Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Seven Nation Army (update on the link between heart disease and food)

Excerpts from the 11 May 2014 item at The Paleo Pocket

Investigative author Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, has been investigating dietary fat and disease for nearly a decade. She has traced the history of the academic dietary establishment’s idea that you should reduce fat in your food – the idea that has lead to a replacement of fat with carbohydrates, turning us from fat burners to sugar burners. Her story has been published in many places, among them theWall Street Journal, where it quickly went to the top of the Popular Now list:

The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease

1961 was the year of the first recommendation from the nutrition committee on the American Heart Association that people should eat less fat, in particular saturated fat, in order to reduce heart disease. This came from a Dr. Ancel Keyes, who built his career on this theory. He was a highly persuasive man who obtained a seat on the committee. America was struggling with rising heart disease at the time and people wanted answers.

Where was his proof? He had done a “Seven Countries” study that was considered the most thorough study on the link between heart disease and food. For this study he picked countries that were likely to support his theory, such as Yugoslavia, Finland and Italy. He ignored France, Switzerland, West Germany and Sweden, countries with high-fat diets and low rates of heart disease.

And so today people suffer from the effects of replacing fat with carbohydrates turning to blood sugar. Nina Teicholz:

One consequence is that in cutting back on fats, we are now eating a lot more carbohydrates—at least 25% more since the early 1970s. Consumption of saturated fat, meanwhile, has dropped by 11%, according to the best available government data. Translation: Instead of meat, eggs and cheese, we’re eating more pasta, grains, fruit and starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Even seemingly healthy low-fat foods, such as yogurt, are stealth carb-delivery systems, since removing the fat often requires the addition of fillers to make up for lost texture—and these are usually carbohydrate-based.

The problem is that carbohydrates break down into glucose, which causes the body to release insulin—a hormone that is fantastically efficient at storing fat. Meanwhile, fructose, the main sugar in fruit, causes the liver to generate triglycerides and other lipids in the blood that are altogether bad news. Excessive carbohydrates lead not only to obesity but also, over time, to Type 2 diabetes and, very likely, heart disease.

The real surprise is that, according to the best science to date, people put themselves at higher risk for these conditions no matter what kind of carbohydrates they eat. Yes, even unrefined carbs. Too much whole-grain oatmeal for breakfast and whole-grain pasta for dinner, with fruit snacks in between, add up to a less healthy diet than one of eggs and bacon, followed by fish. The reality is that fat doesn’t make you fat or diabetic. Scientific investigations going back to the 1950s suggest that actually, carbs do.

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May 12, 2014 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sugar, not fat, is real heart disease killer: We got it wrong on diet advice, claims expert

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2574269/Sugar-not-fat-real-heart-disease-killer-We-got-wrong-diet-advice-claims-expert.html#ixzz2vvZtwFZC
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March 13, 2014 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

[Press Release] Pizza perfect! A nutritional overhaul of ‘junk food’ and ready-meals is possible

A "mozzarella" pizza.

A “mozzarella” pizza. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the press release of the University of Glasgow at the 1 November 2013 EurkAlert

 

Pizza is widely regarded as a fully-paid up member of the junk food gang – maybe even the leader – at least the versions found on supermarket shelves or delivered to your door by scooter.

Historically, a few humble ingredients: bread, tomatoes and a little cheese, combined to form a traditional, healthy meal, but many of today’s pizzas have recruited two dangerous new members to their posse – salt and saturated fat.

However, pizzas and many other nutritionally-dubious foods can be made nutritionally ideal: A crowning example of ‘health by stealth’ according to scientists, who say it is possible to reformulate such foods to achieve public health goals, without upsetting their taste so they remain commercially successful for producers.

Professor Mike Lean, a physician and nutritionist in the School of Medicine at the University of Glasgow, said: “Traditional pizza should be a low-fat meal containing at least one portion of vegetables, so mainly made from ingredients associated with better cardiovascular health.

“However, to enhance shelf-life, commercial pizza recipes today include much more fat and salt than desirable. Until now, nobody has stopped to notice that many essential vitamins and minerals are very low or even completely absent. From a nutrition and health perspective, they are hazardous junk.

“Pizzas are widely consumed and regarded as meals in themselves, and yet their impact on human nutrition does not seem to have been studied.”

The team of scientists, which also included Dr Emilie Combet, Amandine Jarlot and Kofi Aidoo of Glasgow Caledonian University, set out to ascertain the nutritional content and quality of contemporary pizzas and to demonstrate that pizza can be reformulated to make it the basis of a fully nutritionally-balanced meal.

A range of new pizza recipes was then developed, each containing 30% of all the nutrients required in a day: in other words, an ideal meal.

A total of 25 Margarita pizzas were analysed. They varied widely in calorie content, ranging from 200 to 562kcal. Few approached the 600kcal energy requirement that would make it a proper meal, so people may tend to eat something extra.

Perhaps surprisingly only six of 25 pizzas tested contained too much total fat (>35% total energy), with eight having too much saturated fat while only two boasting a desirable level (<11% total energy). Most of the fat in the pizzas came from the cheese.

The amount of sodium in most of the 25 pizzas was substantially over the recommended limit, with nine containing more than 1g per 600kcal serving.

Several pizzas had sodium levels well within the recommended limit but were not advertised as low-salt or low-sodium, indicating that recipes can be modified and remain commercially successful.

To constitute a healthy nutritionally-balanced meal, at least 45% of the energy intake should come from carbohydrates. Only five failed to meet this requirement, due to combined high fat and protein contents.

Vitamin and mineral content information was mostly absent from the packaging, with only five providing this information in detail, and three having basic information. None met the recommended value for iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. One met just the iron requirement and two the vitamin C requirement. Vitamin A requirement was met in four pizzas, and only one met calcium requirements.

Prof Lean said: “Some were really bad. While none of the pizzas tested satisfied all the nutritional requirements, many of the requirements were met in some pizzas, which told us it should be possible to modify the recipes to make them more nutritionally-balanced without impacting on flavour – health by stealth, if you like.”

To demonstrate how to do it, the researchers joined forces with an industrial food producer to modify a modern pizza recipe: reducing salt, adding whole-wheat flour, adding a small amount of Scottish seaweed to provide flavour, vitamin B12 and fibre, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and iodine, adding red peppers provided extra vitamin C.

The proportions of bread base to Mozzarella cheese was adjusted to correct the carbohydrate/fat/protein ratios and minimize saturated fat content. After cooking, it was finally analysed in the laboratory.

The team put the end result to a taste test with members of the public and both children and adults gave it the thumbs-up for taste and attractiveness.

The world’s first nutritionally-balanced pizzas were subsequently marketed by food company Eat Balanced.com, and three flavours are available from various UK supermarkets.

Prof Lean said: “There really is no reason why pizzas and other ready meals should not be nutritionally-balanced. We have shown it can be done with no detriment for taste.

“Promoting ‘healthy eating’ and nutritional education have had little impact on eating habits or health so far, and taking so-called ‘nutritional supplements’ makes things worse.

“We can’t all make entirely home-made meals, so it’s about time that manufacturers took steps to make their products better suited to human biology, and we have shown then how to do it. Rather than sneaking in additives like salt, they could be boasting about healthier ingredients that will benefit consumers.”

The study ‘Development of a nutritionally-balanced pizza, as a functional meal designed to meet published dietary guidelines’, is published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

 

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For more information contact Stuart Forsyth in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 4831 or email stuart.forsyth@glasgow.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

The study was supported by a ‘First Step Award’ (funding from the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Government) between the University of Glasgow and the industrial partner Eat Balanced Ltd. The authors wish to thank Fiona Alexander, UKAS research technician at Glasgow Caledonian University, and the input of Cosmo Tamburro at Cosmo Products Ltd. Posteriori to this project, ML has acted as scientific advisor for Eat Balanced Ltd and received a consultancy fee from the company.

 

 

 

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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