Wow, I don't think I can even remember the last time I was so unmotivated to blog much. Not quite sure what it is. Spring has sprung, I feel great, workouts going better than ever -- due at the gym in 45-minutes -- and yet I sit down to write and it's just not coming to me. Burnout? Perhaps. Hopefully only temporary. Well, fortunately I have lots of tidbits to hit up here & there. So links is all today, folks.
Thanks to so many readers who often sent me heads up on many of these.
~ Another mainstream news report on "cavemen" in The Denver Post: Their secret: Work out hard, and eat like a cave man.
CrossFit's embrace of the paleo way, also called the "cave man" diet, also has thrilled Colorado State University professor Loren Cordain, though he isn't swinging a club in celebration or grunting for joy. At least not yet.
But the scholar, who teaches in the university's health and exercise science department, wrote the book "The Paleo Diet" in 2002, based on decades of research into the diets, and the health, of people who get their food from hunting and gathering. Among other things, Cordain found people who eat diets rich in meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds suffer fewer diseases and health problems than Western contemporaries.
The book didn't do gangbusters in the marketplace. Cordain continued publishing articles and teaching. And then, nearly a decade later, the book started selling. Its ranking on Amazon.com began creeping up. Now, Cordain is a celebrity among CrossFitters. It all surprises Cordain, a tall, ruddy guy who has dedicated his life to scholarship.
Still some of the "lean meat" nonsense, but otherwise pretty good.
~ Is the "Vitamin A is Toxic" BS ever going to end? Cannell at Vitamin D Council. Echoed by Mercola. But it just doesn't pass muster with me. If they were right it would be harmful to eat liver and that just makes no sense. Fortunately, Chris Masterjohn of The Weston A. Price Foundation comes to the rescue with some sense talking.
The researchers split people into three groups according to vitamin A intake: those who consumed less than 1500 IU/day, those who consumed more than 3000 IU/day, and those who consumed some amount in between those two values. To put this in perspective, the RDA for vitamin A is 3000 IU/day for men and 2300 IU/day for women. In those consuming less than 3000 IU of vitamin A per day, low vitamin D status was associated with an increased risk of cancer and high vitamin D status was associated with a decreased risk of cancer. In those consuming more than 3000 IU of vitamin A per day, however, the magnitude of these relationships became so small that they lost statistical significance, which means the effect of vitamin D status was so small that it could not be distinguished from the effect of chance.
Naturally, opponents of vitamin A supplementation like Dr. Cannell have seized on the fact that high vitamin D status was not associated with the benefit of a decreased risk of colorectal cancer in those consuming the RDA for vitamin A. They have, however, ignored the fact that low vitamin D status was not associated with the harm of an increased risk in the same population. And thus they claim without any true justification that vitamin A intakes at or above the RDA render vitamin D useless and that vitamin A-rich cod liver oil constitutes "poison."
~ Anyone have time to take apart this study? Effects on Coronary Heart Disease of Increasing Polyunsaturated Fat in Place of Saturated Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. It concludes:
These findings provide evidence that consuming PUFA in place of SFA reduces CHD events in RCTs [randomized controlled trials]. This suggests that rather than trying to lower PUFA consumption, a shift toward greater population PUFA consumption in place of SFA would significantly reduce rates of CHD.
And the BBC reports:
Experts said cutting down on saturated fats, found in butter and meat, was just one part of a healthy diet.
It is recommended that adults get no more than 11% of their energy from saturated fats.
This is because the fats raise the levels of bad cholesterol that block the arteries to the heart.
In comparison, polyunsaturated fats have the opposite effect by increasing the levels of good cholesterol.
The Harvard analysis suggested that for every 5% increase in polyunsaturated fat consumption there was a 10% fall in heart disease.
Well, so now we have something to balance out the other recent meta-study by Ronald Krauss that concluded: "A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat." Here's a recent post that deals with that and bunch of other studies.
I'm wondering whether the associations found in the underlying RCTs were themselves statistically significant... One way to fool you -- and, it must be said, this would apply to Krauss as well -- is to gather up a bunch of insignificant data, pool it, and magically attain significance because of the higher numbers.
...And I guess lead researcher Dariush Mozaffarian has never heard of the Tokelauans who seem to do just fine on 50% of energy from saturated fat -- until, that is, they begin consuming modern processed foods.
Update: Dr. Stephan has given an initial impression of the Harvard study. Can you guess?