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What’s on your plate?

By BBC | Published Sun, July 22nd 2018 at 00:23, Updated July 22nd 2018 at 00:26 GMT +3

Should I drink lemon water first thing in the morning?

Lemon water

The effects of lemon water will not change regardless of whether you drink it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. If you like the taste of lemon water, it could be a good choice for first thing in the morning as we often wake up a little dehydrated - especially if you’ve had alcohol or salty food the night before.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that lemon water has an alkalising or detoxing effect on the body. The liver is responsible for eliminating toxins from everything we eat, drink and are exposed to in our environment, so no amount of lemon water is going to ‘detox’ our bodies. There is also no truth to the claims that lemon water balances pH levels.

Magic ginger


Ginger tea is great to drink when you feel a cold coming on. It is a diaphoretic tea, meaning that it will warm you from the inside and promote perspiration. It is also good when you don’t have a cold and just want to warm up!

To make ginger tea (for nausea)...

Steep 20 to 40g of fresh, sliced ginger in a cup of hot water. Add a slice of lemon or a drop of honey if you fancy.

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To cook or not to cook with coconut oil

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat; around 82 per cent compared to butter at around 63 per cent. Saturated fat has long been seen as a risk factor for elevated cholesterol and heart disease. This is because studies have shown that saturated fats raise levels of LDL (unfavourable) cholesterol. This provides the basis for current dietary advice which recommends that we limit the amount of saturated fat in our diets to 20g per day for women and 30 grammes per day for men. Two tablespoons of coconut oil contain approximately 25 grammes of saturated fat.

But is saturated fat bad? 

Public Health England still advises that for heart health, saturated fatty acids are to be replaced with small amounts of unsaturated fatty acids such as olive and rapeseed oils, avocados, nuts, seeds and oily fish.

Olive oil – a monounsaturated fat – has a much larger evidence base to support health claims. At the moment, the same cannot be said for coconut oil, which does not have the same level of scientific evidence to back up the health claims.

Impact on weight

At 9kcal per gram, fats are the most calorie-dense macronutrient. Therefore consuming large amounts of any fat or oil, whether it’s from coconut or another source, can lead to an increase in energy and weight gain if you have more than the recommended daily amount.

Fats should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. There isn’t enough evidence to show that the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) present in coconut oil can, as frequently cited, reduce body weight.


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