Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, olive oil and 7 glasses of wine a week! prevents heart disease and stroke!

This is the largest randomized trial to date. The Mediterranean diet has been studied previously in randomized trials but not in a trial as large as this!

It is fascinating that this was a study of more than 7400 individuals who were randomly assigned to 3 different diets. Two were Mediterranean diets enriched with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts and other Mediterranean foods, both including more than 7 glasses of wine per week. The control diet was a low-fat diet, which some people have argued is not an ideal control. There was very good compliance with the diets in this large number of people for many years. The primary endpoint was death, heart attack, or stroke. There was a very important significant reduction of this cluster endpoint in the Mediterranean diet groups. Particularly noteworthy, even by itself, was the reduction in stroke.

So what does the Mediterranean diet consists of?

The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of southern Italy, Greece and Spain. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of meat and meat products. (Source: from Wikipedia).

So go on!

Fruits, veggies, legumes,

7 glasses of wine a week,

nuts,

salads with olive oil dressing

should do the trick!

via Topol: ‘Evidence Is Compelling’ on Mediterranean Diet.

REDUCE SUGAR (not fat) INTAKE to reduce weight!

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In a fascinating new book, Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical paediatrics at the University of California, expounds a whole new scientific theory.

He argues that the urge to overeat and lounge around doing nothing is not a sign of weakness. It is, he says, a hormonal issue, triggered by eating too much sugar!

 

Conventional wisdom and government policy still blame dietary fat for our ever-rising obesity levels (and horrific heart disease statistics).

However, Professor Lustig is part of the band of obesity specialists who question the validity of this argument.

The seminal ‘Seven Countries’ study by U.S. epidemiologist Ancel Keys in the Eighties demonised fat, triggering a massive change in food manufacture.

In an effort to make low fat food more palatable, many manufacturers raised the carbohydrate level, adding quantities of sugar to almost everything (both sweet and savoury). 

For instance, a small pot of low fat yoghurt can contain as much as four teaspoons of sugar, and even wholemeal bread hides two teaspoons per loaf.

Gradually tastes and eating habits have changed,  Lustig says, resulting in growing populations worldwide inadvertently hooked on easy-to-eat high sugar foods. 

Professor Lustig believes the key to losing weight is to reverse leptin resistance by reducing sugar intake

Here is his action plan:

1. Have just one dessert a week

When cooking, reduce sugar in every recipe by a third, and eat dessert as a treat, once a week.

2. Fibre leads to weight loss

Fiber is now routinely stripped from foods to give a finer texture. Eating fiber slows down the digestion process. Slower digestion also gives your brain a chance to register that you are full.

3. Take 15 minutes’ exercise daily

Exercise alone cannot cause significant weight loss (unless you change your diet at the same time) but Professor Lustig says 15 minutes a day is enough to improve your insulin sensitivity (because activity helps cells become more receptive to insulin), and build muscle at the expense of fat.

Although you may not see a drop on the scales, by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering insulin levels, exercise,  will improve leptin signalling.

4. Eat like your Grandma

Beware packaged food.  Professor Lustig’s mantra is: ‘Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t  recognise. If the food has a company logo you’ve heard of, it’s processed.’

5. Don’t eat on your feet

Eating standing up means you will be eating fast, with no time for satiety signals to kick in, says Professor Lustig.

Always include some sort of  protein (chicken, pulses) in every meal (to slow the digestive process and reduce the risk of insulin spikes) and avoid any ‘food’ that is just fat, carbohydrate and sugar (such as doughnuts, milk-shakes, pastries).

 

via The REAL reason you eat too much: New theory could revolutionise the way we lose weight | Mail Online.

Atherosclerosis in ancient mummies!

It is generally thought that Atherosclerosis is a consequence of the disordered lifestyle and diet prevalent in today’s industrial world. Many of us also hold the view that older civilizations would not be suffering from atherosclerosis as we did.

However, Whole-body computed tomography (CT) scans of mummies from four geographical regions across a period of 4000 years suggest that atherosclerosis was more common in ancient populations than previously believed. Studying individuals from ancient Egypt, ancient Peru, ancestral Puebloans of southwestern America, and hunter-gatherers from the Aleutian Islands, researchers were able to identify atherosclerosis in more than one-third of the mummified specimens, raising the possibility that humans have a natural predisposition to the disease.

The findings show for the first time that the disease was common in several ancient cultures with varying lifestyles, diets, and genetics, across a wide geographical distance and over a very long span of human history.

The study is published March 10, 2013 in the Lancet.

Led by Dr Randall Thompson (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine), the research is unique in that it assesses atherosclerosis across four different preindustrial populations from different geographical regions. The ancient Egyptians and Peruvians were farmers, the ancestral Puebloans were forager-farmers, and the Unangans of the Aleutian Islands were hunter-gatherers without agriculture. None of the cultures was known to be vegetarian, and all were believed to be quite physically active.

In total, whole-body CT scans were performed on 137 mummies, including 76 ancient Egyptians, 51 ancient Peruvians, five ancestral Puebloans, and five Unangan hunter-gatherers. Probable or definite atherosclerosis was evident in 34% of the mummies—29 ancient Egyptians, 13 ancient Peruvians, two ancestral Puebloans, and three Unangan mummies had documented evidence of atherosclerosis as defined by calcified plaque in the wall of the artery (or probable atherosclerosis if calcifications were observed along the course of the artery).

The study concluded that  atherosclerosis was common in four preindustrial populations, including a preagricultural hunter-gather population, and across a wide span of human history. It still remains prevalent in contemporary human beings. The presence of atherosclerosis in premodern human beings suggests that the disease is an inherent component of human aging and not associated with any specific diet or lifestyle.”

via Atherosclerosis in ancient mummies | theheart.org.

Three minutes a week of exercise: all you need to get fit? Scientists say ideal fitness regime involves intense bursts of activity

There is welcome news for anyone who’s resolved to get fit in the New Year. Scientists claim we don’t have to spend hours every week slogging in the gym or jogging around a park in all weathers, along with the other January resolution makers.

Instead, they advocate a pioneering new quick fitness regime that makes remarkable claims: just a few 30-second bursts of intense exercise, amounting to only three minutes a week, could deliver the health and weight-loss benefits of hours of lengthy, conventional regimes.

Scientists at the universities of Nottingham, Birmingham and Bath say the secret is to commit yourself to three short bursts of highly intense exercise for 30 seconds each, with short rest periods between, in less than five minutes.

The ongoing study is led by leading exercise expert Jamie Timmons, a professor of systems biology. The team call their system High Intensity Impact Training (HIIT).

So far, their tests on hundreds of unfit middle-aged volunteers in Britain and Canada over the past eight years have shown those three minutes of exercise a week deliver the same significant health improvements as can be achieved through hours in the gym or on the running track.

Isn’t that good news! Why not try it out! The exact reason why the body behaves loses weight only after 3 minutes of exercise is not know. The high intensity exercise seems to be triggering the muscle cells to fasten the metabolism and thereby consume energy causing weight loss!

So get on with it! Get on a treadmill or a stationary bike and speed up for 30 seconds.

Note of Caution: In case you have not exercised before, its advisable to start gradually to avoid injuries!

HIT: High Intensity Training!

Is three minutes a week of exercise all you need to get fit? Scientists say ideal fitness regime involves intense bursts of activity | Mail Online.