I put together these monthly news round-ups to help patients who are on restricted diets for medical reasons to stick to their plans. I try to include news articles that report on recent research — which can easily be shared with skeptical family and friends — as well as inspiring recipes and personal experience stories. Hopefully there is something for everyone here!
Food Allergies and Intolerance
Food allergies are an increasing problem and can be deadly. i-News (Oct 4th) covers the difficulties faced by young people who can no longer eat out. Horrifically, within days of their article, a second Pret a Manger death was reported caused by a vegan sandwich contaminated with dairy products. (i-News, Oct 7th)
For coeliac’s eating out can be like playing Russian roulette. Web MD (Oct 9th) reports on a recent study which found one-third of the “gluten-free” foods sold in U.S. restaurants actually contain active trace levels of the substance.
Ketogenic diets — currently popular for weight loss — are highly effective in the treatment of epilepsy, and have been shown to have benefits in other neurological conditions too. The Metro, (Oct 18th) reports on an animal study indicating that it might prevent cognitive decline. A human study, meanwhile, has shown that the diet can improve Parkinson’s disease. (Medscape, Oct 9th) which was actually shown, to be effective in a small pilot study, back in 2005, to be effective by one of Dr Atkins’ greatest critics (read the abstract to that paper here)
Medical News Today (Oct 30th) has a good overview of the effects and side-effects of the ketogenic diet – worth a read if you are new to this way of eating.
For a personal account check out “A cancer researcher on the keto diet for 6 years explains how he does it” – Financial Review (Oct 22nd)
…and, “The chef who says you can beat brain cancer: Protégé of Gordon Ramsay used high-fat, low-carb, no sugar diet to starve deadly tumour” (Daily Mail, Oct 29th)
…and here’s the story of one woman who tried the bone-broth fasting diet. (Seattle times, Oct 22nd)
Paleo and Ancestral Foods
- Related post: Did cooked tubers drive human evolution?
“The Heavy Toll of Empty Calories: Nutrition as a Prerequisite for Inuit Health”:Following our post What we can learn from the 20th century history of the Inuit it is interesting to see a similar article by the Pulitzer Center (Oct 20th)
Recipes: 30 Paleo Recipes Everyone Will Love
Check out Bon Appetit (Nov 2nd) for a whole load of grain-free, (and mostly dairy-free) dishes, including main dishes, deserts, crackers and sauces. They look great!
Meanwhile, Business Insider (Oct 31st) tells us The best ways to cook 8 popular cuts of beef.
- Cheese. Full of saturated fat and salt. Turns out cheese and other fermented dairy products are actually good for the heart (Nine.com.au, Oct 30th and Newsweek, Nov 1st and The Spectator, Nov 1st), unless, of course, you have an immunological reaction to dairy products. In which case, be sensible.
- As a bedtime snack, cheese doesn’t give you nightmares, but has been shown to “boost metabolism and muscle recovery” and “can help you lose weight” (Metro, Oct 28th)
- As for the salt, the BBC suggests that too little salt might not be good for you (BBC, Oct 30th), and for a good analysis of the whole salt thing, please read our articles here, here and here. You will be amazed that anyone still thinks salt is bad for us. Oh the power of ‘fake news’ including health news.
- Farmers weekly (Oct 30th) reports on a study that found grass-fed milk is healthier. Gotta be a moron to be surprised by that! What are cows supposed to eat?
Good for you
:) ORGANIC FOOD: A study looking at the safety of pesticides found that people who ate more organic food had lower incidents of blood and breast cancer (Daily Mail, Oct 23rd). Fab news!
:) HOME BIRTH: Babies born at home have more diverse, beneficial bacteria – study (Science Daily, Oct 31st)
:) HOUSE PLANTS: Ivy and peace lily have been found particularly good for improving indoor air quality. (MedicalExpress, Oct 17th)
:) NUTS: More evidence that snacking on nuts will not lead to weight gain (Medical Express, Oct 16th), so you are not nuts.
:) VITAMIN D: With the sun now too low to make vitamin D even at mid-day your vitamin D levels will begin to drop. The Express (Oct 15th) explains the best foods to eat to help maintain levels. However the very best way to ensure that you maintain summer levels of vitamin D is to have exposure to a UVB 311nm wavelength light box, such as I have in my clinic for a few minutes, and just once per fortnight seems to do the trick for most people. Contact me if you would like to avail yourself of this option.
Bad for you
:( ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: A recent study suggests that artificial sweeteners kill gut bacteria (TechTimes, Oct 3rd), (spoiler alert – it isn’t the bad ones that get clobbered).
:( BABY RICE: Dangerous levels of arsenic found in seven baby rice products amid fears it could affect young children’s growth (Daily Mail, Oct 21st)
:( FLUORIDE: Fluoridated drinking water is causing concerns for its potential adverse effects on the unborn child’s IQ (Medical Express, Oct 10th)
With many NHS staff refusing to take the seasonal flu’ jab (I wonder why), the Powers That Be are clamping down and moving refusers away from vulnerable patients. (i-News Oct 11th) One step closer to making it compulsory? Most of my Doctor friends think the flu’ jab is worthless. One thinks it killed his father. [BTW Skepticism of the flu’ shot is widespread among parents too: MedicalExpress, Oct 15th]
Perhaps in response to Brexit, we are pleased to hear that the number of GP trainees is now the highest in the history of the NHS (i-News, Oct 18). Let’s hope they read my blog!
Funny headlines from guest publication Science Daily
- Dogs Detect Malaria by Sniffing Socks Worn by African Children (Oct 29th)
Plant based diets
Vegetarian and vegan options were up 85% at Waitrose last year. However, a survey commissioned by the store found that most customers who called themselves vegetarians or vegans admitted they still ate meat sometimes. (Independent, Nov 2nd). Is ‘Vegan’ just a virtue signalling term?
A study has found that vegetarians are more miserable than meat eaters (LAD Bible, Nov 3rd)