January 23, 2017

A roundup of new and noteworthy insights from the week’s most talked-about studies:

1

TURMERIC’S HEALTH BENEFITS MAY BE OVERBLOWN

A new review in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry found that the main chemical in turmeric–the golden spice championed as an anti-inflammatory superfood–may have few, if any, of those health benefits, though more research is needed.

2

MORE KIDS ARE EATING FAKE SUGAR

A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that the number of children who eat or drink artificial sweeteners (e.g., aspartame or sucralose) nearly tripled between 1999 and 2012, rising from less than 9% to about 25% of kids.

3

THE APPENDIX MAY HAVE A PURPOSE

Research on 533 mammal species in the journal Comptes Rendus Palevol found that appendixes, viewed as generally useless, may protect beneficial bacteria living in the gut.

–J.Z.

This appears in the January 30, 2017 issue of TIME.

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com.

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