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Archive for the ‘nutrition’ tag

Low-fat diet advice was based on undercooked science

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Lobster Spring Roll - Japonais
Lobster Spring Roll.

As a follow-up to revision to the US government’s advice about cholesterol, we read this tidbit yesterday…

An international team of health scientists has completed a systematic study of the evidence available back in the 1970s and ’80s and concluded that a relationship of causation between fat consumption and coronary heart disease was never established. The researchers found just six studies that fit the criteria to be considered proper randomized controlled trials, all limited to male subjects and most addressing the proportion of fat in the diet only indirectly.

“Government dietary fat recommendations were untested in any trial prior to being introduced,” writes Zoe Harcombe of the University of the West of Scotland, lead author of the study. Despite this, “to date, no analysis of the evidence base for these recommendations has been undertaken,” which is what prompted Harcombe and her team to conduct their investigation.

From among the data on various diet types that was available, there were no differences in the number of deaths from all causes, and no statistically significant changes in death from cardiovascular disease. Eating less fat was not shown to improve a person’s heart health, even where changes in diet led to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels. “It seems incomprehensible that dietary advice was introduced for 220 million Americans and 56 million UK citizens, given the contrary results from a small number of unhealthy men,” comments Harcombe.

At the time of issuing the original 1977 Dietary Goals for the United States, better known as the McGovern report, the Senate Committee’s lead nutritionist, Dr. Hegsted of Harvard University, admitted that the evidence base was for the advice was somewhat lacking. “There will undoubtedly be many people who will say we have not … demonstrated that the dietary modifications we recommend will yield the dividend expected,” remarked Hegsted. But his counterargument was that there was more to gain from switching to the recommended diet than there was to lose. Beyond reducing fat intake, the Dietary Goals also urged a reduction in the consumption of salt and sugar, whose deleterious health effects have been far better established.

(click here to continue reading Low-fat diet advice was based on undercooked science | The Verge.)

Oh boy, so 40 years of bad advice from the government and corporate allies all based on incomplete science. Seems like someone should have said something, oh, maybe a few years later? Ten years later? Twenty years later? Ten years ago? 

Written by Seth Anderson

February 11th, 2015 at 11:52 am

US poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol

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Cajun Campfire Breakfast
Cajun Campfire Breakfast

An amazing sea change in nutritional policy. Just think of all the times you’ve heard to avoid cholesterol-laden foods like eggs.

The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel will drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings.

The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a ‘‘nutrient of concern’’ stands in contrast to its findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed ‘‘excess dietary cholesterol’’ a public health concern.

The new view does not reverse warnings about high levels of ‘‘bad’’ cholesterol in the blood, which have been linked to heart disease. Moreover, some experts warn that people with particular problems, such as diabetes, should continue to avoid cholesterol-rich diets.

But the finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now say that, for a healthy adult, cholesterol intake may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.

The greater danger, according to this line of thought, lies in foods heavy with trans fats and saturated fats.

The panel’s report will be the basis for the next version of the ‘‘Dietary Guidelines,’’ a federal publication that has broad effects on the American diet. A person with direct knowledge of the proceedings said the cholesterol finding would make it into the group’s final report.

(click here to continue reading US poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol – Nation – The Boston Globe.)

For me, I’ve never particularly hewed closely to these guidelines (I’ve eaten eggs more mornings than not the last 45 years, sometimes with bacon, or cooked in butter!), but still will be happy to see these guidelines revised.

O'Shaughnessy's Irish Breakfast
O’Shaughnessy’s Irish Breakfast

HHS’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has the administrative leadership for the 2015 edition and is strongly supported by USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Committee and process management, and evidence analysis functions. The Departments jointly review the Committee’s recommendations and develop and publish the revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy document.

Recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are intended for Americans ages 2 years and over, including those at increased risk of chronic disease, and provide the basis for federal food and nutrition policy and education initiatives. The Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to focus on eating a healthful diet—one that focuses on foods and beverages that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease.

The first edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released in 1980. As mandated in Section 301 of the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5341), the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is reviewed, updated, and published every 5 years in a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Beginning with the 1985 edition, HHS and USDA have appointed a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) consisting of nationally recognized experts in the field of nutrition and health. The charge to the Committee is to review the scientific and medical knowledge current at the time. The Committee then prepares a report for the Secretaries that provides recommendations for the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines based on their review of current literature.

(click here to continue reading Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 | Dietary Guidelines for Americans | Health.gov (ODPHP).)

Written by Seth Anderson

February 11th, 2015 at 10:12 am

Coconut Water Changes Its Claims

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A Favorite Breakfast Beverage
A Favorite Breakfast Beverage

Funny how that works. A few years ago, coconut water was being marketed as a panacea for each and every thing wrong with you. And now? Not so much. However, people still repeat those initial, miracle-drug claims. Shows you the power of advertising, doesn’t it?

When coconut water broke into the American market 10 years ago, it was billed as a miracle drink able to fight viruses, kidney disease and other ailments like osteoporosis. Global sales now reach $400 million a year, and many consumers believe that the beverage has a wide variety of health benefits. But they may be unaware that the drink’s marketers have sharply scaled back their claims.

The minerals in coconut water are what prompted the early claims of curative power, but their amounts are quite modest and they are widely found in other foods. A banana, for example, has 422 milligrams of potassium, compared with 660 milligrams in a typical container of coconut water. The water’s big three minerals are potassium (19 percent of the daily recommended intake), calcium (4 percent) and magnesium (4 percent).

Coconut water taps into a “deep consumer vein,” Tom Pirko, a beverage industry analyst, wrote in an email. “It is not seen as a ‘manufactured’ concoction, but rather the issue of Mother Earth.” And it seems poised to become just the first in a wave of natural waters; already for sale are bottled waters from maple and birch trees, barley, cactus and artichokes, with their own exuberant promotions.

 

(click here to continue reading Coconut Water Changes Its Claims – NYTimes.com.)

I do think coconut water is tasty, occasionally refreshing, but I would not expect it to cure anything. But then I’m a natural born skeptic…

Written by Seth Anderson

July 28th, 2014 at 8:54 am

Posted in Advertising,health,science

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Novak Djokovic and His Gluten-Free Diet

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Pot O Rice

Interesting, yet not definitive since this is not a controlled experiment. Would Novak Djokovic suddenly start losing if he had a cold, refreshing beer?

How did Novak Djokovic conquer the tennis world?

Maybe the answer is as simple as this: Since last year, he’s swearing off pasta, pizza, beer, French bread, Corn Flakes, pretzels, empanadas, Mallomars and Twizzlers—anything with gluten.

It’s no secret that Djokovic has had a breakout season, or that he has been, by any reasonable standard, the world’s best athlete of 2011. On Sunday, he beat Rafael Nadal in the Rome Masters, his fourth-straight win over the Spaniard. It was his second win over Nadal on clay in two weeks, and again, amazingly, he did it without losing a set. The match ran Djokovic’s 2011 record to 37-0 with seven titles.

As the French Open begins Sunday, Djokovic’s amazing streak—the longest to start a season since 1984—is threatening to push Roger Federer (the winner of a record 16 Grand Slam titles) and Nadal (the French Open’s five-time champion) off the front pages. But the transformation from odd man out to invincible overlord also is leaving gobsmacked tennis fans searching for answers. Clearly something has clicked for the Serb. But what?

Djokovic’s serve, sloppy as recently as last season, is now precise, fluid and, at times, devastating. His forehand used to break down in tense moments; now he hits winners that seem to subscribe to undiscovered laws of physics. His backhand, always solid, is now impenetrable, even with Nadal’s famously high-bouncing forehand. And then there’s the gluten.

Last year, Djokovic’s nutritionist discovered that Djokovic is allergic to the protein, which is found in common flours. Djokovic banished it from his diet and lost a few pounds. He says he now feels much better on court.

(click here to continue reading Novak Djokovic’s Gluten-Free Ascendancy – WSJ.com.)

Schlitz

Written by Seth Anderson

May 19th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Food and Drink,health,Sports

Tagged with ,

Reading Around on October 21st through October 28th

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A few interesting links collected October 21st through October 28th:

  • Eat More Black Pepper to Increase Your Food’s Nutritional Value [Health] – Black pepper is often thought of as a last minute ditch to save a flavorless dish, but it really plays a powerful role in your bodies ability to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat—even the healthy ones.The amount of nutrients your body consumes from a food is called bioavailability, which is always less than what your food truly contains.
  • They Eat Horses, Don’t They? : Horsemeat is a delicacy in many countries, but not America – CHOW – Eating horsemeat in America is perfectly legal, according to Steven Cohen of the USDA’s food safety and inspection service. If it seems wrong, that’s not the law—that’s, well, you. But bear in mind that the Japanese and many Europeans eat all kinds of horse: horse sashimi in Japan; horse tartare or steak in Belgium; pastissada, or horsemeat stew, in Italy’s Veneto. Fears of mad cow disease in recent years prompted a spike in horsemeat prices in Germany and Italy.If it seems wrong, that’s not the law—that’s, well, you.
  • Auto bailout: Steven Rattner on how the Obama team did it – Oct. 21, 2009 – We were shocked, even beyond our low expectations, by the poor state of both GM and Chrysler. Looking just at the condition of GM’s finances and Chrysler’s new-car pipeline, the case for a bailout was weak.…Everyone knew Detroit’s reputation for insular, slow-moving cultures. Even by that low standard, I was shocked by the stunningly poor management that we found, particularly at GM, where we encountered, among other things, perhaps the weakest finance operation any of us had ever seen in a major company.

Written by swanksalot

October 28th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Posted in Links

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Reading Around on May 21st

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Some additional reading May 21st from 10:35 to 17:13:

  • David H. Murdock: A Recipe For Longevity: 33 Of The Healthiest Foods On Earth – No pills, not even aspirin, and certainly no supplements ever enter my mouth — everything I need comes from my fish-vegetarian diet, which incorporates 30-40 different kinds of fruit and vegetables every week. Even though I am Chairman and Owner of Dole Food Company, I do most of my own grocery shopping, and even took Oprah on an impromptu trip to Costco, in a day that included bike riding, exercise in the gym, and juicing vegetables in the kitchen. Oprah marveled at how much I eat, and yet never gain a pound. In fact, I expend a lot of energy in my 50-60 minutes of cardio and strength training every day. Plus there’s the fact that fruit and vegetables tend to be lower in calories, but higher in filling fiber and other nutrients that help you feel satisfied.
  • Expert Tips on Photographing Your Pets – Gadgetwise Blog – NYTimes.com – “Back in the day when I was obsessively photographing just my own cats, I’d wait for them to do something interesting or cute before I actually brought the camera up to shoot. Of course by that time, 1 or 2 seconds have elapsed, and they’re doing something less interesting, and I’ve missed the shot.Now, I sort of treat my still camera as a video camera. Even if I’m not actively shooting, and even if the subject is not doing something “capture-worthy,” I continue tracking through the viewfinder and recomposing. Because soon enough they will do something capture-worthy, and I’ll be ready to press the shutter the second it happens.”
  • Data.gov – The purpose of Data.gov is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Although the initial launch of Data.gov provides a limited portion of the rich variety of Federal datasets presently available, we invite you to actively participate in shaping the future of Data.gov by suggesting additional datasets and site enhancements to provide seamless access and use of your Federal data. Visit today with us, but come back often. With your help, Data.gov will continue to grow and change in the weeks, months, and years ahead


Swanksalot’s Geek Chart

Written by swanksalot

May 21st, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Reading Around on February 16th

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Some additional reading February 16th from 14:41 to 16:17:

  • U.S. Food Policy: Evidence on declining fruit and vegetable nutrient composition – found that fertilized plants contained larger absolute amounts of minerals than the unfertilized plants, but these amounts were sufficiently diluted by the increased dry matter that all mineral concentrations declined, except for phosphorus, which is the common fertilizer.

    Next, Davis looked at historical food composition data derived from three quantitative reports. While these studies are limited by their ability to be compared due to variation in methods, they found:

    apparent median declines of 5% to 40% or more in some minerals in groups of vegetables and perhaps fruits; one study also evaluated vitamins and protein with similar results.

  • I’m Done With Facebook : Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits – But the Facebook language clearly dictates that you are giving Facebook an irrevocable and perpetual right to distribute and make derivative copies of content you upload to Facebook for any purpose. ANY. Whether it be a book, a film, or whatever other options Facebook may have cooked up. … (If you’ve already granted Facebook the irrevocable right to give up your content and likeness, then how can you still have “all rights and permissions?” Perhaps an IP attorney can sort out this thorny language.) Since Facebook has demonstrated no reservations in sharing private data with developers, the company’s history suggests that this same recurring invasion of privacy will carry forth under the new Terms of Service. The only difference is that Facebook now intends to profit from the content you upload, and they can now use it in any way they want, because you’ve capitulated all your rights to it.

Written by swanksalot

February 16th, 2009 at 5:00 pm