We’re bombarded with nutritional information. But beyond some general rules, most people haven’t been taught what all the information means. And even the general rules can be very misleading, based on decades of seemingly wilful misunderstanding on the part of the food industry.
Not even doctors are routinely taught about nutrition. So what chance does the average person have of understanding what all those vitamins, minerals and low-fat/salt/sugar messages mean?
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As anyone who ever attended an office party knows, many of our colleagues are partial to a drink or two. In moderation it's socially acceptable; but imagine if alcohol was being introduced to society for the first time. Do you think it would be legalised? Almost certainly not.
Alcohol-related health issues continue to plague us, with a new study looking at the destructive effects of heavy drinking on teenage mental health. And combined with tobacco, it's even more destructive. For every one study suggesting that small amounts of alcohol are good for cognition there are three more telling us how toxic it is. Keep abreast of the latest research-based news here.
But booze is not the only drink with its demons. A more recent addition to the list of toxic tipples is the sugar-substitute-stuffed 'diet drinks' category. A new study links such beverages with strokes among post-menopausal women.
But the real new kids on the block are the sugar-and-caffeine cocktails marketed as energy drinks. A study from Norway underlines their impact on children’s health, and we've been keeping tabs on the research as it unfolds. Keep checking in here for the latest.
Coffee, meanwhile, if not quite ‘the water of life’, is certainly not the undesirable drug it was once labelled. It has recently been linked, for example, to positive impacts on Parkinson’s Disease.
This issue of coffee- and other nutritional-based studies being both a maze and a minefield was covered succinctly in this recent article from Stanford University.