Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Low-fat diets 'not the best way to lose weight'

Friday Oct 30 2015

"Low-fat diets are not the best way to lose weight," the Daily Mail reports. The findings come from a new review that analysed data from more than 50 previous studies on low-fat dietary interventions involving almost 70,000 adults…

Controversial 'sugar tax' report is finally published

Friday Oct 23 2015

"A sugar tax of up to 20 per cent is need[ed] on fizzy drinks and fattening snacks," the Daily Mail reports. It is one of eight recommendations from Public Health England designed to tackle the UK's love affair with the sweet stuff…

Weight loss surgery linked to increased self-harm risk

Thursday Oct 8 2015

"Gastric band surgery to lose weight may drive people to suicide and increase their risk of self harm," the Mail Online reports. A new study found a small, though significant, increase in the incidence of self-harm and suicide in people after surgery…

Olive oil and wholegrains 'lower heart disease risk'

Tuesday Sep 29 2015

“Butter isn’t better than margarine after all,” declares the Mail Online, after a new study finds that reducing saturated fat does indeed lower the risk of heart disease...

Fidgeting probably not a useful alternative to proper exercise

Thursday Sep 24 2015

"Fidgeting 'offsets unhealthy effects of sitting for long periods and may help you live longer'," the Daily Mirror reports. A new study reported fidgeting may help make up for the harmful effects of most people's sedentary lifestyles…

Decreasing portion sizes could cut obesity levels

Wednesday Sep 16 2015

"Reducing the portion sizes … would help reverse the obesity epidemic, say researchers," BBC News reports. The researchers, who pooled the results of over 70 previous studies, found a link between portion size and overeating…

UK ban on trans fats 'would save thousands of lives'

Wednesday Sep 16 2015

"Trans fat ban could save 7,200 lives by 2020, says study," The Guardian reports. This is the conclusion of a new modelling study looking at whether banning trans fatty acids – associated with "bad" cholesterol and…

Aspirin lowers risk of hereditary bowel cancer in obese people

Tuesday Aug 18 2015

"A daily aspirin may slash bowel cancer risk for the obese," the Daily Mail reports. But the headline fails to make it clear that this latest research didn't involve people in the general public who were obese…

Low-fat diet 'better' than low-carb diet for getting rid of body fat

Friday Aug 14 2015

"Low-fat diets 'better than cutting carbs' for weight loss," says BBC News. But wait, the Mail Online says: "Low-carb 'is best for weight loss". Confused? Traditionally, weight-loss diets were based on the concept of eating a low-fat diet…

Study finds obese people may struggle to reach a healthy weight

Monday Jul 20 2015

“Obese men have just a '1 in 210' chance of attaining a healthy body weight,” The Independent reports. This was the findings of a study that looked at the body mass index (BMI) measurements of almost 300,000 people...

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