Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eggs: Here we go again

Eggs were bad for cholesterol in the '90s. Now people with type 2 diabetes are warned off eggs. Just the usual epidemiological crap, of course. The old scare became unstuck as early as 1979, when it was found that serum cholesterol showed only a very shaky correlation with egg consumption but I see below that we still have some believers in the old religion.

The journal abstract is here. All effects were very weak. As eggs are a very common dietary component in Western populations, one must suspect cultural differences in many of those who ate few eggs. And it could be anything associated with those cultural differences that gave rise to the small observed differences in diabetic morbidity. As the authors themselves note, previous studies have shown inconclusive effects of egg consumption on blood sugar. So the relationship suggested below is also unlikely from that perspective

EATING more than a couple of eggs a week increases the risk of developing diabetes, a major study has found. It can also make the condition worse in those who already have diabetes. Australian specialists are urging type 2 diabetics and people at risk of developing the blood glucose condition to limit their egg intake after a US study found them to be detrimental to their health.

Specialists at Harvard Medical School in Boston found eating an egg every day may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 60 per cent. Women were most susceptible, with females consuming seven eggs or more a week increasing their risk by 77 per cent. Eating just one egg a week carried no increased risk, Dr Michael Dr Gaziano wrote in the journal Diabetes Care. The study, the first of its kind, made the conclusions after tracking the egg-eating habits of almost 57,000 men and women over two decades.

Dr Alan Barclay, manager of human nutrition at Diabetes Australia-NSW, said the results were consistent with the advice it has provided for some years that people with diabetes should have moderate egg consumption.

Eggs are a good source of vitamins, proteins and other nutrients, but they are also rich in cholesterol, which in high amounts can clog arteries and raise the risk of heart attack, stroke


Is your Omega-3 fish oil supplement any good - or a load of old codswallop?

Good to see SOME skepticism below: A sort of falling out among thieves

We have been told to take more of it, and there's strong evidence that Omega 3 really is crucial for our brains, hearts and immune systems. We don't need any more convincing, it seems - keen to improve our brainpower, we now spend 60million pounds a year on Omega 3 pills. But according to an expert, many people may be wasting their money, because they end up with supplements providing little or no benefit.

Dr Alex Richardson, of the charity Food & Behaviour Research, and one of the world's leading researchers into Omega 3, says the poor quality of many supplements is a concern. 'There are different kinds of Omega 3 - not all of which have the same health benefits,' she says. One of the main problems, she explains, is that supplements often contain little, if any, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) - the most important forms of Omega 3. 'What's more, at the moment there is no official recommended daily allowance of Omega 3.'

So taking a pill to boost your brainpower and health is far from straightforward. Dr Richardson believes this confusion is 'disastrous - because consuming more of the vital Omega 3 fats found in fish and seafood is probably the single most important dietary change that most people could make to improve their health'. 'It's well-known that Omega 3s are important for staving off heart attacks and strokes, and are good for eyesight and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. But it's less well-known that EPA and DHA are crucial for brain function and mental well-being. 'However, surveys show that nine out of ten Britons don't get the minimum they need to maintain a healthy heart (around 500mg/day), let alone to support optimal brain and immune system functioning (1000mg/day).'

The best way to get nutrients is from food; for Omega 3s, this means everyone should eat two to four portions of fish a week, one of them oily. But if this isn't possible, taking a supplement is the next best option, says Dr Richardson.

So if you do resort to an Omega-3 pill, how can you make sure you find ones that make a difference? 'In the absence of an official recommended daily amount, start by choosing products that contain EPA and DHA,' says Dr Richardson. 'This usually means fish oils. Vegetarian Omega 3 supplements usually contain none at all: instead, they are made with linseed or flax oil, which provide a different form of Omega 3.' They're not a complete waste of money, she adds, but vegetarians would be better off taking ones containing DHA from algae. Next, ignore any doses suggested on the packet, and focus on the small print to find out how much EPA and DHA combined the product provides. 'A good target for mental well-being and performance is 1000mg per day,' she says. And to get this amount, you may well need to take more than the manufacturer's suggested dose.

And don't bother splashing out on the more expensive combination supplements containing Omega 3, 6 and 9. Our bodies produce our own Omega 9 - and it is also found in nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. And as for Omega 6, found in vegetable oils, meat, eggs and dairy, we should be trying to reduce rather than boost it - a diet low in Omega 3 and high in Omega 6 is linked to a range of conditions, including heart disease, depression, allergies and cancer.

More here

Lower speed limit to tackle obesity crisis, say "experts"

A good way for a government to lose power, particularly since there is no crisis

SPEED limits in suburban streets should be slashed to 30km/h to encourage pedestrians and cyclists and tackle the obesity epidemic, experts say. Griffith University transport planning researcher Matthew Burke said cutting speeds from 50km/h on local streets would not only reduce road trauma, it would also curb obesity rates by encouraging more people to walk and cycle. "A car can stop in 3m travelling at 30km/h," Dr Burke said. "It would make walking safe for everyone, it would make cycling safe enough for grandmas. It would be a very easy thing to do ... for next to no money."

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young has identified obesity as the biggest health issue facing the state. Her recently released report, The Health of Queenslanders: Prevention of Chronic Disease, says almost 57 per cent of the state's population is overweight or obese, including 21 per cent of children.

Dr Burke said cutting neighbourhood speed limits to 30km/h would make walking or cycling to school safer for children. "By reducing road speeds, you limit traffic danger," he said. "I think it's a joke that we think we're doing kids a favour with a 40km/h safety zone around schools when best practice globally is for all local streets to be down at 30km/h."

Lowering the speed limit indirectly addresses parents' fear of stranger danger, Dr Burke said. Encouraging more people to take up walking or cycling, increases the number of "eyes" that can look out for children as they make their way to school, he said. Mental health may also benefit. "A convivial street environment where walking and cycling are possible are streets where neighbours meet each other, where there are greater social networks," Dr Burke said. "We've seen much research about the importance of those networks for the importance of people's mental health."

Dr Burke was backed by international expert Rodney Tolley, an honorary research fellow at Staffordshire University in Britain and director of Walk 21 - an organisation attempting to make communities more "walkable". Dr Tolley, who addressed Queensland Health staff this week, said the city of Graz in Austria had set 30km/h limits 20 years ago. "Motorists will often say we can't possibly travel that slow, it will disrupt our day," he said. "But the time losses involved in travelling at those speeds are very, very small."


1 comment:

John A said...

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young has identified obesity as the biggest health issue facing the state. Her recently released report, The Health of Queenslanders: Prevention of Chronic Disease, says almost 57 per cent of the state's population is overweight or obese, including 21 per cent of children.

So, the kiddies are [relatively] all right, then?