Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Report attacks official guidance on low-fat diets

Monday May 23 2016

"Low-fat diet bad for your health and cutting back on meat, dairy and eggs a disastrous mistake," the Daily Mirror reports. That is the main message of a controversial report attacking official UK guidelines on diet and weight loss…

Dad's age, diet and lifestyle may cause birth defects

Monday May 16 2016

"Men are being warned to become fathers by 40 or face a greater risk of having children with serious illnesses," the Daily Mail reports after a new review looked at some of the evidence about paternal influences on the risk of childhood diseases…

No evidence probiotics are beneficial for healthy adults

Thursday May 12 2016

"Probiotic goods a 'waste of money' for healthy adults, research suggests," The Guardian reports. A new review of previously gathered data found no evidence that probiotics improved the balance of gut bacteria in healthy adults…

Is a pint of beer a day good for the heart?

Thursday May 12 2016

"Pint of beer a day could protect you from heart attacks," The Independent reports. A new review on the alleged protective effects of moderate beer drinking has been warmly welcomed by the UK media – but nobody reported it was funded…

Can you really 'catch' obesity?

Thursday May 5 2016

"Obesity could be contagious like superbug C diff, suggest scientists," The Daily Telegraph reports. This rather alarming headline follows a study that explored characteristics of bacteria living in the human gut...

Diluted apple juice 'as good as' rehydration drinks for children

Wednesday May 4 2016

"Scientists have revealed which fruit can stop toddlers crying due to stomach pains," says the Daily Mirror, missing the point of the study it reports on. The study looked at the use of diluted apple juice to prevent dehydration...

Med diet best for heart disease (but some junk food won’t hurt)

Monday Apr 25 2016

"People with heart disease have a lower risk of heart attack and strokes if they eat a Mediterranean-style diet," The Guardian reports. The study it reports on also suggests that the occasional Western-style treat probably doesn't pose much of a risk…

Study argues ditching butter for veg oil won’t prevent heart disease

Wednesday Apr 13 2016

"Ditching butter for veg oil may not be better for heart," the Daily Mail reports. A new analysis of previously unpublished data from the 1960’s and 70s found no benefit in replacing sources of saturated fats with vegetable oils…

Anti-smoking drug may also help combat sugar cravings

Monday Apr 11 2016

"Anti-smoking drugs could stub out your sugar cravings," the Daily Mail reports. A study in rats suggests that varenicline (Champix), used to relieve nicotine cravings, could also help reduce the desire to consume sugar…

Fruit may be good for you, but don’t ditch the statins

Thursday Apr 7 2016

"Daily fresh fruit lowers heart death risk as much as statins," The Daily Telegraph reports. A study of over a half a million Chinese people found that a diet rich in fresh fruit was linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases…

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