Thursday, April 16, 2009

Not All Diets Pass Heart Healthy Test

Guess which diet got the best ranking?

According to this report by WebMD, it's the Mediterranean Diet.

Study Shows Mediterranean Diet Lowers Heart Disease Risk; Western Diet Gets Poor Marks

Researchers evaluated more than 50 years of research on diet and heart disease and found those that follow a Mediterranean pattern with lots of fruits, vegetables, and fish have "strong evidence" of lowering the risk of heart disease.
In contrast, eating a Western-style diet, foods high in trans-fatty acids, or foods with a high glycemic index were shown to raise the risk of heart disease.

[WC: At the point, the author of the article said something odd]

Foods with a high glycemic index cause blood sugar levels to spike and include simple or refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice.

I would like to point out that the French each white bread baguettes twice per day, every day. The Italians not only eat bread every day, but they also eat pasta every day. The quintesentially thin Japanese eat white rice every day. Those carbs, apparently, are not the problem after all.

It's interesting that they tout the Mediterranean diet without adhering to it!!

Yes, it is the case that our fat and sugar (not to mention salt) overconsumption is largely due to the hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup found in processed food products. But the Mediterranean diet does not include these, only the Western-style diets.

So, instead of saying that pasta and bread is bad, perhaps it is more rigorous and true to say that processed food products carry the ingredients that can lead to chronic disease symptoms.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pomegranate Power

The polyphenol-rich pomegranate may reduce inflammation, and lower your risk of chronic disease. This is the conclusion of this new study from the Journal of Inflammation.

Read the report here.

This is great and all, but keep your feet on the ground. Don't run out and buy Pom pills, Pom extracts, and Pom juices just yet.

Yes, pomegranat extracts did inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in this study. But we are not yet able to make extrapolations to people yet.

First, the researchers didn't do this study in people. They did them on cell cultures.
Second, they looked at changes that occurred at a gene expression level.

The researchers did point out that a separate study has shown similar results in mice (the in vivo condition). “We […] wish to point out that the in vivo efficacy of the extract used here has already been shown by us in an animal model of inflammatory arthritis indicating that after oral consumption pomegranate metabolites can exert anti-inflammatory effect in vivo."

Their "in vivo" model was a rodent, and you can read the report here if you like. But, like many initial scientific findings, this one has great potential that needs to be vetted over time.

In the meantime, a safe bet for you and me and my mom is that any red fruit, including pomegranate, will provide anti-inflammatory properties. A safe bet for you and me and my mom is to include red fruit in our diets.

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