Organization: Cell Phones May Cause Cancer.  The Cure for All Diseases Found in 40 day Old Gravy at the Back of My Refrigerator… (I admittedly made up the last one, but the rest are actual headlines) – In all things please remember: “with a grain of salt”.

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