Cheeseburgers may not be bad after all

February 18, 2010

A new report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has combined results of 21 academic studies and determined that there is no evidence of any links between satudared fat and heart disease.

In the past, “Research has shown that saturated fat can raise blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and elevated LDL is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Because of this, experts generally advise people to limit their intake of fatty meat, butter and full-fat dairy.

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that adults get no more than 7 percent of their daily calories from the fat; for someone who eats 2,000 calories a day, that translates into fewer than 16 grams of saturated fat per day.

But in the new analysis, which combined the results of 21 previous studies, researchers found no clear evidence that higher saturated fat intakes led to higher risks of heart disease or stroke.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, may sound like good news for steak lovers, but a past AHA president cautioned against “over interpreting” the results.

“No one is saying that some saturated fat is going to harm you…people should enjoy their food,” said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver.

But, he pointed out, many studies have shown that dietary saturated fat can raise people’s cholesterol, and the new analysis is not going to change recommendations to keep saturated fat intake in check.

Perhaps more importantly, though, Eckel said that the thinking on diet and heart health is moving away from a focus on single nutrients and toward “dietary patterns.”

The full story is avalable here



Drinking with D: Diabetes and Alcohol

July 6, 2009

alcoholThis weekend I was at a friends birthday, and as I poured my 3rd Vodka I rememembered (rather vaguely) something I read somewhere… Diabetics should not drink more than two standard drinks a day. We’ll, as some of you may have guessed by now, I didn’t put my glass down, and kept drinking a few more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for responsible drinking, and firmly believe that everyone should stay in control. On the other hand, I’m also human, and I know that some people occasionally go over the line a bit.

As I recovered from the effects of a big night out, and kept a close eye on what my blood sugar was doing, I decided to look again for what the advise on alcohol and diabetes was. To my surprise and disapointment while information on the subject is widely available, it also seem to be mostly impractical, specially once you have decided to breach the “only two drink” rule.

alcohol-422270While doing my research, I finally found hope… in the page of the New South Wales division of Diabetes Australia. They say “Research indicates that in general, the level of alcohol consumption associated with the least risk for people with diabetes is the same as that for the general population”. In English, this basically means that the two drink rule also applies to non diabetics. From my point of view this gives me comfort in the fact that if a lot of people without diabetes drinks beyond the official recommendation, then it should be possible for people with D to drink a bit more than just a couple of beers if they choose to do so.

The best resource I’ve found so far, is the Drinking and Going Out factsheet created by Reality Check, a network of young adults with Type 1 diabetes. The guidance in this document is very pragmatic and much more actionable than most of the other resources I’ve found on the net. It starts with the basic implications of alcohol and diabetes:

  • Alcohol impairs the liver’s ability to produce glucose in the event of a severe hypo
  • Early signs of hypos can look the same as drunkenness (for you and people around you).

It subsequently goes into some recommendations to handle alcohol, which I’ve found very useful. Personally, I’ve found that the main thing for me is to keep the balance of alcohol and carbs right. Of course this is not as easy as it sounds, and I’ve found that frequent monitoring is a must in this cases.


Visit to the dietitian

May 13, 2009

On Wednesday I paid a visit to the dietitian. As part of the process to go on a pump, I needed to “learn” how to carb count. I’ve been counting my carbs for a while, but considering that this was a mandatory step in the process, I decided to embrace it and make the most of it.


I had my appointment at lunchtime which was very convenient, as I didn’t have to take time off work (editors note: shouldn’t everyone providing services in this industry offer this?). We had a very nice chat about my diet for about 20 minutes, as she asked me to name absolutely everything that I eat regularly.

I didn’t see the point at the beginning, specially since after I was done she said that “we are not going to concentrate on whether your diet is good or bad”. She then said the the purpose of meeting me that day was to ensure that I understood the differences between the approached pre and post pump.

She helped me understand the subtleties of carb counting on the pump, and gave me a few pointers on how to find nutritional information for different food. I should probably point here that I didn’t get much value here, as I’m yet to see anything better than Calorie King. She also gave me a few tips and tricks that may come handy, in terms of GI and weighting foods.

Overall, the session was unexpectedly productive, and helped me realize that we can always refine our carb counting skills. I have another follow up session the day after my pump start, and I’m now looking forward to get as much from that one as I did this time.