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Author: VWheelock

20. Latest Study on the Mediterranean Diet

  A recent study conducted in Spain has been hailed by many commentators in the media as further evidence of the benefits of a Mediterranean-type diet (1).  This is the PREDIMED trial in which the effects of 3 different diets were compared with respect to the incident rates of various diseases and al-cause-mortality. The participants were men (55 to 80 years of age) and women (60 to 80 years of age) with no cardiovascular disease at the outset but who had either type 2 diabetes mellitus or at least three of the following major risk factors: smoking, hypertension, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) levels, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) levels, overweight or obesity, or a family history of premature coronary heart disease. Initially there were 7447 men and women who were allocated at random to one of3 different diets. These were a usual Spanish diet(the control) or one supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or another which was given an extra supplement of 30 g of mixed nuts per day (15 g of walnuts, 7.5 g of hazelnuts, and 7.5 g of almonds). There was no attempt to control the intake of calories. It was found that during the follow-up period of almost 5 years those in the experimental groups increased weekly servings of fish (by 0.3 servings) and legumes (by 0.4 servings) in comparison with those in the control...

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19. Yet Another Report Which Condemns Processed Meat

  Once again the news media is highlighting the supposed dangers of consuming too much ham, bacon, sausages and other forms of processed meat. This is based on the results of a European study involving 448,568 men and women aged between 35 and 69 years old at the outset. The habitual diet was assessed over a period of 12 months. During the follow-up period there were 26,344 deaths (1). The report concluded:   “The results of our analyses suggest that men and women with a high consumption of processed meat are at increased risk of early death, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases but also to cancer. In this population, reduction of processed meat consumption to less than 20 g/day would prevent more than 3% of all deaths. As processed meat consumption is a modifiable risk factor, health promotion activities should include specific advice on lowering processed meat consumption.”   Much of the official dietary recommendations is based on epidemiological studies which attempt to assess the food consumption patterns and then relate them to other factors such disease incidence and death rates. It must be emphasised that any associations which are obtained from this type of investigation do not demonstrate cause and effect. In order to identify specific causes much detailed research must be done. Ideally we need to understand precisely what is happening in the body to relate...

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18.Stearic Acid is Good for You!

Stearic acid is a long chain saturated fatty acid which contains 18 carbon atoms. According to an article in the Daily Mail: “emerging evidence suggests not all saturated fat should be tarred with the same brush — one type of saturated fat, known as stearic acid, may actually protect the heart against disease.” (1) However the rationale is based on the results of an investigation in which it was found that: “the participants in the study experienced a 5 per cent drop in total cholesterol and around a 4 per cent drop in ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol “ In other words the conclusions depend on the “fact” that total blood cholesterol(TC) and the level of LDL cholesterol (the so-called “bad “one) are risk factors for heart disease. Hence it follows that saturated fats(SFA)which allegedly increase TC are undesirable and as a consquence the official recommendation is that we should reduce consumption. By contrast, polyunsaturated fats(PUFAs) reduce TC and are good: therefore consumption should be increased. Unfortunately this is utter rubbish (See blogs 8 and 14). Here is a summary of some of the evidence to justify my statement: There is actually an “association” between the death rate from heart disease and TC which has only been observed in middle aged men. However an association does not prove cause and effect. In an area of high crime there may well be...

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17. The Increasing Consumption of Sugar and the Relationship with Obesity/Diabetes

  The possibility that excessive sugar consumption is the cause of many aspects of ill-health goes back a long way. Obesity was first observed in the wealthy who would have been the only people who could afford to buy sugar. Diabetes, hypertension and obesity were first recorded in England, France and Germany which are the countries where sugar was first introduced into the national diet. Gary Taubes in his excellent book entitled “The Diet Delusion” provides the following examples of evidence that sugar contributes to the development of various diseases: In 1924, Haven Emerson who was the director of the Institute of Public Health at Columbia University in New York concluded that: “Rises and falls in sugar consumption are followed with fair regularity within a few months by similar rises and falls in death rates from diabetes.” In 1975 Richard Doll and Bruce Armstrong commented that: “The higher the sugar intake, the higher the incidence of any mortality from cancer of the colon, rectum, breast, ovary, prostate, kidney, nervous system and testicles.” In Israel Aharon Cohen, a specialist in diabetes, found that in 5000 immigrants from the Yemen in 1949 there were only 3 cases of diabetes. By contrast, the incidence of diabetes in Yemenis who arrived about 20 years earlier was almost 50 times greater. Cohen concluded that the much greater consumption of sugar amongst those who had...

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16. Saturated Fat is Good for You

! We are continually berated with the message that saturated fat(SFA) is bad for us and that we should alter our habitual diet in order to keep consumption to a minimum. According to the official NHS website: “Eating a lot of saturated fat can increase the cholesterol in your blood. High levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of: heart attack, stroke, and narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis). Cholesterol is a type of fat that your liver makes from the fatty food that you eat.” It goes on to say that: “Your body needs small amounts of fat to help it work normally. However, some types of fat are healthier than others. There are two main types of fat in food: saturated fat, and unsaturated fat. It’s a good idea to eat less saturated fat, to reduce the health risks linked with high cholesterol levels.” People are advised to lower consumption of the main sources of saturated fat which include foods such as: butter,      lard and ghee (oil made from butter), fatty      meats and meat products, such as sausages and pies, full fat      milk, cream,      soured cream, crème fraîche and ice cream, cheese,      particularly hard cheese, some      savoury snacks, such as crisps, coconut      oil, coconut cream and palm oil, biscuits,      cakes and pastries, and sweets      and chocolate. More specific advice is to:...

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