Dietary Timeline

To view a brief summary of the events from each period simply drag the mouse over the dates that are listed on the left.

To view more details click on the date link and you will be transferred to another page.

Click here to return to the timeline index page

Click here to return to the timeline intro page



The grape that heals. Scientists at the University of Illinois have discovered that grapes may cure cancer. After provisional researches on mice and cell structures, they have identified a cancer-fighting agent which they have named, without much poetic or therapeutic feeling, resveratrol. This medicinal substance was first discovered in a rare Peruvian legume called Cassia quincagulata. But it also occurs in grapes, particularly in red grapes, and grape products, including wine. This is a bonus for those who analyse, collect and market resveratrol. And it is encouraging for drinkers of red grape products that were invented for the British market such as claret, port and madeira. It is less encouraging for those who prefer white wine such as chardonnay, because they suppose it to be fashionable or less fattening. It also comes as a relief for haters of peanuts (the other host of resveratrol) or of broccoli (another promising "chemopreventive" of cancer). © The Times


Frequent consumption of red meat is not risk factor for cancer Editor-Headlines such as "Big meat eaters cancer warning" (Daily Mail, 13 September) have appeared in advance of the publication of the Department of Health’s report on diet and cancer. A prospective study, however, analysed data from a nationwide random stratified sample of British adults to determine the relation between diet and cancer and found a protective role for fruit and salads but no evidence that frequent consumption of meat is a risk factor for cancer. © BMJ

Cox BD, Whichelow MJ. Frequent consumption of red meat is not a risk factor for cancer. Br Med J 1997; 315: 1018.


Blame the fat, not the meat Eating meat is not the problem – animal fat is the killer Research conducted in Britain and New Zealand has cast new light on an assertion frequently made by vegetarians that it is unhealthy to eat red meat. The research shows that, with regard to heart disease at least, it is not the meat itself that poses any particular hazard. The real culprit is animal or dairy fat. Vegetarians have a lesser rate of heart disease than meat eaters, a fact that has led many to believe that eating meat is unhealthy. To find out if that is really the case, British and New Zealand scientists have studied 11,000 vegetarians and partial vegetarians for a period of more than 13 years. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Dr Margaret Thorogood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says the study was started to look into the link between meat and heart disease. © BBC


Fat may decrease the risk of stroke A team of American scientists has suggested – contrary to common scientific opinion – that fatty food, normally associated with a high risk of heart disease, might reduce the chances of having a stroke. But the researchers, from Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Boston, have urged caution about the findings of their study. The problem is that the work seems to contradict the findings of so many other studies, and the scientists are going over their work to look for flaws. The new study, published in the journal of the American Heart Association, says that for every 3% increase in total fat consumption, there is a 15% decrease in the risk of a stroke, as long as the subject is not obese. © BBC