Something this good must be bad for you – or so everyone thought. Experts have blamed coffee for stunted growth, high blood pressure, heart attacks and more. But over the past decade, coffee’s reputation has done a complete turnaround: an analysis of studies published in BMJ last year concludes that people who drink three to four cups per day have lower mortality rates from all causes than those who drink no coffee; regular coffee drinking seems to lower the risk of liver and heart disease. The light isn’t completely green on coffee though: it can be harmful to developing foetuses (so pregnant women should use caution), and it may contribute to osteoporosis.
And it may sound strange, but experts are also touting the health and weight-loss benefits of putting butter in your coffee.
In the 1970s, a scientist fed an amount of sodium to rats that would be equivalent to about 500 grams in humans (most people eat an average of 3.4 grams per day), reports Scientific American. The rats’ blood pressure went up, and the medical community raised the alarm about salt. But perhaps the concern is misplaced: a 2016 study in the Lancet suggests that current dietary recommendations are overly stringent. Among subjects consuming high amounts of sodium, only those with high blood pressure experienced higher rates of cardiovascular problems. Surprisingly, people who consumed the lowest amounts of sodium – whether or not their blood pressure was high – also experienced more cardiovascular events and deaths.
For more eye-opening information, check out these 35 secrets food manufacturers won’t tell you.
Butter, lard, coconut oil – the fear of saturated fats has fallen since heart experts realised that the trans fats in margarine were actually deadly. But that doesn’t mean saturated fat is off the hook: The New York Times reports that in spite of trendy diet advice (and wishful thinking), saturated fat can still contribute to heart attacks. People who replace saturated fat with olive or canola oil significantly cut their risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you want to know more about trans fat, here’s why it will be banned from all food by the year 2023.