Sunday, November 10, 2013

Regularly brushing your teeth lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes (?)

This is just a correlational study over an absurdly short period

Regularly brushing your teeth can help protect you from heart attacks, researchers have found.  Poor dental hygiene and bleeding gums can allow up to 700 types of bacteria to enter the bloodstream.

But brushing and flossing has now been found to help to combat bacteria in the mouth that can cause hardening of the arteries which may lead to heart attacks and strokes.

This means that people who brush their teeth at least twice a day are less likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke.

Dr Moïse Desvarieux, of Columbia University in New York, said: 'These results are important because atherosclerosis (the narrowing of arteries through the build-up of plaque) progressed in parallel with both clinical periodontal disease and the bacterial profiles in the gums.

'This is the most direct evidence yet that modifying the periodontal bacterial profile could play a role in preventing or slowing both diseases.'

Researchers at the University's Mailman School of Public Health looked into the link between gum disease and atherosclerosis – when the arteries are clogged with fatty substances - by studying the dental health of 420 adults over three years.

It is believed bacteria buildup in the mouth can cause clots in the arteries which lead to heart attacks.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health ­Foundation, told the Express: 'This is truly ground-breaking.

'The potential link between what goes on in your mouth and the health of your heart has been an intense topic of debate for some time. This research clearly shows the more you improve and maintain your gum health, the less chance there is of developing a potential life-threatening illness


Trans fats ban in the works in the US

Another baseless fad gathers steam.  Stuff that's been in uncontroversial use for decades is suddenly "unsafe"

Artificial trans fats common in biscuits, hot chips, frozen pizzas and other processed fare are set to be phased out of the US food supply after regulators said the artery-clogging risks make the products unsafe.

The partially hydrogenated oils containing the trans fats can't be "generally recognised as safe," according to a tentative determination by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said the decision, while not yet final, would likely lead to rules that effectively ban an ingredient that's been in widespread commercial use since the 1940s.

"We will almost certainly continue in that direction," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters on a conference call. Nothing is final, though "we are on a clear track."

While restaurant chains such as McDonald's already have moved away from trans fats because of links to a type of cholesterol that causes heart disease, the FDA said the ingredient is still common in snack foods, baked goods and vegetable shortenings. General Mills, the maker of Cheerios cereals and Betty Crocker cake mixes, said its industry has been reducing reliance on partially hydrogenated oils for years.

"This is a major development, and food companies will need to quickly consider and respond to this request" by the FDA, said Kirstie Foster, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based General Mills. "More than 90 per cent of our US retail products are already labeled as 'zero grams trans fat'."

While trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy, most of what is found in processed food are vegetable oils treated with hydrogen to improve texture, extend shelf life and stabilise flavours. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, whose 300-plus members include Coca Cola and Kraft Foods, said since 2005, food companies had voluntarily lowered the amounts of trans fats by more than 73 per cent.

The FDA has never before made a safety determinatio on most forms of partially hydrogenated oil used in foods. The initial costs of removing the ingredient from the food supply would be about $US8 billion ($8.46 billion), though that cost could be spread out over multiple years, the FDA said.

About half the trans fats consumed in the US are formed during food processing and partially hydrogenated oils are the main source, the FDA said. Eliminating partially hydrogenated oils may prevent as many as 7000 coronary deaths a year, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Heart Association praised the FDA's actions and asked the agency to revise standards for trans-fat free labelling that allows companies to round down to zero if products contain less than 0.5 grams of the additive.

"The FDA's actions to ultimately remove artificial trans fat from the diets of all Americans is a tremendous step forward in the fight against heart disease," Nancy Brown, the chief executive officer of the Dallas-based association, said in a statement.

The FDA asked for public comment on how long it would take the industry to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, a move that would become mandatory if the agency makes a final determination that the ingredient is unsafe. The public has 60 days to comment.

Partially hydrogenated oils "perform technological functions" and will require product-specific changes to reformulate food containing the ingredient, Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, said on the call.

The Centre for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group, asked the FDA in 2004 to declare partially hydrogenated oils unsafe. A University of Illinois professor made a similar request in 2009, asking the FDA to ban partially hydrogenated fat from the American diet.

The partial hydrogenation process was developed in the 1930s and has been in widespread commercial use since the 1940s, the FDA said. In 2010, the mean trans fat intake was 1.3 grams per day for the US population older than 2 years of age who consumed one or more of processed foods containing partially hydrogenated oils. In 2003, the mean trans fat intake of an adult 20 years or older was 4.6 grams per day, the FDA said.

The FDA began requiring food companies to include trans fats on their labels in 2006. Consumers began turning away from foods with the fats soon after, the agency said.

New York City in 2006 began a ban on trans fats in restaurants, and California followed suit in 2008.


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