From avoiding chocolate to drinking red wine, the list of food-related suggestions from so-called health experts is long and often contradictory.
Yet as winter arrives and the annual calorie-fest looms, there’s never been a better time to think about what we’re eating and how it’s affecting our health.
‘In the run-up to Christmas, our bodies have a multitude of attacks to deal with,’ says Lucy Jones, registered dietician and presenter of Channel 4’s new health show The Food Hospital.
‘Besides the usual colds and flu, we’re also well known for abusing our bodies, with poor dietary changes and increased alcohol consumption.’
In order to shed some light on how food affects our bodies, Channel 4 has examined the science behind using food as medicine in the new eight-part series.
‘Over the past 10 years, people have developed a real fascination with the way that diet can influence our health,’ adds Lucy.
From asthma to varicose veins, the series shows how, by eating – and avoiding – certain foods, you can ease the symptoms. Oily fish apparently helps asthmatics, while anyone with varicose veins should steer clear of white bread and other refined foods.
‘We’re not trying to promote nutrition as an alternative to medicine – people should always still go to their GP. But we’re showing that there’s a lot you can do to help your condition,’ she adds.
‘Food impacts on the workings of every single cell in our body because it’s our fuel, so every bit of cell renewal, every bit of metabolism, will be affected by what you eat.’
The presenting team, including Dr Gio Miletto, a GP, and gastrointestinal surgeon Dr Shaw Somers, also aim to debunk myths about healthy eating, from overdosing on so-called ‘superfoods’ like blueberries to relying heavily on supplements. ‘You should be able to get everything you need from a healthy balanced diet,’ says Lucy.