It's January, ergo it's diet time. My diet began on Wednesday morning, with carrot sticks and nuts and ended that evening with a large plate of nachos. Sigh. If, like me, you have good intentions for your body, but the willpower of a lemming, there is good news, sort of. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that being slightly overweight can extend life rather than shorten it, so you don't need to feel quite so bad about that extra layer of insulation. However, if you're overweight you're still at risk of more diseases than your slim counterparts, so it looks like you'll have to choose: an earlier death and a slim physique, or live longer, be fat and get heart disease. Confused? Aren't we all.
That's not the only bit of diet news that runs contrary to conventional wisdom. We've also learnt we only need three minutes a week of exercise to stay fit and that fructose, the supposedly "good" sugar derived from fruits, can trigger overeating.
The food IQ survey, backed by the Department of Health's Change4Life campaign, came out this week, showing the majority of us don't know what makes up a healthy diet, with 77 per cent of the 2000 people surveyed scoring just 50 per cent or less. To help clear things up, here's my list of diet advice, inspired by health news over recent years.
1) Eggs: In 2008, researchers from Harvard found that those who ate seven or more eggs a week were more likely to die than those who didn't. But in 2010, eggs were back on the nation's menus when a Cambridge University study found that egg whites kickstart the body into burning calories. Then last year we were told that eggs are almost as bad as smoking when it comes to clogging your arteries. Advice: Eat eggs only on a leap year. Or, instead of an egg for breakfast, why not try a delicious cigarette?
2) Milk: A Norwegian study shows that drinking three glasses of milk a day can reduce the chance of breast cancer by up to 50 per cent. Another study reveals that women who drink around three glasses of milk a day have a significantly greater risk of breast cancer. Advice: Become a man.
3) Coffee: One a day could stave off Alzheimer's and prevent liver disease, but it's also been linked with coronary heart disease and increased blood pressure. Advice: Instead of drinking it, bathe in it. It's cheaper than fake tan.
I hope that clears things up. If you're still muddled, try eating less and moving more, that probably never hurt anyone.*
*Unless the eating involved food.