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Bacon cancer claims follow years of food scares: What should we choose?

British consumers are fed contradicting messages about food and drink from one month to the next. Olivia Midgley and Alice Singleton look into a small section of some of the biggest health contradictions.


Alice   Singleton

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What are we really allowed to eat? #bacongate

Remember when eggs were bad for you? What foods can we really trust? #bacongate

Alice   Singleton
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Red meat is not the only product to be thrown under the spotlight by misleading health claims.

 

History has shown a host of other products, from milk and cheese, fruit and bread, to tea, coffee and cereal, are all hailed for their health benefits one week and blasted the next.

 

Eggs have seen a similar turnaround.

 

Back in 1988, Health Minister Edwina Currie provoked outrage by announcing most of Britain’s egg production was infected by salmonella bacteria. Angering farmers, politicians and egg producers as egg sales plummeted, the issue eventually led to Ms Currie’s resignation.

 

Added to this were the cholesterol claims which almost sounded the death knell for eggs.

 

However, today they are seen as one of the healthiest, protein packed foods available and their health benefits are lauded by nutritionists.

 


Butter or margarine?

Butter or margarine?

Switching from butter to margarine was meant to reduce saturated fat in your diet.

 

But a 2013 study found people who are certain polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in margarine, had higher death rates.


Sugar

Sugar

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is pushing for a tax to be applied to sugary foods.

 

However, sugar is a carbohydrate which is found in many different foods, including milk and fruit and is necessary to provide energy and keep us functioning.

 

'Cutting out' sugar is often not the answer. 'Cutting back' may be better.


Wheat and bread

Wheat and bread

Wheat, specifically white bread has been shunned for its connection to digestive problems and weight gain.

 

However, research found replacing refined grains with whole grains lowers heart disease risk.


Fruit juice - 5 a Day or no way?

Fruit juice - 5 a Day or no way?

When the Government brought in its 'five-a-day' rule, fruit juice was an easy option to achieve at least one recommended portion.

 

However, research last year found fruit juices contained as much sugar as a fizzy drink, prompting recommendations to swap your daily glass of juice for pieces of fruit instead.


Eggs

Eggs

Eggs were once seen as being full of cholesterol.

 

But now they are listed as a rich source of high-quality protein and, in 2007, The British Heart Foundation, dropped any cholesterol rumours by beginning to list recommended eggs recipes on its website.

Let us know what you think about food claims. What can we really eat?

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