Friday, October 27, 2006


The two very small studies below should only be seen as preliminary support for the theory

Two randomized clinical studies published this week in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating an egg daily helps to promote eye health without raising cholesterol levels.

Eggs provide two powerful antioxidants that have been shown to protect the retina and reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of age-related blindness. AMD affects more than 13 million Americans or 5 percent of people ages 65 and older.

Both studies looked at the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are part of the carotenoid family (like beta-carotene in carrots) and are the only carotenoids found in the eye. People can't make these antioxidants on their own and must get them from foods such as egg yolks, fruits and green-leafy vegetables. Previous research has shown that the lutein in eggs may be better absorbed by the body than it is from other sources such as dietary supplements or spinach.

"The two studies published this week on lutein and zeaxanthin provide further validation that eggs provide important eye health benefits for baby boomers and aging adults," said Donald J. McNamara, Ph.D., executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center. "They also support the 30 plus years of research that show people can enjoy an egg or two a day without negatively impacting blood cholesterol levels, something that has been misunderstood by both health professionals and the public."

What the Science Says

In one of the studies published in the Journal of Nutrition, 24 women ages 24 to 59 were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a group that consumed a sugar pill daily or one of two egg groups(2). Women in both egg groups ate six eggs a week for six weeks. The eggs contained either 330 micrograms (EGG 1) or 960 micrograms (EGG 2) of lutein and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin levels significantly increased for both egg groups and lutein levels increased for the women in the EGG 1 group. What's more, the eye pigments that help protect the retina by blocking out harmful light significantly increased in both egg groups. Interestingly, cholesterol levels significantly increased in the group that consumed the sugar pill but did not increase in either egg group. [Wacky!]

The other randomized control trial published this week provided further support that eating an egg a day significantly increases lutein and zeaxanthin levels without raising cholesterol levels. Thirty-three men and women over the age of 60 participated in each phase of this four-phase study. Lutein and zeaxanthin levels increased by 26 percent and 38 percent, respectively, after participants ate an egg a day for five weeks. There was no increase in levels of these nutrients during a five-week period when participants ate egg substitutes (which lack the antioxidants) daily, nor during two three-week periods when no eggs or egg substitutes were consumed. Cholesterol levels did not differ during any phase of the study.

"Many people think they are doing themselves a favor by only consuming egg substitutes or egg whites," said Marcia Greenblum, a registered dietitian. "But the fact is, many of an egg's nutrients are found in the yolk including most of the choline and vitamin B12, and about 40 percent of the protein."


But eggs could kill you

Is the all-clear on eggs all over? A new Japanese study breaks through the promising news on eggs. Eating eggs every day increases a woman's risk of dying young, it says. The report appears this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The 14-year study shows that women who ate one egg a day were more likely to die during those 14 years compared with women who ate one to two eggs a week.

It stirs up an old argument -- whether the egg yolk's 200 mg of cholesterol contributes to health problems like heart disease. Two years ago, a study published by the American Heart Association found that up to one egg per day did not have a significant impact on risk for heart disease or stroke. The AHA now recommends eating less than 300 mg per day on average. People with high cholesterol should eat no more than 200 mg per day. ...

The study involved more than 9,000 Japanese men and women whose egg consumption, cholesterol levels, and deaths were documented from 1980 to 1994. Women who ate an egg daily were more likely to die early than women who ate one or two eggs per week. Total cholesterol level among the frequent egg eaters was on average 6 mg/dL higher than less-frequent egg eaters.

For men, frequent egg eating seemed to pose no problems to total cholesterol. Fewer men ate eggs every day, for one thing. And men who were daily egg eaters had no higher risk of early death than women.

More here


If you don't pay attention to calories when deciding how much of something to eat, you might want to know that the chefs serving it to you don't either. A survey of 300 restaurant chefs around the country reveals that taste, looks and customer expectations are what matter when they determine portion size. Only one in six said the calorie content was very important and half said it didn't matter at all.

While it may make diners happy to get piles of pasta and mountains of meat, they'll pay the price in pounds, said doctors at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society, where the survey was presented Saturday. Chefs agreed that big servings encourage people to eat too much, but said it's up to the diner to decide how much to consume - and how much to take in a doggie bag.

Portion sizes have bloated during the last few decades, a trend that worries doctors because two-thirds of Americans eat at least one meal a week at restaurants, which increasingly offer a dizzying array of diverse and fattening cuisine. "As you increase portion sizes or the variety of meals served, people are going to consume more calories," said Thomas Wadden, president of the Obesity Society and director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

He had no part in the study, which was led by Barbara Rolls, an obesity researcher at Pennsylvania State University. She and others gave questionnaires to chefs attending culinary meetings last year. More than 400 responded, and 300 who gave complete answers formed the final sample.

Two-thirds were executive chefs at fine or casual dining restaurants, and the rest were assistant or kitchen chefs. Most had worked at least 20 years, and three-fourths had a degree in culinary arts. Chefs said these factors strongly influence portion size: food presentation (70 percent), cost (65 percent) and customer expectations (52 percent). Only 16 percent said calories were a big influence. "Most of them thought they were serving regular-sized portions," Rolls said, but four out of five gave more than the recommended 2 ounces for pasta and 3 ounces for strip steak. If they were worried about competitor restaurants, they served more pasta and steak and used bigger plates, researchers found.

Portions are a touchy subject for many restaurants and some chains outright refused to discuss it. But at Cheesecake Factory Inc., "we're known for our generous portions" and the value they offer, said Howard Gordon, a senior vice president of the chain whose signature dish is dozens of varieties of cheesecake, the ultimate sin dessert. "There is a 'wow' factor in the way that it looks," he said of the food. The chain doesn't provide information on calories and customers ask for it "very, very rarely," he said. "I've rarely seen a person eat a whole slice of cheesecake. They share," and a whopping 80 percent take doggie bags from their meals, Gordon said. "It's a splurge."

Steps from Boston's Hynes Convention Center where the obesity meeting was being held, Eric Bogardus, executive chef at Vox Populi, a trendy American bistro-style restaurant, uses a sort of contentment index when setting portions. "When I look at a dish, the first thing I think about is, is this going to be the right portion to make somebody happy when they leave ... content without feeling full or hungry," he said.

Too-large portions "corner people" into eating too much of one dish, he said, so he keeps his on the small side. But he doesn't hesitate to adjust when he feels a dish demands it, like serving half a duck instead of the duck breast that most restaurants serve. "In general that's quite a bit of meat," Bogardus said. "But to me, if you're going to have a duck, you have to have a leg. That's where the flavor is." Chefs, after all, are cooks - not diet coaches.


Pill for infertile men 'doubled' pregnancy rates

The studies relied on for the claims below would again seem to be very small

An Australian scientist has developed a revolutionary pill for men, which has doubled the pregnancy rates of infertile couples. The capsule, Menevit, containing seven antioxidants and minerals, will be available next year. "The results have been miraculous, better than we ever expected," said inventor Kelton Tremellen, an Adelaide fertility specialist. Dr Tremellen will announce the findings of his research at the Fertility Society of Australia Conference in Sydney tomorrow.

Fertility Society of Australia chair Dr Anne Clark said the findings would have wide-ranging implications for men around the world. "To have a method of treating sperm issues rather than their partner having to go through a fertility treatment is fantastic," Dr Clarke said. She believed it would prove an effective "preventative medicine" to tackle the decline in male fertility.

Menevit is to be sold through international drug company Bayer and follows three years of intensive research including two trials. The most recent involved 60 couples, two thirds of whom were given the tablet daily. Of those who took Menevit, 17 babies were conceived, compared to four babies from couples who had the placebo.

The new pill is aimed at attacking free radicals, such as smoking, obesity and exposure to chemicals, which damage sperm. Dr Tremellen said the results suggest the pill reduces sperm DNA damage and improves embryo quality. "The men gave very positive feedback," he said. "They often feel powerless as they watch their wives going through all the injections in IVF."



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter? It is just about pure fat. Surely it should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].


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