Research finds ‘raised’ cholesterol to be associated with a reduced risk of death

In the UK and Europe generally, it is recommended that levels of cholesterol in the blood should not be above 5.0 mmol/l (= about 190 mg/dl). We are given the impression that having levels above this puts us at increased risk of heart disease – a major ‘killer’. However, if this is true, it does […]

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New study suggests specific phasing of food can help women with PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition characterised by multiple cysts in the ovaries which can impair ovulation and therefore fertility. One common feature of the condition is raised levels of the ‘male’ hormone testosterone, which can lead to ‘masculinising’ side effects such as ‘hirsutism’ (abnormal, excessive hair growth), scalp hair loss, and acne. Another […]

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Evidence links cholesterol-reducing interventions with increased risk of dying from accidents, suicide and violence

While we are consistently encouraged to keep our cholesterol levels in check for the sake of our heart health, common sense dictates that we should be somewhat cautious here. After all, cholesterol is an essential element in the body and, for instance, is integral to the structure and function of all our cells, including those […]

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The medical director of the British Heart Foundation does not want to engage with the troubling science on sterols

Last month, I wrote a blog post about how there was no evidence that cholesterol-lowering ‘stanols’ and ‘sterols’ (found in some margarines and other ‘functional foods’) have benefits for health. In fact, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence explicitly states that they should not be used. Yet, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) recommends […]

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How to improve sleep through seeking and avoiding light at the right times

I came across this report last week of a study into sleep-wake cycles. A group of adults were monitored in their normal environments (with electrical lighting, TV and electronic devices) and also had their levels of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin assessed [1]. It was discovered that in their normal environment, melatonin secretion was generally delayed […]

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Evidence suggests stanols and sterols are ‘good’ for cholesterol but bad for health

Three weeks ago, one of my blogs focused on the presumed benefits of food products containing plant substances known as stanols or sterols. These partially block absorption of cholesterol from the gut and therefore can reduce blood cholesterol levels. The point I made in that blog, though, was that the impact these foods products have […]

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Regular walking found to boost memory in those with ‘mild cognitive impairment’

‘Mild cognitive impairment’ describes a reduction in brain function that is not advanced enough to be described as ‘dementia’. It’s usually described via psychological testing. As yet, there is no recognised medical treatment for it. That doesn’t mean, of course, that nothing can be done about it, and in fact some recent evidence suggests that […]

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Do health checks actually do any good?

Health checks are a common feature of conventional medical care. Here, individuals who don’t necessarily have any specific health issues are subjected to several medical tests such as blood pressure and cholesterol measurement, height and weight and standard blood tests. The idea is that ‘problems’ will be spotted earlier than they would be ordinarily, and […]

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What is the ‘Fat Information Service’ up to? Part 2

Last week I wrote about the Unilever-funded Fat Information Service and the claim on its website that “The evidence shows clearly that the risk of developing heart disease is reduced when saturated fats are replaced with unsaturated fats.” The claim was made by dietician Dr Carrie Ruxton, and to support her claim she referenced a […]

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What is the ‘Fat Information Service’ up to?

I had a press release recently alerting me to the presence of the Fat Information Service. On the face of it, this ‘service’ seeks to provide us with balanced and accurate information and advice about the sorts of fat we should be eating in our diets. It claims, among other things, to provide “Access [to] […]

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