Monday, March 29, 2010

Does poverty make people obese, or is it the other way around? - By Daniel Engber - Slate Magazine

Does poverty make people obese, or is it the other way around? - By Daniel Engber - Slate Magazine

Sociologists describe these patterns in terms of social gradients. The "health-wealth gradient" refers to the fact that, as a general rule, the richer you are, the healthier you are. This applies across different countries and across the full range of social classes within the same country. (It's not just that the very poorest people are sick.) No one knows exactly what causes the health-wealth gradient or why it's so resilient. It may be that rich people have access to better health care. Or, as we've seen, it could be that being sick costs you money. Then there's the possibility that poor people have a greater incentive to behave in unhealthy ways: Since they don't have as much money to spend on happiness, they "spend" their health instead. (The pleasures of smoking and eating, for example, are easy on the wallet and hard on the body.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ScienceDirect - Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases : Carbohydrate restriction favorably alters lipoprotein metabolism in Emirati subjects classified with the metabolic syndrome

ScienceDirect - Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases : Carbohydrate restriction favorably alters lipoprotein metabolism in Emirati subjects classified with the metabolic syndrome

Carbohydrate restriction favorably alters lipoprotein metabolism in Emirati subjects classified with the metabolic syndrome
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T. Al-Sarraja, H. Saadic, J.S. Volekb and M.L. Fernandeza, Corresponding Author Contact Information

aDepartment of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, 3624 Horsebarn Road Ext, U 4017, Storrs, CT 06269, USA

bDepartment of Internal Medicine, United Arab Emirate University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates

cDepartment of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
Received 10 March 2009;
revised 4 June 2009;
accepted 8 June 2009.
Available online 12 September 2009.

Abstract
Background and aims

Carbohydrate restriction (CR) has been shown to improve dyslipidemias associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS). We evaluated the effects of CR on lipoprotein subfractions and apolipoproteins in Emirati adults classified with the MetS.
Methods and results

39 subjects (15 men/24 women) were randomly allocated to a CR diet [20–25% energy from carbohydrate (CHO)] for 12 wk (CRD group) or a combination treatment consisting of CRD for 6 wk followed by the American Heart Association diet (50–55% CHO, AHA group) for an additional 6 wk. All subjects reduced body weight, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (P < 0.01). At baseline all subjects had low concentrations of medium VLDL and total HDL particles associated with the very low plasma triglycerides and HDL cholesterol in this population. After 12 wk, the large VLDL subfraction was decreased over time for subjects in the CRD group (P < 0.01) while these changes were not observed in those subjects who changed to the AHA diet. The number of medium and small LDL particles decreased for all subjects rendering a less atherogenic lipoprotein profile. In agreement with these results, a significant decrease in apolipoprotein (apo) B was observed (P < 0.01). The medium HDL subfraction and apo A-II, which can be considered pro-atherogenic, were also decreased over time in the CRD group only.
Conclusions

These results suggest that weight loss favorably affects lipoprotein metabolism and that the Carbohydrate restricted diet had a better effect on atherogenic VLDL and HDL than the low fat diet recommended by AHA.

Keywords: Lipoprotein subfractions; Apolipoproteins; Carbohydrate restriction; Metabolic syndrome; United Arab Emirates

Fruits, vegetables and coronary heart disease : Abstract : Nature Reviews Cardiology

Fruits, vegetables and coronary heart disease : Abstract : Nature Reviews Cardiology

Fruits, vegetables and coronary heart disease

See also: Correspondence by Ghayur & Janssen

Luc Dauchet1, Philippe Amouyel1 & Jean Dallongeville1 About the authors
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Abstract

Diet plays an important part in the maintenance of optimal cardiovascular health. This Review summarizes the evidence for a relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the occurrence of coronary heart disease. This evidence is based on observational cohort studies, nutrition prevention trials with fruit and vegetables, and investigations of the effects of fruit and vegetables on cardiovascular risk factors. Most of the evidence supporting a cardioprotective effect comes from observational epidemiological studies; these studies have reported either weak or nonsignificant associations. Controlled nutritional prevention trials are scarce and the existing data do not show any clear protective effects of fruit and vegetables on coronary heart disease. Under rigorously controlled experimental conditions, fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a decrease in blood pressure, which is an important cardiovascular risk factor. However, the effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on plasma lipid levels, diabetes, and body weight have not yet been thoroughly explored. Finally, the hypothesis that nutrients in fruit and vegetables have a protective role in reducing the formation of atherosclerotic plaques and preventing complications of atherosclerosis has not been tested in prevention trials. Evidence that fruit and vegetable consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease remains scarce thus far.

Very interesting. I'm sure vegetables have good properties, but I'm always astounded at the way people make vegetables into a magical food, and demonize meat. There's a guy out there with a blog who basically says eating veges make you "cancer proof". I prefer to look at the evidence, and the evidence that I've seen for eating veges is all observational. This presents a problem. People who eat veges are people usually who care about their health. They are more likely to exercise, take vitamins, eat less sugar, smoke less, sleep better, and be wealthier. All of those things are associated with increased health. This is called a confounding factor, and it is the reason why epidemiological or observational studies or surveys don't prove anything. You need a randomized, double blind, crossover study, but these, unfortunately, are very expensive.