Saturday, November 13, 2021

Now palm oil is in the gun

It started out that ordinary animal fats --  saturated fats -- were widely used in processed food -- cakes, cookies etc.  But then we were all told that saturated fats were bad for you.  So manufacturers were told to switch to trans fats, which they did.

But some evidence soon emerged that trans fats were also bad for you.  So everybody was told to switch to palm oil in food preparation, which many did.

But now palm oil also appears to be bad for you!  You can't win against the food freaks, it appears.  

What next?  It can't be butter because that was condemned long ago.  The obvious move is to switch back to animal fats -- tallow, dripping etc -- and damn the food freaks.  When everything is bad for you, nothing is

New studies have discovered how a fatty acid found in palm oil affects the cancer genome, increasing the likelihood the disease will spread in human beings.

The spread of cancer, known as metastasis, is the main cause of death in patients with the disease. Researchers in the field say the vast majority of people with metastatic cancer can only be treated, but not cured.

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona conducted a study on mice, finding that palmitic acid promoted metastasis in mouth and skin cancers.

Scientists suggest this process could be targeted with drugs or carefully designed eating plans in the future, but the team behind the work has put out a warning for patients putting themselves on diets in the absence of clinical trials.

According to the research, other fatty acids called oleic acid and linoleic acid found in foods such as olive oil and flaxseeds did not show the same effect.

“There is something very special about palmitic acid that makes it an extremely potent promoter of metastasis,” Professor Salvador Aznar-Benitah said via The Guardian.

The research found that when palmitic acid was supplemented into the diet of mice, it not only contributed to metastasis but also exerted long-term effects on the genome.

However, the professor also claimed it was too early to tell what diet should be taken for patients with metastatic cancers.

“I think it is too early to determine which type of diet could be consumed by patients with metastatic cancer that would slow down the metastatic process,” he said.

“That is a much more realistic approach in terms of a real therapy, that doesn’t depend on whether a patient likes Nutella or pizza. Playing with diets is so complicated.”

Prof Greg Hannon, director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, praised the “rigorous and comprehensive” study into one of the most commonly used oils around the world.

“This is a rigorous and comprehensive study that suggests that exposure to a major constituent of palm oil durably changes the behaviour of cancer cells, making them more prone to progress from local to potentially lethal metastatic disease,” he said.

“Given the prevalence of palm oil as an ingredient in processed foods, this study provides strong motivation for further study on how dietary choices influence the risk of tumour progression.”

Made from the fruit pulp of the oil palm tree, palm oil plantations are grown in tropical regions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, New Guinea and Ghana.

According to Ethical Consumer, it is the most consumed vegetable oil on the planet, with 72 per cent of worldwide production being used in the food industry. A 2015 report by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil estimated worldwide use would more than double by 2030 and triple by 2050.

Palm oil is a cheap substitute for butter, meaning it is especially common in dough and baked foods. It is commonly found in everyday pantry items, such as margarine, Nutella and biscuits.

Helen Rippon, chief executive at Worldwide Cancer Research, said the discovery is “a huge breakthrough in our understanding of how diet and cancer are linked”.

“Perhaps more importantly,” she said. “Is how we can use this knowledge to start new cures for cancer. Metastasis is estimated to be responsible for 90 per cent of all cancer deaths – that’s around 9 million deaths a year globally.

“Learning more about what makes cancer spread and – importantly – how to stop it is the way forward to reduce these numbers.”

The environmentally unsustainable nature of palm oil production, which has led to mass pollution and loss of native species, has long been a topic of pursuit for activists worldwide.

According to The Orangutan Project, palm oil plantations have been a major factor in deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, where 85 per cent of the world’s palm oil is produced.

Palm oil plantations are the biggest cause of rainforest destruction in these countries, where the United Nations reports an area of forest the size of 300 soccer fields is lost every hour.

This loss of rainforest displaces animals such as the orangutan and causes air pollution.

Palm oil is a common ingredient in food and cosmetic products, with alternate names such as palm oil kernel, palmitate, palmate, palmitic acid, elaeis guineensis and hydrated palm glycerides hexadecanoic.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Personal trainer says a McDonald's cheeseburger is 'healthier' than a protein cookie

A personal trainer and fitness infuencer swears a McDonald's cheeseburger will really not set your progress back as much as you think, especially when compared to a protein cookie.

TikTok user Laura Ghiacy listed the nutritional value of a McDonald's cheeseburger and a protein cookie and highlighted the differences between them, coming to the conclusion the burger is, ultimately, healthier.

"I'm going to get so much hate for this," Ghiacy says in the beginning of her video, before asking the question of the hour: "Is a protein cookie healthier than a McDonald's cheeseburger?"

Ghiacy found that in a protein cookie, there are 420 calories, while in a McDonald's cheeseburger, there are 300 calories.

Between the pair, the fast food item is slightly higher when it comes to fat levels, containing 13g compared to the protein cookie's 12g.

When it comes to sugar levels, however, the difference between the two was stark — the protein cookie, which is plant-based, has 25g of sugar, whereas the McDonald's cheeseburger only has 7g.

Ghiacy listed other nutritional comparisons between the pair, but then said the most "important" issue between them was the taste — ultimately declaring the cheeseburger as the winner on the flavour front as the burger tastes "a thousand times better."

TikTok users flocked to Ghiacy's comments to let her know what they thought about the revelation.

"As a Dietitian, I freaking love this! We love putting labels on everything but in the end food is food," registered dietitian Tia Glover commented.

Meanwhile, another TikTok user wrote: "All I heard was I can eat cheeseburgers without feeling guilty now."

Other users simply took Ghiacy's nutritional breakdown as the signal they needed to order McDonald's.

"She just gave us the green light to have a cheeseburger," one user commented, as another noted, "Now I'm craving a cheeseburger!"

Other commenters were more balanced, with one writing, "This is not about saying the cookie is bad. It's that a small cheeseburger is not actually the villain that many make it out to be."

Monday, November 08, 2021

Drinking a beer or glass of wine a day could PROTECT you from getting heart disease

Drinking a wine or beer every day could be the key to preventing heart disease in the elderly, a study has revealed.

Monash University researchers observed the effects of alcohol consumption in 18,000 people aged 70 and above in the US and Australia.

They discovered that drinking between five and 10 beverages a week led to a much smaller chance of dying from heart problems.

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine associate professor Robyn Woods said the research was insightful.

'It's that range of five to 10 standard drinks a week where we saw real benefit for reducing the mortality risk, but also on cardiovascular disease,' Prof Woods told The Daily Telegraph.

'We are very confident to say that moderate alcohol intake does not appear to do harm in older people regarding cardiovascular disease and also for all-cause mortality.'

Researchers came to the conclusion after observing participants of the ASPREE trial - Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly.

The study looks at the effects of lose-dose aspirin on healthy, elderly people and requires participants to self-report their alcohol consumption.

Fifty-seven per cent of participants were female, 43.3 per cent were male and most were aged in their mid-70s.

The participants were followed for around 4.7 years and researchers discovered the moderate alcohol drinkers fared better than their teetotaller counterparts.

Lead author Dr Neumann pointed out all the participants were considered to be healthy before they started the trial.

The effects of moderate alcohol consumption remain unknown for elderly people who are less healthy and physically active.

People should also not use the study as encouragement to drink more alcohol with excess consumption linked with increasing risks of cancers, heart disease, dementia, stroke and liver failure.