Dry January is almost over, and temporary teetotallers everywhere will soon be back on the booze. That word ‘booze’ tends to conjure up a certain amount of slurring, with perhaps a swig of decadence thrown in. It also sounds distinctly modern. It is, in fact, over five centuries old, having slipped into English from the Dutch word buizen, to drink to excess. It gets an early mention in the Elizabethan play Jack Drum’s Entertainmentand the pithy statement ‘You must needs bouze’ - a sentiment with which few of January’s hydropots (one term for water-drinkers) would disagree.
Beef from Brazil, avocados from Mexico, lamb from New Zealand, wines from South Africa and green beans from Kenya – food shopping lists have a distinctly international flavour. And with many questioning the sustainability of importing so much food from so far away, we are beginning to ask if switching to a vegetarian diet to cut emissions caused by meat production is as sustainable as one might think.
People who regularly go on diets tend to lose weight initially but bounce back and even gain weight after stopping the regime. This phenomenon – dubbed yo-yo dieting – is associated with changes in metabolism and is one reason why the vast majority of calorie-based diets fail. But exactly what causes these metabolic changes has remained a mystery – until now.