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Fizzy Drinks



Analysing cognitive decline in men, a study conducted by the National Institute For Public Health And The Environment in the Netherlands, found that mental decline in 'non coffee drinkers' was four times greater than in those who drank three cups a day.

Further 'good news' arrived for coffee drinkers with the publication of research in the American journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, in which researchers found that people drinking as little as one cup of coffee per day were 20% less likely to contract cirrhosis than those that abstain. At the time of publication, the study —involving 125,000 people over a 22 year period — was thought to be the largest ever conducted on the inverse relationship between coffee and cirrhosis. Previous research from the same institute, the Kasier Permanente, in Oakland, California, was the first to identify a link in 1993.

The New Scientist reported research, published in European Journal of Social Psychology, that examined the effects of caffeine consumption on attitude change.

An article in the Times, March 08, made less encouraging reading for coffee 'fans'. Reporting on research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it offered this peice of 'advice':

Not surprisingly, perhaps, a letter to the Times' resident medical expert the following month sought to clarify the current health advice relating to coffee intake. In his response, Dr Thomas Stuttaford, outlined some of the recent studies that had linked coffee to a variety of positive health outcomes (reduced incidences of type II diabetes, gallstones, colon cancer, liver damage and Parkinson's disease). The adverse effects of coffee only became apparent with excessive consumption. The Food Standards Agency recommends no more than 5 cups of coffee a day, while the Times suggests that 2 cups a day 'is ideal'.

Fizzy Drinks

Dring the course of 2006 fizzy drinks were both celebrated and villified by the popular press. The Daily Mail, for example, at the beginning of the year reported the findings of a small-scale study (n25) funded by the NHS and the Wellcome Trust that linked increased sugar intake with improved memory function. While the study actually used 'orange-flavoured water' to test their hypothesis the Mail's reported the story under the headline:

Towards the end of the year research published in the American Journal of clinical nutrition — suggesting a possible association between the consumption of sugar and high-sugar foods with a greater risk of pancreatic cancer — caused the Mail to 'change its mind'.

Also appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and reported in the Times, was a study that concluded that intake of cola (but not of other carbonated soft drinks) was associated with low bone mass density in women.

Water as effective as any detox fad, say scientists. Those who overindulged during the Christmas season would be better off drinking more tap water and going to bed a little earlier than wasting their money on expensive "detox" products, scientists say. Every January people are urged to buy ever more products and practices designed to purify their bodies. Telegraph

Tea 'healthier' drink than water. Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers. The work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates. BBC

The truth about juice. Who knows how many people have started guzzling fruit juice thanks to the blizzard of publicity surrounding an article in the American Journal of Medicine last week that suggested drinking the stuff might help fend off Alzheimer's disease. A survey of 1,836 Japanese Americans, the journal reported, found that those who drank fruit juice at least three times a week were not as likely as those who consumed it less than once a week to develop "probable Alzheimer's disease". It may be that fruit juice does protect against dementia, but my bet is that it doesn't. We've been here before. The Guardian


These myths could cause harm to teenage girls. Bibi van der Zee makes a number of negative comments about the effects of milk on human health, but these are not substantiated by current scientific knowledge (Is it OK ... to drink cow's milk? June 6). It is untrue to claim that "milk is full of fats". Whole milk contains less than 4% fat, and semiskimmed and skimmed milks contain 1.7% and 0.3% respectively. A 200ml glass of semi-skimmed milk will provide a woman aged 19-50 with 15% of her daily protein requirements, all of her vitamin B12 needs and 35% of her recommended calcium and phosphorus intake, to name but a few nutrients. The Guardian

Is it OK ... to drink cow's milk? The recent report by the Vegan and Vegetarian society on milk lists dozens of illnesses that may be connected with milk consumption: asthma, eczema, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, coronary heart disease, dementia and even ear infections, to mention a few. On the plus side, full-fat organic milk (and to a lesser extent non-organic) does contain a bundle of vitamins, anti-oxidants, and essential fatty acids, including the all important omega 3s. The Guardian

Fermented milk 'cuts allergies'.Ingredients of a mildly alcoholic milk drink could help protect children from food allergies, research has suggested. Kefir is a fermented milk drink made from live bacteria cultures which is credited with having health benefits in parts of eastern Europe. Research published by the Society of Chemical Industry reports kefir contains bacteria which could help reduce allergic responses. BBC


Should we worry about soya in our food? Whether you know it or not, you'll probably be eating soya today. It's in 60% of all processed food, from cheese to ice cream, baby formula to biscuits. But should it carry a health warning? More than 60% of all processed food in Britain today contains soya in some form, according to food industry estimates. It is in breakfast cereals, cereal bars and biscuits, cheeses, cakes, dairy desserts, gravies, noodles, pastries, soups, sausage casings, sauces and sandwich spreads. Soya, crushed, separated and refined into its different parts, can appear on food labels as soya flour, hydrolysed vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, protein concentrate, textured vegetable protein, vegetable oil (simple, fully, or partially hydrogenated), plant sterols, or the emulsifier lecithin. Its many guises hint at its value to manufacturers. The Guardian

Institute of food research information sheet on soya


Folic acid 'should be in flour'. Folic acid should be added to flour to cut the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida, experts have recommended. The Expert Advisory Group on Nutrition said it supports bringing in mandatory fortification. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will now launch a consultation to see if the public supports the move. BBC

Eating bread 'raises cancer risk'. People who eat a lot of bread are at greater risk of kidney cancer, Italian research has suggested. The study of more than 2,300 people also claimed pasta and rice could moderately raise the risk, while vegetables and poultry reduced it. BBC

White bread increases cancer risk. Eating lots of white bread raises the risk of a cancer that kills thousands of Britons every year, according to new research. Those who eat five slices a day are almost twice as likely to develop the most common form of kidney cancer compared to those who have one and a half slices. Daily Mail


The Panacea diet.They're touted as the new elixirs: foods and supplements that not only extend life but make us smarter too. Are we being taken for a ride? Richard Woods reports. The Times

Religious diet trend:The faith diet, Bible inspired slimming. God may work in mysterious ways, but there's nothing mysterious about the booming multi-million dollar trend for religious diet books and faith-based weight-loss programmes. With $40 billion a year spent on dieting and self-help, it's clear that America is as obsessed with slimming and self-improvement as ever. Little wonder then that religious diets are the latest fad to find favour among weight watchers and Bible bashers Stateside, and are now picking up a following here. Daily Mail

The fad and the thin... just never say diet. Experts say we should forget quick fixes and try living sensibly.Actress Kate Winslet has recently dropped three dress sizes in order to win more Hollywood roles, claim the tabloids. Such spurious diet reporting is nothing new. The real surprise, however, is the suggestion that Winslet got there by nothing other than old-fashioned exercise and calorie counting. No steak for breakfast. No detox. No cabbage soup or macrobiotics. Just plain old eating less and burning off more. Telegraph

The diet of worms. Healthy eating could soon involve scoffing a plateful of specially nurtured silkworms. Biologists claim that the little wrigglers offer the best way to get high levels of a potential life-saver called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) into our diets. CLA, an essential fatty acid, has been found in clinical trials to protect against cancer, help to fight viruses and bacteria, and even help us lose weight. It is found in beef, poultry, dairy products and corn oil, but only in small amounts. The Times

Why food is not the new medicine.This week, another claim is made for food. A new book by nutritionist Patrick Holford and journalist Jerome Burneargues that Food is Better Medicine than Drugs. Is it? It is very useful to look at the associations between diet, health and illness. But can foods really be better medicine than medicine itself? Financial Times


Don't waste your money on vitamin pills. People are often seduced into buying pills because they're worried that food has fewer nutrients than it used to. The best source of vitamins and minerals is freshly-picked produce. Daily Mail


A rich source of health. Who'd have thought it? Ten years ago, cod liver oil, herrings and pilchards were all a bit of a nasty, smelly, fish joke. How all that's changed. Oily fish - such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and, yes, pilchards - and the omega 3 oils they contain have become the biggest, sexiest thing in the health-food industry. We have smartly packaged capsules for adults, and fruity omega oil sweeties for children. Omega 3 has been added to all sorts of foodstuffs, including milk, yoghurt and eggs. And as stocks of other fish fall, the humble sardine and mackerel are becoming the darlings of the trendy restaurateur. The Times

Cod liver oil in cancer scare.Thousands of packs of cod liver oil and other supplements have been withdrawn from shops after high levels of cancer-causing dioxins were found in them. The Times

Omega 3 may not prevent heart disease. Doctors will raise doubts today over the health benefits of eating oily fish, as recommended by the government, or taking Omega 3 supplements. A review of the data, published online by the British Medical Journal, finds that Omega 3 fatty acids do not prevent heart attacks or cut deaths from heart disease. The health benefits are not clear from the evidence so far, the researchers say. The Guardian

The benefits of fish and linseed oils as elixir of life are another health myth. Fish oil may not quite be the elixir of life that we have been led to believe. Analysis of all the best trials on the subject has found little evidence that eating fish, or taking fish oil capsules, cuts the risk of dying of heart disease, stroke or cancer. The finding may come as a shock to those who believe that the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, which are found not just in fish oils but also, in short chain form, in some plant oils such as linseed oil. The Times

Omega-3 added to tinned spaghetti. While most parents know that eating oily fish boosts children's brain power, getting them to eat it is another matter. However, Heinz claims to have solved the problem by putting Omega 3 fatty acids in its tinned spaghetti. Daily Mail

Pregnant women 'oily fish alert'.Eating too much oily fish during pregnancy may increase the risk of delivering the baby too early, scientists believe. BBC

Severely troubled boys 'soothed by fish oils'. Experts on omega-3 fatty acids said yesterday there was an urgent need for properly conducted scientific research on the impact of diet on the brain, amid claims that fish oils have dramatically improved the behaviour of boys with some of the UK's most severe emotional and social problems. The Guardian

Turmeric and Curries

Curry spice 'help for arthritis'. Extract of a spice used in curry could help prevent rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, US research suggests. Turmeric has been used for centuries in Asian medicine to treat inflammatory disorders and its extract can be found in western dietary supplements. BBC

Help keep your brain hot with curry. Eating curry may keep the brain active, a study of elderly Asians suggests.The magic ingredient may be curcumin, found in the curry spice turmeric, which possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, say the authors of the study, led by Tze-Pin Ng from the National University of Singapore. The Times


Spinach is the new trendy vegetable. It was always Popeye's favourite. But for generations of British diners, spinach has never been a vegetable of choice - until now. The influence of celebrity chefs and the continuing trend for healthy eating mean it is now a regular addition to our shopping lists. Daily Mail

Spinach 'may ward off blindness'. Spinach, noted for making cartoon sailor Popeye strong, may also help to ward off a common cause of blindness. BBC

Getting the best out of your food. Mr Faulks explains a glass of orange juice alongside your plate of spinach can make all the difference. Although spinach is good for us we may not absorb its benefits without a glass of orange juice: "Vitamin C in orange juice changes the iron to its non-oxidised state (haem iron) - which is much more readily absorbed than the oxidised iron (non-haem iron). BBC



The chips are down. Frying chips has recently been the focus of a cancer scare, but now scientists say they have discovered a simple way to cut any risk dramatically. Now a study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture has proposed a remedy: stick your spuds in the microwave before frying. Scientists at Mersin University say that the commonsense solution cuts acrylamides by 60 per cent because it reduces frying time and heat. The Times

Red Wine

Drink wine, eat well, live longer. Really! Wine drinkers are generally healthier and often live longer. This is not wishful thinking. I have spent many years researching the health-giving benefits of wine and have found that wine drinkers are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and dementia in old age. Telegraph

Wine 'allows guilt-free gluttony'. A chemical found in red wine could make guilt-free gluttony a reality, an international study suggests. BBC

Red wine counters effects of high-fat diet, scientists say. A compound found in red wine enables mice to live longer and healthier lives, and even reverses the damaging effects of a high-fat diet, scientists have found. Resveratrol is produced by grapes and other plants, and earlier experiments have shown that it has life-prolonging qualities. Yeast and fish treated with resveratrol lived 60 per cent longer, and fruit flies and worms 30 per cent longer. The Times

Forget Resveratrol, Tannins Key to Heart Health from Wine. Wine's beneficial effects on heart health depend more on the traditional vintner's art than the wonder molecule resveratrol. Resveratrol, a molecule found in the skin of red grapes, among other places, has been found to have a host of health effects, most recently prolonging the life spans of obese mice. But the natural wonder drug does not play a role in the beneficial effects of wine drinking, according to research published in the November 28 issue of Nature. "There are some fascinating effects of resveratrol in animal systems," notes plant biochemist Alan Crozier of the University of Glasgow. "To get similar doses into humans through red wine, you would have to consume more than 1,000 liters of red wine a day." Scientific American


Experts investigate 'DNA diets'. Scientists are warning would-be slimmers to be careful about using 'DNA-diets' on the internet. A team at Exeter University are to investigate nutrigenomic diets - which offer personalised eating plans. They suggest people should alter their eating habits based on their genetic make-up. BBC

When healthy eating turns into a disease (orthorexics).Some will eat only grain, others only raw veg - a few refuse all food unless it's yellow. 'Orthorexics' think their severe diets are healthy, but do they actually have a eating disorder? The Guardian

Detox diets

Drink up your greens. Juicing fruit and veg is all the rage for detox, weight loss and even disease prevention. But how much good does it really do? The Guardian

Are we really what we eat? To assess the effectiveness - or not - of detoxing, we took ten female volunteers between the ages of 19 and 33, who had been partying hard at a rock festival, and whisked them away to country cottages in Devon. Five were put on a detox regime designed by a group of eminent dieticians, including Nigel Denby from Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's Hospitals in London. The other five acted as "controls" and followed a normal, healthy diet. Daily Mail

Fat chance. You may be preparing for an après Christmas detox but new research suggests you should pick your diet with care. The Times

Junk Food

Is this what you call junk food? Junk food is rarely out of the news these days, but the tag seems to be applied very selectively. So do we really know what is good and bad for us? BBC