When it comes to advice on the nutritional values of Coffee, green tea and gluten, some are just popular beliefs while others are just trends. The Italian Association of Hospital Gastroenterologists (AIGO), who met in Perugia recently debunked some of these myths.
A healthy diet is important for the health of the general population and helps prevent gastrointestinal diseases. In this context, the validity of the Mediterranean diet which ensures a balanced intake of carbohydrates, vegetables, fish and meat and a reduced presence of fat has been confirmed as the most suitable.
We spoke with Dr. Beatrice Salvioli, gastroenterologist at Humanitas.
Common Dietary Myths
Coffee and wine
Coffee and wine are harmful to the liver. False.
A moderate consumption of coffee does not hurt the liver, and can indeed help against fatty liver as shown by several studies published in the American scientific journal Hepatology. Even moderate wine consumption may have beneficial effects, thanks to the antioxidant resveratrol, a substance contained in red grapes.
Tea: Green and herbal
Green tea and herbs are always good. False.
Green tea is an antioxidant and is widely consumed, however, care must be taken when it is present in products and supplements along with other substances. There have been cases of liver failure caused by green tea extracts. Attention is also needed in relation to herbal tea. The extracts in food supplements can worsen the symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome because of a polyphenolic compound also present in green tea.
Eating gluten-free is healthy. False.
“Gluten-free” is unfortunately becoming a fashion, but it does not make any sense unless you are suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Therefore, opting for a gluten-free diet without a medical indication in unnecessary. Some believe that the gluten-free products are less caloric than the traditional counter-parts. This is not true, moreover by consuming gluten-free produce we reduce the consumption of fibers contained in carbohydrates, which are beneficial to intestinal health.
Apples and pears
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away: Partially False”
In patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, apples and pears can hurt because of the fermentable sugars contained in them. It is therefore good to go with occasional consumption of these fruits.
Fruit juices are all equal. False.
Juices are not at all alike. Juices rich in fructose should be consumed in moderation. In fact, fructose increases fat in the liver.