One Mom in the Middle…
of parenting… of her career… of life…

Saturated Fat Intake Associated with Coronary Disease

Published 3.22.2017
Coronary disease or heart disease is a topic of ongoing interest for me, as I attempt to avoid ever crossing paths with cardiologists (for treatment, I'm sure are lovely people would be fun to chat with at the pub or at a party).

Another study shows that high saturated fat intake is associated with increased heart disease. Association of course, is not causation. Here is the results from the abstract:
Read the rest.

Sugar in the Spring

Published 3.21.2017
I had other plans for today's offering, but life intervened (again). What follows are sugar related items, some of which are a bit dated, however, the fact that sugar is not a toxin is timeless.

So where’s the sugar here? It isn’t sugar making us fat. Eating too much food like Jack in the Boxes’ taco is.

“I was like, ‘I must have more. This is vile and amazing,’” she said.

This woman when she first tried it threw it aside, but then ate the whole thing plus the other (2 for $1 you know) This is why we have an obesity problem. Not just sugar.
Read the rest.

Low fat non-vegan diet results in lowest rate of heart disease

Published 3.20.2017
Mondays are when I offer up brief takes on recent interesting items in health, nutrition and fitness. The first one today is not-so-brief.

Recent research results land another blow against the idea that a vegan diet is required for heart health— or that low fat diets are "dangerous." Apparently the low carb crowd is getting hot and bothered by these results. The study focused on the heart health a remote Bolivian people called the Tsimane.

The Tsimane are not vegan— of course they are not. There are no vegan cultures. A vegan diet is only possible in a modern society where supplementation and food fortification is possible. Humans are not herbivores, they are omnivores.
Read the rest.

Accountability in Education

Published 3.16.2017
Thursdays are the day for considering education in the arena.

Accountability is hard to argue against in education, but implementing it in a reasonable manner is harder than most think. Test scores are a blunt, and I would argue, ultimately limited way to keep schools accountable. As the nation's experience with No Child left Untested (Behind), adopting high stakes testing invokes regrettable actions in schools.

Kids are not widgets, but teachers are employees, who

I don’t have a problem with the idea that state funded colleges should be judged by graduation rates. Institutions that take public money are subject to the rules the donors make. Or they shouldn’t take the money.
Read the rest.

Salt, adult beverages, statins and stents

Published 3.15.2017
Two postings today because the first was supposed to be yesterday's entry. However, the mid-March blizzard upended many a schedule, and mine was no exception. The topic today is recent news or items related to heart health.

Heart disease, which I have been calling cardiovascular disease or CVD, an ongoing interest for me. Not because I have the disease (I don't) but because I'd like to avoid acquiring it if possible. Recently I learned that the term CVD represents more than simply heart disease. Any type of vascular disease, such as stroke, is included under the term CVD.

That doesn't make a difference in how I will write about it, I'm no more interested in dying of a stroke than dying of a heart attack. As it's often said that what's good for the heart is good for the head, I don't see a reason to alter my terminology usage, unless it's specific to the heart or the brain or whatever.

If you don’t have CVD, don’t take statins. Taking statins didn’t lower the risks for developing CVD in future, and worse, increased the risk for type two diabetes (T2D) in what had been otherwise healthy, physically active patients.
Read the rest.

The Cato Sugar Debate

Published 3.15.2017
Gary Taubes wrote a new book that flogs the idea that sugar is the root of all evil. I've written about reviews of the new book previously, though I have not read the book myself (I have more important things to spend my money on…). The Cato Institute hosted an online debate in January about the issues raised in that book back in January.

Taubes went first. He was long winded as usual, but his narrative will not be new to any one who reads low carb or paleo blogs. He provides scant evidence for the claim that sugar is a toxin— the fact that fructose is metabolized in the liver does not make it a toxin. Fruit is not toxic and it is full of fructose. The man is hamstrung in his reasoning because he can’t admit, even for a moment, that the issue is excess calories. People eating fruit all day, providing that they don’t eat more than they can expend, don’t get fat and they don’t get diabetes.

Stephan Guyenet is the first to respond. He points to evidence that shows that sugar can’t be the simple villain that Taubes claims (until his hedging at the end). Comments begin with a bitter low carber, but at least she is refuted immediately. I didn't take extensive notes, but where Taubes offered no references, Guyenet offered many. In essence, he took Taubes at his word and tested the assertions Taubes made using the data already in the record— just as one would in an actual debate. The comments on Taubes's post were mostly fawning note from low carbers. The comments under Guyenet's post challenged his analysis for more.
Read the rest.

Useless data or interesting tidbits?

Published 3.13.2017
Mondays are the days when I present interesting items and links that I find as I search the web for various reasons. Typically, these don't inspire more than a short commentary from me, but neither can I let them pass without comment. Which is, of course, the beauty of having one's own website.

A Cornell researcher and his group are caught data massaging for publications, and Cornell is allowing the researcher to not share the data. This is a big signal boost for people who want data to be filed in the open— even when the results are null, which the experiment that generated the data was. The entire reputation of this lab is in question at this point.

The Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University publishes a huge amount of research about how people perceive, consume, and think about food. The lab covers subjects ranging from seasonal trends in weight gain to how happy music influences employees, and its director, the marketing and consumer behavior expert Brian Wansink, regularly touts his lab’s research during his frequent media appearances, focusing particularly on the behavioral science underlying people’s consumption habits.

This is an entirely self-inflicted wound too. Read the rest.

Too much calcium, or too much phosphorus?

Published 3.9.2017
Osteoporosis is a topic of ongoing interest for me in part because I suffer from it. It's been awhile since I've talked about osteoporosis, but today I'm going to share my notes from several studies. Please remember as you read that I am not any sort of medical professional and I have no formal medical or nutritional training. Nothing you read here is to be mistaken for or construed to be medical advice.

I write repeatedly that I am no fan of supplements. Typically, women with osteoporosis take calcium (Ca) supplements, but I do not. I do currently take vitamin D supplements daily because I was directed to do so by my medical practitioners. My firm position is that a healthy diet should provide all the nutrients required for health and thus should not require supplementation. Diets that require followers to supplement to be healthy therefore fall outside that definition. Veganism is an obvious example, but a less obvious one is an extremely low carb high fat or ketogenic (keto) diet.

My point in mentioning supplements isn't really to rehash my position on them, rather it's to say that the papers I'm focusing on today provide more evidence in support of my position that it is always better to get your nutrients from food, not pills. Vitamin D, for the record, is not easily obtained from food, but a healthy body will make all that it needs from sun exposure on the skin. If you don't get much sun exposure (my case, and the case for many others who work indoors in front of a screen all day) then supplementation is the best option.
Read the rest.

Diets are not religions and other tidbits

Published 3.6.2017
Mondays are the day when I offer up recent or interesting links and tidbits I've found while searching the web.

Stephan Guyenet wrote a book, The Hungry Brain, and is making the interview rounds to publicize it. Guyenet notes that absolute grams or calories of fat intake didn’t fall, the percentage of fat fell because the absolute grams and calories of carbs increased. Essentially, Americans never ate less fat, but started eating more carbs. And most of those carbs came wrapped in fat (and salt). That’s the big lie that low carb shills keep repeating, that Americans all went on a low fat diet and got fat. Nope. We simply added more carbs to our diet, and patter ourselves on the back when the percentage of fat in our diets “declined.”

Here's the crux of the issue:
Read the rest.

Review: Food Choices

Published 3.3.2017
This is a review of yet another vegan proselytizing film, 2016's Food Choices.The movie is available for viewing on Netflix, or at least it was when I watched it a few weeks ago.

One has to give vegans credit, they work really hard to get their ideas and philosophies into the mainstream. With some success, I should add, else there wouldn't be so many vegan products— or products labelled vegan friendly on the shelves. The success of those products is apparent, or they wouldn't face such opposition from the producers of animal products.

Food choices is a T. Colin Campbell project, so the correct answer to any question asked is: eat plants not animals. What follows is less of a synopsis than a series of comments I made as I watched the movie. Before beginning, I want to state plainly that I have no problem with vegans or veganism. If you want to be a vegan, then go for it with health— just be sure to take a B12 supplement, and be wary of developing potential deficiencies over time.
Read the rest.

Vouchers and online education

Published 3.2.2017
Thursdays here are set aside for considering all things educational, even if it doesn't work out that way. It's good to have goals, I keep reading, and I am still trying to decide exactly how I want to organize my education related writing. What follows are brief commentary on items and recent news related to education.


The New York Times (NYT) looks at the voucher program in Arizona. The president of the Arizona Sensate profits from the state’s voucher system, which funnels tax dollars to private schools.

But Mr. Yarbrough is not just a champion of tax credit vouchers. He also profits from them personally. The story of how that happened raises questions about President Trump’s campaign promise to spend $20 billion to increase school choice. There’s a strong chance that he’ll do that through tax credit vouchers — a mechanism that Betsy DeVos actively campaigned for before she became Mr. Trump’s education secretary.

Read the rest.

First exercise, now cardiologists are against fruits and vegetables?

Published 3.2.2017
What the hell is up with cardiologists lately? Aseem Malhotra (British cardiologist) goes around arguing against exercise and now a cardiologist is saying vegetables are bad for your heart? WTF? An attempt to ensure perpetual employment for cardiologists? Truly, we are living in a Trumpian age.

Salim Yusuf is a Canadian Cardiologist who recently gave a presentation that was briefly available on Youtube. Malcom Kendrick noted the presentation in Part 26 of his apparently never going to end series on what causes cardiovascular disease (CVD). I intend to comment on Kendrick's series, but thought I'd wait to see what his final conclusion is. I'm beginning to think there will be no conclusion.

In any event, the video was only available to people with the link, it had not been indexed so that it would show up in a search. The video became something of a cause célèbre in low carb circles online, and thus got far greater distribution than the creators intended. That, plus the fact that the video presented unpublished and preliminary results is likely the reason that it was either pulled from Youtube, or its settings were set to private. Or it may have been pulled due to criticisms from another cardiologist, Joel Kahn.
Read the rest.

Nutritional tidbits for the end of February

Published 2.27.2017
Mondays are the days when I present interesting items and links that I find as I search the web for various reasons. In general, these don't inspire more than a short commentary from me.

Omega-3 fatty acids are mentioned periodically here, most recently in my coverage of the Mastering Diabetes Summit. If you'd like to learn about omega-3 fatty acids, here is a site that has collected and presents information about and potential benefits for Omega-3 fatty acids (O-3) in much more detail than I have ever done. It's a very long and comprehensive treatment. I do have one quibble with the site, and it is this: Fully formed omega-3 fatty acids are only found in animal foods. Plants, such as chia, walnuts and algae, can be rich in the precursor to O-3, but not O-3 itself.

That is to say, plant foods can offer the body what it needs to make Omega-3s, and a healthy body will do so. That is especially the case if that healthy body is younger. As humans age, the conversion process of turning the precursor into O-3 gets less efficient. This is more of an issue if you don't eat animal foods— in other words if you are an aging vegan, or simply a vegan unlucky enough to have an inefficient conversion. The answer in that case it to take a supplement. I am a firm believer that a healthy diet requires no supplementation— but as veganism requires supplementation of vitamin B12 in all cases, young or old, adding an omega-3 supplement can hardly be a deal breaker.
Read the rest.

Review: Forks over Knives, the movie

Published 2.24.2017
This review of the 2011 movie Forks over Knives was inspired by the recent online vegan diabetes summit, which I "attended" and took notes during which I then wrote up (if you're interested, check out the Mastering Diabetes series on the Archive page. At the time of this writing, I haven't quite finished writing up all my notes and commentary, but since Forks over Knives was mentioned so often during the summit, I rewatched it to review here.

I first watch Forks over Knives when it first come out, so these are my thoughts after the second viewing— and after I have spent six more years reading and learning about diets and health. I watched the film on Netflix, but if you don't have Netflix, you can purchase or rent your own copy here: Forks Over Knives
The movie (as all movies related to diet and health) starts with dire statistics and footage of headless fatties. A number of the doctors who presented in the vegan diabetes summit also show up as talking heads in this movie. The movie is based on the research of T Colin Campbell that he published in the book, The China Study.Read the rest.

House bill 610— what does it do?

Published 2.23.2017
Thursdays have become the day on which I choose to opine on education. This is the fifth entry in the series (and eventually I will stop counting the entries). The focus this week is House Bill 610. This presentation is really more of a backgrounder, as I am still learning about the law.

House Bill 610, titled the Choices in Education Act of 2017 is a very short bill, that basically block grants money to the states, and makes setting up a voucher system a condition to get the funds. It also repeals the Nutritional Act of 2012, which addressed the quality of food offered at public schools and specifically mandated that more fruits and vegetables be served. There is no companion bill in the Senate— or at least no companion bill has been introduced yet in the Senate. Here is the summary from the site:
Read the rest.

Mastering Diabetes Summit Day 5, Part 1- AKA Forks over Knives Day

Published 2.23.2017
This is the seventh in a series in which I am commenting on the Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, otherwise known as the Vegan Diabetes Summit. The two hosts, Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro, manage their type one diabetes (T1D) with a raw, high carb low fat diet, consisting of mostly fruit. Links to the videos and audio recordings of the event expired Thursday, February 9th at 9:00 PM Pacific time. However, I have notes for most of the talks though day seven (Day 8 was all about testimonials) and I will continue to present them until I've gone through them all, however long that process takes.

Please remember: I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. I am stating what these presenters claimed, mostly without any fact checking. When I know a statement is false, I say so. However, no endorsement is implied for statements presented without additional commentary or fact checking. These are not recaps, merely some notes and commentary I made while listening.

Matt Lederman MD

This is the first I've ever heard of this particular doctor. He's written a book, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole. Read the rest.

Movement is important as you age, and any other time

Published 2.21.2017
This is a periodic series highlighting news about health and movement I began in frustration as people who should know better (bariatric doctors and cardiologists amongst them) began to downplay the importance of movement in maintaining health and weight loss. No, you probably can't outrun your fork, but to suggest that movement isn't part of the answer for most people (I recognize that some people have conditions that counter indicate too much movement) is malpractice in my view.

Bariatric doctor Yoni Freedhoff (he's not a surgeon, but operates a clinic treating the obese so I think that's the correct title to apply to him) was one of the inspirations for this series, and here he is, at it again. I think he misrepresents what they data showed. What it showed was that People in energy balance are generally weight stable. People who move a bit more might eat a bit more, and people who move a bit less might eat a bit less. The primary result is to show just how fat Americans are in relation to Africans. I don’t think that will be news to many that we are (on average) a bunch of fatties. Here’s the study.
Read the rest.

Weight is still related to health and other tidbits

Published 2.20.2017
As on most Mondays, what follows are brief commentary on recent items related to diet or health.

Call the neighbors, wake the kids, losing weight can positively affect health. It’s amazing to me that this is still considered new and worth of study. Is anyone at this point surprised by evidence that obese people who lose weight can resolve many of their medical conditions— outside the health at every size (HAES) crowd (who will ignore it anyway)?

The researchers predicted that about 20% of new diabetes cases could be prevented if adulthood weight was maintained within one body mass index (BMI) point (Population attributable fraction 21.9%, 95% CI, 15.8-27.6%), or within 3% of total weight (PAF 22.0%, 15.5, 28.0%).

On a population level, about 40% of new cases could be prevented through weight loss of 1.5±.5 BMI points (PAF 38.2%, 23.4-50.0%), or with a loss of 5±2% of body weight (42.4%, 24.3,5.1%), according to Adina L. Feldman, PhD, of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., and colleagues, writing online in BMC Public Health.

Basically anyone with a BMI of 30 or higher were treated and had a benefit. This bit is different, though:
Read the rest.

Search this site: