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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Former Daily Show correspondent and now Last Week Tonight host John Oliver on Dr. Oz’s admission that his promotion of weight loss supplements is lacking in the facts department [4:30]:

But that’s the whole point! You’re presenting it as a doctor. If you want to keep spouting this bullshit that’s fine. But don’t call your show Dr. Oz, call it Check This Shit Out with Some Guy Named Mehmet.

Watch the whole segment below. Oliver transitions from Dr. Oz into the general problems with the supplement industry. Don’t miss Oliver’s suggestions at the end for how Dr. Oz could “fill a show with shameless pandering, without dangerously misleading medical information” [13:30]. My fave is Steve Buscemi tap dancing … because who wouldn’t want to watch that ;).

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Quote of the day

Thanks to Andy Bellatti for the permission to repost his response to the latest “saturated fat doesn’t raise risk of heart disease” study. His take-aways (emphasis mine):

1. It’s important to keep in mind that this meta-analysis only looked at heart disease. I think saturated fat’s role in heart disease has been exaggerated and misunderstood, but we also can’t forget that most of the foods that are high in saturated fat are problematic for other reasons (i.e.: processed meats increase colorectal cancer risk, most foods high in saturated fat do not contribute fiber, the role that L-carnitine, a compound in red meat, plays in promotion of heart disease, etc.)

2. This study still does not discount the fact that monounsaturated fats (almonds, pecans, olives, avocados) confer many health benefits.

3. As long as we have this dichotomy of “saturated vs. unsaturated” fats, we’ll always have this battle. In reality, we need to start having a “processed vs. unprocessed” fat conversation. “Unsaturated” fats include everything from the fat in avocados (great!) to the fat Doritos are fried in (not good).

4. Too often, these studies end up inaccurately translated as “saturated fat isn’t as harmful as we once thought! Pile on the bacon!” To me, what this study says confirms is what I tell my clients often: “it’s fine if you want to cook your vegetables in a little butter to give them flavor, but the focus should be on eating a hearty amount of vegetables, not drowning three broccoli florets in a ton of butter because butter has been given the supposed green light.”

5. Remember that whole, plant-based foods contain many compounds (minerals, phytonutrients) that are great for heart health.

This is the first time in over 200 QOTD posts that I’ve quoted an entire post! But I thought the whole thing was well worth sharing here … I couldn’t agree with Andy more.

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Food Politics’ Marion Nestle has written today about new food-based dietary guidelines Brazil has issued for public comment. [If you can read Portuguese, here’s the original.] The guidelines are:

  1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products.
  4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
  5. Eat in company whenever possible.
  6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.
  7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
  8. Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.
  10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.

What I find fascinating is how many of the guidelines have to do with something aside from what foods to eat, such as the guidelines about eating meals with others (4 & 5) and the guidelines about cooking & planning (7 & 8).

Nestle is a fan:

The guidelines are remarkable in that they are based on foods that Brazilians of all social classes eat every day, and consider the social, cultural, economic and environmental implications of food choices.

It will be interesting to see if/how the guidelines change as a result of the open comment period, as well as the reaction to them from the US dietary establishment.

Side note: Nestle got a translation of the guidelines from University of Sao Paulo’s Carlos A. Monteiro, author of a study defining the concept of “ultra-processing” and contributor to these draft guidelines.

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Quote of the day

All those confusing nutrition messages? Yeah, they aren’t so good. From Rebekah Nagler’s 2010 UPenn dissertation abstract:

Measures of media exposure to contradictory messages were developed and validated for the purposes of this research, and results show that exposure is associated with negative outcomes. Specifically, exposure to conflicting information on the health benefits and risks of, for example, wine, fish, and coffee consumption is associated with confusion about what foods are best to eat and the belief that nutrition scientists keep changing their minds. There is evidence that these beliefs, in turn, may lead people to doubt nutrition and health recommendations more generally—including those that are not rife with contradictory information (e.g., fruit and vegetable consumption, exercise behavior).

Akin to analysis paralysis perhaps?

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Researchers have taken a step towards documenting the black box that is our metabolism:

Here we describe Recon 2, a community-driven, consensus ‘metabolic reconstruction’, which is the most comprehensive representation of human metabolism that is applicable to computational modeling.

Their model is available at http://humanmetabolism.org/. Here’s a visual map:

metabolism

Thanks to Asclepius for the pointer. As he says, Simply CICO eh?

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Via Lifehacker comes a link to Shannon Lattin’s pretty slick infographic on where to get vitamins from food:

Shannon Lattin's "More than Supplemental" infographic. Click for large version.

Shannon Lattin’s “More than Supplemental” infographic.
Click for large version.

A couple of notes. First, while I’m a big fan of the Jaminets and their Perfect Health Diet, I think I’m with Kamal Patel — he doesn’t “totally agree with [their] supplementation strategy” (looking forward to part 2 where Kamal gets into specifics!). Me, I am a big fan of getting nutrients from food. While there are legitimate questions of whether or not food can provide an optimal amount of nutrients, I think there are also questions about the side effects of getting nutrients in the form of supplements (too much? right kind? lack of synergistic nutrients? etc). OTOH, supplements may be useful for folks who aren’t interested in eating the necessary nutrient-dense foods.

(more…)

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Dave Asprey has an interesting, mostly moderate post on supplements over at the Bulletproof Executive.

I’m in that group of folks who think that it’s better to get things from food, and that supplements generally mean expensive pee. But even I wind up being swayed by some of the arguments for a specific supplement … or even a multi (picked up one based on Chris Kresser’s recommendation), despite the fact that my diet seems pretty dialed in.

Here’s Dave’s basic approach:

  1. Get the majority of your nutrients from food.
  2. Consume supplements in their highest performance form.
  3. When in doubt – go without.

I’m okay with that. I’d also make sure that any supplements were also from the best sources.

His list of supplements most of us should take?

Vitamin D
Vitamin C
         Magnesium
Iodine
         Vitamin K2
Fish Oil

Ironic that he published this the day this study re fish oil came out, but again, you need to decide for yourself (I think that all the pounding down of Vitamin D is going to come back to bite folks, but we’ll see).

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