How vegetarians bad-mouth themselves!

Vegetarians have more oral candida species – and they’re the highly pathogenic kind

Candida albicans is the yeast that causes thrush when it gets out of control and can even become life threatening in immunocompromised patients. Despite this, Candida albicans is a commensal, meaning it is part of the natural flora found in and on humans – so many people have it, for example, in their oral cavities where for the most part it doesn’t cause any trouble. In recent years, however, new pathogenic species of Candida have been on the rise. These species are particularly resistant to anti-fungal treatment and cause more life threatening conditions so are an increasing cause for concern. Continue reading

Dietary guidelines are a disaster: here’s ten principles to fix them

what-to-eat

Read time: 20 minutes (3300 words)

What to eat?

That used to be a question that only needed to be asked on the rare occasions when you ate out. Traditionally, eating had always been a cultural thing. People learned what to eat at the family table, guided by seasonally available foods most of which were produced locally or nationally. Each country had its traditional foods, everything seemed to be simple.

But at some point in the last century, partly as a result of rising cardiovascular disease, but perhaps also because of the increasing commercialisation of the food chain, governments across the developed world took it upon themselves to start advising their populations how best to eat. Continue reading

Brussels sprouts – Not just for Christmas

Who doesn’t look forward to Christmas dinner ‘with all the trimmings’? Many people though have an ambivalent relationship when it comes to sprouts. Perhaps more than any other vegetable sprouts deserve the title of marmite of the vegetable world. Love ’em or hate ’em  (and here at Rosemary Cottage we love them) you have to admire them for their nutritional punch. Continue reading

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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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

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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