Archives for the month of: August, 2015

Here’s yesterday’s (in my time zone, anyway) opinion piece by Gary Taubes: Diet Advice That Ignores Hunger where he discusses the recent “calorie for calorie” study that blew up just a little across the media.

Implicit in many discussions of how best to lose weight is the assumption that hunger, which is a consequence of caloric deprivation, is not an issue.

Dr Aseem Malhotra on BBC1 discussing the focus on good, real food as opposed to calorie counting without thinking about the quality of the calories.

The most important aspect for me in these types of discussions is that everyone usually concedes that a “balanced diet” is healthy, but the definition of “balanced” is never tackled head-on. It’s still un-pc to say that my plate of roughly 70% fat is “balanced” (and awesome).

Here is his (and his co-authors’) editorial piece in the open-access journal Open Heart. Bonus easter egg: he uses a hotmail email address. Nice troll work, Doctor.

**Video via The Fat Emperor!

Confused by conflicting nutritional and medical advice?

Well, this is possibly one piece of the intricate puzzle of how we got into this mess: “Half of all clinical trials have never reported results”. Trials may end up not being reported in journals for many reasons, but it really is important that the global research community sees the results so that money isn’t wasted on similar studies and, more importantly, they see why certain trials were deemed to be unsuccessful. A wealth of information lies behind failed experiments and hypotheses.

You can support the All Trials movement by signing their petition, or simply follow them on social media if you’re interested.

Robert Lustig on the modern processed food experiment and the implications for us as a (global) society.

He touches on a wide variety of aspects. From about 47min he turns to the environmental and economic concerns of a sugar over-saturated population.

Of course, like every talk an opinion piece out there, consider it and make up your own mind.

Yum time. Two boiled eggs wrapped in Serrano ham and half an avocado.

Not pictured: coffee with cream.


“A Few of My Favourite Things”

Good, quality food, mostly. 🙂

I spent some time just idly wandering the aisles of my local grocery shop this week. Suddenly 85% of the shop doesn’t even exist to me (accurate statistic sucked out of my thumb). It was wonderfully liberating to feel absolutely no compulsion to buy anything, except some more avocados.

I saw some new products, including lots of new (!), exciting (!) low-fat dairy products. Also a lower fat salami proudly made with rapeseed oil. What’s the point! Just more stuff from Productland that I can ignore.

In addition to this giant change in food-spending behaviour, I also spend less on personal care products. Since I’m eating less crap, I don’t buy a lot of skincare products. Awesome! I have also been converted to DE shaving (google it!) and using a menstrual cup (google that, too!). Both have a significant start-up cost, but pay for themselves quite quickly.

I thought I’d put this out there. It has gotten me thinking a lot about general spending behaviour and the economic forces at play behind the loaded shelves of unnecessary products, all trying to outdo the other in grabbing your attention and your money.

I’m very happy to support the local butchery now too, especially to get some great fatty cuts of meat from local farms. I just wish their opening hours were longer…

A new study published in the BMJ (funded by WHO) is a meta-analysis of previous published results. These kinds of studies are an attempt to review existing data and scrutinise them for any bias and assess the integrity of the conclusions. The results can then be pooled together to draw conclusions, if possible, from a broader set of data.

I have quoted the objectives and conclusions of the study below. Feel free to have a look at the original study and think about it for yourself.

Objective To systematically review associations between intake of saturated fat and trans unsaturated fat and all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated mortality, coronary heart disease (CHD) and associated mortality, ischemic stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Conclusions Saturated fats are not associated with all cause mortality, CVD, CHD, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes, but the evidence is heterogeneous with methodological limitations. Trans fats are associated with all cause mortality, total CHD, and CHD mortality, probably because of higher levels of intake of industrial trans fats than ruminant trans fats. Dietary guidelines must carefully consider the health effects of recommendations for alternative macronutrients to replace trans fats and saturated fats.

A summary of the work is also provided after the article:

What is already known on this topic

  • Contrary to prevailing dietary advice, authors of a recent systematic review and meta-analyses claim that there is no excess cardiovascular risk associated with intake of saturated fat, and the US has recently taken policy action to remove partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from its food supply

  • Population health guidelines require a careful review and assessment of the evidence of harms of these nutrients, with a focus on replacement nutrients

What this study adds

  • This study reviewed prospective observational studies and assessed the certainty of the associations with GRADE methods

  • There was no association between saturated fats and health outcomes in studies where saturated fat generally replaced refined carbohydrates, but there was a positive association between total trans fatty acids and health outcomes

  • Dietary guidelines for saturated and trans fatty acids must carefully consider the effect of replacement nutrients

This is a thousand times worth the watch if you are interested in diabetes.

Prof Unger (Uni Texas) goes through the current (standard) thinking of diabetes, but challenges this with a change of perspective. In this case, the perspective’s name is glucagon.

The presentation also serves as a good jolt for scientists in any field to remain skeptical of the prevailing paradigm in their field… Never stop questioning!

I’m pretty much living at work at the moment, so pre-prepared meals are crucial.

My daily dinner for this week consists of mixed green leaves, some red bell peppers, 3x meatballs (consisting only of mince, greek yogurt and a little butter), avocado and a dollop crème fraîche on top.

I can eat like this forever! 😀

Staple diet of awesomeness.

Staple diet of awesomeness.

Dr Eric Westman, current president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, talks through the steps of starting a ketogenic diet and discusses some of the things you can do to make your life easier.

One useful tip I learned was that a cup of greens or other veggies is roughly equivalent to a fist-size. I loathe measuring cauliflower and broccoli, mostly because I don’t care for being that precise, so this is a great way to learn to eyeball a serving of veggies.