hy drinking wine and gorging on steak is the perfect healthy Food...


Friday 15th March 2013 

  • ...Or maybe not Ė discover why good news may not be all it seems
  • Discover why you should look at this kind of spin with a jaundiced eye
  • Hereís the case for a little of what you fancy doing you good

Reading the papers this week has been enough to confuse anyone.

If I had been looking for solid information about how to eat healthy food I might well be sitting with my head spinning.

Early on we were being told that any more than a sausage a day would kill us, then I discover that steak and red wine are some of the best things I can eat for my heart.

Next the papers are full of advise about cutting down on drinking anything other than water.

And then there is the Ďamazingí discovery that too much salt is bad for us... when did anyone ever say different?

The health debate is dominated by vested interests, and thatís why these stories swing around.

Virtually no-one is writing about health from the perspective of trying to tell the truth (apart from a few enlightened fellows like me!).

Letís just look at the evolution of these stories shall we?

In a month where the entire meat industry has been rocked by scandal over their shoddy practice, is it any wonder that their PR machine kicks in to try to boost their image?

On closer reading the steak story originated in the Daily Mail and concerned research which was conducted in 2011 and published in January 2012... so itís hardly new, is it?

The fact that the research archives have been trawled and that this report has highlighted it, shows not how clever the author was in finding it, but more likely that they were prompted by someone in the meat trade.

Isnít it odd that this Ďground breakingí piece of science has only been flagged up now that the meat industry is in jeopardy?

As far as the story about wine being the healthy option to drink goes, donít you begin to smell a rat about this piece of research arriving in a blaze of glory so soon after the announcement of the decision being made to introduce minimum alcohol pricing?

Are we just witnessing a cynical piece of marketing by the drinks giants who are trying to regain the health high point rather than being treated as the purveyors of damaging poison?

Bear in mind that these companies and the shareholders in vineyards across Europe would stand to lose huge amounts of money if consumption were to reduce.

What better way to promote wine as a good thing than to make it healthy Ė maybe this fact alone was responsible for the change of heart in Government back benches on Tuesday, and them now saying that the bill wonít go through.

Is this what we have come to expect?

I guess you may expect me to be lauding these stories as justification for my drinking and eating bad habits.

To be honest it was my first reaction on reading them; all I needed was a glowing endorsement for chips and I would have been in heaven!

But it may be a sign of belligerent ageing, or maybe Iím just getting wiser to the way the world works now, but these types of stories that sound too good to be true often are.

I always look to see who benefits most from them, and work backwards to discover what the real story is.

Often this doesnít take too much digging Ė like the steak and wine stories above, and whilst the evidence is a bit circumstantial I bet Iím not far off the truth behind them.

The really sad thing about all of this was the fact that both of these research papers deserved to be highlighted for all the best of reasons.

Take the red meat one for instance, which showed that eating lean beef improved cholesterol levels and therefore reduced the risk of heart disease.

This means a nice juicy steak is as good for our tickers as a bit of boring plain grilled skinless chicken breast Ė this is definitely something we should be told.

Of course it doesnít mean that you should be eating prime steak purely for the health benefits, but it does mean that you can enjoy something without the guilt.

We have to ensure that we keep a good balanced diet, and allow ourselves a few treats every now and again.

Itís like I always say Ė a little of what you fancy never does you harm, but all things in moderation.

Red, red wine for a sharper mind

In the research paper from Harvard Medical School that underpins the story about red wine, was something else that caught my eye.

One of their key findings was that the skins of grapes contained a compound called resveratrol which persists in the wine, and is especially rich in red wines.

And it seems that this compound activates proteins in the body which protect us from the effects of ageing, especially our nervous systems and the blood supply to it.

This means that red wine, or more specifically the resveratrol, can act to prevent the effects of Alzheimer's and dementia where compromises to the vascular tissue are at fault Ė and that means it's good for my Dad.

Naturally, we have to be careful with alcohol and the pills that Dad now takes daily Ė but Iím sure a small glass of Beaujolais wonít cause him any problem, and now I know its actually going to be doing him good.

So, having treated Mum last weekend Iím looking forward to roast beef and a glass of red this week when we go round to theirs.

What better way to celebrate being together.


Yours, as always


PS Donít think I have been ignoring the events of the Six Nations either... I am eagerly awaiting the decider at Cardiff this weekend Ė be prepared for a Celtic revenge ladies and gentlemen!









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