19th June 2013

Traffic light labels – solution to the obesity epidemic or missing the point?

Today, the Government introduced a new and consistent system of nutritional labelling for manufactured foods.  The combination of traffic lights to indicate low, medium and high levels of key nutrients with a percentage of the guideline daily amount of each nutrient provided by a portion of food is thought to be the most informative to consumers when making food choices.   It’s true that this system may help consumers to compare similar products and chose those that are lower in sugar and fat for example but it somewhat misses the point that we should be educating children in schools about healthy choices, based upon real food ingredients.  Eating unprocessed, real foods and minimising the intake of pre-prepared, highly processed foods […]
25th April 2013

Celebrity Chefs – Mealtime staples or just for treats?

Today’s Telegraph article Celebrity Chefs – Are they making us ill? reveals, from my recipe analysis, that the meals we make after watching our favourite chefs on TV or reading their books may not always be all that healthy.   I analysed a range of recipes, from indulgent desserts like chocolate hazelnut cheesecake to mealtime staples like shepherds’ pie.  While you might expect a Nigella dessert to be loaded with sugar and fat, which is fine once in a while, you may be more surprised to find a fail-safe family favourite like shepherds’ pie to contain over 100% of the guideline daily amount for saturated fat in one serving.   Much as the evidence linking saturated fat to heart health […]
8th April 2013

Red meat on trial again… but should we first look at our gut’s occupants?

Today’s media reports again highlight a potential link between eating lots of red meat and cardiovascular disease (CVD).  This time, the culprit is allegedly a small molecule called carnitine, which is naturally present in red meat but are we getting the full story here?  Read on to find out…   Red meat itself has been linked to cardiovascular disease owing to its saturated fat content for many years, leading to recommendations to limit intake to 70g a day or around 2 portions a week.  Recently, the link between saturated fat and CVD has been questioned, with diets high in refined sugars, processed meat and trans fats being more closely linked to disease risk.  The benefits of red meat consumption such as the source […]
3rd April 2013

Hold the Full English!

You may have read the recent news that your morning fry up of bacon and sausages, or even your lunchtime ham sandwich isn’t as healthy as you might have thought.  So what are the facts? This recent study is part of a large European trial tracking the diet and behaviour of nearly half a million adults and their risk of developing cancer.  It showed that people eating large amounts of processed meat (bacon, sausages, ham and salami products) also seemed to eat fewer fruit and veg and were more likely to be smokers.  However, even after controlling for these factors, there still seemed to be an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease associated with eating large amounts of processed meat. […]