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Science for Life - Brian Clegg ****

It's always difficult to know what to do about a review for books by our editor - we can't just ignore them. In this case we have borrowed an independent review from Good Housekeeping. (N.B. given the source, the review concentrates most on personal health/diet advice, but the book also has a lot to say about the way the media communicate science.)

Much of what you hear and read about health can feel contradictory and overwhelming, and it can sometimes be hard to know which diet we should be on, how much exercise we should be doing, what’s said to be causing serious illnesses this week, or to keep track of the latest advice to make sure you lead a happier and healthier life.

At GH we believe in rigorously putting any claims to the test, and that’s why we love Science For Life by GH contributor Brian Clegg. It gives definitive answers to the kind of questions we ask ourselves regularly – is red wine really good for us? (science says it’s not, sadly) And should we avoid artificial sweeteners? (research actually shows that they haven’t been linked to as many health problems as sugar).

The book provides no-nonsense, straightforward advice, all backed up by scientific research. And, unlike others, Science For Life doesn’t claim to have all the answers. It acknowledges where there isn’t enough hard evidence – such as whether too much TV is bad for kids.

Clegg’s writing is informative and entertaining, with a welcome lack of irritating jargon. Divided by subject, the scope of the book is remarkably broad – everything from whether e-numbers are bad for us (they’re not), to how likely it is we’ll be visited by UFOs (science is highly sceptical).

What Science For Life does best is help you make informed health choices – from how much exercise to do a week to which supplements to take – so you can make small changes with maximum impact. It also gives some peace of mind on the science behind medical treatments and what we should really be doing to help the environment. Best of all, Clegg will continue update his findings online at scienceforlife.info as new research comes in. 


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Review by Simon Cocks
Please note, this title is written by the editor of the Popular Science website. Our review is still an honest opinion – and we could hardly omit the book – but do want to make the connection clear.


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