Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Mediterranean diet faith is struggling on

That eating like a traditional Greek or Southern Italian is good for you is now widely believed. We must not let it upset our faith that mainly Nordic populations such as Iceland, Finland and Australia have the longest lifespans, must we?

The faith has come under heavy attack in the medical journals lately.  In 2011, for instance a Dutchman named Piet van den Brandt found that the diet had some benefit to women but none to men.  Icelandic men should marry Greek women, or something.

That finding doesn't seem to have fazed our dogged Dutchman, however.  He has just found that the diet helps to prevent breast cancer -- but only a minority of cancers in post-menopausal women.  Still a pretty thin finding for him, I would think.

And it may even be true.  A diet that does not bother most people can be bad for some subsets of people. A Southeast Asian diet rich in peanuts can kill some allergic Westerners, for instance.

I should note that the layman's report below overstates the findings.  The connection between diet and ER negative  breast cancer was extremely weak -- to the point of negligibility.  It is certainly not enough to influence anyone's diet.  The connection was statistically significant only by virtue of the large sample size. And the connection between diet and ER positive breast cancer was not even statistically significant. So the layman's summary immediately below is essentially fake news.

Report below plus abstract:

Eating a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil cuts the risk of getting a deadly form of breast cancer by 40 per cent, a study has found.

The diet – which keeps white bread, red meat and sweets to a minimum – significantly reduced the likelihood of oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

The cancer is more likely to prove fatal than other types. It is often harder to treat than hormone-sensitive cancer. Nearly a third of the 55,000 women in the UK diagnosed with breast cancer each year have this form. Around 11,400 women die from breast cancer in the UK every year.

A typical Mediterranean diet includes high intakes of plant-based proteins such as nuts, lentils and beans, whole grains, fish and 'healthy' monounsaturated fats such as olive oil.

Refined sugars and saturated fat are kept to a minimum.

Professor Piet van den Brandt, from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, led the study of 62,000 women over 20 years. He said: 'Our research can help to shine a light on how dietary patterns can affect our cancer risk.

A Mediterranean diet only had a weak non-significant effect on the risk of hormone-sensitive oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, the study published in the International Journal of Cancer found


Mediterranean diet adherence and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer: results of a cohort study and meta-analysis

Piet A. van den Brandt et al.


The Mediterranean Diet (MD) has been associated with reduced mortality and risk of cardiovascular diseases, but there is only limited evidence on cancer. We investigated the relationship between adherence to MD and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer (and estrogen/progesterone receptor subtypes, ER/PR). In the Netherlands Cohort Study, 62,573 women aged 55–69 years provided information on dietary and lifestyle habits in 1986. Follow-up for cancer incidence until 2007 (20.3 years) consisted of record linkages with the Netherlands Cancer Registry and the Dutch Pathology Registry PALGA. Adherence to MD was estimated through the alternate Mediterranean Diet Score excluding alcohol. Multivariate case–cohort analyses were based on 2,321 incident breast cancer cases and 1,665 subcohort members with complete data on diet and potential confounders. We also conducted meta-analyses of our results with those of other published cohort studies.

We found a statistically significant inverse association between MD adherence and risk of ER negative (ER−) breast cancer, with a hazard ratio of 0.60 (95% Confidence Interval, 0.39–0.93) for high versus low MD adherence (ptrend = 0.032). MD adherence showed only nonsignificant weak inverse associations with ER positive (ER+) or total breast cancer risk. In meta-analyses, summary HRs for high versus low MD adherence were 0.94 for total postmenopausal breast cancer, 0.98 for ER+, 0.73 for ER− and 0.77 for ER − PR− breast cancer. Our findings support an inverse association between MD adherence and, particularly, receptor negative breast cancer. This may have important implications for prevention because of the poorer prognosis of these breast cancer subtypes.



Salt. Medical wisdom tipped on its ear once again

I have been pointing out for years the research findings showing that it is lack of salt rather than an excess of it that is the problem.  So it is good to see the research findings slowly beginning to percolate into medical practice

For years we have been told to cut down on our salt intake, but one health expert has now said we need to eat MORE salt.

Professor Salim Yusuf has argued that eating less than three grams of salt per day is worse for your health and can increase the risk of heart failure.

The professor, who stepped down from the role of president of the World Health Federation earlier this year, disagreed with current health advice given by Public Health England, which says to eat no more than six grams of salt per day.

'It is futile to target such low intakes and, moreover, it may well be harmful. Studies show below about three grams of sodium per day there is increased mortality, heart attack and heart failure,' he told the Sunday Express.

'Reaching sodium intake levels below 2.3g day over a sustainable period of time is not feasible. There is no evidence that this is beneficial and there are concerns it could be harmful.'

Professor Yusuf suggests eating between 7.5g and 12.5g of salt per day.

However, Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE), told the newspaper that reducing salt consumption helps lower blood pressure, adding: 'We are still eating a third more than we should. That's why industry needs to continue to reduce salt in everyday foods.'

PHE argues reducing salt intake can help aid blood pressure levels, meaning there is a lower chance of people of suffering a heart attack, stroke or vascular dementia.

But does it?  Does salt control reduce adverse cardiovascular events?  Is the theory right?  It is not.  But the theory still hangs on, facts regardless



Hollywood as Science Experts

Let's try and get this right.

These are people who excel at pretending they're someone else - mostly people who never existed - while mouthing words they memorized, written by someone else, while being told how to say those words, by another person, in order to maximize the emotional impact on an audience.  All the while being professionally filmed by a bunch of others to enhance that image.

That makes them look smarter, faster, tougher and depending on the theme of this fictional character they're promoting more empathetic, more compassionate, more likable, or more sympathetic, but that's all illusion. That's why they call it acting.

Let's get this right.  Being a celebrity is their only qualification! Not being an actor, singer or comedian - being a celebrity!  Why don't they send in actors, singers or comedians who no one ever heard of? Because they're actors, singers or comedians no one ever heard of. They're just actors, singers or comedians - not celebrities!

How many actual scientists who testify does anyone know?  Unless you're involved in their fields - or as in my case I write about them - the public is clueless as to who they are.  So why are they there?  They're there because they really are experts, not celebrities playing at being an expert.

Although in recent years we're finding so many of these experts are actors like Bill Nye, The Science Guy, and Doctor Oz, who has been ripped by scientists for a lot of their views. These 'experts' they have to face the music within the scientific community after they spew out nonsense. Who do these actors have to answer to?

When they're called before some Congressional panel to testify about issues in which they're completely unqualified to speak - that's not fine - because they're totally unqualified to be there unless they're there to sit down, shut their mouths, listen and learn. But that's not what "celebrities" do and that's not celebrities are used to.

Once these people reach a certain level of celebrity they live in a world of "yes"! Everything they say and do is "news", everything they think is "important", every utterance is splashed over the media as if what they say really means something - or anything for that matter - and many in the public eat it up.  But when you turn out the lights - you get someone who was parking cars, pumping gas and waiting on tables, but now they've become 'stars' and society hungers for their insights on life.

What a sorry state we're in



A low information voter

At one of the DC marches, one woman carried a sign that said "I dream women will someday have the same rights as guns."  Huh??

Does that mean that this brilliant liberal wants...

- you to have to wait 72 hrs after you go out and buy a woman to have your background investigation completed?

- women to be banned from entering school and college campuses?

- women to be banned from any establishment selling alcohol?

- women to be banned from polling places on election days?

- women to be banned from any official government group meetings?

- all women to be banned from all airports?

- you to have to pay a fee to the state before you can carry a woman on your person?

- some women to be banned outright simply because they look too scary?

- all women to be locked up at all times that they are not in use?

Hmmmm.  Does she also think that all guys should have more than one?

That all women should come with silencers?


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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