Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Warning over 'burnt toast chemical' acrylamide’s cancer risk

Monday Jan 23 2017

"Browned toast and potatoes are 'potential cancer risk', say food scientists," BBC News reports. The FSA has launched a campaign about the possible health risk of acrylamide; a chemical formed when starchy foods are subjected to a high temperature…

Eating disorders in middle-aged women 'common'

Wednesday Jan 18 2017

"Eating disorders…affect a small but substantial number of women in their 40s and 50s," BBC News reports. While often regarded as a "disease of the young", a new survey suggests 3.6% of middle-aged women in the UK are affected by an eating disorder…

Hot red chilli peppers linked to longer lifespan

Monday Jan 16 2017

"How hot chilli could help you live longer," the Daily Mail reports. A US study found that people who reported eating red hot chilli peppers had around a 13% reduced risk of premature death compared to those who avoided them…

Urine test could reveal if your diet is a threat to your health

Friday Jan 13 2017

"A urine test that can reveal how healthy your meals are has been developed by UK scientists," BBC News reports. Researchers wanted to see if they could help crack one of the biggest problems confronting people trying to carry out studies…

Study reveals how alcohol shifts brain into 'starvation mode'

Wednesday Jan 11 2017

"Alcohol switches the brain into starvation mode, increasing hunger and appetite, scientists have discovered," BBC News reports. Research in mice found alcohol increased activity in a set of brain cells used to regulate appetite…

Some babies should be given peanuts early say new US guidelines

Friday Jan 6 2017

"Babies should be given peanut early – some at four months old – in order to reduce the risk of allergy, according to new US guidance," BBC News reports. The guidelines are based on UK-led research that found early exposure reduced allergy risk…

No proof that sugar-free soft drinks are healthier, argues review

Wednesday Jan 4 2017

"Soft drinks made with artificial sweeteners, such as diet colas, do not help people lose weight and may be as big a part of the obesity problem as the full-sugar versions," The Guardian reports. While the headline may sound definitive…

Sugar guidelines unreliable says study funded by sugar industry

Wednesday Dec 21 2016

"A study … challenged recommendations by public health officials for people to cut sugar consumption," the Mail Online reports. The study has been criticised as it is funded by companies who sell sugary products, including Coca-Cola…

Diet rich in processed meat 'may worsen asthma symptoms'

Wednesday Dec 21 2016

"Regularly indulging in a bacon sandwich doubles the risk of an asthma attack," is the needlessly alarming headline in The Sun. A French study suggests eating four or more portions of processed (cured) meats a week may worsen symptoms like wheezing…

Sugar tax would 'cut childhood obesity'

Friday Dec 16 2016

'Sugary drinks tax 'will benefit children most',' BBC News reports. A new study, where researchers tried to estimate the impact of a sugar tax on soft drinks, found that it would help combat child obesity as well as tooth decay...

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