Monday, July 02, 2007


There is no doubt that folate is very beneficial during gestation. But medicating everyone with it is a different matter altogether. For some groups -- including many of the elderly -- it can cause problems. So the bandwagon has to be given a good push wherever possible. The study below would seem to be a case in point. It is one of the lowest quality epidemiological analyses -- where many studies have to be combined to find an effect. Even then there was only one study found with anything like convincing results and it is open to all the usual criticisms of epidemiological studies. I hate to be repetitive but I think what it in fact showed is that poor people both eat less well and get more depressed. In other words, it is likely that poverty caused the depression observed, not folate

FOLATE, which will be added to bread flour after a meeting last week of Australian and New Zealand food ministers, isn't just for pregnant women. New research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has found a link between low levels of folate -- a B vitamin found in leafy green vegetables -- and depression. Researchers combined the results of 11 previous studies involving 15,315 participants aged between 15 and 87. In seven of the studies, participants had a blood test for folate levels and were assessed for depression. The proportion of people with low folate and depression was compared to the proportion with low folate and no depression. In three of the studies, people with clinical depression had their folate levels tested, and the proportion with low folate was compared to the proportion with low folate in a non-depressed control group. The final study used food diaries to assess folate intake in 2313 men, and then followed them for 15 years to record any cases of depression. Overall, low folate levels increased the risk of depression by 55 per cent.


The latest wacky "obesity" idea: marked plates!

A demonstration that fatties eat less when you are watching them. But what do they do later on? No need to guess. As with all diets, they will tend to revert, not to their old food intake, but to eating MORE than before

OBESE people could lose weight and control their diabetes by using plates and cereal bowls marked with proper portion sizes, concludes a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The portion control plates were divided into sections for carbohydrates, proteins, cheese and sauce, with the rest left open for vegetables. They allowed for an 800-calorie meal for men and a 650-calorie meal for women, while the cereal bowls held a 200-calorie meal of cereal and milk. The study involved 122 obese patients with an average age of 56. Half were randomly assigned to use a portion control plate for their largest meal each day and a portion control bowl for breakfast. The other half of the participants received standard care, including dietary assessment and advice. After six months, those using the portion control dishes lost an average of 1.8 per cent of their body weight, while those receiving standard care lost an average of 0.1 per cent. More people decreased their use of diabetes medications after six months in the portion control group compared to the standard care group (26.2 per cent vs. 10.8 per cent).



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 and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


No comments: