Food Stuff

Aspartame – is it safe?

Amanda Johnson Jun 16, 2010

The safety questions around aspartame were back on the agenda yet again today, with a Coca Cola funded webinar presentation by Dr Bernadene Magnuson. Dr Magnuson, a Senior Scientific and Regulatory Consultant at Cantox Health Sciences International and University of Toronto Associate Adjunct Professor of Nutritional Sciences, gave an excellent review of the latest research on the safety … Read More

What’s worse — sugar or fat?

Amanda Johnson May 19, 2010

This is a question addressed in the latest (June 2010) issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN). For many years now the key nutritional advice, particularly for those at high risk of cardiovascular disease, has been to reduce saturated fatty acids (SFA) and replace these with complex carbohydrates. As a result, reports Frank Hu in his recent AJCN … Read More

Fitness versus fatness

Amanda Johnson Feb 16, 2010

It’s a long-standing debate — can you be fat and healthy as long as you are fit, or is it bad to be fat, full stop? The debate came to New Zealand earlier this month when Professor Steven Blair presented at a conference at the University of Otago on the crucial role of physical activity in the prevention … Read More

Will drinking coffee help prevent diabetes?

Amanda Johnson Dec 17, 2009

New research published in the December issue of Archives of Internal Medicine has found that consuming coffee reduces the risk of diabetes. The findings from this meta-analysis, based on over 500,000 individuals with over 21,000 cases of new-onset diabetes, confirm an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes. There was also an inverse relationship between … Read More

Does fish oil help children to learn?

Amanda Johnson Nov 11, 2009

A study featured on TV One’s Close-Up last night certainly hopes to show it does. This new New Zealand study is funded by natural health manufacturers Good Health, and if the fish oil supplements are proven to boost IQ, the results will be a big boost for the manufacturers. The research is being lead by Kerry Lee from … Read More

Are vitamins killing you?

Amanda Johnson Oct 29, 2009

‘Are vitamins killing you?’ — the latest instalment in TV3’s documentary series Inside New Zealand, broadcast October 28 — certainly grabbed our attention at the Science Media Centre this week. Although the title was a little dramatic, the programme did convey an important message: that excess intakes of vitamins can be harmful. The programme makers followed eight supplement-users … Read More

Food label confusion

Amanda Johnson Oct 23, 2009

It was interesting to see the whole issue of food labelling covered on Campbell Live last night. Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson, when approached by Campbell Live, was unable to even read the food label presented to her (she had the wrong glasses on) and commented that a lot of people ‘don’t necessarily have such an interest in … Read More

Europeans reject two thirds of proposed health claims

Amanda Johnson Oct 08, 2009

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) last week published a series of opinions on ‘general function’ health claims compiled by Member States and the European Commission. Experts from the EFSA evaluated the scientific evidence for more than 500 claims. In a press release issued last week, the EFSA state: ’The opinions provide scientific advice on 523 health claims … Read More

Does eating sweets make us violent?

Amanda Johnson Oct 02, 2009

The most bizarre story in the media this week has to be the one suggesting that eating sweets in childhood causes violence in adults. The story was based on a study just published in The British Journal of Psychiatry. The authors tested the hypothesis that excessive consumption of confectionery at age 10 years predicts convictions for … Read More