Dietary Timeline

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If you are a potential father, a Brazilian study found that the strength and endurance of sperm is far higher in moderate to heavy coffee drinkers than those who abstain.

  • Coffee makes sperm speed up Coffee makes sperm go faster, reveals a new study by Brazilian scientists. They suggest caffeine could form the basis of infertility treatment for some men. New Scientist

The one thing we add to our coffee comes under dispute:


  • Dairy Monsters We used to take it for granted that milk was good for us. But now the industry faces a crisis, with the public questioning such assumptions. So just how healthy is milk.The Guardian


  • The UK media reported less salt in our diets may help save lives. They also suggest that additional benefits could be achieved by reducing salt intake further than is currently recommended.

  • According to a combined analysis of previously published studies reducing dietary salt intake could prevent 20,500 deaths from strokes anad 31,400 deaths from heart attacks each year.

    The evidence derives from a study conducted by Dr Feng He and Professor Graham MacGregor of the Blood Pressure Unit at the St Goerge's Hospital Medical School, London. The study only provided suggestive evidence of a link.

    How far should salt intake be reduced? Journal of Human Hypertension. 2003; 42: 1093-1099


    Derived from the word 'vegan', the term describes people who eat free food otherwise destined for the landfill site. Freegan's make an anti-consumerist statement against waste and its impact on the environment:

    The Guardian


    High Fat

    Mother's high fat diet damages child Women who eat a high fat diet during pregnancy may be increasing the risk that their child will develop heart problems in later life, research suggests. Researchers found that rats fed a diet rich in lard – and similar to that provided by an over-reliance on fast food – were more likely to produce offspring that developed cardiovascular problems.© BBC

    High fat diet reduces seizure risk A high-fat diet can dramatically reduce or end seizures in children with severe epilepsy, research has shown. Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital tested whether a high-fat, low carbohydrate regime known as a ketogenic diet could have more of an impact than taking drugs to control the condition. Of the 14 children who have now been on the diet for at least three months, more than half have seen a 50% reduction of seizures. © BBC

    Fatty food linked to breast cancer Women with a high-fat diet may increase their risk of developing breast cancer later in life, say researchers. A study of more than 13,000 women from Norfolk found that women who ate the most saturated fats – such as those found in chocolate snacks and fast food – were almost twice as likely to develop cancer, compared with those who ate the least. Many large studies have failed to find a link between fat and breast cancer, but experts say that the type of food survey used by earlier researchers may have masked the problem.© BBC

    Fatty diet not linked to stroke A high fat diet, although linked to heart disease, does not increase the risk of a stroke, research suggests.Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health monitored the diets of almost 44,000 healthy middle-aged men for 14 years. Although 725 men had a stroke during the period of the study, the researchers found no link to dietary intake of any type of fat. © BBC

    Low fat

    Low-fat diet 'cuts breast cancer risks' Eating a low-fat diet in adolescence may protect women against breast cancer, say researchers. A study suggests it may lower levels of the sex hormone oestrogen which has been linked with breast cancer. © BBC


    Food chemical cleared of cancer link High levels of a chemical found in foods such as chips, crisps and bread do not, as feared, seem to raise the risk of cancer, research suggests.Research in the past year has shown that many types of cooked food contained moderately high levels of a chemical called acrylamide, which is considered to be potentially carcinogenic. © BBC



    Eggs 'protect against breast cancer' Eating eggs may protect women from breast cancer, according to doctors.Researchers in the United States have found evidence to suggest teenage girls who regularly eat eggs are less likely to develop the disease later in life.Their study indicates that other types of food, such as those containing vegetable fat and fibre, may also have a protective effect.The research adds to growing evidence that diet may play a key role in triggering breast cancer.© BBC


    Vegetables ward off Alzheimer's Eating a diet rich in vegetables may be one way to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.US scientists found that a diet high in unsaturated, unhydrogenated fats – found in vegetables and some oils – may help lower risk.© BBC


    Vitamin link to heart failure Heart failure may be linked to a lack of vitamin D, researchers have found. German scientists have found that levels of the vitamin are considerably lower in the blood of patients with chronic heart failure. © BBC



    High-protein diets 'damage kidneys' High-protein diets can accelerate kidney disease in those at risk, researchers have found.Diets which are high in meat proteins, such as the increasingly popular high in protein, low carbohydrate Atkins diet, could overload the kidneys, they say.© BBC

    Food combining

    Food combining 'fights cancer' Eating certain foods together, such as chicken and broccoli or salmon and watercress could help to fight cancer, say researchers. Combining two food components called sulforaphane and selenium make them up to 13 times more powerful in attacking cancer together than they are alone, they suggested. The discovery could mean it could be possible to design special cancer-fighting foods or diets. © BBC

    Oily fish

    Oily fish 'helps lupus patients' Eating oily fish can benefit people suffering from the potentially fatal disease lupus, a study suggests.Researchers in Northern Ireland have found that people with the disease who eat tuna, mackerel and similar fish reduce their symptoms.© BBC

    Fish oils 'help cancer patients' Fish oil supplements could dramatically improve the lives of some cancer patients, according to a study. British researchers say fish oils may prevent cachexia – the severe wasting and weight loss associated with some types of advanced cancer. It can cause illness and contribute to the death of these patients because of its effects on metabolism and appetite. © BBC


    Less meat 'means a longer life' Eating little or no meat can help people live longer, researchers have found.Their lives are "significantly longer" than the general population, researchers have found, according to German scientists.It has been suggested that eating a balanced vegetarian diet could reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and heart disease, cut cholesterol levels and the chances of suffering from kidney and gall stones, diet-related diabetes and high blood pressure.© BBC

    Red meat 'cancer threat' Eating red meat introduces a potentially dangerous molecule into the body tissues, according to researchers. Scientists from the University of California in San Diego believe it could cause heart disease and cancer by triggering a harmful immune response. Humans cannot produce the molecule – a type of sugar – but it occurs at high levels in lamb, pork and beef. © BBC


    Poor pre-pregnancy diet 'dangerous' Women who do not eat properly in the run-up to falling pregnant could be risking the future health of their children, says a researcher. Professor David Barker, of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, believes that the nutrition the foetus receives in its first days is vitally important.If mums-to-be do not eat the right things in the build up to getting pregnant, he says, there could be damaging long-term effects.© BBC



    Vitamin clampdown The Food Standards Agency is warning people not to take very high doses of many popular vitamins. It wants one, chromium picolonate, removed from the market completely. However, the Food Standards Agency is warning that there is some evidence suggesting health problems among people who take very large amounts of certain vitamins.© BBC

    Vitamin C can help beat arthritis An increase in fruit and vegetables in the diet could help in the fight against arthritis, say researchers.Scientists found that a diet low in fruit and vegetables – particularly those containing vitamin C – appeared to increase the risks of developing inflammatory arthritis. © BBC

    Vitamins 'do not protect heart' Vitamin E and beta carotene do not protect against heart disease and may even be harmful, according to doctors.Previous studies have suggested these vitamins can keep arteries healthy and can protect against heart disease. But a study by doctors in the United States has found no evidence to support these claims.In fact, they found that beta carotene may actually damage health. © BBC

    Vitamin could prevent arthritis Scientists hope adding vitamin D to the diet could help prevent one of the most common and painful forms of arthritis.Osteoarthritis affects more than a million people in the UK, many of them elderly. There is currently no cure and all doctors can do is control pain and keep patients active and mobile. © BBC


    Fibre slashes cancer risk Doubling fibre intake almost halves the risk of developing bowel cancer, research suggests.The conclusion comes from the biggest study ever undertaken into European eating habits. Similar findings have been produced in a separate new study by a US team. © BBC

    Supplemented feed can cut heart risk Adding fatty acids to formula milk for babies may cut heart disease in later life, a study suggests. Researchers found blood pressure levels were lower in children who had been given supplemented formula milk as babies. © BBC




    Brazil nut mineral cancer claim The mineral selenium may help protect some women from developing breast cancer, research has suggested.The element, which can be found in brazil nuts, liver and kidneys, may help the body defend itself. Scientists from the University of Illinois believe they may have worked out how selenium interacts with a natural body chemical to offer protection. © BBC

    Miso soup

    Miso soup 'cuts breast cancer risk' Eating three or more bowls of the Japanese delicacy Miso soup every day could cut women's risk of developing breast cancer, researchers suggest. The soup contains fermented soy paste along with other ingredients including seaweed, bean curd and vegetables. Most people in Japan eat the soup at least once a day.© BBC

    Cooking Oil

    Cooking oil 'fights fat' Volunteers fed a diet containing a particular blend of oils actually lost weight and fat, according to researchers. Over a 27-day period, male volunteers, despite eating the same quantity of oil as others given conventional cooking oil, lost an average of one pound. © BBC



    Dairy diet may prevent asthma Young children who regularly eat products containing milk fat are less likely to develop asthma, research suggests. Scientists say the finding provides strong evidence that while asthma may, in part, be a genetic condition, it is certainly influenced by lifestyle factors too. A team from the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment analysed the diet of nearly 3,000 two-year-olds. They found that by the age of three, those who had eaten full cream milk and butter on a daily basis were less likely to have developed symptoms of asthma. Daily consumption of brown bread was also associated with lower rates of asthma.© BBC


    Barbecue cancer warning Barbecues poison the air with toxins and could cause cancer, research suggests. A study by the French environmental campaigning group Robin des Bois found that a typical two-hour barbecue can release the same level of dioxins as up to 220,000 cigarettes. Dioxins are a group of chemicals known to increase the likelihood of cancer.© BBC


    Eating pizza 'cuts cancer risk' Italian researchers say eating pizza could protect against cancer. Researchers claim eating pizza regularly reduced the risk of developing oesophageal cancer by 59%. The risk of developing colon cancer also fell by 26% and mouth cancer by 34%, they claimed. © BBC

    Fats 'help body fight TB' Fats found in everyday diets could help the body fight against tuberculosis (TB), researchers have suggested. Laboratory experiments found that various fats could help the body fight the TB bacteria.© BBC


    Mediterranean Diet

    Mediterranean diet 'extends life' Drinking red wine and cooking with olive oil may help us to live longer, say scientists. They have found that key ingredients in both substances can significantly increase the lifespan of yeast.Since yeast and humans share many genes, scientists have speculated they may have the same effect in people.The findings provide more evidence to suggest that the Mediterranean diet may be the secret to living a long and healthy life. © BBC

    Obesity boosts cancer-causing hormones Researchers have discovered why being obese can increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.It was known that eating a high-fat diet raised a woman's risk of developing the cancer.But US researchers say obesity is dangerous in postmenopausal women because it raises the level of female hormones in the blood.It can increase a woman's risk of breast cancer by about a fifth, researchers say. © BBC


    Warning over extreme diets People who go on extreme diets could be seriously damaging their health, experts have warned. They are particularly concerned with diets that encourage people to cut out whole food groups.Many popular diets involve reducing the intake of or cutting out completely food groups like carbohydrates. But experts believe people who go on these diets could be storing up problems for the future. They have called for more research into the long-term effects of some of today's most popular diets.They also urged the government to do more to encourage people to eat healthily.© BBC

    Government wades into Atkins row Advice on a government website suggests that high-fat, low carbohydrate diets – such as Atkins – may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. The Food Standards Agency says that high-fat diets areBBC

    Obese patients warned off Atkins One in four GPs say they would advise patients to stay fat rather than try the Atkins diet, suggests a poll. Some dieticians say that the low carbohydrate diet plan is not healthy in the long term. However, there is no firm evidence that the Atkins plan damages health – while being obese is certainly harmful.© BBC

    Green tea

    Green tea 'can block cancer' Green tea's ability to fight cancer is even more potent and varied than scientists suspected, research suggests. Scientists already know that green tea contains anti-oxidants which may have a protective effect against cancer. But now they have discovered that chemicals in the tea also shut down a key molecule which can play a significant role in the development of cancer. © BBC


    'Healthy' milk heads for shelves People in the UK could soon get the chance to buy a type of milk which, it is claimed, could be safer for the heart than ordinary milk.Most of the milk sold in the UK contains particular proteins – called "A1" – which some researchers have claimed could increase the risk of heart disease. © BBC



    Hopes for 'brain food' pills Under-achieving children could benefit from ground-breaking research into how certain foods can boost brain power. More than 100 junior schoolchildren in County Durham took part in tests to see if taking food supplements can improve academic achievement. Experts are hoping that youngsters will show improved learning and behaviour.© BBC



    Three fruit and veg may be enough Just three portions of fruit and vegetables a day may be enough to protect against heart disease, according to a study.In Britain, the government and leading experts advise people to eat five portions each day. But a study by doctors in Greece involving 1,900 people indicates that three portions may be more than enough. They told the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Vienna that eating more may have no benefit. © BBC


    Bottled water 'may cause illness' Bottled water could be to blame for thousands of cases of food poisoning. A research team led by a scientist from the University of Wales in Cardiff has found that mineral water may be a previously unrecognised source of illness. According to the findings it could account for thousands of cases of upset stomachs.© BBC