30 October 2008

Arthritis patients face increased risk of mood disorders

Supports Chapter 25: Deficiency diseases and Chapter 26: Diet and the brain

The results of a world-wide study confirm that people with arthritis are more likely to suffer from mood disorders and other mental health conditions than other people.

Researchers from Shanghai Mental Health Center in China studied data from a health survey of more than 85,000 adults in 17 countries in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. They specifically assessed associations between arthritis and the prevalence of anxiety, mood and alcohol use disorders.

They found that people with arthritis were almost twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders as those without arthritis. This was similar across all the countries studied.

It could be argued that people who suffer the pain and discomfort of arthritis are more likely to be depressed than people who aren't, but there is also a dietary component: This study adds weight to others that show that both conditions may be caused or exacerbated by eating the same 'healthy' diet. That is one which is based on cereal grains in foods such as bread, and is low in fat.

He Y, et al. Mental disorders among persons with arthritis: results from the World Mental Health Surveys. Psychol Med 2008; 38: 1639-1650. doi:10.1017/S0033291707002474

Eating fruit may increase heart attack risk

Supports Chapters 8: Why 'five portions', and Chapter 21: Diseases of the heart and blood vessels

Dr Hans Selye first proposed that stress may be a cause of heart attacks back in 1950. There is now a considerable body of evidence to support this hypothesis, but the mechanism has been obscure.

There is also a hypothesis that a low pH in the blood (denoting acidity) increases cardiac risk. So we are told to avoid eating 'acid forming' foods such as meat, fats and dairy, and eat more 'alkaline foods' such as fruit and vegetables.

A recent hypothesis by Dr Carlos Monteiro in Brazil may have the answer - and it turns current acid/alkaline foods hypothesis advice on its head.

We have lived by eating meat and its 'saturated' fat for the whole of our existence as a species; ischaemic heart disease, against which 'healthy eating' is targeted, only 'took off' in the 20th century. The idea that our traditional diet should suddenly become the cause of this modern disease is a fraud and a delusion. Yet it is the sole basis for the current paradigm. It is also the basis for the 'acid/alkaline' theory.

But there is an acid that can lower pH in the blood and cause harm, and that is lactic acid. It’s not ingested lactic acid but produced by the body in response to stress. We live now in stressful times, where our 'fight-or-flight' reflex must be working overtime. A principal result of such stresses is increased levels of lactic acid in the blood.

A 'healthy' diet of glucose, fructose and other sugars from carbohydrates also raises blood lactic acid as a by-product of the metabolism of glucose for energy from dietary carbohydrates. The worst of these is the fruit sugar, fructose, which increases blood pressure and other heart attack risk factors.

If a low-carb, high-fat diet is adopted, that naturally reduces lactic acid production from anaerobic metabolism of glucose by increasing aerobic metabolism of fats for energy.

Carlos ETB Monteiro. Acidic environment evoked by chronic stress: A novel mechanism to explain atherogenesis. Available from Infarct Combat Project at http://www.infarctcombat.org/AcidityTheory.pdf

25 October 2008

Low carb diet found to lower insulin levels

Supports Chapter 14: The metabolic syndrome and the glycaemic index; and Chapter 20: Diabetes deceit

If you want a long and healthy life, without diseases such as diabetes with its wide range of complications, you need to ensure stability in blood sugar and insulin levels. This means that foods such as meat, fish, eggs and green vegetables, which don't disrupt blood sugar (and therefore insulin) levels, are the ones you should eat.

This concept of controlling carb intake is not considered 'healthy' by the establishment, who want to profit from diabetes. But its not just relevant for diabetics, but also for those who would prefer not to develop diabetes.

A recent study tested the effects of low-carb and low fat (and higher carb) diets in a group of obese adolescents aged 12-18.it showed that the high-fat, low carbohydrate diet out-performed the low fat one in critical areas: insulin levels were lower in those eating a lower carb diet; as was insulin resistance and beta-cell exhaustion.

In other words, those adolescents on a lower carb diet saw improvements in their biochemistry which would, generally speaking, put them at reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time.

This evidence is in line with other research which has found that the consumption of blood sugar-disruptive 'healthy' carbohydrate-based diets arer associated with an increased risk of diabetes.

Demol S, et al. Low-carbohydrate (low & high-fat) versus high-carbohydrate low-fat diets in the treatment of obesity in adolescents. Acta Paediatr. 2008 Sep 29. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 1882649]

24 October 2008

Breakfast cereals can damage children and make them fat

Supports Chapter 18: Prevention is better; Chapter 19: 'Healthy eating' is fattening

It's not surprising that today's children are become so obese. On average, sugar accounts for more than one-third of the weight of children's cereals compared to less than one-quarter of adult cereals. Some breakfast cereals aimed children are two-thirds sugar. Even the rest is composed of starch, a carbohydrate which the digestion converts into sugar.[1]

Yet the 'health industry' labels these as 'healthy'!

Schwartz MB, Vartanian LR, Wharton CM, Brownell KD. Examining the nutritional quality of breakfast cereals marketed to children. J Am Diet Assoc 2008; 108:702-5. (PMID: 18375229)

23 October 2008

Trick and Treat goes to Number One on Amazon - over a week before publication

The official publication date for Trick and Treat: How 'healthy eating' is making us ill is 30 October 2008 in the UK.

Following the first article about Trick and Treat in the Telegraph on Monday, 20 October, Trick and Treat shot right up to Number One in Amazon.co.uk's Public Health and Preventive Medicine category, and 158 overall.


22 October 2008

Lipitor advertising misleading over lack of benefits for women.

Supports Chapter One: Trick to Treat

Experts in epidemiology and law claim that in the advertising of the world’s best selling drug, Lipitor (atorvastatin), its manufacturer, Pfizer, failed to disclose the fact that there are no known benefits for women in taking the drug.

They argue that unqualified claims of protection against heart attacks made in advertisements for Lipitor may be misleading and that this advertising raises concerns about the way the US Food and Drug Administration regulates drugs.

The authors, Theodore Eisenberg, a professor of law at Cornell Law School, and Martin Wells, professor of clinical epidemiology at Cornell University Weill Medical College, claim that a substantial portion of the multibillion dollar market in statins may be made up of users for whom the drugs offer no benefit.

They say that women prescribed the Lipitor should be entitled to compensation to recoup the costs of treatment. The same should also apply to other statins, of course, as no study of cholesterol-lowering in women - by any drug - has shown a benefit.

Eisenberg T, Wells MT. Statins and Adverse Cardiovascular Events in Moderate-Risk Females: A Statistical and Legal Analysis with Implications for FDA Preemption Claims. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 2008 Sep 5;5(3):507 - 550 (doi:10.1111/j.1740-1461.2008.00132.x)

Aspirin should not routinely be used to prevent heart attacks in diabetics

Supports Chapter 20: Diabetes deceit

Aspirin should not be routinely prescribed to diabetics for the prevention of heart attack and stroke, say researchers.

The Prevention of Progression of Arterial Disease and Diabetes (POPADAD) Trial involved 1,276 people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who had no symptoms of coronary heart disease. Participants had either a daily 100 mg aspirin tablet plus antioxidant capsule, an aspirin tablet plus placebo capsule, a placebo tablet plus antioxidant capsule, or a placebo tablet plus placebo capsule.

Results showed that aspirin – whether taken alone or in combination with an antioxidant capsule – did not significantly reduce the risk of death from coronary heart disease or stroke, or non-fatal myocardial infarction or stroke.

The researchers conclude: “This trial does not provide evidence to support the use of aspirin or antioxidants in primary prevention of cardiovascular events and mortality.”

Let's face it, as Type-2 diabetes is so easily and quickly rectified merely by a change of diet, why take risks with any drugs?

Belch J, MacCuish A, Campbell I, et al. The prevention of progression of arterial disease and diabetes (POPADAD) trial: factorial randomised placebo controlled trial of aspirin and antioxidants in patients with diabetes and asymptomatic peripheral arterial disease. BMJ 2008;337:a1840. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1840

We should get out in the sun more - in the middle of the day

Supports Chapter 11: Our irrational fear of sunshine

Health recommendations are that we should avoid sun exposure for three to five hours around noon because of the skin cancer risk. But a group of doctors at the Institute for Cancer Research, Montebello, Oslo, Norway, say this may be wrong and may even promote melanoma. They have determined that, to get an optimal vitamin D from the sun at a minimal risk of getting malignant melanoma, around noon the best time to go out in the sun exposure. This add weight to the studies in Trick and Treat (click above for the abstract)
This would give a maximal yield of vitamin D at a minimal CMM risk.
Moan J, Dahlback A, Porojnicu AC. At what time should one go out in the sun? Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008; 624: 86-8

12 October 2008

High cholesterol is better for memory

Supports Chapter 26: Diet and the brain

High cholesterol is better for memory and cognitive function in the elderly
A study assessed cognitive function and cholesterol levels in 185 participants between the ages of 85 and 101. These participants were recruited from the New York City area.
    Bloods were drawn to assess total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, as well as for APOE genotyping.
    In contrast to the researchers' expectations, they found that "high total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol were associated with higher memory scores for noncarriers of the APOE4 allele. No significant associations between cognitive performance and lipid profile were found for carriers of the APOE4 allele."
    High cholesterol in individuals above the age of 79 has actually been found to be associated with reduced risk of dementia.
    High total cholesterol has also been correlated with a lower risk of mortality in the elderly. It may be conjectured that high levels of cholesterol suggests better health than that of individuals with lower levels of cholesterol.
    They concluded that "high cholesterol is associated with better memory function."

West R, Schnaider Beeri M, Schmeidler J, et al. Better Memory Functioning Associated With Higher Total and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in Very Elderly Subjects Without the Apolipoprotein e4 Allele. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2008;16:781–785

Carbs cause obesity

Supports Chapter 20: Healthy eating is fattening

Carbs may destroy appetite regulation over time
People who eat diets high in carbs and sugar may lose their natural ability to regulate their appetite, researchers warned today. The ability to regulate appetite may decline with age depending on what is eaten, new research suggests.
    A team from Monash University in Victoria, Australia, say that appetite-suppressing cells are attacked by free radicals after eating. This degeneration is more significant after meals high in carbohydrates and sugars.
    People who consume more carbohydrates and sugars experience more damage to their appetite-control cells, which could result in over-eating and weight gain, the researchers believe.
    Dr Zane Andrews, the lead author, says that the damage to appetite suppressing cells creates a cellular imbalance between our need to eat and signals to the brain to stop eating. "People in the age group of 25 to 50 are most at risk," he said. "The neurons that tell people in this crucial age range not to over-eat are being killed-off.
    "When the stomach is empty, it triggers the ghrelin hormone that notifies the brain that we are hungry. When we are full, a set of neurons known as POMCs kick in. However, free radicals created naturally in the body attack the POMC neurons. This process causes the neurons to degenerate overtime, affecting our judgement as to when our hunger is satisfied."
    It could therefore play an important role in adult-onset obesity. Dr Andrews said. "A diet rich in carbohydrate and sugar that has become more and more prevalent in modern societies over the last 20-30 years has placed so much strain on our bodies that it's leading to premature cell deterioration."
    These findings were published in the journal Nature. The team are now looking at whether carbohydrates and sugars affect the brain in other ways, including risk of neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

Andrews ZB, et al. UCP2 mediates ghrelin's action on NPY/AgRP neurons by lowering free radicals. Nature 454, 846 - 851 (30 Jul 2008), doi: 10.1038/nature07181,

11 October 2008

Welcome to Trick and Treat

The Second Opinions website started as a collection of articles. For about 10 years, I had been researching the role of foods in a number of 'diseases of civilisation' — mostly heart disease and obesity at that time — and it had become very obvious that what our governments, as well as doctors, dieticians and nutritionists were telling us had very little basis is any coherent body of evidence; in fact all the evidence tended to point the other way. This meant that the conditions the dietary recommendations were meant to benefit, would probably get worse rather than better. And that is what did happen and that is what is still happening as the numbers of cases of diseases such as obesity and diabetes have risen dramatically since 'healthy eating' was introduced in the 1980s.
It seemed that the only way to reach a lot of people and let them know what was going on, was either to write a book or to write a website. I have ended up doing both.
I started writing my latest book, Trick and Treat: How 'healthy eating is making us ill, in 1989. I called it Diet and be Damned. The publisher, Hodder Headline, told me they thought it was too important a book to publish as I was then an unknown author; they advised me to write a 'diet book'. I have written three since then, as well as other, more technical works.
Now, 19 years after I first conceived it, the health situation has become so bad in western countries, as 'Big-Pharma' and 'Big-Food' have assumed control of our health for their profit, that I decided I must finish what I had started almost two decades ago. 2008 also marks the 60th anniversary of the British National Health Service (NHS). What better time could there be for such a book as Trick and Treat.

Trick and Treat
This title is a play on words with the title of the American children's 'extortion with menaces' game, trick or treat. But where trick or treat gives its victims a choice, the modern 'health industry' does not. With them it is both Trick and Treat. The health industry needs us to be ill so that it can profit fby it. For this reason, they trick us into an unhealthy lifestyle so that they can treat the resultant illnesses.

Stop Press
The problem with a book like this is that it is finished quite some time before it is published. The purpose of this blog is to list some of the supportive studies and evidence published after Trick and Treat was finished.