Cholesterol - I'm still a sceptic
What’s Cholesterol Got to Do With It? - Gary Taubes looks at the recent news that the drug Vytorin had fared no better in clinical trials than the statin therapy it was meant to supplant.
Trial results forced out of drug company support the concept that cholesterol may not ’cause’ cardiovascular disease - Dr John Briffa comments on the same topic
Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good? - Research suggests that, except among high-risk heart patients, the benefits of statins such as Lipitor are overstated - similar article from Business Week
and on a different subject:
Cutting caffeine may help control diabetes - “We’re not sure what it is about caffeine that drives glucose levels up, but we have a couple of theories,” says Lane, who is the lead author of the study. “It could be that caffeine interferes with the process that moves glucose from the blood and into muscle and other cells in the body where it is used for fuel. It may also be that caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline – the ‘fight or flight” hormone that we know can also boost sugar levels.” I've mentioned coffee and blood sugar before
Gulp - Controversy!
Finally, prompted by Randy's comments on this post, I've been reading a little about the alleged so-called metabolic advantage of low carb diets. This is the idea that weight loss is not just about creating a calorie deficit, but that the composition of your diet can have an effect independent of the calories. Bluntly put it holds that not all calories are equal in their effect. I didn't realise quite how controversial this idea was.
In the post in question I didn't actually mention metabolic advantage, I merely pointed to an interesting article by Gary Taubes, who believes in this idea. Randy took me to task over this (!) and directed me to Anthony Colpo's book They are all MAD. Colpo's assertion is that in all the metabolic ward studies where they lock people up for a couple of months and feed them diets of known composition and quantity and control their activity, the only thing that mattered ultimately is the calorie - if you take in more than you burn you put on weight....He holds that low carb diets are still healthier than the alternatives, but they only help you lose weight because you end up eating fewer calories.
There is another side to this of course (there always is!) I'm not an expert and wouldn't want to be dogmatic about all this (so don't be too hard on me Randy!) but in addition to Colpo's book I've looked at Barry Groves comments (do calories really count), Michael Eades posts (here and here) and a couple of scientific papers (e.g. this and this)
Effects of variation in protein and carbohydrate intake on body mass and composition during energy restriction: a meta-regression - Conclusion: Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets favorably affect body mass and composition independent of energy intake, which in part supports the proposed metabolic advantage of these diets.
Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism - This review article also discusses the proposed metabolic advantage
Anyway - this is a controversial topic that seems to get people really agitated. I just find all this stuff fascinating. This blog is just me gathering together bits and pieces that I find interesting. Feel free to disagree with me.