George Monbiot Ponders Why Brits Have Gotten So Fat

…in an article at The Guardian. He thinks the trend start in 1976.

Why?

So what has happened? The light begins to dawn when you look at the nutrition figures in more detail. Yes, we ate more in 1976, but differently. Today, we buy half as much fresh milk per person, but five times more yoghurt, three times more ice cream and – wait for it – 39 times as many dairy desserts. We buy half as many eggs as in 1976, but a third more breakfast cereals and twice the cereal snacks; half the total potatoes, but three times the crisps. While our direct purchases of sugar have sharply declined, the sugar we consume in drinks and confectionery is likely to have rocketed (there are purchase numbers only from 1992, at which point they were rising rapidly. Perhaps, as we consumed just 9kcal a day in the form of drinks in 1976, no one thought the numbers were worth collecting.) In other words, the opportunities to load our food with sugar have boomed. As some experts have long proposed, this seems to be the issue.

Source: We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

Contrary to the above, we in the U.S. have been eating significantly more calories over the last 50 years. I’m surprised George didn’t mention the dramatic increase in industrial seed oil consumption over same time frame.

The problem cannot be reduced to sugar consumption alone.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Mediterranean versus Vegetarian diet for weight loss? Both work equally well, study says

Raw Brussels sprouts salad

It’s refreshing to see a vegetarian diet study that specifies which type of vegetarian diet was used.

Followers of two different healthy diet patterns showed similar reductions in weight, body mass index and fat mass after 3 months, found researchers from the University of Florence, Italy in conjunction with Careggi University Hospital, Florence.

The lacto-ovo vegetarian diet was however more effective in reducing ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein cholesterol whereas Mediterranean diet followers saw a greater reduction in triglycerides.

“After 3 months of dietary intervention, both lacto-ovo vegetarian and Mediterranean diets were effective in reducing body weight, body mass index, and fat mass, with no significant differences between them,” ​commented study first author Professor Francesco Sofi.

Source: Vegetarian or Mediterranean diet for weight loss? Both work equally well, says study

Mediterranean diet may slow psoriasis disease progression

From MedicalNewsToday:

A new study suggests that adhering to a Mediterranean diet may relieve the severity of psoriasis and slow its progression.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects about 6.7 million adults in the United States, according to recent estimates.

Some studies have shown that people with psoriasis are more prone to obesity and metabolic syndrome, and some have suggested that inflammation may be the reason behind this link.

Diet can play a key role in inflammatory conditions. Research has shown that pro-inflammatory compounds including saturated fats can worsen conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

So, researchers led by Dr. Céline Phan — at the Hôpital Mondor in Créteil, France — set out to investigate whether conversely, an anti-inflammatory diet would have appeasing effects on symptoms of psoriasis.

The Mediterranean diet is considered anti-inflammatory because it has been associated with a lower incidence of chronic inflammatory illness.

Source: Psoriasis: Mediterranean diet may slow disease progression

Today’s Best-Selling Diet Books at Amazon

Front cover

As of 0130 hrs August 2, these are the top five diet and/or weight-loss books at Amazon.com. (If you’re not in the U.S., your country may have its own separate URL.) In order of top sellers first:

  • The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners (#5 on best-seller list)
  • Instant Loss Cookbook (#8)
  • The Ketogenic Diet (#40)
  • The Plant Paradoz Cookbook (#42)
  • The Easy 5-Ingredient Ketogenic Diet Cookbook (#50-something)

I was fully aware ketogenic diets are popular now, but I didn’t realize just how popular! Both of my books on this page feature a doctor-designed ketogenic diet based on the healthy traditional Mediterranean diet.

Sadly, none of my books are best-sellers. I may have to start begging for donations from my blog readers. Poor, poor, pitiful me.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Tighter blood pressure control may cut memory loss, even dementia

dementia, memory loss, Mediterranean diet, low-carb diet, glycemic index, dementia memory loss

“Systolic of 140 isn’t good enough anymore.”

Keep your eyes on this development, folks. Potential game-changer. And a boon to Big Pharma. From NBCnews.com…

Lowering blood pressure to recommended levels can prevent dementia and the memory and thinking problems that often show up first [mild cognitive impairment], researchers reported Wednesday.

People whose top blood pressure reading was taken down to 120 were 19 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, the loss of memory and brain processing power that usually precedes Alzheimer’s, the study found. And they were 15 percent less likely to eventually develop cognitive decline and dementia.

***

It may take a few more years before the study conclusively shows whether the risk of Alzheimer’s was actually reduced because of the lower blood pressure,the researchers said.

It’s the first intervention that has been clearly demonstrated to lower rates of mental decline.

***

The findings come from a large trial of blood pressure called the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT.

It has already found that lowering systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — to 120 or less can prevent stroke, heart attacks, kidney disease and other problems.

Source: Tight blood pressure control can cut memory loss, study finds

Guess what else helps prevent memory loss and dementia? The Mediterranean Diet.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Is It Time to Abandon the Mediterranean Diet?

Bastian is also skeptical about the health benefits of judicious alcohol consumption. Fair enough.

Hilda Bastian at PLOS Blogs wrote about the recent retraction of a PREDIMED sub-study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013. The suspect conclusion of that study was: “Among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.”

From Ms Bastian:

A very influential nutrition trial just tanked. It was retracted from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on 13 June, and re-published with new analyses and toned-down conclusions.Both Gina Kolata, writing in the New York Times, and Alison McCook, writing at NPR, imply, at least to some extent, that it might make no difference to the evidence. But I disagree.

Here’s what’s happened to the trial, and where I think it leaves the overall evidence.Called PREDIMED, it was a multi-center trial from Spain, with the NEJM final report published in 2013. Altogether, 7,447 people at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) – heart attack and stroke – were reported as randomized to one of 3 groups:

  • Mediterranean diet with free olive oil provided, along with individual and group training sessions at the start, and then quarterly;
  • Mediterranean diet with free nuts provided, along with individual and group training sessions at the start, and then quarterly;
  • Advice to reduce fat intake, with a leaflet – but after the first 3 years, people in this control group were also offered individual and group training sessions.

The primary endpoint for the trial was a composite one of major cardiovascular events: myocardial infarction, stroke, or CVD-related death. And the trial was stopped early. More people dropped out of the control group than the Mediterranean diet groups.There are several alarm bells here already, and we’ll come back to those.

Source: What Does the PREDIMED Trial Retraction & Reboot Mean for the Mediterranean Diet? | Absolutely Maybe

I encourage you to read Ms Bastian’s article if you enjoy such debates. I consider the 2013 PREDIMED sub-study to be one of numerous pieces of the nutritional puzzle.

I published the 2nd edition of my Advanced Mediterranean Diet in 2012, so the 2013 PREDIMED sub-study was not available to me. At the end of my book you’ll find not one, but 43 scientific references supporting the healthfulness of the Mediterranean diet.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Steve Parker, M.D.

Fresh Praise for the Mediterranean Diet in NYT

Dead whole fish aren’t very appealing to many folks

From Paul Greenberg’s opinion piece in the New York Times (July 19, 2018):

In 1953, not long before President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in office, the social scientist Leland Allbaugh published “Crete: A Case Study of an Underdeveloped Area.” The landmark analysis of the eating patterns of an isolated Greek population strongly suggested that a calorie-limited diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil and low in animal protein, particularly red meat, could lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, decrease chronic disease and extend life.

Medical research over the last half-century has largely borne out this initial finding. Weight-loss fads and eating trends come and go, but the so-called Mediterranean diet has stood fast. “Among all diets,” Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded in an email, “the traditional Mediterranean diet is most strongly supported for delivering long term health and wellbeing.”

Click for a more complete definition of the traditional Mediterranean Diet, which includes alcohol. More from Greenberg:

***

As the clinician Artemis Simopoulos pointed out to me, two meatless days a week are the norm in Greek Orthodox communities. This religious provision encouraged traditional communities to eat fish not only on Fridays but on Wednesdays as well. Recent epidemiological evidence links two portions of seafood a week with lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. In spite of this, American seafood consumption has stayed consistently low compared with other developed countries.

***

And for decades now, even Greeks have been abandoning their traditional foods and eating much more than they previously did. “In my view, the reason the diet worked to prevent heart disease on Crete was because they weren’t overeating,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “By the time I got to Crete in the early 1990s, they were, and the hospitals were full of heart attacks and people with type 2 diabetes.”

***

Today, 65 years after Allbaugh returned from Crete, with modern America plagued by one of the highest obesity rates in the world and failing to meet life expectancy averages of almost every other developed nation, it’s worth circling back to the eating patterns of the ancients. For if the United States were to put itself on a Mediterranean diet, we would likely see huge improvements not only in human and environmental health, but also in rural economic stability.

RTWT for Greenberg’s roadmap to an American Mediterranean diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one