Is red wine, coffee or skipping breakfast really bad for your health? Top 6 common myths about food and drink

Roisin O'Connor
Wednesday 21 October 2015 16:29

With Jamie Oliver declaring an all-out war on sugar, the debate around health and nutrition in the UK is louder than ever. We are constantly seeking to debunk or clear up misconceptions around what we eat and drink on a regular basis.

Here are some of the common bits of advice that have recently been disproven by recent studies:

1) 'Low or reduced-fat foods are a healthier option'

Monika Siemicka, from the British Dietetic Association, recently told The Independent that foods labelled as “low-fat” often have higher levels of sugar, and are therefore counterproductive.

2) 'You shouldn’t drink red wine'

There have been plenty of recent studies suggesting quite the contrary. One suggests that the antioxidant resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes, can prevent age-related memory decline.

Resveratrol was also found to prevent mice from gaining weight, leading scientists to suggest it could have the same impact on humans.

3) 'Skipping breakfast makes you fat'

Several years ago, researchers at a hospital in New York looked into a widely accepted notion that skipping the first meal of the day could make you fat.

However, in a paper published by Columbia University last year, researchers found that in overweight individuals, "skipping breakfast daily for four weeks leads to a reduction in body weight".

4) 'Coffee is bad for you'

While we’re often told we should try and avoid relying on coffee to keep us alert at work: A study of 25,000 men and women, led by the Kangbuck Samsung Hospital in Seoul, South Korea, found that people who drink between three and five cups a day could be reducing their risk of a heart attack, as they are less likely to develop clogged arteries.

5) 'Saturated fats in meat and dairy increase your risk of heart disease'

A major study into the health implications of dietary fats failed to find a link between goods containing saturated fats like eggs, chocolate and cream, and an increased risk of dying from heart disease, type-2 diabetes or stroke.

The latest findings, published in the British Medical Journal, appeared to confirm that the health advice from the past half century that tells us to cut down on foods rich in saturated fats may have been misguided.

6) 'Cereal is good for you'

Just recently, researchers at Cornell University published a study that has upset cereal’s “health-halo”. In households where boxes of breakfast cereal were left on the kitchen counter, subjects were found to weight 20lbs (9kg) more than neighbours who kept their cereal (if they had any) in cupboards. The study’s lead author, Brian Wansink, said as a cereal lover himself, he was shocked at the results.

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