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Unfortunate Headlines

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Unfortunate Headlines

I feel for food writers when stories such as “Is the Mediterranean diet causing infertility?” hit the headlines – that particular one was in The Times yesterday.

How various foods and drinks affect our health is, of course, of enormous interest to us but the yo-yo-ing between the health benefits/deficits of everything from black coffee to red wine or yellow peppers means that journalists must read and transmit up-to-date information sometimes just days or weeks after they wrote an article proposing the very opposite of the new guidance.

I felt yesterday that the quick-turnaround news report on the Med diet and infertility (a hugely emotive subject) meant that the question of other health issues around a vegetable-rich diet were (necessarily I suppose) missing. What about obesity? Or heart disease?

I’m not sure how do-able it is for news outlets but I’d be really interested in a line of data-rich online articles – the ones we keep hearing about and being encouraged to create – which can be regularly updated. These could track the myriad reports into food and diet, assisted by the organisations which circulate the data, so that we can all weigh up the evidence with the benefit of long-term statistics. I’m not suggesting that PRs do all the work for the journalists, but putting new facts and figures in a bit of historical and cultural context could really help your press release cut through.

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