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



Research links cot death and caffeine. Doctors in New Zealand say research suggests that pregnant women who drink too much coffee or tea could increase the chance of their baby suffering cot death. © BBC


Cancer link to children's diet. What children eat can have a major impact on their future health Children who eat a high-energy diet have an increased risk of developing cancer later in life, researchers say. The study in the British Medical Journal supports evidence from animals of a link between height and cancer. A University of Bristol team followed up 3,834 people aged up to 16 who took part in a survey of family diet between 1937 and 1939. © BBC


Too much of a good thing. Excessive quantities of vitamin C can be detrimental to health. Large doses of vitamin C may do more harm than good and could even help trigger serious diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research. Although the recommended daily dose of vitamin C is 60mg, doses of up to 1,000mg are sold in shops. The vitamin which helps the body to fight infection is also a powerful antioxidant preventing the conversion of nitrates from substances such as tobacco smoke, smog and some vegetables into cancer-causing substances. © BBC


Cheese and milk: recipe for a healthy heart? Cheese may reduce the effect of cholesterol Cheese and milk contain a compound that may actually help to keep the circulatory system healthy, scientists have discovered. They both contain a fatty acid which can stop cholesterol from clogging up the arteries. Tests on rabbits show that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) reduces fat deposits in arterties by 30%. Nutritionists traditionally warn against eating too many diary products because they are very high in fat. David Kritchevsky, the American nutritionist who made the discovery, said: "I consider it God's joke." © BBC


'Eat bananas and live longer' Bananas and other fruit could help bring down blood pressure Bananas, raisins and potatoes can help to lower blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. For the first time, the association is recommending that people with high blood pressure should eat a diet which is high in minerals and low in fat, in addition to cutting back on salt. Its Nutrition Committee says research shows a diet high in potassium, calcium and magnesium and low in fat and salt can reduce systolic (top number) blood pressure by an average of 5.5mm of mercury and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure by 3mm of mercury.© BBC

Good news for salt? The dangers of salt are being hotly debated The BBC's Natalie Maynes looks at the salt debate Too few minerals – rather than too much salt – may be to blame for high blood pressure, according to an American researcher. David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in Oregon, says recent large scale research suggests "adequate intake of minerals, rather than the restriction of sodium, should be the focus of dietary recommendations for the general population". He says salt has always been part of the human. © BBC

Fat strikes back. Cutting back drastically on fatty food may be bad for your health. Eating an extremely low fat diet may be bad for your heart, according to new research. The American Heart Association (AHA) says eating a low fat diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. But it claims that reducing fat to extremely low levels – less than 15% of calorie intake – may provide no additional benefits and could lead to short-term disadvantages. In a statement in the current edition of Circulation magazine, the AHA's Nutrition Committee says very low fat diets can increase the presence of triglycerides, the chemical form in which fat is stored in the body. © BBC


Oily fish 'better than drugs' Mackeral: The secret of a healthy heart? Eating oil-rich fish can do more to help keep some heart attack victims alive than taking drugs, it has been claimed. A study of 2,033 male survivors of heart attacks found that deaths were reduced by one-third among those who ate two portions of oil-rich fish a week over a two-year period. The research was highlighted in a letter to the British Medical Journal written by public health experts Roger Harrison, from Wigan, and Michael Burr, from Cardiff. © BBC

Fast food is a 'recipe for cancer' A good diet is vitally important for young children A child's diet may determine whether she develops breast cancer in later life, according to an expert from the World Health Organisation. The disease – the number one killer among women aged 35-54 years – could be triggered early in life by an unhealthy diet of fast food, Professor Paul Kleihues has warned. Professor Kleihues said parents should avoid high fat, low fibre diets full of processed food, dairy products and meat. He warned: "Thirty per cent of tumours in breast, prostate and colon cancer are associated with nutrition. © BBC