Sugar is not a drug and other tidbits of note

Published 1.9.2017
Interesting items of recent vintage. Though I took a break from publishing at the end of the year, I still read and made notes during that time, some of which appear below.

  • Half servings or more of red meat does not increase risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

    Results: Red meat intake did not affect lipid-lipoprotein profiles or blood pressure values postintervention (P > 0.05) or changes over time [weighted mean difference (95% CI): −0.01 mmol/L (−0.08, 0.06 mmol/L), 0.02 mmol/L (−0.05, 0.08 mmol/L), 0.03 mmol/L (−0.01, 0.07 mmol/L), and 0.04 mmol/L (−0.02, 0.10 mmol/L) mmol/L; −0.08 mm Hg (−0.26, 0.11 mm Hg); and −1.0 mm Hg (−2.4, 0.78 mm Hg) and 0.1 mm Hg (−1.2, 1.5 mm Hg) for TC, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, TC:HDL cholesterol, SBP, and DBP, respectively]. Among all subjects, TC, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, TC:HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and DBP, but not SBP, decreased over time (P < 0.05). Conclusions: The results from this systematically searched meta-analysis of RCTs support the idea that the consumption of ≥0.5 servings of total red meat/d does not influence blood lipids and lipoproteins or blood pressures.

    It’s a meta-analysis, so they reviewed a bunch of studies with different methods and markers measured. It smells like a meat industry funded study, but I haven't done the research. For the record, I eat red meat.
Read the rest.
  • Diabetes is most expensive condition. Healthcare is 17% of the US economy. Spending was divided into 155 conditions, and of these, diabetes had the highest total spending at an estimated $101.4 billion, most of that total was drugs. Ischemic heart disease (artery blockage) was second with $88.1 billion— no doubt most of that was due to drugs too, though the abstract presented doesn’t say. The entire paper is at the link for those who want the details. In the broadest terms, actually CVD (which included strokes) had the most spending, which actually makes more sense. In total, but still not including treatment for high cholesterol or high blood pressure, CVD cost $231.1 billion.

  • Sugar is not a drug. It’s not an addiction to like sweet foods. Artificial sweeteners indue the same effects. Why? Because they make foods sweeter and so they taste better. Foods that taste better get eaten more. It’s really not a hard thing to understand, though so many have a monetary reason to make it complicated.

  • Sugar is not toxic. (abstract only) Ingesting more than you expend for an extended period can be.

    Results: In all, 28 studies involving 510 volunteers were included. When free sugars were substituted for complex carbohydrates, no significant increases were detected in systolic or diastolic blood pressure, and no heterogeneity was observed. There were significant increases in HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triacylglycerols, although for LDL cholesterol and triacylglycerols there was significant heterogeneity between studies and evidence of publication bias. After adjustment for missing studies, these increases lost significance. Subgroup analyses showed that diets providing the largest total energy intake and energy exchange enhanced the effect of free sugars on total and LDL cholesterol and triacylglycerols. The increase of triacylglycerols was no longer significant when studies with the highest risk of bias were excluded or when only randomized trials were considered. Free sugars had no effect on body weight

  • Want your brain to stay young? Challenge it. This is a bit of an update to the “use it or lose” mantra. It’s not enough to use it, you have to challenge your brain and force it to learn new things. These new things can be physical. Such as learning to play the piano or learning to dance. Which isn’t to say that doing things that you’re good at and enjoy is bad, just that a young brain is a learning brain.

  • Burn more lipids on a high carb diet than low carb one. That doesn’t mean you’ll burn more belly fat. Especially if you ingest some fat bomb after exercising. The subjects here were all males, non-obese. They did a cross-over, so all subjects did both diets. All subjects were also glycogen depleted before beginning the work out. People following a LC diet are typically glycogen deplete because glycogen is made from cabs and water. But in this case, that difference was mitigated. It was not a LCHF (L=low, C=carb, H=high, F=fat) diet, it was a LCHP (P=protein) diet vs a HCLP diet. The high carb diet increased exercise duration (they pushed these guys to exhaustion) and total mechanical work.


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