We used to think wine could cure depression

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Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps in Fareham where she trains groups.

Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and a UK Hypo-presive Method Trainer.

She helps people master a fitness technique that targets the core.

Visit fab-body-fitness.co.uk. Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifit mum1

Today is a look back over the years at all the different diet and food claims that have been made and that we followed.

So if you think that some of today’s advice on faddy diets and super foods isn’t that reliable, consider this.

In years gone by, the public was told that Coca-Cola cures impotence, biscuits prevent masturbation and pomegranate juice helps you cheat death.

I thought I would take a look at some of the advice being given out over the years in an effort to understand where some of our weird ideas about health and nutrition stem from.

For example, not so long ago there was a certain advertisement for a chocolate bar which claimed to help you ‘work, rest and play’.

With around 229 calories and 30.4g of sugar a bar, it is hard to imagine the ad getting past health authorities today.

Also scarily, in the 1950s, America’s Sugar Association took out a series of adverts arguing that sugar could help dieters lose weight.

How was that supposed to happen?

By sating the appetite ‘faster than any other food’ and keeping diners ‘satisfied on less’.

Today’s research suggests precisely the opposite: in the form of fructose, sugar is thought to actually stimulate the appetite, cause addiction and lead to obesity and diabetes.

What about wine being a cure for depression?

That was exactly what people were being told back in the 1890s and in following years it was thought to be a tonic with a recommended dose of three small glasses a day.

It’s still being sold today as a tonic, but it’s not all bad because red wine does contain resveratrol from the skin of the red grapes which helps with clotting of the blood.

Although it is not clear just how much is in wine 
or how much benefit you really get from drinking red wine.

How about the miracle juice that is pomegranate?

The advertising campaign that first came out with the juice asked you if you want to live longer or even cheat death.

Fizzy drinks are full of sugar, nasty chemicals which the body has trouble processing and in the case of diet drinks, are actually linked to addiction and obesity.

However when Coca-Cola was created by American pharmacist John Pemberton in the late 19th century, it was said to cure morphine addiction, dyspepsia, headaches, even impotence.

Cola, wrote Pemberton, was ‘a most wonderful invigorator of the sexual organs’.

And adverts described it as the ‘ideal brain tonic’.

It is fairly well-known now, of course, that drinkers may have felt a certain buzz, as the cola leaf used in early versions yielded traces of cocaine, which weren’t eliminated until the turn of the century.

Today, you can buy ‘low calorie, skinny water’ in supermarkets, a confusing prospect for those of us who thought all water was calorie- free.

And, until a few years ago, sugar-laden breakfast cereals were being sold as a way 
to improve attentiveness 
and bolster the immune system.

Unfortunately miracle claims are far from a thing of the past.

It is no wonder there is so much confusion about the information being given to you. After all, the big manufacturers aren’t really going to tell you the whole truth now are they?

My best bit of advice is to read the packaging and decide for yourself based on the ingredient list in front of you.

If there are names on the list that you can’t spell or don’t even recognise, then it’s probably not that great for you.

Food in its natural source is always going to be the best option.