Quick Links: Lightning Round!

1. The NYTimes discovers the beauty of the frittata (see my recipe this week here). They include a recipe in the article and four others in the sidebar. Of note:

If you avoid eggs because you think they’re bad for you, you should reconsider. It was never clear that dietary cholesterol had a significant impact on heart health; saturated fat in the diet is thought to be a bigger culprit (how big is also a matter of dispute these days). The government’s new dietary guidelines acknowledge as much, advising that eating an egg every day will not affect blood cholesterol or cardiovascular health.

2. Also in the Times, a quick report debunking the long-held idea that your body type is a predictor of heart disease. Apple? Pear? Potato, puh-tah-to.

3. Another Paleo story in the papers, this time the San Francisco Chronicle. Again, if you need a dose of comedy in your day, be sure to check out the comments. A lot of these pieces seem to treat the diet as a precious little trend not worth serious investigation. For example, they just had to seek out the one person who was willing to go on the record as an occasional oatmeal eater. But overall, not the worst I’ve seen.

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4 Responses to “Quick Links: Lightning Round!”

  1. Ad point 2/ The NYT says: “Conventional risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking were accurate predictors of a heart attack or stroke, but additional information about weight or body shape … did not improve the ability to predict risk.” which is not the same as “Whatever your shape is doesn’t really matter” (a quote from one of the researchers).

    The key here is in “did not improved the ability to predict risk” – many of the other factors (eg diabetes) might be correlated to or even caused by the body shape. It is worth noting that it says “additional information about weight or body shape” and I would suggest that everyone agrees that weight is important.

    So in summary – this piece of research is really a rather complicated piece of statistics, but that shape does not matter (or that you can be as fat as you want) might not be one of the findings….

    • Ooh, good point. Yeah, me and statistics…not good friends. I usually have my husband interpret for me. :)

      So obviously, having excess fat is a problem. But why did they ever think that WHERE it settled mattered? Is there any difference in the function of fat in one area of the body than another?

  2. There are a number of points there. Firstly, where the fat is located seems to be largely determined by your hormonal make-up (some info regarding this is here http://thorfalk.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/designing-your-training-for-specific-hormonal-impact/). Chances are that there is a correlation between your hormonal make-up and your health, which introduces a correlation between your body shape and your health (but not necessarily a causal link – they are simply driven by the same factor).
    Also, there seems to be a correlation in that visceral fat (the one below the muscles) is shows more hormonal activity, and high levels of visceral fat are actually causing health problems. Now of course, one of those health problems is Type 2 diabetes, so if your statistics also controls for T2D then the amount of visceral fat contains less ADDITIONAL information (even though it might actually have cause the problem in the first place…).
    Statistics are funny, arent they?

    • In the interview I posted about today, Dr. Patterson talks about how the visceral fat around the organs is more metabolically active, and I assume this is what he means. So I think we can have it both ways? It seems to me that body type (“apple” or “pear”) is about the fat on top of the muscles, so of course being an apple doesn’t necessarily mean you’re at greater risk of heart attack. But it does mean you probably do have visceral fat, which would indicate an increased risk.
      So can people who appear thin have visceral fat? This kind of points to another question I had left over after reading Taubes: Do the people who don’t seem to show any adverse effects from eating carbs benefit in other ways by adopting a Paleo diet?

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