Our knowledge of what’s healthy and what’s dangerous is changing and growing all the time

You might be surprised to learn about some substances that physicians once thought to be beneficial to everyone’s health. From the Yahoo News website comes this trio of formerly “healthy” products:

• Soda. Pharmacists began adding herbs, medicines, and sugars to carbonated water in the 1800s, creating homemade “health drinks” including ginger ale and cola, believed to offer many benefits to thirsty people. Nowadays, sodas are linked to obesity and diabetes, taking them off the “good for you” list.

• Cigarettes. Physicians once touted the benefits of a relaxing cigarette or two, prompted by tobacco companies and advertising executives. That ended in 1964 with the Surgeon General’s report on smoking that linked tobacco use to cancer.

• Cocaine. Derived from the coca leaf and used as a stimulant, cocaine was famously touted by pioneering psychologist Sigmund Freud as a cure for depression and sexual dysfunction. Hollywood actors also relied on it in their work—until 1922, when it was made illegal.