Food myths and truths get tested in book that affirms some and debunks others

January 16, 2012
DIET
Eat, drink, and be smart about it
Coffee Is Bad Good For You, by Robert J. Davis

Is coffee good for you, or bad? Robert J. Davis, a health journalist and professor, takes on this question and many other food-related truths and myths, and explains the science behind (or not behind) each claim. Is red wine good for you? Is it okay to eat bagged “triple-washed” salad greens without washing them? All these questions are subjected to a “truth scale” Davis created to evaluate the claims. A “yes” says that “the claim is believable because there’s solid supporting evidence from at least several randomized trials or large cohort studies with consistent results,” Davis writes, while a “no” says that “the supporting research may be very limited or nonexistent.” Davis’s scale includes “half-true” and “inconclusive” for cases where evidence is contradictory. Davis says his goal is “to help you put scientific research to use so you can make informed decisions for yourself and your family.” You alone choose what nutrition claims to believe, but when you want a simple explanation in layman’s terms, Davis’s system is a handy tool. As for coffee, his scale gives a definitive “no” to the idea that it’s bad for you. Studies show it provides a lot of health benefits. Just don’t drink too much or load it up with cream and sugar.

Whitney Fetterhoff

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