In the News – Archive

In the News – All Posts

Each month we scour the newspapers, magazines and online journals to bring you a summary of the latest nutrition news, health views and recipes that you might otherwise have missed. Plenty of links allow you to catch up on the articles that interest you. Also, this is where we put random bits of stuff that appear on the TV and Radio.


February News Round-Up (3/1/2017) - Arsenic, asthma, bison, sleep, coeliac, mercury, chocolate, PPIs, BPA, mammoths - We join the dots - PLUS: Mummy Mouse and Baby Mouse special Continue reading
2017 January News Round-Up (2/4/2017) - Had enough of experts? Judge their latest pontifications for yourself: chopping boards, statins, roast potatoes, high fat diets and metabolic syndrome, eggs and brain health. Continue reading
December News Round-Up (1/1/2017) - HAPPY NEW YEAR! This month's nutrition news is shoe-horned into a Christmas theme, and it's just about bursting at the seams with festive good news! Continue reading
Featured news site: NewsMedical.Net (12/7/2016) - A useful site packed with thousands of health articles, news and medical science. Here are 7 interesting stories I found. Continue reading
November News Round-Up (12/3/2016) - Parkinson's may start in the gut. Your calf muscle may stop you losing weight (!) Plus coffee, aspartame, vitamin D, high-fat running and the importance of cooking. Continue reading
October News Round-Up (10/31/2016) - Lots of interesting items that are in the news this month inc 8 on vitamin D! Continue reading
Hold fire on the Sea Bass recipe! (Retraction and Apology) (10/15/2016) - Breaking news: Scientists say Wild Sea Bass stocks are dangerously low. DO NOT EAT SEA BASS - use one of these sustainable alternatives Continue reading
September News Round-Up (10/1/2016) - Full fat cheese good for heart health, Pharmaceuticals in our water supply, Body clock and cancer, Meat and fish in pregnancy protect infant from eczema. Continue reading
August News Round-Up (9/2/2016) - We serve up a plate of top nutrition news, and finish with a knickerbocker-glory of articles from our guest publication: New Scientist magazine. Continue reading
July News Round-Up (8/3/2016) - Sleep and health: inflammation and ‘intestinal jet-lag’ The Mail (6th July) explains why ‘Too little and too much sleep is as damaging to your health’. Dr Irwin concluded: ‘Together with diet and physical activity, sleep health represents a third component … Continue reading
June news roundup (7/2/2016) - Toxins in food linked to autism; emulsifiers & artificial sweeteners in obesity; Coffee good for liver; Butter off the hook; Dr Mosley sees the light; Gluten psychosis; Dangers of vitamin pills Continue reading
The Microbiome on BBC Radio 4 (7/2/2016) - Listen again to these two excellent radio broadcasts from BBC Food Programme on the micobiome. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Continue reading
May News Round-Up (6/1/2016) - Nutrition controversies: high blood pressure linked to potatoes, salt exonerated, low-carb diets for diabetes challenged. Medical errors: a leading cause of death Continue reading
April News Round-Up (5/2/2016) - Latest research on Vitamin D, fructose and paleo diet. Bone broth, pastured livestock and mis-shapen veggies. Fermented foods: good for gut diversity. Continue reading
March News Round-Up (4/2/2016) - Health benefits of rosemary, blueberries, coffee and organic eggs. Vegetarian populations at increased cancer risk from vegetable oils. Calls to extend sugar tax. Fish recipes. Continue reading
February News Round-Up (2/28/2016) - Government announces eggs are safe (phew!) even emu eggs (?) Plus the ketogenic diet in cancer, seafood in APOE4 Alzheimer's and vitamin D in prostate cancer. Continue reading
January News Round-Up (1/30/2016) - A host of new year diet stories - low fat v high fat; saturated fat v sugar; factors affecting the microbiome; nightshade foods Continue reading
December News Round-Up (1/2/2016) - Out with the old, in with the new. Quote of the year. A cheesy joke. Salt and the dietary recommendations golem. Continue reading
November News Round-Up (11/30/2015) - Gluten-free diet helps healthy volunteers; Pastured meat for conservation; Ketogenic diet; Vitamin D; Meat and cancer 'false alarm' Continue reading
October News Round-Up (11/2/2015) - Raw milk safe; Grass-fed beef best; Ethical seafood increases; Artificial light upsets genes; Mediterranean diet benefits; Cutting sugar improves health fast; Red meat & cancer Continue reading
September News Round-Up (10/1/2015) - Knepp rewilding project in the news, and their beef is now available to order. Plus... Fish reduces depressions, apple skins prevent age related muscle loss (!?) and sugar wars hot up. Continue reading
“Scientists claim Paleo diet is nonsense” is nonsense (9/19/2015) - Did our brains evolve on a high-carb diet of spuds? or are the newspapers turning our heads to mash? We respond to misleading headlines. Continue reading
August News Round-Up (8/31/2015) - Gluten-free junk food on NHS; Jamie Oliver calls for sugar tax; Butter better than margarine; Fish oils for schizophrenia; Vit-D and MS Continue reading
Goodwood Wins Cheese Award (8/13/2015) - Goodwood gain 'Best Organic Cheese' and a gold medal for their organic Charlton Farmhouse cheese. Continue reading
July News Round-Up (7/30/2015) - Cod stocks recover. Iodine deficiency in pregnancy. Cauliflower rice. Sugar - the public health debate. Continue reading
June news roundup (6/30/2015) - Trans-fat ban. Berries for obesity. Diet at conception alters genes for life. Antibiotics cause obesity. Paleo recipes. Zero carb. Continue reading
VIDEO: Harvard Scientist Supports U-Turn on Dietary Fats (6/26/2015) - It looks like 40 years of advice to limit fat consumption to less than 30% of calories has been quietly retired! A Harvard scientist explains why it's a good move. Continue reading
May News Round-Up (5/31/2015) - Vitamin D deficiency in sunny climes, Dark chocolate helps weight loss, Salt does not raise BP Continue reading
April News Round-Up (4/29/2015) - Cheese keeps French hearts healthy; Eggs reduce diabetes risk; lack of sun in UK kids; Organic farming sequesters carbon Continue reading
March News Round-Up (3/31/2015) - Herbal Medicine under threat; BBC make good on sugar documentary; Eat fat get thin. Continue reading
Reducing sugary drinks improves kids’ livers in just ten days (3/11/2015) - New study showed rapid liver improvement when sugary drinks removed from children's diets. (INFOGRAPHIC) Continue reading
February News Round-Up (3/8/2015) - Bone broth in New York fashion week; Why national fat guidelines were wrong; NICE recommends more sun exposure Continue reading
NY Times: “Can Celiac Disease Affect the Brain?” (10/17/2014) - This is a great article looking at the links between gluten and brain disorders. Recommended! Continue reading
Brain-Damaged UK Victims of Swine Flu Vaccine to Get £60 Million Compensation (3/3/2014) - Patients who suffered brain damage as a result of taking a swine flu vaccine are to receive multi-million-pound payouts from the UK government… The Pandemrix vaccine was manufactured by pharmaceuticals giant Glaxo Smith Kline, which refused to supply governments unless … Continue reading
Sugar on Trial on Trial (2/2/2014) - When it comes to nutrition it seems once again that TV's mantra is "Never let facts get in the way of a good story" Continue reading
The Now Show – Sugar Lobby sketch (1/25/2014) - Radio 4's The Now Show, poke fun at Big-Sugar's lobbying of Government food policy... Brilliant! Give it a listen! Continue reading
Afifah’s Radio 4 Rant Captures Public Imagination (1/19/2014) - I didn’t phone in to Any Answers to talk about cancer, but at the mention of that word I was phased out and cut off. I was going to make a different contribution to the subject of the food industry but Julian Worricker posed a specific … Continue reading
Desertification – Agriculture’s Inevitable Destination? (12/6/2013) - research from the University of Colorado shows how soil microbes have been decimated by agriculture. Continue reading
New study vindicates Weston A Price (10/20/2013) - Scientists identify Price's 'Displacing Foods of Commerce' as ideal for inducing full-blown metabolic syndrome in rats. Continue reading
Calorie Counting vs Meal Timing (8/31/2013) - Why a high protein breakfast might work better than calorie counting. Continue reading
MRSA linked to anti-biotic use in farm animals (7/6/2013) - People who work with livestock on modern industrial farms have a much higher incidence of harbouring methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) Continue reading
Saturated Fat Exonerated (5/30/2013) - Latest scientific review admits 'we got it wrong' Continue reading
Andrew Wakefield on The Welsh Measles Outbreak – in his own words. (4/28/2013) - Discredited villain speaks out. Don't listen to him. Continue reading
Bang goes the BBC’s credibility: Sugar on trial? (4/4/2013) - How low can infotainment sink. Science took a back seat in this BBC 'documentary' Continue reading
The book of the week on radio 4 (3/19/2013) - Listen Again on the BBC radio player to The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond. Continue reading
In the press – full fat milk less fattening than skimmed (3/18/2013) - Skimmed milk 'doesn't stop toddlers getting fat': Children who drink whole milk actually gain fewer pounds - Daily Mail Continue reading
Mouth Microbes – Diet and Dentists (2/21/2013) - Ed Yong reports on a series of experiments carried out in the last few years where scientists have studied the oral microbes preserved in plaque on the teeth of archaeological skulls. Continue reading
Man the Hunter (11/15/2012) - About 2 million year's ago the human brain began an exponential growth in size, unparalleled in the animal kingdom. What propelled this remarkable development? Continue reading
Listen to lard (11/4/2012) - Today's Food Programme on Radio 4 was all about lard! Includes interviews with Stephanie Seneff and Gary Taubes. Continue reading

Recent Posts

Salt and cardio-vascular disease: Policy and Science clash

The recent video we posted of Dr SalimYusuf’s PURE study had a section on sodium intake, where he showed that the lowest risk of cardiovascular events, cardiovascular deaths and all-cause mortality was associated with an intake between 3000 and 6000 mg of sodium per day (equivalent to 7 to 15g salt per day). The current US average sodium intake is 3800 mg placing the general population nicely within this sweet spot, although towards the lower end.

Current US and UK dietary recommendations recommend an upper limit at 2300mg of sodium (6g of salt) whilst cardiovascular recommendations by bodies such as the American Heart Association aim to reduce sodium intake to 1500 mg per day (approx 3.75 g salt). If the PURE study is right (and it is not alone in questioning the current guidelines), then these aspirations would do more harm than good.

How did such discrepancy arise? The problem may be the use of surrogate markers. The thinking goes like this: Salt raises blood pressure. Raised blood pressure increases CVD risk, so salt increases CVD risk. This kind of thinking was evident in 2011 when the American Heart Association (AHA) called for salt targets to be reduced to 1500mg per day.At the time MedPage Today explained:

The evidence linking salt intake with blood pressure — and the major adverse outcomes of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease — is “impressive,”…

That evidence includes more than 50 trials assessing the blood pressure effects of salt, as well as a meta-analysis showing that cutting salt intake by about 1,800 mg per day lowered blood pressure by 5 mm Hg systolic and 2.7 mm Hg diastolic.

This is a “critically important public health issue,” according to Appel and colleagues, and this AHA advisory must be considered “a call to action.”

On the basis of this ‘A leads to B leads to C, therefore A leads to C’ thinking initiatives were instigated all round the world to reduce public consumption of salt. A task force of concerned scientists even formed a lobby group to put pressure on food manufacturers, which successfully led to reductions in added salt in manufactured foods.

However, within a short time of the AHA call to action reports started coming in contradicting this advice.

Over this period it is clear that scientists were becoming more and more irritated with the dogmatic approach of the AHA and government bodies, and by the last article were publicly calling the AHA anti-scientific!

Despite all of the research questioning the validity of further salt reduction US and UK policy remains stubbornly wedded to the ‘less is best trajectory’. In their 2016 survey the UK government reported proudly that average sodium consumption fell from 3500mg in 2005 to 3200 mg in 2014.

Their report claimed “Too much salt in the diet can raise blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. A reduction in average salt intake from 8g to 6g per day is estimated to prevent over 8000 premature deaths each year and save the NHS over £570million annually.”

Yet contrary evidence from studies including PURE would suggest that this is not simply futile but probably harmful. You would think that with the swathe of research challenging the low salt dogma that public policy would be questioning the wisdom of further reductions. Not a bit of it. Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, makes no bones about it:

Our analysis makes clear that there is a steady downward trend in salt consumption. While people are having less salt than 10 years ago, we are still eating a third more than we should.

Many manufacturers and retailers have significantly reduced the salt levels in everyday foods. However, more needs to be done, especially by restaurants, cafes and takeaways.

The intransigence of health policy makers leads researchers to exasperation and despair. As one writer put it:

…the ‘salt hypothesis’ is rather like a monster from a 1950s B movie. Every time you attack it with evidence it simply shrugs it off and grows even stronger. – Malcolm Kendrick

In an interview with MedPage today researchers who found that patients with heart failure who ate more salt did better than those who ate less made the following statement which we have published before, but is such a gem it deserves another outing:

“We have had no basis for any of our recommendations regarding sodium restriction during the past 50 years, although these recommendations have changed a great deal (for no good reason). After this report, we still have no basis for any of our recommendations regarding sodium restriction. We were ignorant before; we are not any smarter now. Did we really need this report to tell us that we lack evidence for our recommendations regarding dietary sodium in patients with heart failure?”
Milton Packer, Professor in the Division of Cardiology, UT Southwestern

Further reading:

  1. Aloe vera plants – why every home should have one 2 Replies
  2. Salt vs sodium measurements Leave a reply
  3. Cardiologist attacks diet dogma at 2017 Symposium 1 Reply
  4. February News Round-Up Leave a reply
  5. Kids eat sugar. But no one knows how much. Apparently. 2 Replies
  6. Whole grains? Not a health food say these researchers Leave a reply
  7. Fish n Chips a l’Afifah 2 Replies