Tag Archives: vitamins

FSA’s Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey: Some Snippets

The Eating within recommended dietary guidelines and on a budget project is having some difficulties. Not, oddly, on the actual shopping, cooking or budgeting fronts but the dietary analysis that I want to perform. On the upside, I have located some useful figures relating to low income diet, nutrient intake and food spend budgets. Continue reading

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How To Compile an Affordable Diet that Includes Recommended Vitamins and Minerals

Washington Post carries a thought-provoking and slightly depressing article: Even a Dietitian Can Find It Hard to Craft a Diet That Covers All the Bases. Essentially, even a very experienced Registered Dietitian found it difficult to design a diet that met all the dietary guidelines within 1800 calories (day’s menu for a hypothetical 35-year-old, 5-foot-4-inch woman who weighs 130 pounds and exercises three times a week) and that isn’t taking issues such as affordability into account. Continue reading

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Richard Asher: Straight and Crooked Thinking In Medicine

Dr Richard Asher made many excellent contributions to critical thinking as part of medical practice in the UK; one of the most entertaining of these was: Straight and Crooked Thinking In Medicine (pdf). Read it and savour it for the many useful and well-expressed observations. Continue reading

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Polypills or Vitamins for Homocysteine and Cardiovascular Risks: the Hype is Ahead of the Evidence

You may have experienced déjà vu over the last few days if you’ve been reading excited accounts about polypills for the over-55s (there was a lot of Oh Brave New World about the potential for polypills in 2003). The claims are that polypills will prevent 100,000 premature deaths a year and also prevent up to 80% of heart attacks and strokes. The polypills will contain a cholesterol-reducing statin; three types of medicine to lower blood pressure (thiazide, aspirin and beta-blockers); and folic acid to reduce levels of homocysteine (Hcy). Continue reading

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Dear Terence Kealey, About Natural v. Synthetic Vitamins

Dear Vice-Chancellor Terence Kealey,

Your comment piece in The Times triggered some tristesse: The limitations of peer review. If Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards had been capable of making leaps on a similar scale to yours then Britain’s medal haul in the Winter Olympics would be a cause for celebration rather than derision. Continue reading

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Irish Association of Nutritional Therapy: Giving the Facts About the Cochrane Review of Antioxidant Supplements

You may remember that Miriam Barry of the Irish Association of Nutritional Therapy (IANT) offers a Response to the recent media coverage regarding antioxidants. She opens her response with these words:

As nutritional therapists we feel compelled to give the public the facts of this case. Please click here to inform yourself of the facts regarding this study.

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Irish Association of Nutritional Therapy on the Cochrane Review of Antioxidant Supplements

Miriam Barry of the Irish Association of Nutritional Therapy (IANT) offers a Response to the recent media coverage regarding antioxidants. She opens her response with these words:

As nutritional therapists we feel compelled to give the public the facts of this case. Please click here to inform yourself of the facts regarding this study.

All of which is rather promising but quickly falls into something more akin to something Jonathan Aitken would have said, although the rhetoric is less stirring than the memorable “sword of truth and trusty shield of fair play”. Barry’s piece is short but contains so many distortions that it would be both tedious and unreadable to deal with them all. Continue reading

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Patrick Holford and Contriving a Controversy: the Cochrane review of antioxidant supplements

Professor Patrick Holford of Teesside University and Head of Science and Education at Biocare has been out and about in the mainstream media, providing the industry response to the Cochrane Review of Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases (pdf). In this, he was joined by assorted other representatives of the supplement industry in an interesting example of manufactroversy or an artificially contrived controversy. Bertrand Russell wrote:

A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.

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Catherine Collins: “Patrick has [given] an absolutely perfect example of why one should be wary of nutritional therapists.”

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
A new Cochrane review of the evidence on antioxidant supplements and mortality [PDF] has found that taking anti-oxidant supplements caused

significantly increased mortality by vitamin A…beta-carotene…and vitamin E…but no significant detrimental effect of vitamin C…Low-bias risk trials on selenium found no significant effect on mortality…The current evidence does not support the use of antioxidant supplements in the general population or in patients with certain diseases.

Holford was speaking about the review on Radio 4 and 5 Live this morning – the Head of Science and Education and the supplement company Biocare was defending the role of antioxidant supplements. Did we mention that Biocare sells a range of supplement pills with a charming picture of Holford’s face on them. Continue reading

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Patrick Holford and Berthelot’s Food Dispensary

Professor Patrick Holford of Teesside University and Head of Science and Education at Biocare may be still living out a boyish enthusiasm for the space race of his youth, or part of a tradition of thinking that adequate or appropriate nutrition for all is only possible with supplements. Continue reading

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