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Review challenges the health claims made for some vegetable oils

‘Vegetable oils’ derived from sunflower, soya, safflower and corn are generally promoted as healthy. They are rich in ‘polyunsaturated’ fats that come in two basic forms: omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-6 oils tend to be inflammatory in nature and also encourage clotting in the blood. Omega-3 fats tend to do the reverse. It’s generally well accepted, […]

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How well does the evidence used to support the use of margarine stand up?

Last week one of my blog posts highlighted a piece I had written for the Times on the relative merits of butter and margarine from a health perspective. I was limited to 1,300 words, and in the space allowed attempted to summarise all the most important prevailing nutritional themes here. I came out heavily in […]

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My piece in The Times which (I think) settles the butter versus margarine debate once and for all

Last Saturday, The Times newspaper here in the UK carried a piece I wrote about the relative merits of butter, margarine and cholesterol-reducing spreads. I think it’s great we have got to the point where a major, ‘serious’ newspaper is commissioning and publishing pieces that challenge nutritional orthodoxy and do not swallow food industry misinformation […]

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Why does adding ‘calorific’ nuts to the diet not usually cause weight gain?

Much of our thinking about weight control has been dictated by the calorie principle – the idea that our body weight is determined by the balance of calories taken into and burned by our bodies. Within this overarching concept, calorific foods tend not to be favoured. One food that falls foul here is nuts. Just […]

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A reader writes: Is breakfast really ‘the most important meal of the day’?

I had an interesting email this week on the subject of skipping breakfast. Here it is: Inconversation with my mother and on the subject of diets, she reminded me (as she always does) that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Now my mother is a large lady who has dieted all her […]

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Higher protein diets are better for fat loss and muscle preservation during weight loss

When people deliberately lose weight, usually what they are seeking to shed is excess fat. Unfortunately, evidence shows that a good proportion of any weight lost on a restrictive diet can come from muscle, and this is something that is generally best avoided. One thing that can help here is resistance exercise where the body […]

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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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My take on the fish oil and prostate cancer study

Every so often, a piece of health news will make a splash and trigger a mini-deluge of emails in my inbox. This was certainly the case last week, when a study linking certain omega-3 fats (‘fish oils’) with an increased risk of prostate cancer. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, […]

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If we want children to eat more healthily, it’s best to explain why

I read this week about concerns that, in the UK, conditions such as scurvy and rickets are on the way back as a result of dietary deficiencies. A shift in the diet away from nutritious fare towards ‘junk’ and fast foods is said to be to blame. My experience is that many parents are keen […]

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