Sunday, October 25, 2009

Can a diet of cheese and dairy help you shed that unwanted fat?

This seems to be a reasonably strong study but I doubt that it will suit the food freaks. Cheese and dairy are popular and everything popular is wrong according to them. Cheese in particular has a lot of fat in it and fat is the original sin to food freaks. They are all still wedded to the counterfactual claim that fat gives you cancer, heart disease etc.

It has long been blamed for causing nightmares. But cheese may also give you a dream figure. A diet packed with cheese and other dairy products helps with weight loss, a study found. Australian slimmers were put on low-calorie diets which included varying amounts of cheese, yoghurt and low-fat milk.

Those who increased their daily servings of dairy products from three to five lost the most weight. They also had lower blood pressure, the least tummy fat and 'significantly improved' their chances of avoiding heart disease and diabetes.

The researchers, from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, said that although dairy products are widely perceived as being fatty, they have a place in the slimmer's shopping basket.

Dieters, however, should still keep an eye on their fat and calorie intake. Cheese and other dairy products are high in protein, which helps us feel full quickly and speeds up the metabolism. Laura Wyness, of the British Nutrition Foundation, said dairy products were a good source of calcium and vitamins, as well as protein. However, she warned that cheeses can be high in salt and advised dieters to check labelling before buying.



There have been lots of brainwaves about how to predict whether you are at risk but we now see that blood pressure, serum cholesterol and smoking/non-smoking are the only useful predictors. The latest findings below. See Sandy Szwarc for commentary

Emerging Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease: A Summary of Systematic Reviews Conducted for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

By Mark Helfand et al.

Background: Traditional risk factors do not explain all of the risk for incident coronary heart disease (CHD) events. Various new or emerging risk factors have the potential to improve global risk assessment for CHD.

Purpose: To summarize the results of 9 systematic reviews of novel risk factors to help the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) evaluate the factors' clinical usefulness.

Data Sources: Results from a MEDLINE search for English-language articles published from 1966 to September 2008, using the Medical Subject Heading terms cohort studies and cardiovascular diseases in combination with terms for each risk factor.

Study Selection: Studies were included if the participants had no baseline cardiovascular disease and the investigators adjusted for at least 6 Framingham risk factors.

Data Extraction: Study quality was evaluated by using USPSTF criteria and overall quality of evidence for each risk factor by using a modified version of the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation framework. Each factor's potential clinical value was evaluated by using a set of criteria that emphasized the importance of the effect of that factor on the reclassification of intermediate-risk persons.

Data Synthesis: 9 systematic reviews were conducted. C-reactive protein (CRP) was the best candidate for use in screening and the most rigorously studied, but evidence that changes in CRP level lead to primary prevention of CHD events is inconclusive. The other evaluated risk factors were coronary artery calcium score as measured by electron-beam computed tomography, lipoprotein(a) level, homocysteine level, leukocyte count, fasting blood glucose, periodontal disease, ankle–brachial index, and carotid intima–media thickness. The availability and validity of the evidence varied considerably across the risk factors in terms of aggregate quality, consistency of findings, and applicability to intermediate-risk persons in the general population. For most risk factors, no studies assessed their usefulness for reclassifying intermediate-risk persons.

Limitations: Because of lack of access to original data, no firm conclusions could be drawn about differences in risk prediction among racial and ethnic groups. The review did not emphasize within-cohort comparisons of multiple risk factors.

Conclusion: The current evidence does not support the routine use of any of the 9 risk factors for further risk stratification of intermediate-risk persons.

Annals of Internal Medicine, Volume 151, Issue 7, Pages 496-507

Scientists flip flop on thong issue

I went entirely barefoot until I was 16 and for the last 50 years I have mostly worn thongs. And I am proud of my straight toes and zero foot problems

MOVES are afoot to change the unhealthy image of thongs. Scientists are flip flopping on the issue, now saying the cheap and cheerful footwear could even be better for children than closed-in shoes.

University of Sydney researcher Alex Chard says he's looking forward to challenging the "broad public misconceptions of the health effects of wearing thongs". Mr Chard and his research team are seeking volunteers aged between seven and 13 for a comparison of children's foot motion while they are barefoot and while they are wearing thongs or traditional school shoes.

He says professionals often discourage the wearing of thongs but there's no hard evidence that they are harmful. "Experts are starting to accept that the best shoe should mimic barefoot conditions," Mr Chard said in a statement. "The latest research has found that there is more motion within the arch of the foot than previously thought. "It might be the case that flexible things can actually assist in developing the 16 muscles within each foot, helping Australian children to improve their sporting prowess."

The team from the university's foot and ankle research unit will use computer animation techniques to analyse the way children's feet and legs move while they are running, walking or stepping sideways. The research will be conducted at the university's Lidcombe campus in western Sydney.


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