21 Apr

Food and Health headlines in the news sometimes only confuse!

A lot of food and health headlines in the
paper’s today that I thought I would comment on:
“Eat whole grain,
live longer”
First one I slowly woke up to was “eat 3
servings of wholegrain bread a day to stay healthy”
AGGGG! I thought that is a lot of bread! It is
being reported to promote a new health campaign to eat more Whole Grain for
Health, quoting it could save 24,000 lives a year in the UK alone. Why did I
scream again at the TV on yet another food health headline? Well yes probably
most people do not eat enough wholegrain food, the white stuff is just more
attractive. My problem is wholegrain does not mean whole WHEAT! To increase
your wholegrain foods it does not have to be just bread and breakfast cereals
as they suggest. Wheat contains gluten and gluten can be hard to digest for most
people, also by consuming wheat for breakfast, wheat for lunch and wheat for
dinner that is a lot of one food group in one day! Variety is key: alternating
your wholegrains will not only increase your variety of nutrients which is what
they are trying to promote but it will also reduce your risk of food
intolerances as high exposure to one food can increase the risk of intolerance.
So my advice is one slice of wholegrain, and try other grains as well for
example: oats, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, polenta and quinoa. Try a wheat
free day once a week.
 “Taking too many vitamin pills increases the
risk of heart disease and cancer “ study warns”
Wow that’s a scary one for me as a nutritional
therapist who spent three years learning about supplements and actually most of
that was on the safety of them and someone who takes supplements to optimise
health, this was not good reading. However once you read the background to the
study this was not as frightening as the headline portrayed. Supplements are exactly
what they say, they are a supplement to your diet depending on your health,
eating habits, lifestyle and your environment, for example for someone who does
not like oily fish, a fish oil may benefit them, it would be better to eat it
but in some cases people just can’t, or if you have been on antibiotics a
probiotic may be helpful in restoring your gut health that will have been
The study found that when people used to eat
more fruit and vegetables years ago there was less cancer and heart disease
that does not mean replacing eating these foods with supplementation has
increased the risk, it means we do not eat as well as we used to in my eyes. Furthermore
the soils are not as rich as they used to be meaning food does not contain the
same amount of nutrients. Also the quality of supplements has to be considered,
cheap supplements with too many additives, fillers and binders and not enough
of the nutrient or poor quality will not benefit anyone.  They quote a study on beta-carotene
increasing the risk of lung cancer (they always quote this study), this study
was done on smokers and yes too much beta-carotene in smokers may increase
their risk but this study did not find an increased risk in non smokers. Finally
its not always what you eat, it’s what you absorb – sometimes our digestive
systems are not as optimal as they could be due to: stress, antibiotics,
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use and poor diet, if this is the case as it
with many we may not always be able to get at the nutrients from food or even
supplements, so looking after your digestion and healing the gut first is of
equal importance and that may mean supplementation with probiotics.
The third headline was very sad about a woman
who died by taking a diet pill she bought over the Internet. If you do purchase
supplements make sure they are from a reputable source, do your homework and
make sure they are the best quality. Seek advice from a nutritional therapist
who has been trained on the safety of supplementation.

2 thoughts on “Food and Health headlines in the news sometimes only confuse!

  1. I saw the article about bread as well. I think it is good that health and nutrition is geeting more press coverage these days it is just a shame that it is of such poor qulaity. The issue is that they barely scratch the surface and often mislead. Keep up these posts – they are great – very informative and very easy to read.

    • Thank you Paolo, yes it is good health and nutrition are getting more exposure and at least it gets us talking about it, but yes I wish is was more accurate and less misleading. Thanks for your comments, will do, glad you are enjoying them.

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