On Election Day, ITV aired a generally positive programme about fat. The full programme can be seen here. The programme started off so well (inspired by our February journal article saying that there was no evidence for the total fat or saturated fat dietary guidelines), but sadly ended with the usual platitude “moderation, eat less, move more.” Duh! In between, some volunteers tried a high real food, low processed food diet and did very well – a couple losing 2kg each in a week despite not eating less.
The day after the programme, The Independent, and a few other newspapers, reported “High-protein diets increase risk of weight gain, study finds”.
The abstract can be found here. Sadly it’s not on open view, but I’ve managed to get hold of a copy to review it for you....
Three of the people, with whom I was honoured to share a platform at the February 2015 South African conference, published an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on Thursday 23rd April. Dr Assem Malhotra, a cardiologist, and Professors Tim Noakes and Stephen Phinney – the latter two also sports scientists – collaborated on the article. The British Journal of Sports Medicine sent some reporters to the February conference, so they were well placed to see the credentials and experience of the authors.
The BBC covered the article here, worth checking the link if only for the great interview with the lead author: Dr Aseem Malhotra.
The editorial is just a page long, but it packs a real punch with several key messages:
- Exercise is a great thing to do, but not for weight loss.
- As obesity has rocketed, there has been little change in activity levels, so inactivity cannot be the driver for obesity.
- The food industry’s PR machine is dedicated to supporting the calorie theory and the idea that consuming junk is not a problem – we just need to exercise the junk off. The most staggering statistic in the article was that Coca-cola alone spent £3.3 billion on advertising in 2013.
A couple of years ago, an active 60 something neighbour shared that she had been suffering chronic pain, but she had been prescribed something called amitriptyline and it was helping noticeably. I was curious, so I did what I always do when I hear of a drug and searched for the PIL (Patient Information Leaflet). I was surprised to discover that amitriptyline is a pretty heavy duty anti-depressant.
I hadn’t thought any more about this until a headline last week “Paracetamol kills feelings of pleasure as well as pain”. A comment from Professor Baldwin Way, one of the researchers, caught my eye: “People who took paracetamol didn’t feel the same highs or lows as did the people who took placebos.
If you’ve ever heard someone describe taking anti-depressants, they typically say: “things even out”; “you don’t get the lows, you don’t get the highs”. This study is, I believe, the first to show that one of the most common painkillers, taken by millions of people world-wide, may have a similar effect, albeit on a slight scale.