A national newspaper recently ran a full page story in its health section that made me sit up and take notice and filled me with optimism.
Published last month and entitled ‘At last, the truth: Butter is good for you – and margarine is chemical junk’, it wasn’t so much the content of the article that cheered me but the fact that it was published in a national newspaper.
As a health and fitness coach it’s my job to guide people to the best health and fitness that they can achieve.
Therefore, that makes it my responsibility to educate myself on all things related to health, fitness and well-being.
This article cheered me because it was aligned with all the things that I understand to be correct about its subject matter and which are contradictory to popular opinion.
And these are the very things that I sometimes have difficulty in getting my clients to accept.
Let me explain, but before I do, here’s a summary of the article:
Butter has been used by humans for centuries without doing them any harm.
Margarine, on the other hand, is a highly processed and synthetic mix containing additives and low-grade, cheap oils which have undergone a lot of refinement.
The scientific evidence is said to be overwhelming and contrary to the official advice that we should be reducing our intake of animal fat products.
These fats are well known as vital components of cell membranes.
They have a key role to play in the production of some hormones and assist in the transportation and utilisation of essential vitamins and minerals.
As for margarine, well-known brands that make health claims do contain plant chemicals that are said to reduce cholesterol levels.
The problem is that the research points to the fact that our traditional beliefs around cholesterol are also incorrect and not supported by the science.
The conclusion drawn from this is that years of governmental advice on health associated with consumption of fats and oil, cholesterol and heart disease could be misleading.
So, official health agencies that shape our nation’s health policies, and the food companies that market to us, cannot be trusted to provide well-researched and unbiased advice.
Those are pretty strong arguments but ones with which I would definitely be ready to listen to and support.
They have been familiar to myself and like-minded health and fitness professionals for many years now.
For some of you, this particular article might well make for uncomfortable reading.
That’s because we mostly make food choices with the best intentions.
No one is deliberately trying to be unhealthy.
But the lesson from an article like this is to be careful where you get the data
The kind of information that influences your choices might not be the only school of thought.
It always pays to dig a little deeper for a bigger picture about all things health related.
The research and information is readily available.
It’s our responsibility as professionals, consumers and people concerned with looking after our own health and that of our children, to seek it out rather than accept, without question, the messages we receive from various organisations.
Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps, where she trains groups of people towards specific health, fitness and fat loss goals.
Known as FAB Body Bootcamps, two are based in Fareham and one is in Portsmouth.
Nikki, who is 44 and married with twin boys, is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
Visit fabbodybootcamp.co.uk and challenge-fitness.co.uk to find out more about Nikki’s work.