Food for thought?

We hear a lot, these days, about eating healthy foods (& not too much of anything!). If you read the ads, and sometimes news items, you'll find some particular foods promoted as being particularly good for you. One of these is fish oil, rich in omega-3 oils and supposedly good for brain development, among other things. Should we all be rushing out and buying fish-oil capsules? What's the science here?

I first got interested in this when I read an article by Ben Goldacre in the Guardian, discussing a trial of fish oil in the UK. The trial involved a large number of students – potentially, several thousand – in the city of Durham. These students were all preparing for national examinations, and were all to be supplied with fish oil capsules on a daily basis. (They had to pop 6 a day, apparently…) This was described as a scientific trial of the efficacy of fish oils. So – what questions would you ask, to ensure that there was a basis of good science to the study? Have a think about it – send me your suggestions, even (use the 'comments & questions' link) – & I'll come back to this in a day or so.


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