December News Round-Up

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Just by chance, much of the nutrition news this month fits in with the theme of Christmas dinner.

What Christmas dinner looks like around the world

I shared my traditional (grain-free) Christmas dinner this year in a recent post, but this article looks at the traditional festive fare in other countries. For example, the Puerto Rican national dish is the roast suckling pig known as lechón. And my roast turkey seems quite unadventurous compared to the Norwegian sheep’s head!  (Independent 25th Dec)

Organic animal produce contains more omega 3

My Christmas turkey and vegetables were all organic as were most of the dairy products I used. So I was pleased to see on Knowridge (12th Dec) that ‘in the largest study of its kind, an international team of experts led by Newcastle University, UK, has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products.’
And organic veggies are higher in salvestrols, but that’s another story 😉
If you overdid the goose fat, cream and butter this Christmas, or ate more than your share of that juicy beef or pork joint, take heart from the following cheering news!

Eating more than the recommended quantity of red meat does not affect heart risk says analysis

Sunday roast (Source: Hotel du Vin)
Sunday roast (Source: Hotel du Vin)

The Mail Online (20th Dec) reports on a study analysing the effects of eating more red meat than is commonly recommended and its effect on heart disease parameters. The study authors conclude ‘During the last 20 years, there have been recommendations to eat less red meat as part of a healthier diet, but our research supports that red meat can be incorporated into a healthier diet,’

Saturated fat may not increase heart disease risk after all

christmas-pudding4Milk (in the tea), cream and butter (in my Christmas pudding). Full fat dairy products – but not reduced fat versions – are increasingly being shown to be healthy. 
Medical Health Today (27th Dec) A Norwegian study placed 38 men on a very high fat, low carb diet for 12 weeks. Cardiovascular risk markers improved. The lead author concludes: “that most healthy people probably tolerate a high intake of saturated fat well, as long as the fat quality is good and total energy intake is not too high. It may even be healthy.”
Knowridge (11th Dec) A longitudinal study of 15,000 Brazilian adults found that “for each additional serving of full-fat dairy products people consumed, their risk for having metabolic syndrome decreased by 13%.” The researchers concluded that dietary recommendations to avoid full-fat dairy intake are not supported by their findings.

Quote of the month

“The alleged health risks of eating good-quality fats have been greatly exaggerated. It may be more important for public health to encourage reductions in processed flour-based products, highly processed fats, and foods with added sugar,” FATFUNC study author Simon Dankel.

[my emphases]

If you had a low-fat Christmas and after reading the above studies are now regretting it, the following advice should help get you back on track. Self Magazine (27th Dec) has a pretty good article 19 healthy fats you should be eating. Also, this article, 7 tips on low-carb Mediterranean-style eating, is worth a look (Tips On Love & Life, 27th Dec)

Nuts are for life, not just for Christmas!

Marcona Almonds {Jonathan Pincas)
Marcona Almonds {Jonathan Pincas)

It’s a tradition to have bowls of nuts at Christmas, but there are good reasons to include nuts in your diet all year round. Observer (12th Dec) discusses the health benefits of all kinds of nuts. (Personally, I don’t touch peanuts)

Don’t hold back on the seasoning this season

I seasoned my turkey with plenty of salt and pepper. As we have discussed previously on this blog, salt should not be demonised. An article on Knowridge (12th Dec) made the point clearly this month:

A large worldwide study has found that, contrary to popular thought, low-salt diets may not be beneficial and may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death compared to average salt eating.
In fact, the study suggests that the only people who need to worry about reducing sodium in their diet are those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and have high salt consumption.

The Microbiome and Circadian rhythms
or how overindulging and late nights play havoc with your liver

I just wanted an excuse to include this beautiful graphic. But, no, really, this is a very good article – top-notch science writing! As the title says it’s about the interplay between the microbiome and the body clock – especially the liver. If you have given your liver a hard time over the festive season – dodgy food, eating times and late nights – you should probably read this article (The Conversation, 1st Dec)
OK, I can’t think of a seasonal connection for these last few items…
No, wait, how about…

Three odd presents you find at the bottom of your Christmas stocking:

Time magazine (28th Dec) has an unusually clear article on the science behind the ketogenic diet, including quotes from several key researchers. Worth a read.
The Mirror Online (2nd Dec) reports on a case of herbal poisoning. A woman nearly died after making tea from what she thought was comfrey leaves but is suspected of being foxglove (digitalis). Writing in BMJ Case Reports Dr Mathew Kurian Vithayathil said: “This case illustrates how limited knowledge of plants can be potentially fatal.”
The Telegraph (28th Dec) tells of 6 people who fell ill after drinking raw milk in Cumbria which was infected with Campylobacter bacteria. This is, to my knowledge, the first case in the UK in many, many years. To get some perspective on the risks of raw milk see our post on the subject here.
Result! A thoroughly festive news round up!

and good eating and health in 2017!
~ Afifah and Keir


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