Author: VWheelock

25. More about the Polyunsaturates

In BLOG 15, I explained that there are serious doubts about the rationale which underpins the recommendation to increase the intake of polyunsaturates (PUFAs) which are the omega-6 fatty acids(omega 6s). Nevertheless foods which are high in PUFAs continue to be promoted as healthy. As recently as 2009 the American Heart Association (AHA) reviewed its position. It was concluded that the combined results of a range of studies provided: “ evidence that replacing saturated fat or refined carbohydrates….with omega-6 PUFAs reduces        CHD risk” It went on to recommend that consumption of at least 5% to 10% of energy from omega 6s would reduce the risk of heart disease relative to lower intakes. Furthermore higher levels appear to be safe and would probably be beneficial(1). However the quality of much of the research used to justify this recommendation has been seriously questioned. In a thorough examination of the relevant critical investigations, Chris Ramsden and colleagues discovered that in a number of these trials mixtures of omega-3s and omega-6s were actually used but it had been assumed that only omega 6s were present. When the investigations were separated into those which contained mixtures and those which consisted of omega-6s only a very different picture emerges. Those with mixed omega-3/omega-6s did actually result in a significant reduction in the risks of non-fatal heart attacks of 27%. For non-fatal heart attacks plus CHD...

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24.Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA)

  In my last post (BLOG 23) I showed there is convincing evidence that the fat present in milk is linked with specific health benefits. In recent years there has been growing interest in the CLAs which is the term used to describe the positional and geometric isomers of linoleic acid (LA). These have either one or both of the double bonds in the cis (c) or trans (t) conformation which are separated by a simple carbon-carbon linkage. CLA isomers are naturally found in dairy and meat products of ruminant origin such as cows, sheep and goats. About 30 years ago it was discovered that CLA was an effective inhibitor of the mutagens that were produced in hamburgers when they were grilled. Since then evidence has emerged which demonstrate that CLA can reduce the risks of developing heart disease, inflammation, diabetes, bone density loss and immune dysfunction. The two major CLA isomers are rumenic acid (c9, t11 (C18:2)) and the t10, c12 isomer. Typically the CLA in cow’s milk contains 85-90% rumenic acid. Experiments with small animals have shown that diets with a relatively high content of rumenic acid are associated with improving cardiovascular health, anti-carcinogenic properties and improved immune function. The evidence also shows that the HDL cholesterol is raised while the triglycerides are lowered(1).   The relationship between the consumption of high-fat dairy products and the incidence...

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23. Why the Fats in Milk are Essential

The NHS website section which deals with Healthy Eating recommends that we should choose low fat dairy products in order to reduce our intake of saturated fats (SFA) which raise cholesterol levels and therefore increase in the risk of heart disease. This has contributed to the demonization of the fat in milk and milk products. In this post I will consider how this specific recommendation stands up to examination. Diabetes There are many studies which indicate that the consumption of milk and dairy products reduces the risks of diabetes and related conditions such as hypertension and obesity. In the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) which was conducted at 4 different centres in the USA, 3157 young men and women were monitored for 10 years (from 1985 to 1995). It was found that there was a consistent reduction in the incidence of obesity, hypertension, abnormal glucose homeostasis and dyslipidaemia with increasing consumption of milk and dairy products in those who were overweight or obese as determined by BMI. When the results for these individual factors are combined an index of IRS (Insulin Resistance Syndrome) is obtained. Over the 10-year period the IRS was lower by more than two thirds among overweight individuals in the highest category of dairy consumption (?5/d) compared with those in the lowest category (<1.5/d). These associations were not confounded by other lifestyle factors...

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22. Dietary Sources of Vitamin K2

This post relies heavily on the excellent book by Kate Rheaume- Bleue entitled “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life”(1)   As indicated in Blog 21, the fermented product prepared from soya is a particularly good source of Vitamin K2 (VK2) which is readily available in certain parts of Japan. However this is not easily obtained in Europe or the USA and in any case it has an acquired taste and would probably not be acceptable to those who have not been brought up on it. In practice therefore the non-Japanese will be dependent on two main sources, namely:   Products from grass-fed animals Cheese.   Animals have the ability to convert Vitamin K1 (VK1) which is present in green chlorophyll containing plants into VK2. For many farm animals this is provided by grass in their habitual diet. However most of the modern-day animal production systems do not include access to grass with the result that the amount of VK2 produced can be severely limited. In addition even when there is a high content of VK2 present as in meat or milk produced from grass-fed animals, many people still miss out. This is because they are attempting to comply with the dietary recommendations which advise that saturated/animal fats should be avoided or reduced. As a consequence they trim the fat from meat...

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21.Vitamin K2

    In 1945, an American dentist Weston Price presented evidence of a fat soluble substance present in dairy products which played a fundamental role in the utilization of minerals which were essential for the prevention of dental caries and a range of common chronic diseases. Price was unable to determine the chemical composition of the substance and referred to it as “Activator X”, which he discovered was present in fish eggs, egg yolks, some organ meats and especially in butter made from the milk from grass-fed cows. He found that by advising patients to include butter oil in their diet virtually all of them were overcome teeth decay without having to resort to drilling and filling. It is only in recent years that Activator X has been identified as vitamin K2(VK2) which is a group of chemicals based on the menaquinones. Furthermore we now have a much better understanding of the function of the vitamin in the body and the main dietary sources. In particular it is evident that insufficiency of VK2 is a contributing factor to many of the current health problems. However it is important to understand that the vitamins K1 and K2 have quite different characteristics. K1 facilitates blood clotting and is present in all photosynthetic plants. Because it is widely available a deficiency rarely occurs. K1 is phylloquinone which can be converted into K2...

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