Mediterranean diet better than statins for tackling heart disease study

Study finds people already suffering from heart problems are 37% less likely to die early if they eat a diet rich in vegetables, nuts and fish

Heart disease is better treated with a Mediterranean-style diet than cholesterol-lowering drugs, it has been claimed.

A study found those who had a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fish and oils were a third less likely to die early, compared with those who ate larger quantities of red meat, such as beef, and butter.

Speaking at a global conference on heart disease in Rome, leading heart disease expert Prof Giovanni de Gaetano said: So far research has focused on the general population, which is mainly composed of healthy people.

What happens to people who have already suffered from cardiovascular disease? Is the Mediterranean diet optimal for them too?

The study followed 1,200 people with a history of heart attacks, strokes and blocked arteries over seven years. During that time, 208 patients died but the closer people were to an ideal Mediterranean diet the less likely they were to be among the fatalities.

The conference was told those who ate mainly along Mediterranean lines were 37% less likely to die during the study than those who were furthest from this dietary pattern, after adjusting for age, sex, class, exercise and other habits.

Previously, cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins were believed to be the most effective method of combating heart disease, the leading cause of death in the UK.

Statins, which are among the worlds besselling prescription drugs, are said to help reduce major heart problems by around 24%. They are the most widely prescribed drugs in the UK, with at least 7 million users costing the NHS 285m a year.

According to the latest figures from the British Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease causes more than a quarter (27%) of all deaths in the UK around 155,000 deaths each year an average of 425 people each day or one death every three minutes.

Sir David Nicholson, former chief executive of the NHS, entered the debate over statins in July when he said he had stopped taking them as part of his medication for diabetes. If a lifestyle change works then why would you take the statin? The trouble is that they give you a statin straightaway, so you dont know what is working, he said.

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Mediterranean diet may be more helpful than statins

(CNN)The Mediterranean diet has been credited with doing everything from helping you lose weight to living longer to improving the health of your brain. A new study, looking at its effect on people with poor heart health, shows that the diet may be a huge help for that, too.

A lot of doctors like the diet because there are a lot of menu options with it. It even allows for a glass of wine or beer a day, allowing people to stick with it a lot easier than other diets. The new US Dietary Guidelines included the Mediterranean diet as one option Americans could use to stay healthy.
Earlier studies showed that people eating the Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. It may lower your risk of cancer, improve your bone health and help you live longer generally.

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Because the new study is only observational, meaning the subjects acted independently, more research will be needed. But if you have a history of heart problems or your family has had heart issues, you may want to make a switch to this diet.

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5 animal fat bank note: British vegetarians being ‘stupid’ says inventor

Professor David Solomon says polymer notes contain trivial amounts of tallow which is also found in candles and soap

The Australian pioneer of the polymer bank note says its stupid that vegetarian and vegans are protesting in the UK about the five pound polymer note containing animal fat.

Professor David Solomon says the polymer notes contain trivial amounts of tallow, an animal fat found in candles and soap, yet pressure is being placed on the Bank of England to find an alternative.

Its stupid. Its absolutely stupid, Solomon told the Australian radio station 2GB. Theres trivial amounts of it in there.

More than 120,000 people have supported an online petition urging the Bank of England to cease using animal fat in the production of five pound notes the first polymer notes in circulation in the UK.

The new STG5 notes contain animal fat in the form of tallow. This is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the UK, the petition states.

We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use.

Solomon said polymer notes were extremely hard to forge and had a lot more benefits for the consumer than previous paper notes.

It picks up less drugs than paper notes and you dont chop down trees, he said. Its more hygenic than a paper note by a long way.

The $10 note was the first polymer bank note in circulation in Australia in 1988.

The note was developed by the countrys research and development body, CSIRO, led by a team under Solomon.

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Yassos Big Fat Frozen Greek Yogurt Success

Drew Harrington and Amanda Klane, both 30, had graduated from college and were keeping an eye on food industry trends when they noticed that Greek yogurt had caught on in a big way in the U.S. The childhood friends, who met in kindergarten in the Boston suburb of Easton, had an idea: Why not turn the stuff into a frozen treat that doesnt pack quite as much fat, calories, and guilt as regular ice cream? They launched Yasso in 2009 and two years later landed their frozen yogurt bars in stores. Several national chains now carry the product, and the Quincy, Mass., company expects to end the year with more than $50 million in sales. Here they revisit some of the key milestones of their young business.

Klane: The early recipes were bad. We were just taking Greek yogurt and freezing it to see how it tasted. We attended an ice cream camp at Penn State, and people there thought we were crazy. It took about two years, but in 2011 we started to get into stores in New England.

Harrington: We initially launched with fruit flavors, and those products did pretty well. But wed go to events, and people were always asking if we had cookie dough or chocolate. They wanted traditional ice cream flavors.

By the end of 2013 we were in almost 10,000 stores, including Walmart, Target, and Kroger. We hired a full-time food scientist and doubled-down on indulgent flavors. We came out with sea salt caramel, mint chocolate chip, and chocolate fudge. Thats when it really took off. Now were catching up to brands like Skinny Cow and Weight Watchers.

We ran into trouble last year when we couldnt fill orders. We were out of stock for most of the summer. The Blue Bell ice cream recall increased orders for competing brands. That gobbled a lot of the excess manufacturing capacity, so we couldnt find factory space.

Klane: We were fortunate the retailers were patient as we figured out the issue. And it helped that we run a lean operation and we had cash to get the issues sorted out. We eventually found a plant in Nova Scotia, and we now have six facilities that make our products.

Harrington: Despite all that, we were profitable last year and will be again in 2016. In June our website crashed when Tom Brady put a picture of his freezer on Facebook and our bars were visible. That was one of those wow moments for a brand.

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Mom Gives Skinny Daughter A Doughnut While Her Fat Daughter Starves For A Treat

It is never good when an outsider can tell that a parents has picked a favorite child. It’s even worse when that parent has picked their favorite based on the child’s appearance. Nicole and Nicolette are twins with different body types. Their mother Michelle doesn’t quite know how to handle the fact that Nicole’s heavier.

Instead of talking to her daughter about it to see if she’s happy with her appearance, Michelle shames her in front of everyone at a doughnut shop. She hands Nicolette, who is thinner, a doughnut, but when Nicole asks for one, Michelle refuses.

It doesn’t matter that Nicole got better grades at school Michelle is only concerned with appearance.

Fortunately, this scenario comes from an episode of What Would You Do?, the hit television series that investigates human nature by using social experiments. Fortunately, Michelle, Nicolette and Nicoleare all actors. However, that doesn’t mean that fat-shaming isn’t pervasive and real.

In fact, we know of a very real set of twins, one thin, one heavy, who suffered immensely because one sister was cruelly bullied due to her weight. As always,WWYD? is ripped straight from the headlines.

In this episode, most people aren’t really willing to stand up for Nicole. One man tries to make her feel better by rubbing his belly and saying he is out of shape too. However, one father was so disturbed by Michelle’s constant mockery of Nicole he finally had to say something.

“I’ve got my own daughter who’s 8, and I would never say something like that to her.That is just unacceptable,” he finally says.

Have you ever felt like sticking up for another kid to their own parent? Let us know in the comments!

Please SHARE this powerful message to show others the harmful effects of fat-shaming young girls.

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What actually is the Mediterranean diet and does it work?

Hard to define, but famously good for us, this way of eating is far from universally followed even in the countries it came from

It is said to be better at lowering cholesterol than statins, and able to prevent dementia and heart disease, and will not make you fat. Anything that good for you might be expected to smell foul and come in a medicine bottle, but the Mediterranean diet is generally considered to be delicious, except by those who hate olive oil.

It is a potential answer to the obesity crisis crippling healthcare systems, but few understand exactly what the diet is and most of us do not follow it, including increasing numbers of people who live in the Mediterranean. The scientist Ancel Keys and the cookery writer Elizabeth David, two of the pioneers who helped open the eyes of northern Europeans to the wonders of the Mediterranean diet, must be turning in their graves.

We are constantly presented with paeans to the Mediterranean way of life and were faced with yet another this week, when a study presented at a heart disease conference in Rome claimed that those who ate a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fish and oils were 37% less likely to die early than those who ate red meat and butter.

But ask anybody what the Mediterranean diet actually is and few will give you the same answer. It is not a weight-loss regime such as the Atkins or Dukan diets. It is actually not a prescriptive diet at all, rather a pattern of eating. In spite of the name, it has less and less in common with the way that many people in southern Europe live and eat today.

In the Greek tavernas, thronged with British holidaymakers in the summer months, the Mediterranean diet so highly regarded by health experts can turn into a lamb kebab with rice and chips, washed down with lager. Pasta, which has historically been a smaller primi (first) dish, overflows the enormous bowls in which it is served in many Italian restaurants. The French have finally lost the battle against the Big Mac.

Seafood, including octopus, is a component of the traditional Mediterranean diet, but consumption varied according to location. Photograph: Alamy

The Mediterranean diet is based on a rural life where people ate what they grew, which is fast disappearing. The UN has recognised the diet as an endangered species. In 2013, Unesco listed the Mediterranean diet as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Portugal.

Even health experts and nutritionists differ on the detail of the Mediterranean diet, but the principles are fairly clear. It is about an eating style based on large amounts of fruit and vegetables, legumes such as beans, lentils, peas and peanuts, whole grains and especially olive oil.

Fish and seafood are part of it, but their consumption varied in the past according to how close people lived to the sea. Chicken, eggs and small amounts of dairy, such as cheese and yoghurt, are there in moderation, but red meat and sweets would rarely be consumed. The diet includes a small amount of wine with meals. Pasta, bread and potatoes are variables from one region to another. It is quite a high-carbohydrate diet, which was fine when people were physically active on farms or fishing boats.

Notably, none of this comes in a box. The supermarket spaghetti bolognese does not count. The Mediterranean diet has no preservatives. It is freshly picked, plucked and cooked.

The use of olive oil is interesting, according to Tom Sanders, an emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at Kings College London, who has carried out studies involving Mediterranean diets. If you are trying to get people to eat a lot of vegetables and salad, its quite difficult to do without oil, he says. And if you are putting oil on top of salad, it also has a bit of a satiating effect. Aubergines or tomatoes in oil you can have enough of that quite quickly. Whereas something that youve got saturated fat in, such as cake or biscuits, its easy to knock them back and you dont realise how much is going in.

But there is more to the Mediterranean diet than the food on the plate. Unesco waxes wistfully lyrical on a whole idealised lifestyle that may appear to have little to do with the modern Mediterranean as we know it. The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking and particularly the sharing and consumption of food.

Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a moment of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity, the citation says.

Fresh produce at a street market stall in Naples, Italy. The key element of the diet is eating a large amount of vegetables. Photograph: Alamy

The Mediterranean diet emphasises values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue and creativity, and a way of life guided by respect for diversity.

Shared family meals, it is now widely understood, help people eat well and avoid excess, while the TV dinner habit is linked to obesity.

Keys, a Minnesota academic, started to investigate the health benefits of Mediterranean eating in the 1950s, after a visit to Naples. He was concerned about the large numbers of men dying from heart attacks in the US. An Italian colleague had told him that the heart attack rate among labourers in the Neapolitan area was low. It led to the Seven Countries Study, an enormous project that continues today. The first pilot studies were set up in Nicotera, a village in Calabria, southern Italy, and in six villages on Crete.

The study compared middle-aged men with different lifestyles and diet: on the US railroads, in the villages of North Karelia, Finland, where many men died as a result of heart disease, in the Netherlands, in Italian villages, but also workers on the railroads in Rome, in Crete and Corfu, in villages in Croatia, and in farming and fishing communities in Japan.

It uncovered a link between eating high levels of saturated fat, found in red meat and dairy products, and cholesterol in the blood, and heart disease. The scientists could not prove that saturated fats were the cause, but the finger of suspicion was firmly pointed, leading to changed dietary guidelines in the US and the eventual craze for low-fat everything, with the resulting rise and rise of sugar to make processed food and drinks taste better. Keys has more recently been heavily criticised for opposing John Yudkin, who argued in the 1970s that sugar, not fat, was the problem.

Nowadays, Mediterranean food is often served with chips, while in Italy, pasta has gone from being a small first course to a larger main course. Photograph: Alamy

What did not happen as a result of the study was the wholescale adoption of the Mediterranean diet, although Keys, who died aged 100 in 2004, promoted it in popular books and practised what he preached.

David, a debutante, adventurer and lover of the Mediterranean sunshine, had an influence with her articles and books, describing dishes with aubergines, courgettes and other exotica that were all but unavailable in northern Europe in the 1950s and 60s. But the era of convenience food and the sheer quantity that became available, whether in supermarkets or from takeaways, had a greater impact on working populations.

Nonetheless, Sanders says northern Europe is generally healthier than the Mediterranean regions. Things have changed.

That sort of diet was accompanied by quite a lot of physical activity. There were moderate intakes of wine, but it wasnt huge: it was about 300ml or 400ml at most a day. And these guys, particularly in Crete, which was looked at, were pretty active and were quite thin.

If you look at a follow-up of their kids, the second generation in the Seven Countries Study, they tend to be overweight and eating something quite different a lot more deep fried food. The equivalent of Colonel Sanders really. And what you are seeing in southern Europe, Greece, is one of the highest increases in rates of cardiovascular disease, so theres been a switchover.

Obesity is increasing in Greece, which topped the OECD childhood obesity league in 2014, ahead of the US, Italy and Mexico. Photograph: Alamy

If we look at life expectancy, I think its longest in Iceland. Whereas southern European countries, they still have a lot of poverty and theyre not doing so well. And theyre becoming more sedentary.

Greece topped the OECD child obesity league published in 2014, using data from 2010, with 44% of boys aged 5-17 overweight, followed by Italy on 36%. Both countries had higher rates than the US and Mexico.

Studies continue to show the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. In June, the respected Predimed study in Spain found that overweight and obese people, with heart disease and diabetes, who ate a Mediterranean-style diet high in vegetable fat, because of additional olive oil or nuts, did not gain weight, compared with people on a low-fat diet.

There is no doubt that the Mediterranean diet is good for you. But shifting the habits of nations to adopt, cook and eat it regularly in societies dominated by packaged food manufacturers is quite a task.

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