Friday, November 24, 2006

Breast cancer link to diet rich in meat

We (Australia) just had a local celebrity die of breast cancer the other week (well it was secondary bone cancer she actually died of but yes it was from her previous breast cancer that was removed), her name was Belinda Emmet.

Anyhow, like always with these things and the media, there is now breast cancer related articles popping up every where, including this one:

WOMEN who eat red meat more than once a day double the risk of getting the most common form of breast cancer, doctors have found.

Breast cancer link to diet rich in meat

As we all know, the media tend to twist and over sensationalise things, which brings me to ask does anyone know more about this? as I have no doubt this is going to come up a lot for a while!

I will have a look around and see what I can find, but I thought I'd mention it here too...

I assume it is more to do with nitrates and how we feed and treat our livestock. But of course, people would rather just tell you to limit your meat intake, rather then actually stop doing all this crap to our meat that causes it!!!

Yet another good reason to go local and organic!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Guess What's Coming to Dinner

I was just reading this article and all I can say is OMG what next...

Guess What's Coming to Dinner

Very scary!

High-Protein Diets

Oh dear have a squizz of this pro low fat article.

My favourite quote from the article:

These proponents take a complex series of events (human metabolism), highlight the portion that supports their claim and ignore the big picture.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Does a Low-Carb Diet Really Work?

Hey just wanted to share, a small but positive article on low carb for a change:

In the 1970s the low-carb diet was made famous by Dr. Robert Atkins, but at the time was rejected by most dieticians as dangerous nonsense. Now, 30 years later, millions are turning back to this effective, yet controversial, weight-loss program.

The Epoch Times

Sunday, November 19, 2006

That Heart Disease And Low Carb Study Everybody Keeps Talking About.....

This heart/nurse study sure is making the rounds, articles on it are pouring out from all over the world and fellow low carber's are singing praise...

Am I the only one out there that doesn't think it is that great?

I know, I know, it is said to show that there was no increase in cardiovascular disease for the low carber's and in fact according to Regina a slight decrease in risk (6%) in comparison to the low fat participants. This is good right?

Well yes, I think so, but the participants consuming the lowest carbohydrate intake averaged 116g a day. That is not very low, especially considering it is the much lower intakes that are often being slammed. I guess my main question is how much fat were these low carb participants eating?

Were they eating a high fat intake and heck what is considered a high fat intake and what is considered low?

This I am yet to find out, though Regina was kind enough to find out for me what the average calorie intake was, which was just over 1500 calories a day in another one of her great posts on this topic here.

I ask this because, I have never even thought about my fat intake in actual grams until I was low carbing. During strict low carbing averaging 1500 calories a day, I found close to 120g of fat to be a good amount, I never felt that it was high as I never ate huge amounts of animal fats to reach that (Not that animal fat bothers me). Though, I guess people doing low fat would gasp at that amount of fat? Oddly enough, if that fat intake of mine is high and it is so bad well it certainly didn't stop me from reaching a goal weight of 55kg, gaining a good increase in muscle mass and my triglycerides after 2 years were a mere 0.5 ...

Another thing I wonder about this study is how accurate were the participants food questionnaire's? How likely would it be for these people to underestimate their fat intake or any other significant factor?

But I guess the biggest thing about this study that concerns me the most is these articles that are pouring out everywhere and the message they are bringing with them for example;

A couple of quotes form this article.

Indeed the rate of heart disease among women who follow a low carbohydrate diet is no higher than it is among women who eat foods that are low in fat and high in carbohydrates, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found. The study tracked 83,000 female nurses. “It’s not that the two diets are equally good,” Harvard’s Thomas Halton said. “In fact, they’re both equally bad,”
The only diet that reduces the risk of the disease — and does so dramatically — is one where the fat and protein come from vegetable sources, the researchers found.

Or this one:

"Neither a very low-fat diet or a very low-carbohydrate diet proved to be ideal," he says. "There were pros and cons to both of these diets."

Low-fat diets are by definition low in saturated fats, which is good for the heart, Halton says. But they also tend to be higher in refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour, which spike blood sugar levels.

"Americans tend to pick the wrong carbohydrates," he says. "So the benefits of eating lower amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol are offset to some degree by the poor quality of the carbohydrates they eat."

The most protective diet, in terms of heart disease risk, was a low-carbohydrate that was also low in saturated fats and cholesterol where vegetables were the main sources of fats and protein. "The vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet combined the best features of low-fat and low-carbohydrate eating," Halton says. Following this diet was associated with a 30 percent reduction in heart disease risk over 20 years.

"The quality of fat and carbohydrate is more important than the quantity," says study researcher Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D. "A heart-healthy diet should embrace healthy types of fat and carbohydrates."

Another one:

"This study doesn't mean that you should load your plate with steak and bacon," said the study's senior author, Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard.

There was no increase or decrease in the risk of heart disease among low-carb eaters in the study.

Healthy fats, carbohydrates

As for why, it could be that the side-effects of animal protein are countered by eating fewer refined carbohydrates, Hu said.

"The quality of fat and carbohydrate is more important than quantity," he said. "A heart-healthy diet should embrace healthy types of fat and carbohydrates."

Women who chose fat and protein from vegetable sources were the exception, showing a 30 per cent lower risk of heart disease, the team found.

Two of the study's authors reported receiving grants from food companies or growers.

(Heh I wonder who these food companies and growers were?)

Now if I remember right according to Reginas interpretation of the full study, the participants who fell into this category were not eating low carb at all (over 202g a day). Not only that they actually ate less fruit and vegetables and ate more saturated fat then the higher carbohydrate participants (242g) that they were compared against. Also according to Regina the most significant change in their diet compared to the others was that they ate more nuts.

According to Regina what they did find was:

The researchers did indeed find there was no risk to following a low-carbohydrate diet in the long-term; they even found that high intakes of animal fats and protein wasn't going to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. What they didn't find is that vegetable fats and protein are protective in the context of a low-carbohydrate diet.

Instead they found, in the context of an intake range of 202g to 240g carbohydrate, when subjects are consuming similar intake of red meat, chicken, fish - a higher consumption of nuts, coffee, saturated fat and whole grains with less fruits and vegetables may provide a benefit in the context of such a dietary pattern higher in carbohydrate. Just don't expect them to tell you that - instead they'll continue to perpetuate the myth that animal foods and saturated fat is detrimental to your health.

Yet according to these articles popping up everywhere we should become a vegetarian?

Or atleast, thats how I interpret the message, what do you think other folks will get from this message?

What do you think even fellow low carbers who don't know of great blogs like Reginas get from this message?

Of course the good thing about this study is that though obviousely trying as hard as they could, the researchers don't seem to have been able to find anything bad about low carb over the long term...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

International campaign aims to save Philippines baby milk marketing law - and infant

I was posting this on my forum and thought I should put this here too. Now regardless on your views on breastmilk versus formula I think we can all agree on this being very important:

Just saw this on Belly Belly and wanted to share this here as well for anyone interested.

First a quote to highlight why this is important:

The Philippines is amongst the 42 countries accounting for 90% of under-5 deaths. 82,000 children die each year before their 5th birthday. Improving breastfeeding rates is the single most effective action that can be taken to prevent these deaths, with the potential to save 1.3 million lives every year across the 42 countries (Ref: Black et al. Where and why are 10 million children dying every year? Lancet 2003;361:2226-34).

Amongst the 56 countries where National Demographic and Health Survey are available the Philippines ranks lowest for figures of children ever breastfed and only 16% are breastfed exclusively at 4-5 months. The World Health Assembly recommendation is exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age, followed by continued breastfeeding to 2 years of age and beyond.

Unfortunately despite all this, baby food manufacturers go all out to prey on these countries and vulnerable mothers who regardless of the nutritional benefits of breast milk versus formula are the very mothers who can't even afford their products which leads to disastrous consequences. For example imagine what happens to the mother and child when she runs out of free formula and her milk has dried up...

For a background on this check out this article suck on this.

Anyway this is the email on bellybelly that I wanted to pass on:

Details at

We are working closely with our partner organisation ARUGAAN - a member of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), who are asking for international support.

You can help.

The Philippines government has introduced strengthened regulations for the marketing of baby foods. Practices recently reported in the Philippines allege that baby food company practices include targeting mothers with 'mothering classes', offering financial incentives and travel tours for health workers (one newspaper report refers to health centre staff members receiving 500 pesos for every 10 infants converted to use a particular brand of breastmilk substitutes). Community health workers (known as Barangay health workers), pediatricians and other health workers are provided with gifts such as t-shirts and jackets.

The regulations are the culmination of many years of campaigning by IBFAN nationally and internationally. Baby Milk Action - and supporters such as you - have played their part. For example, people have written letters after we have exposed Nestlé staff posing as community health workers to promote formula and its targeting of mothers with direct mail.

The new regulations are under attack, with US companies filing a legal action in court. IBFAN has exposed that the US Chamber of Commerce recently wrote to President Arroyo suggesting that she interfere in the court case for the benefit of future investment in the country. It appears this may have been successful as on 15 August 2006 the court reversed an earlier ruling and blocked the new marketing regulations from coming into force.

The Government and campaigners in the Philippines are simply implementing international marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly and closing the loopholes in existing legislation to protect their infants.

We are asking for people and organisations around the world to sign a petition of solidarity, publicly declaring their support for the efforts being made to protect infant health.

You can also write to the companies to ask them to stop opposing the regulations and to stop their aggressive marketing.

Please see our Campaign for Ethical Marketing action sheet at

This includes pictures of community activists in the Philippines, the people who are asking for our help. It also links to a recent German TV programme graphically showing that regulating the marketing of baby foods is a life and death issue.

Please help. It will only take a few minutes.

This type of action has worked in the past.

Feel free to pass this email on to others. If you have received it from and do not wish to receive future alerts, please reply with 'delete' as the subject. If you have a new email address, please give the details in an email with the subject 'change'.

Look out for updates on our website and my blog, which is updated each weekday at

Best wishes,

Mike Brady
Mike Brady
Campaigns and Networking Coordinator
Baby Milk Action

Visit our website

Baby Milk Action is the UK member of the International Baby Food Action Network - IBFAN -


Baby Milk Action, 34 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1QY, UK.
UK contact numbers. Tel: 01223 464420 Fax: 01223 464417
International contact numbers. Tel: +44 1223 464420 Fax: +44 1223 464417

Read by blog at

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Drought

In Australia, we have a pretty big drought going on at the moment. In fact, it is estimated to be our biggest drought in 1000 years. Over here in South Australia, we have had water restrictions since 2003 which were tightened again last month...

Obviously I knew our rainfall wasn't too crash hot, but I never realised the full impact of it until we visited the Flinder's Ranges a month ago which was extremely dry even though it was only one month into spring (some photos here) . Last time we were down that way in October a few years ago we weren't able to get to the Finders due to flooding as we didn't have a four wheel drive, big difference!

And then after returning, I spoke to a lady I buy regularly from at a nearby farmers market and she was about to cull one hundred of her remaining sheep that have been diminishing over the years. She said they have a beautiful wool, almost like silk but she can't afford to maintain them any more and is forced to sell some to be canned as pet food... I felt very sad for her.

I remember around 10 or so years ago one summer, there was a bit of a drought and all the wombats on my mums property were dying. I remember she tried to save one but no matter how much he needed water and food, he just wasn't interested and continued to waste away. She had him put on a drip at the vets, but he died a few days later... I would hate to think how they will go this summer...

The River Murray, which flows through 3 states is part of South Australia's main water supply. On average each year the River Murray receives 11,000 gigalitres. Guess how much we have received in the past 5 months?

Only 600 gigalitres... and we are yet to enter summer, summer in South Australia is our driest time of the year.

It is pretty bad huh?

But, it gets much worse, I was reading just now about a city in NSW called Goulburn. These people are only allowed to use 150 litres of water per person per day and they are not allowed to use water outside at all, can't even use a bucket outside...

here is the article

But you know, as I was looking for figures on capacities of our reservoir's and Murray I came across other articles that shed a different view on why this is happening for starters this one.

I wonder how much of this is climate change from carbon dioxide emissions and how much of this is actually from our own wastage of our precious water, be it our own personal use and even farming practices.
Did you know that here in Australia we grow cotton and rice? And I am not speaking of growing it right up in the north either... what the heck are we doing growing cotton and rice in a climate which clearly doesn't support it?
Here we are in a pretty bad drought and gawd knows how much water which would be put into much better use in the Murray, is instead used to grow cotton and rice...

Then you have all that water in the eastern states being wasted through evaporation by irrigation... I guess that is one good thing South Australia had the foresight to do by installing pipes.

Maybe its about time us Australians started to show a lot more respect to our climate and start living within our means!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Children's Belly Fat Increases More Than 65 Percent Since 1990s

Wowee take a look at these alarming figures!

Taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) quoted from this article:

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2004, the percentage of 6- to 11 year-old children with high BMI scores rose about 25 percent (15.1 percent in 1999-2000 to 18.8 percent in 2003-04). But the increase in abdominal obesity of the same group over the same period was even more dramatic, more than 35 percent (14.2 percent in 1999-2000 to 19.2 percent in 2003-04).

"Those increases only grow more alarming as you tease out specific age groups over longer periods of time," Cook said. "For example, between the 1988-1994 data and the 1999-2004 data, the largest relative increase in the prevalence of abdominal obesity occurred among 2- to 5-year old boys -- 84 percent -- and 18- to 19-year-old girls -- 126 percent."


Friday, November 03, 2006

Putative contributors to the secular increase in obesity: exploring the roads less traveled

I was just reading a review published in the November issue of the International Journal of Obesity and thought I'd share, the paper is titled, Putative contributors to the secular increase in obesity: exploring the roads less traveled (full paper) .

The reason I found it interesting was because it explores other possible contributions to our obesity epidemic other then just the big two, reduced physical activity and food marketing practices.

What the paper does is explore ten putative additional explanations though not conclusive, which may contribute to our current obesity crisis. The ten explanations cover:

  1. Sleep debt: Evidence that less sleep can cause increased body weight and that average sleep debt has increased.
  2. Endocrine disruptors: Evidence that endocrine disruptors can increase adiposity and that our exposure has also increased.
  3. Reduction in variability in ambient temperature: Evidence that remaining in the thermoneutral zone promotes adiposity and our time in thermoneutral zones has increased.
  4. Decreased smoking: Evidence that smoking reduces weight and that smoking rates have decreased.
  5. Pharmaceutical iatrogenesis: Evidence that certain pharmaceuticals increase weight and usage has increased.
  6. Changes in distribution of ethnicity and age: Evidence that some age and ethnic groups have higher prevalence of obesity than others and they have increased in relative frequency.
  7. Increasing gravida age: Evidence that greater gravida age increases risk of offspring obesity.
  8. Intrauterine and intergenerational effects: Influences on obesity in utero and even as far back as two generations when oocytes are formed in the grandmother.
  9. Greater BMI is associated with greater reproductive fitness yielding selection for obesity-predisposing genotypes: Proposition that individuals with a genetic predisposition for a higher BMI reproduce at a higher rate then individuals who are genetically predisposed to a lower BMI.
  10. Assortative mating and floor effects: Humans assortatively mate for adiposity.
They also mention but don't go into, other factors such as reduction in breastfeeding, childhood depression, hormones in agricultural species, shift work, reduced calcium or dairy consumption etc.

Anyway I thought some of these explanations were interesting for example a quote from their explanation on endocrine disruptors:

Evidence that endocrine disruptors exposure has increased

Endocrine disruptors have increased in the food chain.39, 40 One example indicator is that polybrominated diphenyl ether concentration in Swedish women's breast milk almost doubled every 5 years from 1972 to 1998.39"

Anyway have a read and let me know what you think...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

BULLSH*T ALERT: Low-carb diets - some dangerous truths uncovered

Okay I just came across a lovely article on *gasp* the dangers of low carb fad diets. And to think, here I was thinking this previous article on ketosis was bad...

Now according to Vee Jefferson, a registered nurse with more than 10 years experience, low carb diets like Atkins are very dangerous. She has read many articles on why low carbohydrate diets are bad, which according to her, do not specifically explain why. As a result, she decided to enlighten us on why this is so...

Well not only that, she though she would "tear down low-carb dieting" *wink*

Check it out here but please make sure you are sitting down first with a candy bar on hand as those low blood sugar and potassium levels you have from being in ketosis, may kill you...

In the future, before spouting such nonsense on low carbohydrate diets she should look at the numerous low carbohydrate and ketogenic research that is coming out now, some of which we have listed here: Research on Low Carbohydrate Diets

Patient groups special: Swallowing the best advice?

I was just reading this article on a survey conducted by New Scientist looking at the financial relationships between drug and medical companies and patient groups. All I can say is no wonder antidepressants are so common place these days. I know some of you, might feel a little defensive on that, but think about it, prescriptions for antidepressants are pretty much handed out like a common vitamin pill...

Anyway with that said, I thought you might find this graph interesting as well as this quote from the article:

One of these groups, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, said it received more than half of its 2005 funding from industry. The group did not provide an exact percentage, but combined information from its annual report and tax return reveals that 77 per cent of its revenue for 2005 came from 15 major donors, 12 of which are drug or device companies.

And for the ladies I thought this was an interesting peice at the end of the article:

Virtuous but poor

Just two groups identified in New Scientist's survey - the National Women's Health Network (NWHN) and Breast Cancer Action - refuse to accept donations from pharmaceutical or medical device companies. "We want women to know that when they come to us, they are getting independent information," says Amy Allina, the network's programme director. "We think of ourselves as virtuous, but poor."

The NWHN was a prominent advocate of one of the clinical trials in the Women's Health Initiative, the largest-ever study of post-menopausal women, which investigated the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The trial was halted in 2002 after finding that HRT increased women's risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer. "We have been very active critics of the ways drug companies have promoted HRT," says Allina. On its website, the NWHN stresses that women who choose to have HRT should take the lowest dose possible for the shortest time.

The same basic information is also posted on the website of an organisation not included in our survey, the Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR), but its position on HRT seems more ambiguous. The society's president and chief executive officer, Phyllis Greenberger, told The Washington Post in September 2005 that she believed the risks of the treatment had been exaggerated, and described her own experience with HRT over more than 10 years. "I feel better, I have no side effects and in my case I see no downside," she told the newspaper. SWHR does accept funding from the drug industry - including from Wyeth, a manufacturer of the hormones used in HRT.