Saturated Fats Linked To Heart Disease Once Again

–But critics say that observational studies can’t establish causal relationship. A prominent group of nutrition researchers have once again linked saturated fats to increased coronary heart disease. The new paper, published in BMJ, is the third paper in the past year to decry saturated fats. Along with the previous two papers, published in JACC and JAMA Internal…

Click here to continue reading…

Calcium Levels and CV Risk: New Study Finds No Link

–But most agree dietary calcium is preferable to supplements A new review concludes that a high level of calcium intake, whether from food or supplements, is not linked to increased cardiovascular risk, as long as the total calcium intake remains below the tolerable upper level of intake (2,000-2,500 mg/day). The systematic review, published in Annals…

Click here to continue reading…

How Sweet: Sugar Industry Made Fat the Villain

–Harvard researchers received sugar industry money to write a NEJM review. Newly uncovered documents reveal that 50 years ago the sugar industry gave secret support to prominent Harvard researchers to write an influential series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine that downplayed the negative effects of sugar. Instead, the articles shifted the blame…

Click here to continue reading…

Changes In Eskimo Diet Linked To Increase In Heart Disease

New paper explores the fascinating history of research into the Eskimo diet. The Eskimo diet and its effect on the heart has been a source of confusion and contention for decades. The observation that Eskimos, who traditionally consumed large amounts of saturated fat and small amounts of carbohydrates, had low rates of heart disease appeared…

Click here to continue reading…

New Analysis Of Old Study Delivers Another Blow To Traditional Diet Advice

–Replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils lowered cholesterol but didn’t improve outcomes A new analysis from a long-forgotten study dating to the 1960s adds to mounting doubts over a cornerstone of dietary advice for more than 50 years: the demonization of saturated fat in the diet. Although in recent years the nutritional establishment has retreated…

Click here to continue reading…

Recipe For Disaster: The New US Dietary Guidelines

The science of nutrition is a disaster. For a variety of very good reasons it is nearly impossible to perform high quality, long term randomized controlled trials to provide satisfactory answers to most of the pressing questions of the day. But many experts are convinced they do know the answer to many of these questions….

Click here to continue reading…

New Analysis Finds Small But Significant Advantage For Low Carb Diets

A new meta-analysis finds that low-carb diets are more effective than low-fat diets in weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk. The study finding suggests “that a low-carb diet should be the first line approach for weight management,” said the first author of the study, Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein. But the difference between the two dietary approaches was not…

Click here to continue reading…

Study Questions Conventional Wisdom About Trans Fats

Could a little trans fat found naturally in meat and dairy actually be protective? Amid the stormy debate over dietary recommendations regarding saturated fats and carbohydrates, there’s been one area of calm and consensus. Nearly everyone seems to have agreed that trans fats have no place in the diet. The FDA’s recent move to ban trans…

Click here to continue reading…

Weight Loss Programs: Slim Evidence And Poor Results

A new study concludes that some weight loss programs may be slightly better than other programs but that in the long run none of the programs have been able to show a substantial weight loss over a sustained period. For even the best programs, an editorialist writes, “weight loss is modest and likely below patients’…

Click here to continue reading…

No, An Apple A Day Won’t Keep The Doctor Away

No, an apple a day does not appear to keep the doctor away. But, a new study semi-seriously suggests, it may keep the pharmacist away. The study serves as an instructive and humorous way to look at the perpetually thorny problem of how to best understand and make use of findings from observational studies. As this new paper makes clear,…

Click here to continue reading…

Very Simple High-Fiber Diet Stands Up To American Heart Association Diet

Diets notoriously fail to help people lose a lot of weight. One problem is that most diets include a broad range of restrictions and guidelines that many people find difficult to follow. Another problem is that negative recommendations may have unintended consequences, such as low-fat recommendations leading to increased consumption of refined carbohydrates. Now a new…

Click here to continue reading…

How Much Salt Should Old People Consume?

A new study offers fresh evidence that current salt recommendations should be taken with, well, a grain of salt. Current guidelines now recommend that everyone should have sodium intake levels below 2300 mg per day. For many people at higher risk, including everyone over 50 years of age, sodium intake should be below 1500 mg/d….

Click here to continue reading…

Get Rid of Sugar, Not Salt, Say Authors

Too much negative attention has been focused on salt and not enough on sugar, write two authors in Open Heart. Reviewing the extensive literature on salt and sugar, they write that the adverse effects of salt are less than the adverse effects of sugar. The evidence supporting efforts to reduce salt in the diet is not convincing…

Click here to continue reading…

Popular Diets Achieve Only Modest Long-Term Weight Loss

Four of the most popular current weight loss diets produce at best only modest long-term benefits, a new study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes shows. The study also found few significant differences across the four diets, offering little hope that any one diet can produce a serious dent in the obesity epidemic. Mark Eisenberg and colleagues systematically searched…

Click here to continue reading…

Paper Behind The Green Coffee Bean Diet Craze Retracted

The “scientific” paper that helped ignite the green coffee bean diet craze has been retracted. The details of the retraction and the full background of the story were fully reported by Ivan Oransky on Retraction Watch. The paper, published in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, purported to report the substantial weight loss findings of a randomized, double-blind,…

Click here to continue reading…

Another Diet Myth Exploded: Gradual Weight Loss No Better Than Rapid Weight Loss

Once again, a popular weight loss myth has been exploded. It has been widely believed that weight loss, which is nearly always difficult to maintain, is even less likely to stay lost if it is the product of a rapid weight loss. The belief is even enshrined in current guidelines. Now a study published in The Lancet…

Click here to continue reading…

Studies Provide Little Support For Guidelines On Dietary Fats And Supplements

The precise cardiovascular effect of dietary fats and supplements has been the subject of heated controversy. Although there is no strong supporting evidence from clinical trials, current guidelines tend to discourage or minimize the role of saturated fats and trans fats and to encourage the intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Two new studies published today help clarify…

Click here to continue reading…

Lower Blood Pressure Found In Vegetarians

A new study provides the strongest evidence yet that a vegetarian diet is strongly associated with lower blood pressure. Although various health benefits of a vegetarian diet have often been proposed, a rigorous examination of the effect on blood pressure has not been previously performed. In a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Japanese researchers analyzed data from…

Click here to continue reading…

The Not So Sweet Facts About Sugar

A new study offers a broad overview of the use of sugar in the US diet and its consequent health implications. The good news is that the growth in sugar intake appears to have stopped and may even have slightly declined. The bad news is that people still consume way too much sugar and that…

Click here to continue reading…

Mediterranean Diet Protects Against Diabetes, Regardless of Weight Loss

Even if it doesn’t lead to weight loss, a Mediterranean diet could help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, according to a subanalysis of last year’s influential PREDIMED study. In the main trial, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly 7500 people at high risk for cardiovascular disease were randomized to a low-fat diet or…

Click here to continue reading…

A PR Pitch For The Worst Diet In The World

I get all sorts of PR pitches. Most of them are uninteresting or ridiculous and I just ignore them. Here is one that is so stupifyingly wrong that I can’t resist sharing it. It should win some sort of award for combining the most amount of fraudulent claims in a single pitch. I don’t see…

Click here to continue reading…

A Manhattan Project To End The Obesity Epidemic

A newly launched nonprofit organization, the Nutrition Science Initiative, will try to find an answer to the question,  “What should we eat to be healthy?” NuSI is nothing if not ambitious: its goal is to seek “the end of fad diets and high obesity rates.” The founders of the organization, called NuSI (pronounced “new see”) for short, are Gary Taubes…

Click here to continue reading…

Good Science/Bad Science: Contrasting Papers On Dietary Compositon In JAMA And BMJ

Two studies published on Tuesday on dietary composition offer a striking contrast. One tackles the interesting question of whether different diets producing the same amount of weight loss might have different effects on energy expenditure. The investigators performed a rigorous, carefully designed experiment that advances our knowledge about diets and metabolism. The second tackled an…

Click here to continue reading…

Bad News for Red Meat Lovers

Results from studies following more than 120,000 health care professionals link red meat consumption to higher mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. In a paper published in Archives of Internal Medicine, An Pan and colleagues report findings from observations over 22 years of 37,698 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and over 28 years of 83,644…

Click here to continue reading…