How Do You Find a Compatible Church?

Let’s say you’re not happy with the ideology of your current church or you quit going to church years ago and are thinking about returning. Do you want a liberal or a conservative church?  How would you find a church where you fit in?

One starting point would be to review a neat graphic put together by Tobin Grant. (Sorry, non-Americans, this is mostly about American churches. But there are data points for atheists and agnostics, too.)

Based on surveys of churchgoers, Mr. Grant classifies churches by where they stand on size of government and “protection of morality.” I’m not saying this is the best way to choose a church; it’s one way to get started.

Happy hunting!

Steve Parker, M.D.

Skipping Breakfast Doesn’t Affect Weight Loss

…at least not in this 16-week study.

Does Red Meat Cause Diabetes?

At this point, no one knows with certainty what cause type 2 diabetes. There may be multiple different causes. For instance, click here, here, here, and finally here.

At least one recent study implicated red meat consumption as a cause of type 2 diabetes. Dr. Richard Feinman at his blog takes a close look at the 2013 study and points out the great difficulty in making the leap from red meat to diabetes. I think Dr. Feinman’s point is best made by his graph about half way through the post, showing steadily decreasing red meat consumption as T2 diabetes takes off over the last four decades. (I assume all the figures are based on U.S. data.)

For the opposing viewpoint, read the original study (linked at Dr. F’s blog) or search at Fanatic Cook.

If red meat causes diabetes, it might make existing diabetes worse. 

Do I worry that red meat causes diabetes? Not much. I await definitive research.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Processed Red Meat Consumption Linked to Shorter Life

…at least in Swedes. Regular non-processed red meat consumption was NOT associated with shorter life. Maybe you should cut back on the bacon and bologna.

Added Sugars Constitute 14% of Total Calories in Americans

…according to NHANES data on children and adults

Advantame: A New Sugar Substitute

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this last spring approved a new artificial sweetener called advantame. The press release calls it a high-intensity sweetener, which is a new term for me. Advantame joins five other artificial sweeteners:  saccharin (e.g., Sweet’N Low), aspartame (Equal and others), acesulfame potassium (Sweet One and others), sucralose (Splenda), and neotame (Newtame).

From the FDA:

High-intensity sweeteners, such as advantame, may be used in place of sugar for a number of reasons, including that they do not contribute calories or only contribute a few calories to the diet. High-intensity sweeteners also generally will not raise blood sugar levels.

Advantame is a free-flowing, water soluble, white crystalline powder that is stable even at higher temperatures, and can be used as a tabletop sweetener as well as in cooking applications. Advantame has been approved for use as a general-purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer and can be used in baked goods, non-alcoholic beverages (including soft drinks), chewing gum, confections and frostings, frozen desserts, gelatins and puddings, jams and jellies, processed fruits and fruit juices, toppings, and syrups.

It’s not in the stores yet.

Legumes Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Ischemic heart disease, specifically. That’s heart attacks, mostly. I had written that in the first edition of The Advanced Mediterranean Diet, but hadn’t seen much supportive evidence since then (2007). Here it is at AJCN.