More Shots Fired in ‘Sugar War’

–Industry-sponsored study questions current guidelines on dietary sugar. Dietary guidelines relating to sugar— all of which recommend significant reductions in sugar intake— are based on weak evidence and are not trustworthy, according to a systematic review published in Annals of Internal Medicine. But an accompanying editorial points out that the systematic review is itself not…

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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…

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Lunchroom Scandal At The AHA: Day Two Of Buttergate

–After a CardioBrief investigation the American Heart Association changes the lunchroom menu There is no better proof that journalism can change the world– both for the good and the bad– than Buttergate. Yesterday your intrepid reporter exposed the ongoing scandal of Buttergate taking place within the press lunchroom at the American Heart Association meeting in New…

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Is The American Heart Association Trying To Kill Health Reporters?

The answer is no. The AHA is not trying to kill us. But its dietary advice is consistently confusing and occasionally wrong, and health reporters in New Orleans may end up as collateral damage. Just take a look at what’s being served in the press room at the big American Heart Association meeting going on now…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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You Say Potato, I Say Worthless Epidemiology

(Updated) –Observational study links potatoes to high blood pressure Depending on your position in the dietary wars, potatoes are now either a newly-confirmed nutritional villain or an innocent victim of overzealous and misapplied epidemiology. A new study, published in The BMJ, is the first to establish a direct link between potato consumption and blood pressure….

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Noted Skeptic Calls For More Randomized Nutrition Trials

Defying conventional wisdom Ioannidis says we need more negative trials to clear away all our misconceptions about nutrition Defying conventional wisdom Ioannidis says we need more negative trials to clear away all our misconceptions about nutritionDefying conventional wisdom Ioannidis says we need more negative trials to clear away all our misconceptions about nutritionDefying conventional wisdom…

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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…

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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….

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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…

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BMJ Paper Criticizes Proposed US Dietary Guidelines

Once again experts are passionately disagreeing about the proper role of saturated fats and carbohydrates in the diet. The latest volley comes from a full-scale critique  published in the BMJ  of proposed new US dietary guidelines. The author of the critique, Nina Teicholz,  is the author of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. In both the…

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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…

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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’…

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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,…

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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…

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New US Guidelines Will Lift Limits On Dietary Cholesterol

The influential  Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommended that limitations on dietary cholesterol be removed from the upcoming 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Recommendations to reduce dietary cholesterol have been a mainstay of the USDA and other guidelines for many years, starting with guidelines from the American Heart Association in the 1960s. … Click here to read…

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No Advantage For Low Glycemic Index Diet

In recent years the glycemic index (GI), a measure of a carbohydrate’s impact on blood sugar, has assumed a major role in discussions about diets and nutrition. Now a new study suggests that by itself, within the context of an otherwise healthy diet, GI may not be an important factor in improving cardiovascular risk. In…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Case Closed: Multivitamins Should Not Be Used

The editorialists are fed up: “Enough is enough.” Writing about three new papers in the Annals of Internal Medicine that find no benefits for the use of multivitamins — only the latest in a long line of negative findings — Eliseo Guallar and colleagues write: …we believe that the case is closed— supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most)…

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