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It can be infuriating to follow health advice for years and later learn that the experts have changed their minds. Medical recommendations on diet are notoriously subject to flip-flops.
For many years, experts implied that to be really healthy we’d all give up coffee, but the evidence from research has shifted that opinion. Coffee, it seems, has more benefits than risks in general.
Another reversal has affected calcium supplements. Although they were supposed to build strong bones, that seems less certain now. What’s more, people taking calcium pills seem more likely to have heart attacks–a very serious side effect of a seemingly innocent supplement.
We also consider saturated fat and salt, two other areas where dietary advice is turning topsy-turvy.
Guests: Robert J. Davis, Ph.D., is an award-winning health journalist and founder and editor in chief of Everwell.com. His books include The Healthy Skeptic and Coffee is Good For You. He also teaches at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. The photo of Dr. Davis was taken by Mria Dangerfield.
Sabine Rohrmann, PhD, MPH, is Professor of Epidemiology and Prevention at the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich. Her research on calcium and cardiovascular risk was published in Heart on May 23, 2012.
Michael Castleman is a medical journalist and author of more than a dozen books. His latest, co-authored with Amy Joy Lanou, PhD, is Building Bone Vitality: A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis.
Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, is Chairman of the Department of Nutrition and Frederick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard University’s School of Public Health.
Jan Staessen, MD, PhD, FESC, FAHA, is Professor of Medicine and Head of the Studies Coordinating Centre of the Laboratory of Hypertension at the Campus Sint Rafael in Leuven, Belgium. The research on sodium, blood pressure and fatal outcomes was conducted by the European Project on Genes in Hypertension and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on May 4, 2011.
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