The Mediterranean diet has been everywhere in the news lately. But, once again, the media is blowing the results of the Estruch (2013) article in the New England Journal of Medicine out of proportion, as many flaws and uncertainties remain after this study.
This study is headlined to “decrease cardiovascular [CVD] disease by 30%”, unfortunately, many of the reviews or headlines didn’t mention that this was in a high cardiovascular risk group. Moreover, the study had men and women (both combined in this study). Also, the study didn’t show a decrease in mortality, simply a decrease in cardiovascular events. The control group is also under scrutiny as they had an extremely low mortality rate for those with a history of CVD. One reason for this is because the diet was far from a typical “low fat” diet!
As it encouraged: “low-fat dairy products, bread, potatoes, pasta, fresh fruit, vegetables, lean fish”. Moreover, this discouraged the use of oils, red meat, and sweets.
As you see, this seems like a low sugar diet to me, which is likely helpful!
Bottom line: if you have a high risk of CVD, it seems decreasing sugar may be the biggest benefit to health! More research is necessary, specifically comparing various fat and meat consumption with instruction to limit sweets!
Autism Linked with Heavy Metals: Autism spectrum disorder cases have increased dramatically in the past few decades. Unfortunately, the reason for these increases is not known. This uncertainty leads many researchers to compare kids with and without autism. A recent study looked at children aged 5 – 16 and saw an increase of lead in the blood and an increase of lead, tin, thallium, and tungsten in the urine (Adams 2013). This type of study can not prove causation, but Adams hypothesizes:
“reducing early exposure to toxic metals may help ameliorate symptoms of autism, and treatment to remove toxic metals may reduce symptoms of autism; these hypotheses need further exploration, as there is a growing body of research to support it (Adams 2013).”
Sitting Increases Clotting: We’ve discussed sitting before, indicating its negative effects on health. Now, more research is looking for the physiology behind the negative effects of sitting. Howard (2013) had:
“three-treatment acute cross-over trial consisted of: uninterrupted sitting; sitting interrupted by 2 min bouts of either light- or moderate-intensity treadmill walking every 20min. In each trialcondition, blood samples were collected at baseline prior to the consumption of a standardized meal (-2hrs) and post-intervention (5hrs).”
The results noted fibrinogen increases and plasma volume decreases with uninterrupted sitting, while the activity increased hemoglobin and hematocrit.
It was concluded:
“Uninterrupted sitting increased fibrinogen and reduced plasma volume, with associated increases in hemoglobin and hematocrit. Activity breaks attenuated these responses, indicative of an ameliorating influence on the pro-coagulant effects of uninterrupted sitting (Howard 2013).”
Sitting Associated with Higher Mortality: A prospective cohort of 2,635 Spanish people 60 years and older responded to a survey indicating their amount of sitting and changes throughout the past 8 years. The results noted, an increase in sitting time was associated with an increase in mortality (León-Muñoz 2013). This doesn’t account for illness and reasons for the increased sitting time nonetheless don’t sit, move!
Eccentric Training Increases Oxidative Phenotype: Eccentric training has been thought to increase muscle breakdown and hypertrophy. Unfortunately, the exact science behind these theories has been loosely supported with the notion that you can use more weight on eccentrics, thus breakdown more muscles. A new study from Belgium (Hody 2013) randomly divided mice into a downhill running, uphill running, or control group and had them train 5 days for 75 – 135 min/day. The researchers found ATP synthase subunit α and tubulin β were more expressed in the downhill running. Moreover, a larger amount of type I and IIa fibers were found in the DHR group. This suggests aerobic eccentric based contractions in mice reflect a more oxidative muscle phenotype. This may provide another training module for those seeking increased oxidative activity.
- Howard BJ, Fraser SF, Sethi P, Cerin E, Hamilton MT, Owen N, Dunstan DW, Kingwell BA. Impact on Hemostatic Parameters of Interrupting Sitting with Intermittent Activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Feb 22. [Epub ahead of print]
- Hody S, Lacrosse Z, Leprince P, Collodoro M, Croisier JL, Rogister B.Effects of Eccentrically and Concentrically Biased Training on Mouse Muscle Phenotype. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Feb 22. [Epub ahead of print]
- León-Muñoz LM, Martínez-Gómez D, Balboa-Castillo T, López-García E, Guallar-Castillón P, Rodríguez-Artalejo F.Continued Sedentariness, Change in Sitting Time, and Mortality in Older Adults.Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Feb 22. [Epub ahead of print]
- Adams JB, Audhya T, McDonough-Means S, Rubin RA, Quig D, Geis E, Gehn E, Loresto M, Mitchell J, Atwood S, Barnhouse S, Lee W.Biol Trace Elem Res. Toxicological status of children with autism vs. neurotypical children and the association with autism severity. 2013 Feb;151(2):171-80. doi: 10.1007/s12011-012-9551-1. Epub 2012 Nov 29.
- Yeo M, Berglund K, Hanna M, Guo JU, Kittur J, Torres MD, Abramowitz J, Busciglio J, Gao Y, Birnbaumer L, Liedtke WB. Bisphenol A delays the perinatal chloride shift in cortical neurons by epigenetic effects on the Kcc2 promoter.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Feb 25. [Epub ahead of print]
- Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, Covas MI, D Pharm, Corella D, Arós F, Gómez-Gracia E, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, Fiol M, Lapetra J, Lamuela-Raventos RM, Serra-Majem L, Pintó X, Basora J, Muñoz MA, Sorlí JV, Martínez JA, Martínez-González MA; the PREDIMED Study Investigators.Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet.N Engl J Med. 2013 Feb 25. [Epub ahead of print]