Trust Me I'm A Doctor (2013) s02e02 Episode Script

Series 2, Episode 2

1 Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with advice.
'But it's constantly changing.
' Should we eat this? And not drink that? 'What do you do when everything you thought was bad for you 'is now good for you? 'In the clamour of conflicting information, 'how do you know who to trust?' I'm Michael Mosley.
In this series, I'm joined by a team of doctors.
And together, we're going to use our expertise to cut through confusing adverts, headlines and health claims.
This is Trust Me, I'm A Doctor.
For this programme, we're in Cardiff, carrying out an experiment to discover - can some foods lower our blood pressure? Finding out - is it safe to eat food past its sell-by date? That looks frankly absolutely disgusting.
Does staring at a computer screen make you short-sighted? Are energy drinks bad for your heart? And does waxing really make your hair grow back thinner? Arrrggghh! But first Now, there are plenty of foods out there that claim to have superpowers.
They can do everything from improve your memory to burn fat.
Unfortunately, very few of these claims stand up to serious scrutiny.
However, this week, we're in Cardiff, where we are going to test three foods that really may have unexpected health benefits.
Over to Dr Chris van Tulleken.
'There seems to be no end to the spectacular health claims 'made for fruit and vegetables.
' But these three, garlic, beetroot and watermelon, are interesting because it's been claimed they do something very specific.
They're all supposed to lower blood pressure.
'If that's true, that could mean reducing the risk of heart disease, 'Britain's biggest killer.
'So I think that warrants a Trust Me experiment.
' Should we be eating lots of these foods in particular? How well do they actually work? 'I've come to Cardiff Arms Park Rugby Club 'armed with my three supposed superfoods.
'My targets, though, aren't the rugby players, but these chaps.
' Gogoniant byth am drefn 'The Cardiff Arms Park male choir.
'They regularly sing their hearts out at rugby matches.
' A-A-Amen.
That was amazing! Very good.
I've brought your diets for the next few weeks, if you want to have a look.
~ These look like beetroot.
~ They are beetroot.
'We'll ask each of the members with higher-than-normal blood pressure 'to eat watermelon, beetroot and garlic over three weeks 'to see whether any of these foods 'really can do what the headlines claim.
' How many people have high blood pressure? It's almost everyone.
'About a third of adults in the UK suffer from high blood pressure.
'It's measured in millimetres of mercury.
'The ideal for a healthy adult is about 120, 'so we're selecting members of the choir 'who have a reading above 130 'to take part in the experiment.
'Meanwhile, blood pressure expert Dr Andy Webb 'joins me in the kitchen to sample our superfoods.
' Looks delicious, doesn't it? We've got three different dishes.
A garlic dish, watermelon dish and some beetroot dishes.
In theory, all three of our superfoods essentially work in the same way.
They lower blood pressure by making our blood vessels dilate, allowing our blood to flow more freely.
But exactly how they're supposed to do this is different in each case.
For garlic, the active ingredient is thought to be a chemical called allicin.
Allicin is released when you chop up or crush garlic.
And it's believed to act on our kidneys, changing levels of hormones and causing the blood vessels to open up.
Each of these has two cloves of garlic in it.
I can smell that coming off them.
For beetroot, the active ingredient is nitrate.
It's present in both the leaves and the root.
When we eat beetroot, bacteria that live on the back of our tongue start a process of changing the nitrate into nitric oxide.
And it's this chemical which causes the blood vessels to open up.
We and other groups have shown beetroot can lower blood pressure over about two to three hours.
So that's quite interesting.
And finally, our third and largest superfood, watermelon.
Here, the active ingredient is called L-citrulline.
As with the nitrate in beetroot, it's thought to increase levels of nitric oxide.
And it's this that dilates our blood vessels.
Studies have been performed with extracts from watermelon which contain large amounts of L-citrulline, L-arginine, and have shown reductions in blood pressure.
So, how will our foods perform? To find out, we're dividing our volunteers into three groups.
First week, Group One will be eating two fragrant cloves of garlic every day.
Group Two will munch through two large slices of watermelon a day.
And Group Three, two whole beets a day.
And for the second week and the third week, they'll swap foods so that by the end of three weeks, everyone will have experienced each diet.
To give them a taste of what's to come, we've prepared a superfood smorgasbord.
What are you expecting? Are we going to see anything? I think for some of these things, like the beetroot and perhaps garlic, there's a reasonable chance that it will show a difference of three or four millimetres of mercury during this.
Really? And you think we might be able to pick that up? Yes.
I think it's quite possible to show that.
We'll see whether Andy's right later in the programme, when we catch up with our volunteers again.
Are energy drinks bad for your heart? Over to surgeon Gabriel Weston.
There's been a lot of hype recently about these so-called energy drinks.
We've heard horror stories about how much caffeine they're packed with and what that might be doing to us.
But how much caffeine's actually in these drinks? And is that amount harmful? 'To find out, I've chosen a range of popular energy drinks.
' We'll see.
'I've also got an instant coffee, 'a tea brewed for several minutes, 'and finally, a coffee-shop latte.
'With the help of the University of Glasgow, 'we're going to measure exactly how much caffeine is in these drinks 'and whether they're bad for us.
' The results are in and the amount of liquid left in all of these drinks represents the amount of caffeine each of them has.
'First, the well-brewed tea, 'which surprisingly turns out to have considerably more caffeine 'than the instant coffee and a Coke.
'And then come the newer energy drinks.
'They've got even more caffeine than the tea, 'but how do they compare to the coffee-shop lattes?' This is a large size latte, so should be mainly milk.
'But it's not as innocuous as you might think, 'with a whopping 161 milligrams of caffeine.
' What's really surprising for me is that this glass, which represents the cafe latte, which is a drink that I think of as being basically flavoured milk, is actually loaded with caffeine and has the same enormous quantity of caffeine in it as some of those really big cans of energy drinks.
'So, now we know exactly how much caffeine's in these drinks, 'what is that doing to us? 'There's only one way to find out.
'Meet Yvonne.
'She hasn't drunk caffeine for several days, 'so she has none in her body.
'Now, she's about to drink a large can of a standard energy drink 'and we'll perform an MRI scan 'to see exactly what effect it has on her heart.
'Cardiologist Professor Colin Berry and I 'will be watching what happens.
'The scanner shows Yvonne's heart beating in real time 'and monitors her heart rate.
'From the details, Professor Berry can also calculate 'the force of each heartbeat.
' You can see that the resting heart rate is 62-63 beats per minute.
And that's about normal, is it? ~ That is normal for a healthy person at rest.
~ Mm-hm.
So we've seen how the scan looks now in our healthy volunteer, perhaps now we could ask her to drink the caffeine drink ~ and see if there are any significant changes here.
~ OK.
'Within a few minutes, the MRI 'clearly shows changes in Yvonne's heart.
'Her heart rate increases to the mid-70s, 'several beats per minute faster than before she drank the caffeine.
'And the force of each beat is slightly greater, too.
' So there's a sustained increase in how many times the heart is beating in a minute and how hard it's beating, as well.
I think that's in keeping with my understanding of how a caffeine-containing drink might work in the body.
'But are these effects bad for us, 'or are they a harmless way to boost our performance?' So if taking a high dose of caffeine could increase both the force of the beat of the heart and the rate of the beat of the heart, then that might help an athlete.
And mental alertness and the responsiveness to a starter's gun and so forth.
So when you see the kinds of horror stories that the newspapers like to print about people who have had terrible adverse effects, what do you think that's about? It's entirely plausible that a drink that contains a lot of caffeine could have an unpredictable and enhanced effect on individual persons.
~ So it is plausible.
~ Mm.
'So for certain people, these drinks can have serious effects.
' If individuals have had experience of heart rhythm problems, extra beats and abnormal heart rhythms, then drinking caffeine can bring such a problem on.
We've established that these energy drinks don't have any more caffeine in them than strong coffee.
And we've been drinking that for decades without any ill effects.
But on the other hand, we also know that the caffeine in these drinks can affect the heart.
And some people are going to be more susceptible to that effect than others.
'If caffeine gives you heart palpitations, 'you really shouldn't drink too much.
'Either as energy drinks, strong coffee, or even tea.
' We've created a special video booth that's been travelling with us around the country.
The people of Cardiff have been dropping in to ask the questions they've always wanted to ask a doctor, but never had the time.
Should I put an ice pack or a heat pack on an injury? That's one for Dr Saleyha Ahsan.
It's a pretty important question, but there's a simple rule for getting it right.
'The temperature you should apply depends on the type of injury.
'Injuries that involve a sudden trauma and result in swelling, 'like a sprained ankle, should be treated with cold.
'This will cause the blood vessels to constrict, 'reducing the blood flow and helping to bring down the swelling.
'Get something like ice or a frozen bag of peas, 'wrap it in a tea towel and put it on the affected area 'for about 20 minutes every two to three hours.
' But if the injury is ongoing, like a pulled back muscle, then it's better to use heat.
Hot water bottles and heat lamps will do the trick, or even just a towel made damp using hot water.
'The heat should be a gentle warmth, just below body temperature.
'This will increase blood flow to the damaged tissue 'and help it heal more quickly.
' It's quite simple, really.
Just remember, ice is for a sudden injury, like a twisted ankle, and heat is better for longer-term achy muscles.
But if you're not sure, or if you've tried both techniques and the symptoms persist, go and see your doctor.
Still to come Is sugar really that bad for you? And what do you do to treat a burn? But first In the UK, we throw away about seven million tonnes of food and drink every year.
That works out at about £700 per family.
So, how do you know which food is safe to eat when it's past its sell-by date? Do you ever use food that has passed its sell-by date? I do, yes.
I scrape off the mould and then use what's underneath.
If I read something that's on the sell-by date, I won't eat it at all if it's gone past it at all.
Once it's gone past the date, yeah, I wouldn't risk it.
'Actually, sell-by isn't so important.
'But if there's a use-by date, 'you really should follow it, especially for raw meat.
' What about non-meat products, like, say, cheese, bread, some vegetables? Can you just happily chop off the mould and get stuck in? 'To find out, we've left a range of foods to go well past their best.
' Now, my plan is to get some expert advice on what is safe to eat after it has gone mouldy.
And if they are considered safe to eat, then I will eat them.
'So to find out what's safe and what's not, 'I've called in mould expert Dr Patrick Hickey.
' This looks, er That looks, frankly, absolutely disgusting.
'When food goes mouldy, 'what you actually see growing on it is fungus.
'And here, we've given it the perfect conditions.
' The key things the fungus needs are moisture, air and warmth to grow.
'So, should we be throwing it all away, 'or can we cut off the mould and eat the rest? 'What about the cheese?' Small mould colonies of two or three millimetres, I'd cut maybe three or four millimetres off, ~ just to give you a good bit ~ About there? These areas here look like they're untouched.
'As with cheese, small amounts of white and blue mould on bread 'aren't a problem either.
' ~ Just cut off the crust? ~ Yeah, I'd cut off the crust because we saw there were some small colonies of mould on the crust.
We don't quite know what they are, but they've not grown particularly deep into the bread.
~ There you go.
~ Cheers.
It's not very appetising.
~ Well, the cheese is quite mature, so ~ Yeah.
So, er Mm.
It's all right.
'Well, what about the long-forgotten vegetables from the fridge?' Now, this one just looks really slimy and horrible.
What was this, an eggplant, an aubergine? ~ Yeah.
~ Um yeah, it's got mould colonies on it, but also underneath, the courgette, as well, is covered in this horrible kind of slime, which is actually bacteria, as opposed to fungi.
The sliminess is caused by bacterial colonies.
Millions of them growing on the surface of it.
It will give you terrible stomach-ache.
You'll eat this, a few hours later, you'll have terrible stomach cramps, you'll be feeling unwell.
Really to be avoided.
'So things that are going slimy, as opposed to mouldy, 'are breeding bacteria and are best thrown out.
'But fruit is a different story.
'The acid in fruit tends to keep harmful bacteria down.
'And most fruit moulds aren't a concern.
'But there is one to be wary of.
' One of the things about apples is that they'll keep for ages, but if there's a puncture in the skin, that's when the fungi can get in there and start growing within.
There has been outbreaks in the past, incidences of poisoning in the past through apple juice which has a toxin in called patulin, which is from a type of Penicillium which grows on apples.
~ Sometimes I just eat it.
~ Eat the mouldy bits? ~ Yeah.
~ Yeah.
~ Not a good idea? ~ Probably not.
'But lurking in our cupboards is another fungus, 'and this one's a potential killer.
' Nuts, um, have one particular fungus called Aspergillus flavus.
It produces a toxin, possibly one of the most deadly toxins known to humankind.
Um, the way the toxin acts, it actually acts on the liver, ~ it accumulates on the liver and can cause liver cancer.
~ Really? And often, it's the shell will have mould all over it, ~ because they've been grown in the ground ~ OK.
but the internal part is sealed and protected, so you should be fine with those.
~ Yeah, that one looks all right.
~ OK.
You going to share? ~ Yeah, I'll go halfers with this one.
~ OK.
That's quite nice.
Did you find anything? ~ It's all right.
~ Good.
So where does that leave me? Well, I'm happy with the cheese, just cutting off the mouldy bits.
With the bread, well, you'd also remove the crust and any bits of obvious mould.
Same is true of the vegetables.
Anything mushy suggests there's lots of bacteria in it, I'm not going to touch it.
Fruit, I think is generally safe if you remove the nasty bits.
And the nuts.
Beware of nuts, particularly if they taste a bit mouldy.
But this does leave me with a decent pile of food which I can still eat.
It's safe to eat and it'll save me a little bit of money.
Earlier in the programme, I gave members of the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir a diet based on one of three so called superfoods - garlic, watermelon and beetroot - all of which are supposed to help lower blood pressure.
But it seems revolt is in the air.
In front of me, I have my last meal of beetroot, which I intend to be the last meal of beetroot for quite some time to come.
Didn't really enjoy it raw.
In fact, it was horrible, like eating mud.
Roasted was a little bit better, but I have to say, made into a soup, it's at least palatable.
So cheers.
Just another small slice to eat, and I can't say I've very impressed with the melon.
It's, um It's OK, but not every single day.
Eating this much, unbelievable.
I think there'd be fewer complaints if I'd put them on a diet of another potential superfood that's supposed to have a similar effect.
I think, more than any other food, chocolate is craved and adored by almost everyone, If I don't have it for a while, I literally fantasise about it.
'But could it actually be good for us? 'On average, we all get through 10kg of the stuff every year and, 'if I'm honest, I think I'm probably above average on that measure.
' The reason chocolate is so enjoyable is because it directly stimulates your brain.
Every mouthful causes the release of hormones associated with pleasure and happiness, hormones like serotonin.
'Of course, each mouthful rightfully comes with a side order of guilt, 'but chocolate's saving grace is that it does have health benefits, 'which it shares with an apple and a cup of tea.
' All three of these have the same amount of special compounds called flavonoids, and flavonoids have been shown to have a really wide range of health benefits.
'One of the effects of flavonoids is to reduce blood pressure.
'The rule is generally, 'the darker the chocolate, the better the flavonoid content.
'But there's a reason I'm not trying it out on the choir.
'I'm afraid balancing out the amount of flavonoids 'with the amount of fat and sugar 'means that your permitted dose is, well, rather disappointing.
' Two squares of dark chocolate per day, that's your limit.
If you're eating more than that, and feeling a bit guilty, well, you probably should be.
That counts as one square, right? Back on the streets of Cardiff, more people have been popping into our Trust Me video booth to ask us their health questions.
Could staring at a computer screen ruin my eyesight? When I was a child, I was told that too much reading, particularly close up, would make me short-sighted.
These days the worry is that too much time spent with a computer screen can have the same results.
But can either claim really be true? 'Whether you're short or long-sighted is down to 'the length of your eyeball compared to the thickness of your lens.
'Too long an eyeball and you become short-sighted.
'Too short an eyeball and you became long-sighted.
' Once your eyeball stops growing, then your eyesight is pretty well fixed for the rest of your early adult life.
No amount of looking at screens or reading books will make you any more short-sighted.
'As we get older, we tend to get more long-sighted, 'because our lenses get harder and less flexible.
'But what could account for more of us being short-sighted?' New research has provided a surprising explanation as to why short-sightedness is becoming more common, particularly in the industrialised world.
And the answer is sunlight.
In the summertime when the weather is high 'A study in Australia found that children who spend more time 'outside in the sun tend to be less prone to short-sightedness.
' Sunlight leads to the release of a hormone called dopamine in the retina at the back of the eye and this slows the eyeball when it's growing.
'If children don't get enough sunlight, 'then they don't get enough dopamine 'and their eyeballs can grow a little too long, 'causing them to be short-sighted.
' If the theory is right, then looking at computer screens or reading books will only make a child short-sighted if it stops them going out and playing in the sunshine.
'If you were faced with someone who was badly burned, 'would you know what to do?' That looks good.
'As a doctor working in emergency medicine, I want to share 'some simple techniques that could help you save a life.
' Burns and scalds are very common, incredibly painful and, if severe, can be fatal.
The heat that causes burns comes in many forms, from scalding steam to open flame to hot boiling oil, but the good news is that, for first aid, the treatment for most burns and scalds is essentially the same.
'So I've come to the commercial kitchens of a hotel in Dundee 'to show the staff, and you, what to do.
'First, we need a volunteer.
' Can I get you to go over to my mate over there, Alistair, ~ and he's going to give you a pretend burn? ~ Sure.
It won't hurt, I promise.
~ Who's had burns? ~ Everybody who works in a kitchen's had a burn.
A bit of a badge of honour? Yes? We're laughing and joking about them, but for me, as an A&E doctor, it's actually one of the most squeamish things that I have to deal with and it's because you just know how painful they are, but they also can be quite dangerous if you don't treat them properly.
Alistair, how are you doing? ~ I think we're ready.
~ Yeah, cool, OK, brilliant.
'The first thing to do is get the person to a safe place and then 'remove any jewellery, watch or clothing from the affected area, 'unless it's sticking to the skin.
' The next thing that we need to do is to run this under a tap.
Cold water coming now.
'Cooling the burn will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring, 'so the faster and longer a burn is cooled, the better.
' Keep it going for at least ten minutes.
You don't want to use ice on there, because the ice could cause further damage, it could cause an ice burn, be much more painful.
'There are plenty of myths 'surrounding what you should use to treat a burn.
'Things like yoghurt, butter, oil and cream 'will do nothing for a burn, 'and toothpaste is abrasive and will only make matters worse.
' So that's your arm, having been run under a tap for about 20 minutes, so, just going to turn it off.
'Once the skin's cooled, though, 'there is one thing you could reach for in the kitchen to help you - 'clingfilm.
' And I would just lay it over the top like that, all right.
Nice and loose.
I'm not going to wrap it round like a sausage, so it's just literally just laying it on top.
'Clingfilm is ideal as it will keep the injury clean 'and stop it drying out.
' If the size of the burn is smaller than the palm of the hand of the patient, and it's quite superficial, some redness on the skin, then that's something you can treat at home with first aid.
If it's bigger than the palm of the hand, you need to take him to hospital.
If you come across a severe burn, just remember, stay calm, and move the person to a place that's safe.
Cool the burn as quickly as possible with cold water for at least ten minutes and then loosely cover the burn with clingfilm or a clean plastic bag, but if you have any doubts whatsoever, just call 999.
'You can see all this information on our website 'where there's also more about every subject covered in the programme.
' Still to come - can superfoods really reduce blood pressure? And pioneering yet controversial, is this the future of surgery? But first.
Now, we are bombarded constantly by conflicting health messages.
One day, it's eat more of this.
The next, it's eat less of that.
It's very difficult to know what to believe.
Today the health pages are raging about the dangers of sugar.
The language is emotive and, once again, we're being given strict public health targets.
The World Health Organisation wants us to halve the amount of sugar we eat to only 5% of our total calorie intake.
Now that is equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar.
To put it in context, if you take one of these fizzy drinks, well, this contains the equivalent of nine teaspoons of sugar, so knock back one of these and you're already well over your daily allowance.
But do we really need to slash our sugar intake quite so dramatically? Is sugar the new tobacco, or is the science getting lost in the hype? Well, to find out more, I've invited a couple of leading experts whose research has led to contradictory headlines to meet me at the Royal Society of Medicine.
First, I'm meeting Simon Capewell, Professor of Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool.
He's a member of Action On Sugar, which lobbies for sugar reduction.
He's particularly vocal about the dangers of hidden added sugar in processed food and drink.
~ Do you think that sugar is toxic? ~ Yes, I do.
By any standard measure, the higher the level of added sugars in people's diets, the higher level of related diseases.
But your critics would say, "Oh, no, toxic is going too far," that sugar is just another food, and that all it's doing is basically increasing obesity.
Five years ago, I would have agreed with that view, but I think the science is getting increasingly clear, that added sugars are, as a group, toxic.
What's the best evidence that sugar is bad for us in a way that other things possibly are not? A lot of scientists would say that there's evidence of direct causal harm from sugars, so, even in people of normal weight, the more added sugar that individuals consume, the higher the risk of, say, heart disease, and that's not just, um, sort of small studies, ~ but big cohorts from the United States.
~ For example? So, Frank Hu co-authored a paper showing that, as you looked at the different levels of consumption of added sugars in America, so the risk of heart disease and heart attack went up twofold or even threefold.
So that is, for me, the icing on the cake ~ in terms of moving ~ Great expression! .
moving from the kind of suggestive to the, "OK, the case is made.
What are we going to do about it?" When it comes to heart disease, surely there are other things which are more important than sugar, such as lack of exercise? Exercise is a minor risk factor for heart disease.
Poor diet is the biggest single cause of disease and death in the world and certainly in the UK.
Now, the studies which show that high sugar is associated with risks of all sorts of diseases, could it not just be that, actually, it's just a marker for poverty, and that, as we know, poverty is associated with these things? That's a good question, and there's no doubt that people who are poor, people who smoke, people who don't take exercise, also may consume more sugar, but those things can be taken out of the equation and dealt with mathematically to just look at the pure sugar effect and sugar alone, having adjusted for everything else, is still clearly harmful.
In other words, the larger amount of added sugar per day that people consume, the bigger the harm.
So, in terms of the scientific criteria for causation, tick, tick, tick through the boxes, sugar is a toxin.
Are you just calling sugar toxic in order to get the politicians to pay attention? It does seem that politicians pay more attention to single issues.
There is a level of complexity beyond which you lose the interest of media, of the public and, crucially, of politicians and law makers.
Do you think that sugar is the new tobacco? I think there are many parallels.
In the 1980s, everybody knew smoking was a bad thing, nothing was happening.
I think that's where we are now with sugar.
The science is pretty strong.
Do you think there is a danger that you're going over the top and that therefore you're actually discrediting the science? Absolutely not.
One shouldn't necessarily agonise over the final molecular intricacy.
While we talk, each year, thousands more kids are becoming obese and then going on to diabetes and early deaths, and that's a crime.
'Professor Capewell clearly believes that sugar is so bad for us 'that emotive language is needed to change public policy.
'But is he right? 'Dr Mike Rayner from the University of Oxford leads a team studying 'the causes of conditions such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
'He takes a very different view.
' So what do you think of the argument that sugar is a toxin? I don't think it is a toxin, it's not a toxin in the sense that, um, arsenic is a toxin or even, um, trans-fatty acids in foods are toxins.
So I think it's a bit dangerous to, um, exaggerate the case and call it a toxin.
You can look at, say, the Middle East and, some of the countries there, up to 25% of the population are diabetic or at risk of diabetes and one of the things they do is they gulp down an awful lot of sugary drinks.
They do, but association's not causation.
You've got to, um, ~ correct for confounding variables in those studies.
~ OK.
Um, yeah, you can produce statistics to show anything, if you want, but the responsible statisticians look at the weight of the evidence, they look at the quality of the studies, they correct for confounding variables and so forth.
But there are also studies in humans again which suggest that very high hits of sugar ~ are not very good for your brain.
~ There are all these sorts of studies, but they're suggestive and hypothesis generating.
They're not proof in my view.
and I think, if you're going to change the message around public health, then we've got to be pretty clear that what we've got is as close as proof as possible.
Do you think that sugar is the new tobacco? Some people have characterised it that way.
Er, sugar as the new tobacco? Well, again, I think it's That's overstating the case too, really.
There's an argument that goes, 50 years ago, if you'd told doctors smoking was bad for them, they'd have had a laugh, and said, "Why?" No, 50 years ago, the evidence was pretty clear about tobacco.
I mean, I don't think we're anywhere close to the point where we can that, you know, sugar is toxic, sugar is absolutely THE thing that we should be worrying about.
I am saying that there's a need to cut down on sugar, but I'm also saying that there's lots of other things we need to do about people's diets as well, but there is a place for sugary drinks, for example, in the diet, but they should be treated like champagne.
Right, so you don't think they should be particularly demonised? I don't think they should be demonised, but celebrated.
I think we need to stop eating them as regular foods.
I don't think Sugary drinks has nothing in it, they have no other nutrients apart from the sugar.
It shouldn't be a food, it should be a luxury drink.
OK, do you think there is an argument that basically goes we should cut out all added sugar from our diet? I don't think we should cut out all added sugar.
I think we could do without sugary drinks, technically, but again, I think that life would be a poorer place, we'd live in a poorer world if we couldn't eat added sugar in any form.
Do you think there's a possibility that, in 20 years' time, I could be having this conversation with you and you could be going, "I was wrong," that we should have ~ cut out all the sugar, we have discovered how evil it is.
~ No.
I think, um, the pendulum will swing back towards a more balanced position, and, fundamentally, it isn't about nutrients, it's about foods, and we need to eat more fruit and vegetables, so it's not just about sugar at all.
'Dr Rayner thinks that the scientific case against sugar 'is nothing like as strong as the opponents would argue.
'It is far less clear-cut than strident headlines would suggest.
' So is sugar a toxin? Dr Rayner says, no, it's just a guilty pleasure.
Professor Capewell says, yes, it is.
Now, I don't believe that sugar is a toxin in the same way that, say, arsenic is, but I can understand where Professor Capewell's coming from.
He's using words like "toxin" and "new tobacco", because he wants to highlight the dangers of sugar.
All we can say for certain at the moment is it's bad for our teeth, it helps make us fat and most of us are probably eating far too much of it.
So how can we reduce our intake? You can cut your sugar consumption by carefully reading the packages, but be aware of the hidden sugars in drink.
That's not just fizzy drinks, but things like fruit juice, smoothies and alcohol.
Back in Cardiff, people have been asking us more health questions in our special video booth.
Does shaving make my hair grow back quicker? Chris has bravely volunteered for this one.
When it comes to removing unwanted body hair, there are loads of different options, but the two most popular are chopping it off or pulling it out.
But does shaving make it grow thicker and faster? What about waxing? Does it grow back thinner and slower? 'The hairs on our head grow for several years 'before falling out and starting again.
'Elsewhere on the body, their growing phase is much shorter, 'so they only reach a certain length 'before they stop growing and fall out.
' So is there anything you can do that will affect the hair's thickness or the length it grows to? 'Well, hormone changes and certain drugs 'can give hairs a growth boost or inhibit them.
' But what about more everyday strategies? Well, shaving just chops the hair off, and it doesn't affect the growth at the root in any way at all.
'What shaving does do is 'cut off the naturally tapered end that each hair has, 'leaving that familiar hard stubbly end 'which can make the hair look a little thicker and darker.
'And, as for waxing, well, there's only way to find out.
' I'm really worried that, when you do this, that you're going to just pull off a big chunk of skin.
Argh! That was so much more painful than I thought it was going to be, but the reason, but the reason that we put up with this is because Hold on, hold on, Gloria.
the reason we put with this is because the hair now has been taken out at the follicle, so it will take much longer to break back through the surface of the skin and when it does so, the end of it will be fine and soft and tapered, which is what makes putting up with the pain so worthwhile.
Oh, my Lord.
OK, again? It's quite hot.
Oh! 'That's the theory anyway.
' 'Waxing should make my leg look less hairy, 'but the hairs will grow back just as fast.
'The only way to really test this, though, is to do an experiment, 'however painful.
' You're getting awfully close there.
We're going to stop at my waist.
So to really prove this to myself, Gloria is going to completely wax this leg and I'm going shave the other one.
'As they start growing back, 'I'd expect to see a difference at first.
' But in a few months' time, they should look completely the same.
Interesting, under all that hair, I have quite nice legs.
Who knew? 'Four weeks later, never mind my poor fashion sense, 'how do my legs look?' Which of my legs would you say is hairier? That's smoother.
~ It is smoother, isn't it? ~ Much soother.
~ That one.
~ Yeah, the right one.
~ The right one.
~ Your right.
~ You can even touch them, if you like.
~ Thank you, but no thank you.
That one looks hairier, yeah.
So I would say your right leg.
~ My right, your left.
~ Yeah.
~ The hairy one.
So everyone does seem to be agreed.
The leg that I shaved appears at the moment to be hairier.
But in fact, the one that I waxed, if you look closely, there are the same number of hairs growing back and they're growing back at the same speed.
It's just because they were pulled out at the root, they're taking longer to break the surface of the skin and when they get there, they appear finer.
'For the real truth, I have to wait a lot longer.
' Well, despite all the agonies, I'm pretty impressed with that waxing because for the last three months, my left leg, which I had waxed, has been a lot less hairy than my right leg, which I shaved.
But the proof is finally here.
Now, both legs look the same.
'No-one's actually done a really long-term study to see whether constantly pulling them out would eventually have an effect, as is often claimed, but experts doubt it and I'm certainly not about to volunteer to find out.
Whenever you have a new medical or surgical procedure, you have a balance to strike.
On the one hand, there's the needs of desperate patients - on the other hand, you want to be sure that it's safe and effective.
So how do you get that balance right? Well, surgeon Gabriel Weston has been to see an operation where the potential benefits are huge, but where the critics say it is just not ready to be tested on humans.
Seven years ago in Ukraine, Dimitry Onogda was involved in a serious road accident.
His windpipe is so badly damaged that he can only breathe through a hole made in his throat.
His injuries left him unable to speak.
He communicates with whispered, almost incomprehensible sounds.
Since his accident, he's had multiple operations, but surgeons haven't been able to repair the damage to his throat.
Dimitry's only hope of being able to breathe and speak normally again is to have a new windpipe, so he's agreed to undergo an experimental procedure.
The surgery that I've come to see here today in Russia is certainly boundary-pushing and indeed, highly controversial.
The patient's getting a new windpipe, but not one from a donor.
Instead, it's been built especially for him using a synthetic scaffold and his own stem cells.
Making new organs from a patient's own stem cells is still highly experimental.
Professor Paolo Macchiarini of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has travelled to Russia to lead this trial.
The patient had a car accident, had multiple surgeries and then complication over complication of these surgeries.
Here is the point where you have your vocal cords.
Paolo's team extract some of Dimitry's bone marrow and then isolate stem cells from it.
Stem cells have the potential to transform into any type of cell in our body.
The hope is that they could be used to repair organs or grow healthy new ones.
In Dimitry's case, Paolo hopes to grow him a new windpipe or trachea.
The team use a synthetic scaffold woven out of tiny fibres.
On its own, Dimitry's body would reject it.
And that's where the stem cells come in.
Paolo's team take Dimitry's own stem cells and add them to the rotating scaffold.
They must take great care to avoid contamination by any other cells.
Then they can only watch and wait, hoping that Dimitry's stem cells will attach to the scaffold and multiply.
It seems extraordinary that the stem cells could start to form something as complex as a new trachea.
The trachea is a very sophisticated piece of anatomy.
How is it possible for cells put over a scaffold to grow into something that can do that very, very complicated job? Well, we do not understand the specific entire mechanisms, but the scaffold is almost identical to the human trachea, so that means that the cells find an environment where they clearly have the chance to attach, proliferate and eventually differentiate.
Paolo believes that once he's put the scaffold inside Dimitry's body, the stem cells on the surface will give out a signal that will attract more cells to it and it'll gradually develop into a fully functioning windpipe that will allow him to talk normally.
However, other scientists believe the evidence is not yet strong enough that the windpipe can be regenerated in this way.
They feel the lives of patients like Dimitry could be put at risk by such experimental surgery.
What do you have to say to those people in the surgical community who think that what you're doing is too experimental? We have a track record on tracheal transplantation of about 26 years now I, personally.
And the other thing is the surgical complexity of the case.
This is a patient that has been operated on 13 times so the difficulties and complications are surgically related, not related to the technology.
So what you're saying is that you're allowed to try this new technique on patients who ordinarily most surgeons wouldn't want to go near because of the potential complications that their cases present.
Now we are trying to prove the efficacy through the clinical study.
But those that do not believe, at least give us the timing to demonstrate.
Maybe we end up to say, "Well, it's not a good procedure, but at least we have done it.
" After 48 hours, Paolo decides that the stem cells have grown enough for Dimitry's surgery to begin.
Can we have some more suction? It soon becomes clear that he will have to replace most of the windpipe going down almost to the lungs.
Paolo's now operating deep in the chest, right next to the aorta, which is the biggest blood vessel in the body.
It's what we surgeons like to refer to as tiger country and it's pretty treacherous.
~ 20 minutes? ~ No, no, as soon as possible.
There's a lot going on at the moment.
The trachea is being sewn into place in the chest and the atmosphere in theatre is very tense now.
He is above 90, so that's not a problem.
As long as it is not 40, that's OK.
You can see that it's very frustrating for Paolo to be at times having to operate against a language barrier.
Don't do what you want, go up, up in this here.
I want to see the scaffold, if it is OK or not.
So, looks perfect.
After six hours, Paolo is satisfied that the stem cell coated scaffold is in place.
To bring Dimitry round, the doctors shout clear instructions.
Yeah, heard that.
He has no dysfunction of the larynx, so that's perfect.
Which is amazing.
Dima Everything is OK.
Everything OK.
Yes, sure.
Yes, are you alive! Dimitry can breathe through his mouth for the first time in seven years.
But it's only when the anaesthetic has worn off that we'll discover whether Paolo's surgery will enable him to speak normally.
I have a mixture of feelings coming out of the operating theatre today.
There's so much that has impressed me.
The surgery itself is so ambitious.
Paolo's technical ability is prodigious and there is such a sincerity and warmth in the way that he talks about his patients.
And yet, it's hard to ignore that this is a man surrounded by controversy and one can't help but wonder whether there isn't ever a situation where there's smoke without fire.
Is there something that I should be questioning here, or is this a case for celebration? The next morning, Dimitry is recovering in intensive care.
How do you feel differently today than you did before having your operation? You've had years, after your accident, of operations and not being able to talk.
What are you going to do when you get out of this hospital? Those sound like excellent ambitions.
Dimitry has continued to make a good recovery and has left hospital, but it will be many months before it's clear whether the combination of man-made scaffold and his own stem cells will successfully work together to grow a healthy new windpipe.
If they do, though, this operation could be one of the first steps towards a revolution in medicine, where our organs can be repaired and rebuilt inside our bodies using our own stem cells.
More details about this research can be found on our website MUSIC: Rachie by the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir Awn i gwrdd y gelyn Bawb ag arfau glan It's been three weeks since we began our experiment with the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir.
The singers, with higher than ideal blood pressure, have been feasting on each of three superfoods to test which, if any, can help reduce it.
Watermelon was the most boring week of the lot, I must admit.
Didn't like that at all.
But the garlic and the beetroot, I really loved that.
You had a reaction to the beetroot.
Beetroot, yes.
Yes, I went I went purple.
Did anyone make anything delicious? Soup, beetroot soup.
Yeah, good, very good.
I sliced the raw garlic and had it with strawberries.
Cut the strawberries in half and put a slice of garlic on.
It enhances the taste of the strawberry.
Bad news with the wife though, eh? Terrible.
Garlic, beetroot and watermelon have all featured in the press as being able to lower elevated blood pressure.
But the scientific evidence for each one working varies considerably.
So how did the three perform in our test? Dr Andy Webb has been analysing the results.
How did we do? So this shows the blood pressure results.
The first bar you see here is where your volunteers were eating a normal diet and their average blood pressure was around 133 millimetres of mercury.
~ OK.
~ And then this is the beetroot intervention.
You can see here that there's a reduction in blood pressure, which brings their blood pressure to about 130 millimetres of mercury.
Garlic also looked like it's effective.
So that had a similar result to the beetroot.
With the watermelon here, we can see it's not as much and I think the giveaway's in the name, perhaps.
Watermelon contains a lot of water and a little bit of the active ingredient.
I think it's a great result, 133 to just under 130.
What does that mean to me? That would translate to roughly a reduction risk of heart attacks and strokes of about 10%, very roughly.
I think that is a fabulous result.
A 10% reduction in the risk of heart attacks and strokes is really significant.
And, although our short-term test, involving just 27 people, doesn't amount to conclusive evidence, studies carried out by Dr Webb and other scientists do seem to suggest that changing our diet could be a simple and safe way to bring down our blood pressure.
When you had the beetroot and, in fact, the garlic, it moved you down to what we regard as a healthier blood pressure, in the normal range.
So who is going to keep eating beetroot? Yes.
And who's not going to keep eating beetroot? I might give it one more try.
Just for science.
If you're not a fan of beetroot, there are alternatives.
Most green leafy veg, such as rocket and spinach, contain the same active ingredient, nitrate.
As for garlic, there is a similar active ingredient in onions and shallots.
And the way that you prepare them can help maximise the benefit so go to our website for more details.
Do you say to people in clinic, "Look, there are certain green leafy veg, beetroot, garlic, "these are things you can take and you may find "that you get a reduction?" Again, you have to be a bit careful in pinpointing things.
But certainly, some patients find their blood pressure is better on beetroot.
When we started this, I was really a bit sceptical.
There are a lot of health claims made about different foods, but it does seem like in the case of garlic and the nitrate-rich vegetables, like beetroot, they can have a profound effect on your body.
Not only are they nutritious, but they may help reduce your blood pressure.
Now, the Open University have produced a free information pack on health and wellbeing, exploring everyday challenges we all face.
To order a free copy, ring: Or go to: And follow the links to the Open University.
That's it from Cardiff.
Next time, we're in Southampton, where we're going to be testing some novel ways to keep you alert, improve your brain.
Also, can we count housework as exercise? And which painkillers should we take? Trust me, we'll find out.
~ It'll hurt, won't it? ~ No, it's all right.