Nutrition & Health – Archive

Nutrition & Health – All Posts

Salt and cardio-vascular disease: Policy and Science clash (19/Mar/17) - Salt recommendations - way out of step with the science Continue reading
Salt vs sodium measurements (12/Mar/17) - Confusing sodium and salt measurements - it happens to the best of us. Continue reading
Cardiologist attacks diet dogma at 2017 Symposium (3/Mar/17) - MUST WATCH - Cardiologist Dr Salim Yusuf presents findings from the PURE study which challenge fat, carb, meat, salt and 5-a-day dogma Continue reading
Gluten – what we learned in 2016 (part 2) – the Great Imitator (7/Feb/17) - In part 2 of our gluten update we look at 20+ conditions that were linked to gluten in 2016. Essential reading for understanding this multifaceted toxin. Continue reading
Gluten – what we learned in 2016 (part 1) (22/Jan/17) - A summary of key developments in our understanding of grain related disorders. Continue reading
Heart disease trials: Low-fat diet fails. Nuts and olive oil succeed. (10/Dec/16) - Two of the largest intervention trials ever undertaken demonstrate that nuts and olive oil beat low fat diets when it comes to heart disease prevention. Continue reading
5 everyday ancestral foods with proven health benefits (25/Oct/16) - Our ancestors developed complex methods for turning inedible seeds, leaves and fruit into nutritional powerhouses. Five of them made it into modern life. Continue reading
Male fertility ~ a fishy business (14/Sep/16) - The 20th century saw a huge decline in male fertility, and a huge increase in omega 6 oil consumption. Are the two connected? We fish out the latest research on seafood for semen. Continue reading
The Microbiome on BBC Radio 4 (2/Jul/16) - Listen again to these two excellent radio broadcasts from BBC Food Programme on the micobiome. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Continue reading
Vegetable oils losing their halo (14/Apr/16) - Just published: A US research group has recovered raw data from a large scale study from the 1970's and finds no evidence for benefits from switching butter for vegetable oils. Continue reading
“The sugar conspiracy” – recommended read (7/Apr/16) - A rollicking read about how for decades nutritional science ignored the dangers of sugar whilst needlessly demonising saturated fat. Continue reading
Behind a healthy eating quiz – Australia’s nutritional mafia (6/Mar/16) - Why was a healthy lifestyle quiz in the Independent quietly linked to an Australian government funded researcher? We dig into the murky world of nutrition politics. Continue reading
Processed food, obesity and flagella (15/Feb/16) - Food additives and obesity, flagellated bacteria and TLR5... Where will the amazing human microbiome take us next? Continue reading
UK vegetarians DON’T live longer than meat eaters study finds (18/Jan/16) - The Oxford EPIC study finds that vegans and meat eaters have similar all cause mortality. No evidence that red meat causes bowel cancer. Continue reading
Coffee – its light and dark side (20/Dec/15) - How much coffee is good for you? Regular coffee consumption is associated with a longer, healthier life, but there are a couple of important caveats. Continue reading
Omega-6 and Omega-3 PUFAs: Five recent research papers (11/Nov/15) - Are you getting enough omega 3 PUFAs? or are you blowing out on omega 6's? We discuss five of the latest papers that show why it matters. Continue reading
Why no one should eat grains. Part 3: Ten more reasons to avoid wheat (30/Oct/15) - Beyond coeliac disease and NCGS – we look at the many ways that wheat can affect everyone. Includes new groundbreaking research. Continue reading
More Evidence William Davis Was Right: Wheat Does Increase Obesity According to New Study (12/Oct/15) - SCOOP: new trial demonstrates that gluten increases weight gain via suppression of thermogenesis Continue reading
“Scientists claim Paleo diet is nonsense” is nonsense (19/Sep/15) - 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
Why no one should eat grains. Part 2 – The definitive guide to Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (27/Aug/15) - A detailed examination of the current science on this recently recognised gluten pathology. Includes new videos from world class researchers. Continue reading
Seafood, Sex and Evolution (3 videos) (24/Jul/15) - Watch our recent public talk on the role of seafood in brain health, evolution and female sexiness. (Three videos) Continue reading
VIDEO: Harvard Scientist Supports U-Turn on Dietary Fats (26/Jun/15) - 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
Why no one should eat grains. Part 1 – The tip of the Iceberg (23/Jun/15) - Understand coeliac disease and you will know why eating gluten is playing Russian roulette with your health. Continue reading
The chemical warfare on your plate (7/Jun/15) - The fascinating story of how natural insecticides in plants can be good for us, but how wheat has evolved the ability to turn an insect's immune system against itself... oh, and us. Continue reading
Adventures in mushroomland (7/May/15) - A wide range of exotic mushrooms is now available in UK supermarkets, but which are the best? Continue reading
Sleep & Health: part 1 – Sleep’s central role (26/Apr/15) - Why sleep quality is one of the most significant health factors within your control. Continue reading
The Balanced Diet Argument – Just Another Straw Man (30/Mar/15) - Why paleo, primal and gluten-free diets are actually re-balancing British nutrition. Continue reading
Pannage pig in the New Forest Pork – tradition and nutrition (8/Feb/15) - Following her appearance on BBC4's Any Questions, Afifah looks at the nutritional value of pork. She reports on little-known health benefits, even for bacon. Continue reading
Why we pass on the semi-skimmed and low-fat dairy (26/Nov/14) - Recent study finds that full-fat dairy products are associated with reduced obesity. Continue reading
Animal products that protect you from UV damage (2/Nov/14) - Evidence that compounds in a range of animal products can protect the skin from UV damage and cancer. Continue reading
Gluten and Schizophrenia – does it all start in the womb? (12/Oct/14) - Research is now identifying how schizophrenia starts in the womb Maternal infections and dietary antigens such as gluten are implicated A key immune molecule C1q has been identified which links schizophrenia, gluten and neuronal development in the unborn child Evidence … Continue reading
Dr Malcolm Kendrick – Autumn Seminar – Tickets now available (7/Aug/14) - . For our 2014 Autumn Seminar we are very pleased to present Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author, speaker and blogger, who will expose the myths and misunderstanding around cholesterol and heart disease. This talk is not to be missed whether you simply wish to … Continue reading
Vitamin A from animal sources – more good news (27/Jun/14) - Studies show vitamin A may prevent obesity, diabetes, and protect the heart - but Beta-carotene may counteract vitamin A health benefits. Continue reading
Raw milk risks – putting them in perspective (15/Jun/14) - So straight up: there are risks of consuming raw milk. Lets not pretend otherwise. Raw milk may contain pathogens which can cause pretty unpleasant infections including Salmonella and Listeria. Milk is an excellent medium for growing bacteria, and consequently there are outbreaks … Continue reading
Milk & Alcohol – was the good Doctor on to something? (27/May/14) - Milk and alcohol - which featured in Dr Feelgood's 1978 hit of the same name - have opposing effects on gut health. Continue reading
Why were ancient teeth healthier than ours? (3/May/14) - Unpicking the complexities of how human oral health changed with the advent of agriculture. Continue reading
Is Low-Carb really Normo-Carb? (25/Feb/14) - Looking at the effects of high and low-carb diets on glucose, insulin and free fatty acids suggests low carb diets are normal. Continue reading
New Study Vindicates William Davis: Modern Wheat is more Toxic than Ancient Varieties (16/Feb/14) - Study shows modern wheat aggravates IBS more than ancient strains. Continue reading
Sugar on Trial on Trial (2/Feb/14) - 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 (25/Jan/14) - Radio 4's The Now Show, poke fun at Big-Sugar's lobbying of Government food policy... Brilliant! Give it a listen! Continue reading
Ketogenic Diet and Cancer (24/Jan/14) - I came across this neat little report on the ketogenic diet in cancer about a year ago, but it has just cropped up again so I thought I would put it on my blog (as well as a couple of other videos … Continue reading
New study vindicates Weston A Price (20/Oct/13) - 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 (31/Aug/13) - Why a high protein breakfast might work better than calorie counting. Continue reading
Mistletoe in Cancer (20/Aug/13) - This legendary herb of the druids has been shown to have anti-cancer properties in multiple studies. Continue reading
Fifth Food & Health Group Meeting – Sugar (17/Apr/13) - 30th March, 2:30pm – 40 attendees The reason for covering the subject of sugar on this occasion was partly due to the recent visit of Professor Robert Lustig to England, and partly because it was Easter. Many countries have seen an exponential increase in sugar consumption over the … Continue reading
Cholesterol – Sunny Side Up (21/Feb/13) - The good side of the bad stuff. Cholesterol ain't what we were all led to believe. Continue reading
3:1 Keto Lunches (10/Feb/13) - If you are eating low-carb then these lunch suggestions are easy-peasy and can be modified any way that fits your diet preferences. However, if you need to eat a truly ketogenic diet then they may need modifying a bit. Anyone attempting … Continue reading
Eating well needn’t cost a fortune (22/Jan/13) - How a quality animal based diet can feed the family without breaking the bank. Continue reading
Third Food and Health Group Meeting – Grains (20/Jan/13) - Our third meeting was on the topic of cereal grains, such as wheat, rye, oats, rice, corn and barley. Unfortunately, due to a mix up with the room booking we ended up in the smaller upstairs room. To make matters even more … Continue reading
Kombucha Brew Success! (22/Dec/12) - Our first attempt at making this fermented beverage went well. Continue reading
Salt of the Earth (21/Dec/12) - Key article & video: Scant Evidence That Salt Raises BP, Review Finds During our second Food and Health Group meeting, Caroline was demonstrating how to make lacto-fermented veggies. When she added a couple of tablespoons of salt to the mix … Continue reading
Second Food and Health Group Meeting – Fermented Foods (17/Dec/12) - Our second local food group meeting took place on 2nd December 2012, with 35 people attending.  The wrist bands worn by these tribal elders are in fact important tools – disk-shaped steel blades, used for flaying and butchering a goat … Continue reading
Listen to lard (4/Nov/12) - Today's Food Programme on Radio 4 was all about lard! Includes interviews with Stephanie Seneff and Gary Taubes. Continue reading
West Sussex local animal food producers list (2/Nov/12) - Below is a list of our local animal food producers. Local food is food you can trust, animals that you can see grazing, farmers you can talk to and quality you can often feel in your guts. This list is … Continue reading
First Food and Health Group Meeting (30/Oct/12) - The first of the Food and Health Group meetings was held on Sat 27th Oct and was a huge success. Thank you to all those who made it run so smoothly. Keir began the afternoon with a fascinating presentation about … 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:

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