Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Leave a comment

Revisiting the Diet/Heart Hypothesis?

Butter Is Back? Again?

Butter Is Back? Again?

There are many examples of how research results can be ignored when they do not conform to the latest expectations in nutrition thought of the time. The following old study appears to be one of them. The study was conducted in the beginning of the dietary fat  hypothesis frenzy  – about 40 years ago. The results were not totally published at the time but indicated that there were no differences in heart disease mortality between two large groups of participants, whether they ate diets high in the polyunsaturated fat, linoleic acid, supposedly thought at the time to lower heart disease risk, than those who ate a more liberal saturated fat and cholesterol diet, i.e., the typical American diet.

Bottom Line: The whole saturated fat/heart disease hypothesis may have been misunderstood when studies are ignored or not thought to have merit. It is no wonder that nutrition information is so conflicting and confusing. And it does no favors to compliment the scientific process or method, once considered with a great deal of respect.

Although this study supports recent dietary advice that saturated fat may not be the villain it was once thought to be. However, epidemiological evidence strongly supports plant-centered diets that seem to be the best bet in preventing chronic disease and increasing longevity.

For more details on the study, CLICK HERE.

For a more editorial assessment, CLICK HERE.


Leave a comment

Eat Less, Live Longer?

Grape Tomatoes

Since the beginning of time, humans have sought ways to live longer or stay young. Everyone is familiar with the story of Ponce De Leon who failed to find the “fountain of youth.” However, a lesser known Italian man named Luigi Cornaro born in the 15th century, may have come closer. He lived a life of abundance including food until a doctor advised him to cut back on his intake at the age of 36. He wrote books that promoted the idea “of eating as little as possible” entitled “The Art of Living Long.” Some accounts say he lived to be either 89 or 102 (depending on the source) in times when life expectancy was only 30. Had he discovered the fountain of youth or was this just a big coincidence?

For several decades, interest in calorie restriction and longevity has been studied in many species and it was concluded that restricting caloric intake (20 -40% less than recommended) but meets the needs of all nutrients, has extended the lifespan as much as 50% in organisms such as insects, worms, and rodents. It also reduces the incidence of many chronic diseases such as heart disease and some cancers, improves immune function, and maintains function into later life.

These studies extended to the primates by the 1980’s that led to the result than when rhesus monkeys were calorie restricted by 30% fewer calories in nutritionally adequate diets, their lifespans were indeed increased. In addition, the animals had lower body fat, less muscle loss and a lower incidence of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Human studies have been problematic for the simple reason that adherence of study participants to such diets for any length of time is difficult.

Epidemiological evidence supports the idea from studies of the long-lived population of Okinawa. They have traditionally practiced calorie restriction by eating until they are only 80 percent full. In the United States, mortality rates from heart disease are eight times higher and various cancers (lymphoma, colon, breast, and prostate) are four times higher than it is in Okinawa.

Would most healthy humans practice a calorie restricted diet? It is not easy. Caloric restriction would mean that a person who typically eats about 2000 calories per day could only eat 1200 to 1600 calories a day. Some researchers say this would be difficult and suggest that the best way to achieve this lifestyle would have to involve some form of intermittent fasting; however, that remains to be tested.

A new interesting study has tested this theory with healthy humans.  For the details CLICK HERE


Leave a comment

The Biggest Loser is Back?


Illustration from Diet and Heath with Key to the Calories, Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters, 1918.


The “Biggest Loser” is back!  The following article again addresses the problems with this show. Read more details HERE.

Will  they change their deplorable tactics following all the criticism of the show by former winners and obesity “experts”?



1 Comment

All-day Cereal?


Would you pay $7.50 for a bowl of cereal?  Kellogg’s thinks you will. For that $7.50, you also get a pretty good dose of your daily maximum sugar intake.  CLICK HERE.

According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugar you should consume is 25-38 grams a day for women and men, respectively which is equal to 6-9 teaspoons a day. Check out how much sugar is in your cereal HERE.

Would Dr. John Harvey Kellogg approve?


Leave a comment

Some Benefits of Meatless Mondays



Another informative infograph on how eating meat affects the environment. Around the world, many people have relied on plant proteins and vegetables to meet protein needs. In rural Mexico, protein mostly comes from beans, rice and tortillas. In India, it often comes from lentils and rice, and in China, rice and soy with small amounts of meat provide the protein source. As the economics of a country improves, the proportion of animal foods in its diet typically increases.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 403 other followers