About Keir Watson

Researcher and lecturer in Nutrition & Human Evolution, (rosemarycottageclinic.wordpress.com), Tutor ( physics), Permaculturist: fruit tree training; garden building construction; green roofs (www.herbidacious.wordpress.com)

Carbohydrates, not animal fats, linked to heart disease across 42 European countries

A study of 42 European countries found lower cardiovascular disease and mortality among countries that consumed more fats and animal protein. Higher cardiovascular mortality was linked to carbohydrate consumption. Another nail in the coffin for the diet-heart hypothesis?

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Leg o’ lamb with home grown veg

I just brought in some lovely fresh veg from our garden this afternoon – the broccoli and celeriac were really top notch! Plus we have enough carrots to see us through to April. 

It might be late in the year, but I try to have something to eat from the garden all year round. We have Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, sprouting broccoli and winter onions to come, with cauliflowers in the new year.

Sunday Roast

Afifah made a fab roast dinner using the garden veg: Goodwood leg of lamb, rubbed with homegrown garlic and rosemary, served with mashed celeriac, broccoli and roast carrots. A perfect and nutritious Sunday dinner :)

Here’s a little slideshow of the meal: Traditional English fare at it’s best.

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Cholesterol and CVD – How reliable are the risk calculators?

The red line shows the expected number of 10yr fatal CVD deaths predicted by SCORE. The dots represent the actual percentage of deaths observed in a Danish population [Mortensen et al, Jun 2015, European Heart Journal]

A recent study among the population of Denmark has found that the SCORE (Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation) model for predicting CVD deaths in low risk European countries (see our previous post) overestimates 10 year risk of death compared to what is actually observed by no less than 500% (4.9-fold in men and by 5.5-fold in women).

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Cholesterol and CVD – putting the risks into perspective

“Heart disease risk”, “raised cholesterol”, “Statins” – these six words are guaranteed to strike fear into almost anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be cursed by their local witch doctor wielding these hexed mantras. For years the public psyche has been hyper-sensitised to these terms through incessant media reporting and public health messages. Continue reading

Depressed Vegetarians for Corbyn is a thing?

“Vegetarian diets make you depressed” the article said. Tell me about it! Just being around vegetarians makes me depressed, I thought.

The article in question was in Medical Express (Sep 11th). It was reporting on a study of 10,000 people from the UK which found twice the rate of depression among the 350 ‘committed vegetarians’ in the cohort. What was also apparent was that those who had been vegetarian longest – the most committed – had the highest rates of depression. The researchers suggest that low levels of seafood, B12 and high levels of phytoestrogens may be to blame.

After reading this I felt a little sad for all my vegetarian friends, so started digging around to see if there was a support group out there. Well it seems there is, and it’s called the Labour Party…(!)

So believe it or not, Depressed Vegetarians for Corbyn is a thing! Baffling. But at least they are helping each other come to terms with their depression. First up, they can buy one of these these beautiful T-shirts:

And there is even a twitter page just for them: https://twitter.com/corbeanies

So what’s the link between being a depressed vegetarian and supporting Jeremy Corbyn? The more I thought about this, the more I started questioning the scientists. Perhaps, I wondered, It’s not the lack of B12 or seafood causing the depression, but rather their hopeless political ambitions? Either way, it’s no wonder they are depressed!

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How can bitter foods be good for us when they taste so bad? – Resolving the paradox

Laying out the problem

Our recent post on bitters, left me with a lot of questions.

If bitter tastes indicate the presence of toxins and thereby help us avoid poisonous foods, why do they stimulate such positive physiological responses? Why would some of those responses protect us from metabolic diseases like diabetes and cancer? If bitter taste is merely a warning to avoid a particular food, then why do many traditions revere bitter foods? How do we explain why adults develop a taste for bitter foods that as children they found repulsive? Why does folk law say “Good medicine always tastes bitter”?

After a lot of pondering I think I’ve got an answer but to make sense of it I need to lay out what I see as the relevant parts of the puzzle first.

Read time: 16 minutes (3100 words)

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Gary Taubes on American Heart Association confirmation bias

In our recent post ‘Amazing results challenge guidelines in new study‘, we looked at research that came to exactly the opposite conclusion to that of The American Heart Association who currently recommend replacing saturated fat with MUFAs and omega-6 PUFAs. The researchers concluded:

recommendations of supplementation with these fatty acids in the general diet should be revised.

The public at large are confused by what they see as flip-flopping over dietary issues: butter is bad one week, but ‘back’ the next. Many people find it hard to believe that such an authoritative body as the American Heart Association could be wrong. How can a few small researcher groups and flag-waving bloggers (like us!) possibly be right? Surely august bodies like the AHA sort through the data and discard the poor quality studies? Surely they can be trusted to do due diligence on our behalf?

These are reasonable thoughts for people to have and they are not wrong to think like this, but such convictions rely on our public agencies not slipping into the kinds of confirmation bias that science is supposed to protect us from.

In a recent Op-Ed Gary Taubes (science journalist and author of the best selling book Good Calories Bad Calories) tackles this topic head on. Continue reading

Giant Puff Ball with Garlic and Rosemary


…served here with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.

✓Gluten-free ✓Grain-free ✓Sugar free ✓Low-carb ✓Dairy-free option

Here’s one for the hunter-gatherers amongst you: If you are lucky enough to come across this excellent wild-mushroom, it’s easy to cook, mild flavoured, melt in the mouth and looks pretty on the plate… Continue reading