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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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Adverts for Flora pro.activ banned, but for the wrong reasons

Earlier this week, someone sent me a link this article that reports on a recent decision made by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK regarding two television adverts for the cholesterol-reducing margarine Flora pr.activ. The television adverts included text and a voiceover informing us that: “No other food lowers cholesterol more”. Two people complained […]

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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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Wide-ranging review links artificial sweeteners with weight gain

There are many aspects of conventional dietary ideology that I don’t agree with. Not because I look for conflict and disagreement, but because so many concepts within dietary ‘conventional wisdom’ are simply not supported by the evidence (and, in fact, may be harmful). One common theme we see crop up in dietary dogma centres around […]

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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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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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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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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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