Dioxin in Salmon Presents Serious Health Concerns

salmonAs previously documented, a diet that balances omega-3 and omega-6 consumption seems to be optimal for human health. Today, omega-6 fats are prevalent in our diets because they are in many foods containing seed oils, such as corn and canola oil. To balance the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, many researchers have encouraged reducing seed oil consumption and increasing fish consumption. Wild salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and farmed salmon usually has an even higher omega-3 fatty acid content. However, salmon is also has high levels of dioxin, a carcinogen and endocrine disrupter. So, should salmon be included as a part of a healthy diet or avoided because of toxicity concerns?  Continue reading

Another Study Questions US Nutritional Recommendations

ImageFindings from the most recent review comparing the effects of fatty acids on heart disease do not agree with the current US nutritional recommendations. Current recommendations encourage replacing saturated fat intake with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to reduce heart disease risk. The meta-analysis, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, finds no association of saturated fat intake with heart disease.  Continue reading

Whey vs Soy Protein Supplementation

ImageProtein supplementation has become very popular among athletes and gym-goers. Whey protein, a derivative of milk, is the most popular choice. Soy protein is particularly popular among vegans and individuals intolerant to dairy. However, concerns have been raised regarding soy’s effects on testosterone and estrogen. A study from the University of Connecticut has provided clarity on the effects of whey versus soy protein supplementation on testosterone, estrogen and cortisol levels following resistance training.  Continue reading

Consuming Too Much or Too Little Salt Could Increase Risk of Heart Disease

ImageA new report from the Institute of Medici­­­ne opposes the United States’s recommendation to sharply reduce sodium consumption as a way to prevent heart disease. After reviewing the scientific evidence, an expert committee concluded that sharp reductions in sodium consumption do not decrease risk of heart disease and might actually increase the risk in some populations. The committee’s findings contradict recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which urged all Americans to reduce sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day and below 1,500 mg per day for at-risk individuals, who constitute more than half of the United States population.  Continue reading

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked with Longevity

ImageOmega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have been linked to cardiovascular benefits and reduced death from cardiovascular disease. However, there has been no solid data to examine the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and all-cause mortality, until now. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on April 2, 2013 finds that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are linked with a greatly decreased risk of death from all causes.  Continue reading

Processed Meat Associated with Increased All-Cause Mortality

ImageA study published on March 7, 2013 in the journal BMC Medicine found that consumption of processed meat is linked to an increase in all-cause mortality. Interestingly, red meat and poultry were not associated with increased risk. The lowest rates of mortality were to individuals who consumed a low to moderate amounts of meat.  Continue reading

Does Egg Consumption Increase Risk for Developing Heart Disease?

ImageAfter a colleague asked my opinion on the relationship between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease, I decided to delve further into the topic.

For decades, we’ve been advised to limit egg consumption to reduce our risk of developing heart disease. The reasoning for this is based on the diet-heart hypothesis, which argues eating foods rich in cholesterol and saturated fat increases risk of developing heart disease. Specifically applied to eggs, the argument states: 1) eggs are rich in cholesterol; 2) eating cholesterol has been shown, in some studies, to increase serum cholesterol; 3) high serum cholesterol promotes heart disease. Using this logic, populations with increased egg consumption should have increased rates of heart disease.  Continue reading

Meat, poultry, cooking methods and prostate cancer

This blog post discusses the paper “Red meat and poultry, cooking practices, genetic susceptibility and risk of prostate cancer: results from the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22822096

There has been much debate around the consumption of meat and cancer risk. Most studies have simply evaluated the amount of meat eaten vs. cancer incidence and the results have been inconsistent (1-3). This new study takes a more in-depth approach, analyzing both the types and amount of meat eaten, as well as the way the meat was prepared. Continue reading

Eating egg yolks as bad as smoking?

This article refers to the article and paper below:

egg yolksOn August 13, 2012, ScienceDaily.com published an article entitled, “Eating Egg Yolks as Bad as Smoking?” ScienceDaily.com concludes “eating egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis in a manner similar to smoking cigarettes.”

Unfortunately, ScienceDaily.com and many other news networks failed to accurately describe the details and outcomes of the study. Here, I carefully examine the study and suggest an alternative conclusion from the data. Continue reading

Grass-fed vs grain-fed beef

Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, and Larson S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal 9: 10.

Many people wonder if grass-fed beef is more nutritional than conventionally raised, grain-fed beef. A recent paper in the Nutrition Journal addressed this issue and found considerable differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef. The study compares the fatty acid composition and vitamin content from seven different breeds of grass-fed and grain-fed cattle, specifically comparing loin eye cuts.

The researchers find that grass-fed beef has a lower fat content among all breeds of cattle. On average, grass-fed beef had 37% less fat than grain-fed beef.

Of particular interest is the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio in grass-fed versus grain-fed beef. As discussed in the previous post, this ratio is very important to human health. While the total amount of omega-6 is not significantly different in grass-fed versus grain-fed beef, there is a significant difference in the omega-3 content. Grass-fed beef has much more omega-3 than grain-fed beef, resulting in grass-fed beef having a much more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. The average omega-6 to omega-3 ratio for grass-fed beef is 2.20, while the average omega-6 to omega-3 ratio for grain-fed beef is 7.66. Continue reading