Last year I discovered that far from putting us on the fast track to obesity or heart disease, red meat contained vitamins and nutrients that are vital to keeping us fit and healthy.
But that was last year! Last week I read that women who often indulge their cravings for burgers, steaks and other red meat may have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer!
Doctors, have apparently, long warned that a diet loaded with red meat is linked to cancers.
Many of us are left to figure out which of the food headlines we should take to heart on a daily basis.
Food science is ever evolving. Some foods have gone from being healthy to unhealthy to healthy again and some even to being essential!
In the past we were told that coconut oil is a saturated-fat body bomb that should be avoided. Today it can cure what ails you!
It turns out that unrefined coconut oil offers terrific health benefits. Yes, it is a saturated fat. But the scientific consensus on whether saturated fats are bad for us is changing. Now researchers are stressing that saturated fats like coconut oil actually lower bad cholesterol in our bodies.
What about coffee? Caffeine after all is bad for you. Ah yes, but coffee is loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that improve your health. Plus, a little caffeine makes the world go round.
As everyone knows, caffeine boosts energy. Based on controlled human trials, it has also been proven to fire up the neurons and make you sharper, with improved memory, reaction time, mood, vigilance and general cognitive function. It can also boost your metabolism, lower your risk of Type II diabetes, protect you from Alzheimer's disease and dementia and lower the risk of Parkinson's.
A study at Harvard University found that despite recommendations from the American Academy of Paediatrics that children drink skim or low-fat milk after age two, doing so did not make for leaner or healthier children. In fact, the study found the opposite. Children, who consumed skim milk were likely to be fatter than those who drank it whole. Turns out that skim drinkers were more likely to indulge in junk food, which spiked their blood sugar levels, leading to more cravings for junk.
Then there is the salt issue. We have always known that salt raises blood pressure, causes hypertension and increases the risk of premature death. However, today salt is essential to health. Too little salt can actually lead to premature death.
Apparently long before it became the number-one evildoer in the department of agriculture's hit list, worse than fats, sugar and alcohol salt was considered so valuable to body and soul that it was literally used as currency.
Homer called it a "divine substance." Plato described it as dear to the Gods. The Romans considered it the spice of life.
It turns out that high-sodium processed "food" is the real villain in our diets. Unrefined salt, such as Himalayan salt or raw sea salts, contain 60 or more valuable trace minerals. It supports thyroid function and a faster metabolism and speeds the elimination of cortisol, the stress hormone that causes weight gain. Did you know salt is also a natural antihistamine (a pinch on the tongue may stem an allergic reaction). Finally, unrefined salt is needed for good digestion.
Then there is popcorn which as we have been brought up to believe is 'junk food.' But at the same time is a whole grain, loaded with nutrients.
Last year, researchers at the University of Scranton revealed that homemade popcorn has more antioxidants, known as polyphenols, than fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers.
It is the egg issue that baffles me though. A century ago, when our grandparents gathered their eggs, there was no controversy. Then cholesterol became the big taboo and all of a sudden, we were being lectured to limit our consumption of eggs to four a week, if any at all!
Today egg is nearly the perfect food!
Maybe in the future when we are eating our nutritionally complete food pellets, we won't have to worry about what foods will kill us or which will make us live forever. But for now we have no choice but to worry!