Nutrition in the News
NEW US article on Healthful Eating on a Budget
How Cheese, Wheat and Alcohol Might Have Changed Us Over Time
2018 Autism/Asperger’s Research Study in Arizona
BANT statement on COVID-19
Abram Hoffer's orthomolecular approach to psychiatry
Sunlight sleep and the inflamed brain BBC R4 podcast
Mindfulness for ADHD
100 Calorie Cereal Bar Snack Recipe
Non-Dairy Fermented Foods - Kefir
Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
The Men Who Made Us Fat
Disagreement Over Starchy Food in Diets for Diabetes
The Truth About Exercise
Louisa Richards - Healthful meals on a budget
This article in Medical News Today pulls together the results of two surveys. The first study in 2009 explored the shopping habits of women with children and low incomes. The strategies that this group found most helpful were improving budgeting skills, increasing nutrition knowledge and including less meat and more fruits and vegetables in meals. The second study in 2015 was focused on the eating habits of college students. Students reported their biggest obstacles to a healthy diet were financial instability, time constraints, and low cooking skills.
Louisa Richards wrote up this article detailing a 7 day menu plan and strategies to address all these issues. The lunches all rely on using up and extending the previous evening's meal. I particularly like her list of store cupboard staples which I am listing here. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, old-fashioned oats, ,tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, dried lentils, dried or canned chickpeas, dried or canned beans, frozen vegetables, canned tuna, canned vegetable soups, ground turkey (possibly frozen). Follow this link to see her menu ideas and the full article
How basic foods like cheese, wheat and alcohol have changed our genes Comprehensive nutrition and diet research shows benefit for adults and children in Arizona
This recently published study focused on a vitamin and mineral supplement, fish oil, healthy gluten, casein and soy free diet, carnitine and Epsom salt baths. It also looked at digestive enzymes to assist with carbohydrate processing.
In the control group IQ did not change. By contrast in the treatment group IQ increased by 7 points. Before this trial developmental age of participants was approximately ½ nominal age. The control group on average gained 4 months in one year. The trial group gained 18 months on average during the same period. Hyperactivity, irritability and stims decreased and interaction increased. "The treatment group had significantly greater increases in EPA, DHA, carnitine, and vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, folic acid, and Coenzyme Q10."
As rated by families the most beneficial interventions were the vitamin and mineral supplement followed by fish oil. A healthy gluten, casein and soy free diet was rated third by participant families although about 1/3 of the trial cohort could not manage this. About one hour of individual Individual nutritional support was given to each participant family. Epsom salts baths were popular to continue after the trial, probably because they were easy to include on a regular basis.
Adults improved as much as children which was a very welcome finding. The control group received 12 months of supplements after the 12 month trial period had finished. The full details were published in Nutrients 2018 available here.
Abram Hoffer's Lifetime Works
Abram Hoffer studied biochemistry including metabolism, enzymes and essential nutrients including vitamins in the 1940s. He graduated from medical school in 1949 and chose to specialise in psychiatry. His patients had psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and depressive illnesses. He was joined in his work by Dr H Osmond from the UK. Their detailed case histories suggested to them that in some clients there might be underlying disorders such as malnutrition, chronic infections or problems with alcohol which could affect brain chemistry. Identifying these factors was essential to helping their patients.
Apart from infections, intoxicants and nutritional deficiencies Hoffer and Osmond had another subgroup of patients with none of these. Osmond and his colleague Smythies in the UK had previously suggested that a disorder of adrenaline metabolism could make some patients vulnerable to psychosis making them hallucinate. They looked back to research in the 1920s and 30s on pellagra – a B3 deficiency disease – with symptoms affecting the skin, the digestion and the brain i.e. dermatitis, diarrhoea and dementia. In the early 1900s pellagra was linked to poor corn based diets which killed thousands but can also result from excessive alcohol consumption or kidney dialysis without vitamin supplements.
They suggested combining the knowledge of what had helped pellagra sufferers recover i.e. a very nutritious diet and/ or supplemental nutrients might help their patients. Hoffer and Osmond carried out double-blind placebo-controlled research which was published in medical journals but was generally ignored by mainstream psychiatrists of the day.
Read more in the Full Orthomolecular News Service article published on 17th January 2019.
A Good Listen and Read
Hosted by Andrew Ma
Outdoor light between 8 and 9am keeps the circadian body clock in sync.
Also Edward Bullmore's new book
The Inflamed Brain
about the changing understanding in medicine of the role of inflammation in depression.
Mindfulness and ADHD
This was the first of a two part series first broadcast at 9pm on 23rd May 2018 which sees Dr Chris van Tulleken investigating over-prescribing in children following a previous series of 'The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs' dealing with adults. Dr Chris brings Amsterdam University Professor Susan Bogels to the UK to teach mindfulness techniques to a group of children on methylphenidate for ADHD and their parents. Six weeks after a first session of utter chaos the results are transformative. This program also has a very interesting section on how liquid paracetamol is marketed to parents and what it should be prescribed for. Available on iplayer here until 12th July 2018.
100 Calorie Cereal Bar Snack Recipe
Public Health England announced recently that children should have no more than two snacks of under 100 calories a day. I found this recipe from Anja Schwerin a while ago when I was looking for more tooth friendly snack suggestions for intensive sport training. I reduced the chili flakes to 1/4 teaspoon and did removed the chili seeds so that is has a bit of heat without being too strong.
The analysis for it is approximate because the recipe uses volume measures for the ingredients. Each bar (1/9th of the recipe quantity) using soy milk instead of cow's milk and drained sun dried tomatoes in oil contains approximately:
87 calories, 7.8 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g sugars, 5.3 g fat, 2.2 g protein and 2.1 g fibre.
Non-Dairy Fermented Foods
I was an exhibitor and attendee at the Weston A Price Wise Traditions London 2012 Conference in Epsom in mid-March. Dr Weston A Price was a Canadian-born dentist who in the 1930s in his practice noticed that his younger patients had increasingly deformed dental arches, crooked teeth and cavities over the short space of 15 years. He set off on a journey around the world looking at the diets, health and teeth of healthy people. As a result of his research he drew up a list of ten characteristics that the diets of healthy people shared.
Every healthy diet included fermented probiotic-rich foods
Sally Fallon Morrell in her presentation at the Wise Traditions 2012 Meeting on 17th March listed the health benefits of fermented foods. They:
- Help digest food
- Assist with assimilation of nutrients
- Create nutrients
- Protect us against toxins
- Help us feel good
Last year I was inspired to start making my own sauerkraut and then goat yogurt. While one of my family members got on well with the sauerkraut - the others found tuning into sour foods more difficult. For them the recipe that followed suited much better.
Non- dairy kefir fermented coconut milk
Kefir is a mixture of lactic acid producing bacteria and yeast cultures. I bought a packet of Body Ecology kefir starter from Cultured Probiotics exhibiting at Wise Traditions this year. It is usually made from animal milk or young coconut milk. I was in a hurry to start and used just what I could find - a packet of desiccated coconut in the back of the cupboard.
Stage 1: Coconut milk
I poured 6 cups of boiling water over two cups of dessicated coconut in a bowl - covered it with a plate and left if for half an hour. I lined a colander with a clean piece of old sheet, poured the coconut water mix into it and caught the liquid underneath in a saucepan. I squeezed all the liquid out of the rehydrated coconut (nb clean hands or food preparation gloves) - this made about a litre - and put it in a clean empty glass jar (about 1 litre capacity).
Stage 2: Making the kefir ferment
I stood the glass jar in a tall pan of hottest water from the hot tap. I reckoned this would keep the liquid at about 40 degrees C ready for the starter. I put in one sachet of the starter and then left it for 24 hours with the lid on loosely.
The next day I put a spoon into the jar and instead of froth was surprised to find a solid layer. I chopped it up and pulled it out - I had made coconut butter! I just left it to dry off and put it in a jam jar for future cooking and skin care. Under this layer the coconut milk tasted tangy although not particularly fizzy. At this stage you need to put it in the fridge - -which slows the fermentation to a low level.
I thought it made a nice refreshing cold drink. My family were not quite so keen on it neat - but mixed with a little pineapple juice thought it was really quite good. The combination of coconut, pineapple and tartness working quite well together.
After three days I used 6 tablespoons of the liquid as the new starter. Altogether you can do this 6 times so making 7 batches (7 litres) with one packet of starter. I worked out the cost at approximately 55p per litre for the starter. If you know someone who has the everlasting kefir then you can use that as a starter for free and just keep going. A fellow exhibitor at the fair has kindly offered to send me some. Otherwise the starter is about £24 for six sachets - which you could split with some friends. I have not worked out the cost of the coconut - partly because the pack I had was fairly old and had no price on it. Local supermarkets sell only fairly small packets. I am going to try some Asian grocers for bulk bags.
The defatted, starch reduced rehydrated coconut that is over could be used in cooking - with coconut oil added back in. I have yet to investigate this but think some sort of biscuit would be rather good. A subject for a future post perhaps.....
Which Food is Best? by Stephen Byrnes in Positive Health Magazine - a slightly old article from 2001 but the one that introduced me to Dr Weston A Price and I have kept for 11 years (NB very slow to load) www.westonaprice.org - Principles of a Healthy Diet
Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
This study published online on March 12th 2012 and available in full here has raised a few headlines in the press today (Tuesday March 13th). It used questionnaires every two years over a two year period with two different survey groups. One was a set of 38 000 male health professionals, the second a group of 84 000 female nurses.
Its headline is that a one portion a day increase in red meat consumption increases total mortality by 13% for unprocessed meat and 20% for processed meat.
Now to understand what it means in terms of our diets we need to know what the baseline consumption was.
For the male health professionals group the lowest consuming set ate on average 0.22 portions of red meat per day ie just over one and a half servings per week. For the female nurses group the equivalent set ate 0.53 portions of red meat per day - about three and three quarter portions of red meat per week.
A one portion a day increase on these baselines would take the female group up to almost 10 portions per week and the male group up to eight and a half portions per week.
Should we worry? If you are eating red meat 1 or 2 times per week - probably not. Although personally I would recommend as does the FSA that you reduce processed meat containing nitrite to an occasional basis - i.e. not a ham sandwich every day.
Alternative sandwich fillers
Chicken, turkey or other cooked unprocessed meat
Fish eg tuna, sardines or mackerel
A nut or seed butter unless the school or workplace has a ban on nuts and seeds
Houmous or bean pate
Deli meat free of nitrite includes parma ham, some sliced beef (salt only - but all slightly pricey) and Naked Bacon and Naked Ham starting to be stocked in UK supermarkets in early 2018.
A good quality nitrite free sausage e.g. The Black Farmer
Men Who Made Us Fat - 2012
The first two parts of this three part series were shown in mid-June on BBC2 in 2012. From time to time these programs are reshown on iplayer.
For me the first episode on why low fat foods full of sugar are crowding our supermarket shelves was the most shocking of the first two broadcast so far. The especially devastating impact of high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks in the USA and the introduction of 'snacking' on chocolate bars in the UK have played a leading role in an increase in average weight of 3 stone per adult since the 1950s. The second episode was all about supersize portions - and how things are creeping up again. Epsiode three - the marketing of 'healthy foods' - which are anything but....
Disagreement Over Starchy Food in Diets for Diabetes
A discussion between Dr John Briffa and Ms Deepa Khatri, clinical adviser, from Diabetes UK, on the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours on Monday 5th March 2012 which can be heard here.
The item starts about 14 minutes in to the broadcast and lasts about 8 minutes.
Current dietary advice to diabetics is that it is acceptable to eat as much as 50% of calories as carbohydrate - provided that they are high in soluble fibre and resistant starch (Lean & Ha, 2000 ed Garrow James & Relph, Human Nutrition and Dietetics 10th edition). Although this standard textbook states there is a lack of research data confirming the clinical benefits of a higher carbohydrate diet in diabetes research - possibly because the quality and fibre content have not been taken into account - diabetics are still informed that it is aceptable to eat this level of carbohydrate.
Dr Briffa has long argued for restraint in the eating of carbohydrate; particularly starchy refined carbohydrate. The food pyramid model also tends to emphasise the dominant position of starchy carb foods. What we really need is non-starchy vegetables at the base. In traditional diets starchy foods were scarce and required hard work to gather and extract nourishment from them. We are now awash with them and type two diabetes - a coincidence?
The Truth About Exercise
This BBC Horizon episode features Michael Mosley who wants to get fitter without spending hours in the gym. It seems what you must do is 3 minutes ultra high flat out activity per week and in between keep moving. Depressing news for those like myself whose work keeps them at a computer and sitting on a chair. This - it seems - is the worst of all worlds. Although you need to be very fit to follow this advice. It is not a good way to get fit. Inspite of the bad news I enjoyed the pace and content of this Horizon - it didn't dumb down the message - and avoided my personal bugbear - endless repetition punctuated with dramatic music. Catch it when it comes back on BBC iplayer.