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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Drug Makers Accused of Fixing Prices on Insulin

A lawsuit filed Monday accused three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their lifesaving drugs, harming patients who were being asked to pay for a growing share of their drug bills.

The price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, with the three manufacturers — Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly — raising the list prices of their products in near lock step, prompting outcry from patient groups and doctors who have pointed out that the rising prices appear to have little to do with increased production costs.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Massachusetts, accuses the companies of exploiting the country’s opaque drug-pricing system in a way that benefits themselves and the intermediaries known as pharmacy benefit managers. It cites several examples of patients with diabetes who, unable to afford their insulin treatments, which can cost up to $900 a month, have resorted to injecting themselves with expired insulin or starving themselves to control their blood sugar. Some patients, the lawsuit said, intentionally allowed themselves to slip into diabetic ketoacidosis — a blood syndrome that can be fatal — to get insulin from hospital emergency rooms.

A recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that the price of insulin nearly tripled from 2002 to 2013.Continue reading the main story

“People who have to pay out of pocket for insulin are paying enormous prices when they shouldn’t be,” said Steve Berman, a lawyer whose firm filed the suit on behalf of patients and is seeking to have it certified as a class action.

In a statement, Sanofi said, “We strongly believe these allegations have no merit, and will defend against these claims.” Lilly said it had followed all laws, adding, “We adhere to the highest ethical standards.”

A spokesman for Novo Nordisk said the company disagreed with the allegations in the suit and would defend itself. “At Novo Nordisk,” the company’s statement said, “we have a longstanding commitment to supporting patients’ access to our medicines.”

The rising costs of drugs has led to several hearings in Congress and has drawn the attention of President Trump, who this month pledged to address the issue and said the industry was “getting away with murder.”

In December, attorneys general in 20 states accused several generic drug makers, including two of the biggest — Teva Pharmaceuticals and Mylan — of engaging in a price-fixing scheme in which executives coordinated at informal gatherings and through phone calls and text messages. Federal investigators are also said to be looking at the issue of drug prices, and several companies, including Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, have said they have received subpoenas.

Several companies have recently tried to head off criticism by taking actions to address rising prices. In December, Lilly said it would offer a 40 percent discount off the list price of its insulin product, Humalog, for patients who are forced to pay full price. And Novo Nordisk, which makes Novolog, has pledged to limit price increases in the American market to less than 10 percent in a year.

The lawsuit filed Monday claimed that the three companies intentionally raised the list prices on their drugs to gain favorable treatment from pharmacy benefit managers, who work with health insurers and drug makers and help decide how a drug will be covered on a list of approved drugs.

Insurers do not pay the list prices that the drug makers set. Instead, the pharmacy benefit managers negotiate a rebate that is returned to them. The benefit managers, in turn, take a slice of that rebate for themselves, although the amount of the rebate, and the amount they keep, is not made public.

As a result, the drug manufacturers end up setting two prices for their drugs — the higher list price and the lower, secret, “real” price that insurers pay. The lawsuit claims that rather than competing with one another to offer a lower, “real” price to the insurers, the drug makers are vying to offer the best payment to the pharmacy benefit manager, which is why they have been raising the list price.

When the list price goes up, many patients see their out-of-pocket costs rise, even if they have health insurance. That’s because plans increasingly carry high deductibles, which require patients to pay for their drug costs themselves until they hit a certain limit, as well as to pay a percentage of the list price even after their deductible is met.

While Mr. Berman accused the benefit managers of being complicit, he said the lawsuit focused on the drug makers because “they are playing the game, and they are the ones who publish the list price.”

Michael Carrier, an antitrust professor at Rutgers Law School, described the filing of the lawsuit as “big news” and said it was interesting because it turned its attention to the inner workings of the pharmacy benefit managers, which until now “have floated under the radar of sustained drug pricing scrutiny.”

Brian Henry, a spokesman for Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said, “Rebates don’t raise drug prices, drug makers raise drug prices.”

Happy Tuesday To You !


I suddenly had a thought ... it's the last day of January 2017 where did those other thirty days go to? Whatever this month has brought you - some ups - some downs - or somewhere in between ... just for a moment focus on something positive, perhaps something that made you smile...

I know this picture did, blogger friend Tom shared it on his blog here , did it make you smile too? 'Hours after his birth, this new-born foal was abandoned by his mother, so the farmer's family stepped in. One of the children put a large Teddy Bear called Buttons in the stall with Breeze.' .. so sweet isn't it!


Maybe you saw some lovely flowers - something like these - always a cheerful sight


Perhaps you tried out a new recipe, that tasted great - like this one here
Provençal Chicken

As we say farewell to January, and soon hello to February
However you spend this Tuesday - may it be a good one for you
... for sure there will not be another 31st January 2017 !

All the best Jan

Monday, 30 January 2017

Many a word said in jest!


Who knew Corbyn was a film star? rofl
Eddie

It's Monday Again, and I have those Wash Day Blues !

Can you believe Monday comes around again? Growing up in the 50's it was always the traditional wash day, and come rain or shine the washing would be done. My dear mum originally had a washer board and a hand-mangle (I think they were called) before the more modern washing machines were available. I can remember she would use a blue bag which was meant to bring out the whiteness of your tea towels, shirts, bed linen etc. - not sure if this were true, but she always used them.
I read this poem the other day, and enjoyed it, what do you think?

Wash Day Blues
We all get those wash days blues
Ironing clothes and washing shoes
I wish that I could iron quicker
Baggy shorts and blooming knickers

When you think you’re near the end
In comes your son and his best friend
He grabs the shirt that you just done
And just discard the other one

The hair on your neck begin to raise
And a few choice words were put in place
The door slams as he goes out
I’m sure he is off to sit and pout

I know the shirt must be worn some day
But at least wait till I put it away
Hours pass the ironing done
Sitting relaxing just for once

Peace and calm is all around
When I hear the door handles clicking sound
In comes my son and sits right down
Then he murmured a little sound

I love you mum you work so hard
Ironing clothes to brushing the yard
Never mind son I love you to
We will put it down to the wash day blues

Poem Above By Jim O'Donnell






Now, I do have the wash day blues ... because I'm waiting for the delivery of a new washing machine. Our old one has done well, it's done many, many, many washes, but alas now needs replacing! Our new one is scheduled for delivery tomorrow, and I can't wait. The laundry basket is full to over flowing - well almost!

What's a girl to do? I know, I could make a Fruit and Almond Clafoutis, it is delicious and fits into our LCHF menu plans well ... you can find the recipe here

Enjoy your Monday

All the best Jan

Danish drugs giant makes big UK investment.

Denmark's Novo Nordisk is to invest £115m over 10 years in a new science research centre in Oxford.

Eventually employing 100 academics and scientists, the facility will work on new ways of treating type 2 diabetes.

The decision to invest in the UK was described by David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, as "a vote of confidence in the UK's position as a world-leader in science and research".

Novo Nordisk said it was attracted by Oxford's history of "excellence"

More on this story here.

With over 400 million diabetics in the world and rising, around 90% are type two diabetics, the drug companies can hear the cash registers ringing. Up to now, most type two drugs are close to useless, some have been banned for killing people, and many are over the long term extremely expensive. Throw in all have side effects, some very serious, and the right diet makes evermore sense. The right diet is here. 

Eddie

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Yet another dietitian breaks rank

Feng-Yuan Liu

Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), Accredited Nutritionist (AN), Level 1 ISAK Anthropometrist, Member of the Dietitians’ Association of Australia (DAA)

Low Carbohydrate, High Fat for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Assessment

For those of you who know me personally or professionally, you will know that I am extremely passionate about metabolic nutrition and helping my clients understand the science behind my recommendations. Always.

With all the information, misinformation and misrepresentation of information spreading faster than wildfire, people’s minds are also exploding at the same velocity.

One topic that seems to take the spotlight is the “Low Carbohydrate, High Fat” way of eating.

I have written briefly about this previously to correct some misinformation around it – you can read it here.

However, recently I read a piece written by the Dietitians’ Association of Australia (DAA) published under their “Hot Topics”. It was their response to the Low Carb High Fat way of eating and Type 2 Diabetes. You can access their full article here.

In keeping with evidence-based practice I was very confused with how the DAA came to some of their conclusions. This sort of misinformation, or rather “misrepresentation” of information is something I personally find discouraging, as it only fuels the public confusion, and frankly, makes it very difficult for us dietitians to be taken seriously.


In this blog, I wish to take you through their piece section by section, so we can really break it down, and get to the bottom of this “Hot Topic”.

Full article: http://www.metrodietetics.com.au/

Graham

Roast Beef with balsamic gravy


Ingredients:
Serves Four
1 (British) Beef Roasting Joint  - approx 1.5kg
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 red onions, cut into 8 pieces each
2 tsp plain flour
1 Beef Stock Cube mixed with 500ml boiling water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
2. Make a series of small slits in the beef, and stuff each with a slice of garlic.
3. Add 1 tbsp of the oil to a large frying pan and seal the beef on all sides over a high heat. Place in a roasting tray and scatter the onions around it. Drizzle the onions with the remaining oil and season to taste. Roast for 20 mins then reduce the heat to 180°C/gas mark 4. Continue to cook for 20 mins per 500g, removing the onions after the first 20 mins to prevent them from burning.
4. Once the beef is cooked, wrap it in greaseproof paper and set it aside to rest for 15-20 mins. Heat the roasting tray it was cooked in over a medium heat and add the flour. Cook this for 2 mins then gradually add the stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Once all the stock has been added, add the balsamic and simmer for 5 mins, until thickened. Serve with the beef and onions.

Each serving provides:
6.2g carbohydrate 1.2g fibre 41.6g protein 29.6g Fat


From an original idea here

Do you know I think Brussels Sprouts or Fine Green Beans would taste lovely with this dish, I wonder what you would serve ...

Bon Appetit

All the best Jan

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Nell Bryden - Thought I Was Meant For You

Released yesterday a new song from Nell Bryden
Graham

Rebekka Karijord - Home

A Norwegian singer who's new to me enjoy !
Graham

Bob Marley - No Woman No Cry

I am hearing a lot about feminism over the last few weeks. Maybe I have led a sheltered life, but almost every Woman I have met could wind me around her little finger. The fact is, when my Woman is unhappy, I am unhappy, and I don't like being unhappy. This track for Women everywhere. Eddie 

Wilson Pickett - It's A Groove

Oh so quickly Saturday night comes around again, and Saturday night is music night on this blog. Music has been a huge part of my life. I have played many instruments (very poorly) I should add. Right from the start Black musicians and singers were a huge influence on me. As a kid this guy was one of my favourites. So, I'm chilling out with a glass of wine or two, low carb beef casserole in the oven, and with my wife Jan, works for me. Eddie 

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 : Saturday 28 January


Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China, is China's most important traditional festival. It is also the most important celebration for families, and a week of official public holiday.

The Date of Chinese New Year Is NOT January 1st - Chinese New Year 2017 is on Saturday January 28. This year (2017) China's Spring Festival public holiday is from January 27 to February 2.

Chinese New Year 2017 — is a 
year of the Rooster according to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle. Other Rooster years include: … 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017… If you were born then you’re a Rooster. Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year's Day.

You can read more about Chinese New Year
here

If you may be looking for a Chinese Meal suggestion how about his one by Ken Hom ... It's Cashew Chicken ... tender pieces of chicken breast are stir-fried with crunchy, sweet cashew nuts in this classic Chinese dish.


Ingredients:
Serves Four
450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1 egg white
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
300ml groundnut oil or water, plus 2 tsp groundnut oil
100g cashew nuts
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry Sherry
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 shredded spring onion, to garnish ( a
lso known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested )

Method:
1. Put the chicken in a bowl with the egg white, sesame oil, cornflour and 1 tsp salt, and mix well. Chill for 20 mins.
2. If you are using oil for velveting the chicken, heat a wok until very hot and then add the oil. When it is very hot, remove the wok from the heat and immediately add the chicken, stirring vigorously to prevent it sticking. After about 2 mins, when the chicken turns white, quickly drain it and all of the oil into a stainless steel colander set over a bowl. Discard the oil. If you are using water instead of oil, do exactly the same but bring the water to the boil in a saucepan before adding the chicken. It will take about 4 mins for the chicken to turn white in the water.
3. If you have used a wok, wipe it clean. Heat it until it is very hot, then add the 2 tsp of groundnut oil. Add the cashew nuts and stir-fry for 1 min. Add the rice wine or dry Sherry and soy sauce. Return the chicken to the wok and stir-fry for 2 mins. Scatter over the spring onions and serve immediately.

Original recipe, including nutritional breakdown, here

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you.
If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

But to conclude … wherever you are … whatever nationality … at this time I would join in the Chinese custom and wish everyone peace and prosperity in the coming year. Maybe we should add good health too...

All the best Jan

Friday, 27 January 2017

Kungfu Fighter, Hidden Sugar

A bit of Friday night fun with this anti sugar video from Singapore
Graham

Avocado Pie with a Taste of Chili : Vegetarian Low Carb Recipe


If you may be looking for something just a little bit different, then how about this idea from Anne Aobadia, it's an avocado pie with a taste of Chili. It is low in carbs and vegetarian too! Just have a look at the ingredients - avocado, cilantro and chili - lovely flavours that can make a fresh and delicious lunch, or perhaps you may prefer to eat it at a different time of day!

Ingredients
Serves Four
7g carb per serving

Pie crust
¾ cup almond flour
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon ground psyllium husk powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1 egg
¼ cup water

Filling
2 ripe avocados
1 cup mayonnaise
3 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cream cheese
1¼ cups shredded (grated) cheese

For recipe instructions, please see here

If you should need help with measurement conversions, see here

Did you know ... Cilantro is a herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavour. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavours are very different and cannot be substituted for each other. (Some countries refer to the cilantro as coriander, so any references to "fresh coriander" or "coriander leaves" refer to cilantro.) It can be easily confused with flat-leaf parsley in appearance, so be sure to sniff carefully. Look for a bunch with un-wilted leaves in medium green. Found fresh year round in most markets.

Information about Cilantro from here


We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality

A dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

Abstract

Background

Although studies have examined the association between dietary magnesium intake and health outcome, the results are inconclusive. Here, we conducted a dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies in order to investigate the correlation between magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes (T2D), and all-cause mortality.

Methods


PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science were searched for articles that contained risk estimates for the outcomes of interest and were published through May 31, 2016. The pooled results were analyzed using a random-effects model.

Results

Forty prospective cohort studies totaling more than 1 million participants were included in the analysis. During the follow-up periods (ranging from 4 to 30 years), 7678 cases of CVD, 6845 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD), 701 cases of heart failure, 14,755 cases of stroke, 26,299 cases of T2D, and 10,983 deaths were reported. No significant association was observed between increasing dietary magnesium intake (per 100 mg/day increment) and the risk of total CVD (RR: 0.99; 95% CI, 0.88–1.10) or CHD (RR: 0.92; 95% CI, 0.85–1.01). However, the same incremental increase in magnesium intake was associated with a 22% reduction in the risk of heart failure (RR: 0.78; 95% CI, 0.69–0.89) and a 7% reduction in the risk of stroke (RR: 0.93; 95% CI, 0.89–0.97). Moreover, the summary relative risks of T2D and mortality per 100 mg/day increment in magnesium intake were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.77–0.86) and 0.90 (95% CI, 0.81–0.99), respectively.

Conclusions

Increasing dietary magnesium intake is associated with a reduced risk of stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and all-cause mortality, but not CHD or total CVD. These findings support the notion that increasing dietary magnesium might provide health benefits.


Graham

Rustic Lamb Stew


'This slow-cooked rustic lamb stew is really comforting and is the perfect winter warmer. The time taken to cook this dish gives a real depth of flavour, enhanced by rich tomatoes and fiery chilli. Give this fire-cracking rustic lamb stew a try tonight.'

Some may like to serve it alongside some crusty bread, perfect for mopping up the delicious sauce. However, if you prefer a low carb bread how about this one here or perhaps this one here

Ingredients:
Serves 6 - 8
4 tbsp olive oil
1kg (2lb) lamb breast joint, roughly chopped into 2-3cm pieces
2 brown onions, thickly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
250ml (8fl oz) red wine
1 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
600ml (1 pint) hot lamb stock
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 x 400g tinned butter beans, drained'

Optional: crusty bread, to serve

Method:
1. In a deep pan, heat half the oil and cook the lamb in batches until browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
2. Add the remaining oil and fry the onions and carrots 
for 10 minutes until golden. A minute before the end, stir through the garlic, 2 tablespoons of the rosemary, and the chilli. Pour over the red wine, chopped tomatoes, lamb stock and balsamic vinegar.
3.
Return the lamb to the pan and cook over a gentle heat for 2 hours until tender. Stir through the butter beans and remaining rosemary and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread/low carb bread/on its own, it's your choice dear reader.

Per serving:
Carbohydrate 12.1g Protein 29.8g Fibre 3.6g Fat 23.6g

Original recipe idea here

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you.
If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Soft-boiled eggs with pancetta avocado soldiers : LCHF


You may wish to consider this for a weekend treat!

Soft, creamy avocado wrapped in crispy pancetta, perfect for dipping in your morning egg

Ingredients:
Serves Two
4 eggs

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 ripe avocado, 
cut into slices
100g smoked pancetta 
rashers

Method:
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Carefully drop the eggs into the water and boil for 5 mins for runny yolks.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick pan and wrap each avocado slice in pancetta. Fry for 2-3 mins over a high heat until cooked and crisp.
3. Serve the eggs in egg cups with the pancetta avocado soldiers on the side for dipping.

A gluten free breakfast which per serving is 46g Fat 1g Carb 22g Protein

A start to the day like this will probably take you through to dinner ...

Recipe idea from here

Hey, with Valentines Day only a short while away, how about serving this as a special breakfast!

and don't forget the roses!

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Gary Taubes: Big Sugar’s Secret Ally? Nutritionists

The first time the sugar industry felt compelled to “knock down reports that sugar is fattening,” as this newspaper put it, it was 1956. Papers had run a photograph of President Dwight D. Eisenhower sweetening his coffee with saccharin, with the news that his doctor had advised him to avoid sugar if he wanted to remain thin.

The industry responded with a national advertising campaign based on what it believed to be solid science. The ads explained that there was no such thing as a “fattening food”: “All foods supply calories and there is no difference between the calories that come from sugar or steak or grapefruit or ice cream.”

More than 60 years later, the sugar industry is still making the same argument, or at least paying researchers to do it for them. The stakes have changed, however, with a near tripling of the prevalence of obesity in the intervening decades and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures reveal to be an almost unimaginable 655 percent increase in the percentage of Americans with diabetes diagnoses. When it comes to weight gain, the sugar industry and purveyors of sugary beverages still insist, a calorie is a calorie, regardless of its source, so guidelines that single out sugar as a dietary evil are not evidence-based.

Surprisingly, the scientific consensus is technically in agreement. It holds that obesity is caused “by a lack of energy balance,” as the National Institutes of Health website explains — in other words, by our taking in more calories than we expend. Hence, the primary, if not the only, way that foods can influence our body weight is through their caloric content.

Another way to say this is that what we eat doesn’t matter; it’s only how much — just as the sugar industry would have us believe. A 2014 article in an American Diabetes Association journal phrased the situation this way: “There is no clear or convincing evidence that any dietary or added sugar has a unique or detrimental impact relative to any other source of calories on the development of obesity or diabetes.”

The absence of evidence, though, as the saying goes, is not necessarily evidence of absence. If the research community had been doing its job and not assuming since the 1920s that a calorie is a calorie, perhaps we would have found such evidence long ago.

The assumption ignores decades of medical science, including much of what has become textbook endocrinology (the science of hormones and hormone-related diseases) and biochemistry. By the 1960s, researchers in these fields had clearly demonstrated that different carbohydrates, like glucose and fructose, are metabolized differently, leading to different hormonal and physiological responses, and that fat accumulation and metabolism were influenced profoundly by these hormones. The unique composition of sugar — half glucose, half fructose — made it a suspect of particular interest even then.

The takeaway is that we should expect the consumption of different macronutrients to have differential effects on the hormonal milieu of our cells and so, among myriad other things, on how much fat we accumulate. These effects may be very subtle, but subtle effects can accumulate over a few years or decades into the anything-but-subtle phenomena of obesity and diabetes. In light of this research, arguing today that your body fat responds to everything you eat the exact same way is almost inconceivably naïve.

But don’t blame the sugar industry for perpetuating this view. Blame the researchers and the nutrition authorities.

The industry is in a perverse position: defending the core beliefs of nutrition and obesity research while simultaneously being accused by some of the prominent experts in these disciplines of following the tobacco-industry playbook and so acting as “merchants of doubt.” If this sounds like cognitive dissonance — well, it is.

I am a fierce critic of sugar and believe that it, in fact, may have prematurely killed more people than tobacco. The disorders for which it is the prime suspect — obesity and Type 2 diabetes — in turn elevate our risk of virtually every major chronic disease, from heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s. And yet on this issue, I think the sugar industry has a fair point in rejecting the comparison.

Cigarette companies are notorious for having worked to undermine the scientific consensus on tobacco, which was backed by compelling evidence. Tobacco executives knew as well as public health officials that nicotine was addictive and that smoking caused lung cancer. But the evidence implicating sugar as a unique cause of chronic disease has never been nearly so convincing. More to the point, the consensus among nutrition and obesity authorities has been completely aligned with sugar industry interests: Sugar advertisers have had to remind people only that what nutrition authorities believe to be true of all foods is therefore true of sugar as well.

So can we really blame sugar companies for seeking to rebut the contention of some nutrition researchers — that sugar might be a unique cause of diabetes and heart disease — by commissioning other mainstream nutritionists to make the opposite case? In the 1970s, when the industry paid Fred Stare, founder of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, to exonerate sugar in a lengthy journal supplement, “Sugar in the Diet of Man, all Mr. Stare had to do was enlist as authors some of the very influential researchers who were convinced that dietary fat was the real enemy (the conventional wisdom of the time that has now been largely overturned). No confusion needed to be sown. Their task was simply to reinforce the consensus.

“The method of science,” as the philosopher of science Karl Popper once put it, “is the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refute them.” In nutrition, the conjectures (their boldness is debatable) are that obesity is caused by lack of energy balance, and so a calorie is a calorie. But they have been accepted with such faith that attempts to refute them have been anything but ingenious and severe. That the attempts have failed may speak more to the quality of the science than the validity of the conjectures. To fully understand the dangers of consuming sugar, we need experiments, in humans, that can unambiguously test these 100-year-old conjectures. No matter how time consuming or expensive these studies are.

To the sugar industry, the nutritionists’ dogmatic belief that obesity is a calorie overconsumption problem and a calorie is a calorie has been the gift that keeps on giving. So long as nutrition and obesity authorities insist that this is true, then the sugar industry can rightfully defend its product on the basis that the calories from sugar are no better nor worse than those from steak or grapefruit or ice cream — perhaps even kale or quinoa. We can’t have it both ways.


Graham

Now baby food and biscuits are linked to cancer!

Whether you believe this latest news from the Food Standards Agency is up to you, I suspect within a week they will do a 180. One good thing to note, is the fact no REAL foods are on the list. No downsides to eating whole fresh foods from the farm or the sea. Eddie

More on this story here. 


Courgette / Zucchini Roll-Ups with Chicken and Herb Butter : Low Carb


How about tucking into this lovely plate? At just 9g carb per serving, it is a tasty plateful - the recipe shown below serves four.

Courgette / Zucchini roll-ups
700g courgette / zucchinis
½ teaspoon salt
90 g butter
180 g mushrooms, finely chopped
180 g cream cheese
150 g shredded (grated) cheese
½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
60 g air-dried chorizo, finely chopped
1 egg
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


Chicken
4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
30 g butter, for frying


Herb butter
120 g butter, at room temperature
1 garlic clove
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

Recipe instruction at Diet Doctor site 
here


If you may also be looking for a low carb dessert - how about this idea


Mascarpone Cheese Mousse and Berries
a lovely recipe by Lisa at LowCarbYum
you can see all the details here

Bon Appetit

All the best Jan

Monday, 23 January 2017

Cappuccino Cake : The Low Carb Way


I must admit ... I do enjoy taking 'time-out' of a busy day to sit down, relax and enjoy a small slice of low carb cake with a cup of coffee or tea. I don't have cake every day, but as we have a busy few weeks coming up with both personal and other family commitments I know that those 'time-outs' are going to be especially welcome... and an extra treat with a small slice of low carb cake!

Fellow diabetic blogger Ewelina says "If you like coffee and chocolate you will love this beautiful, layered cake that imitates cappuccino. Chocolate cake combines nicely with coffee flavoured cream and a layer of whipped cream. The cake is very moist and rich. Tastes delicious with a cup of hot and strong coffee"

Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake:
90g ground almond
30g soya flour
5 big eggs
125g unsalted butter (softened)
150g xylitol 
(powdered)
100g dark chocolate (Ewelina u
sed Mernier dark chocolate)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. bicarbonate soda


Coffee cream:
250g mascarpone cheese
200g whipping cream
4 tsp. instant coffee
3 tsp. powdered gelatine
4 tbsp. xylitol


Top layer:
250g whipping cream
1 tbsp. xylitol
(or more if you wish)

Preparation:
Chocolate cake:
1. Preheat oven to 170 C and line spring form tin with baking paper.
2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and set aside to cool down a bit.
3. Using electric hand mixer beat the butter. Add Xylitol and melted chocolate.
4. Separate egg yolks from whites. Add yolks to the chocolate mixture, one at the time mixing continuously.
5. Sift the ground almond, soy flour, baking powder and soda and add to the mixture.
6. Beat the egg whites and mix very gently with the chocolate mixture.
7. Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes. Check with a skewer if the cake is baked (the skewer should come out clean). Let it cool down and cut in half lengthwise.

Coffee cream:
1. Dissolve gelatine in ¼ cup of hot water. Let it cool down slightly.
2. Dissolve coffee in one tablespoon of hot water and mix with mascarpone cheese.
3. Whip the cream and add Splenda together with dissolved gelatine mixing continuously.
4. Add the cream mixture to the mascarpone cream.


Top layer:
Whip the cream and add Splenda.

Assembly of the cake:
Spread the coffee cream on a layer of the chocolate cake. Cover with the second layer. Spread the whipped cream on top and sprinkle with cocoa powder or coffee.

Enjoy !


The whole cake has 114g carb divided into 14 slices it is 8.1g carb
See more at Ewelina's blog here

Now I'll just go and get my cup and plate ...


All the best Jan

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Financial ties of principal investigators and randomized controlled trial outcomes: cross sectional study

Abstract

Objective To examine the association between the presence of individual principal investigators’ financial ties to the manufacturer of the study drug and the trial’s outcomes after accounting for source of research funding.

Design Cross sectional study of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Setting Studies published in “core clinical” journals, as identified by Medline, between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013.

Participants Random sample of RCTs focused on drug efficacy.

Main outcome measure Association between financial ties of principal investigators and study outcome.

Results A total of 190 papers describing 195 studies met inclusion criteria. Financial ties between principal investigators and the pharmaceutical industry were present in 132 (67.7%) studies. Of 397 principal investigators, 231 (58%) had financial ties and 166 (42%) did not. Of all principal investigators, 156 (39%) reported advisor/consultancy payments, 81 (20%) reported speakers’ fees, 81 (20%) reported unspecified financial ties, 52 (13%) reported honorariums, 52 (13%) reported employee relationships, 52 (13%) reported travel fees, 41 (10%) reported stock ownership, and 20 (5%) reported having a patent related to the study drug. The prevalence of financial ties of principal investigators was 76% (103/136) among positive studies and 49% (29/59) among negative studies. In unadjusted analyses, the presence of a financial tie was associated with a positive study outcome (odds ratio 3.23, 95% confidence interval 1.7 to 6.1). In the primary multivariate analysis, a financial tie was significantly associated with positive RCT outcome after adjustment for the study funding source (odds ratio 3.57 (1.7 to 7.7). The secondary analysis controlled for additional RCT characteristics such as study phase, sample size, country of first authors, specialty, trial registration, study design, type of analysis, comparator, and outcome measure. These characteristics did not appreciably affect the relation between financial ties and study outcomes (odds ratio 3.37, 1.4 to 7.9).

Conclusions Financial ties of principal investigators were independently associated with positive clinical trial results. These findings may be suggestive of bias in the evidence base.

Full text: http://www.bmj.com/

Graham

Baked beets with carrots and leeks


Roasting vegetables brings out the wonderful sweetness of beetroot, carrot and leeks and these colourful baked vegetables, not only look beautiful, but are the perfect accompaniment for a Sunday, or mid-week roast. Serve this dish with some fresh mint leaves to give your side dish an extra zing...

Ingredients:
Serves Six
5-6 beetroot, trimmed and halved, or quartered, if large
350g (12oz) carrots (any green tops trimmed)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 baby leeks, cut into thirds
handful fresh mint, 3-4 sprigs reserved, remaining leaves roughly torn
100ml (3 1/2fl oz) hot veg stock

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
2. Put the beetroot and carrots in a baking dish. Toss with the olive oil and season well. Roast for 20 minutes, until beginning to colour.
3. Remove from the oven and add the leeks, mint sprigs and stock. Carefully cover with foil, (using oven gloves), to seal it tightly around the edge of the dish.
4. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, until the leeks are tender and the stock has reduced. To serve, stir through the remaining mint.

Each Serving:
Carbohydrate 8.3g Protein 2g Fibre 4.5g Fat 4.3g

Original idea
here

Did you know - "Mint is known to have originated in Asia and the Mediterranean region. In many cultures, mint symbolised hospitality and was offered as a sign of welcome and friendship to guests as they arrived.

In the Middle East mint tea is still served to guests on their arrival, whilst in ancient Greece, the leaves of mint were rubbed onto the dining table, which was a sign of their warm greeting.

Mint was also often used as an air freshener and was placed in the rooms of houses, synagogues and temples to clear and freshen the air and rid the smell of unpleasant odours from the room. The Greeks and the Romans used mint as a perfume and a bath scent, as well as using it in medicine and in cooking.

Mint was so revered by the ancient Greeks that they named the plant after the mythical character Minthe. According to Greek myth, Minthe or Menthe as she is also known, was a river nymph. Hades, the God of the Underworld, fell in love with Minthe and wanted to make her his lover. However, Persephone, Hades's wife found out and in a fit of rage turned Minthe into a plant, so that everyone would walk all over her and trample her. Unable to undo the spell, Hades gave Minthe a wonderful aroma so that he could smell her and be near her when people trod on her.

Mint contains a number of vitamins and minerals, which are vital to maintain a healthy body. Mint is rich in Vitamins A and C and also contains smaller amounts of Vitamin B2. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and may help to decrease the risk of certain cancers such as colon and rectal cancer. Although mint may be consumed in small quantities, the vital nutrients obtained are still beneficial to one's health. Mint also contains a wide range of essential minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, potassium and calcium.

The two most popular types of mint that you may use for cooking are peppermint and spearmint, with spearmint being the milder of the two. Mint is extremely popular in Middle Eastern cooking, especially Iranian and Lebanese cuisine, where it is used in an extensive range of sweet and savoury dishes.

Fresh mint can be bought from your local supermarket and should be stored in the refrigerator for the best freshness. If you buy a bunch of mint, it should be placed in a container of water, stems down, with a plastic bag loosely covering the top. Ideally change the water every two days and the mint should stay fresh for up to a week."

Read more about mint here

All the best Jan

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Elbow - Magnificent (She Says)

Finishing with a new new song from Elbow, have a good weekend folks 
Graham

Nicola Cavallaro - Fallin

A new cover of Alicia Keys fallin
Graham

Hotel California - Cubanos Acapella

As some know, I try to bring something different, in the way of music on a Saturday night. The Eagles original is a masterpiece, but this is good and very different, enjoy Eddie 

Phil Collins - Going Back

Saturday night again and music night on this blog. Well my friends, what a last couple of days eh. A new President in the White House and Prime Minister May confirms it's a hard Brexit and out of the EU. Women all over the world protesting for Women's rights, as is their right. It seems to me, the so called working class or ordinary people, are not going to be given any special favours by whoever is in power. For most of us, anything we ever had, we had to work for, very often very hard. Sounds like business as usual to me. This song takes me back to more simple times, am I looking back with rose tinted glasses? Eddie 

Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

image from here

Kerri-Ann Jennings MS RD has a master's degree in Nutrition and Education and has recently written an article about fifteen natural ways to lower blood pressure - she writes:

"High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. It affects one in three people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide.
If left uncontrolled, it raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
But there’s good news. There are a number of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally, even without medication.


Here are 15 natural ways to combat high blood pressure.

1. Walk and Exercise Regularly
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure.
Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.
In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health
.
What’s more, doing even more exercise reduces your blood pressure even further, according to the National Walkers’ Health Study.
Bottom Line: Walking just 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. More exercise helps reduce it even further.

2. Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Salt intake is high around the world. In large part, this is due to processed and prepared foods. For this reason, many public health efforts are aimed at lowering salt in the food industry
. In many studies, salt has been linked to high blood pressure and heart events, like stroke.
However, more recent research has shown that the relationship between sodium and high blood pressure may be less clear
. One reason for this may be genetic differences between how people process sodium. About half of people with high blood pressure and a quarter of people with normal levels seem to have a sensitivity to salt.
If you already have high blood pressure, it’s worth cutting back your sodium intake to see if it makes a difference. Swap out processed foods with fresh ones and try seasoning with herbs and spices, r
ather than salt.
Bottom Line: Most guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend lowering sodium intake. However, that recommendation might make the most sense for people who are salt-sensitive.

3. Drink Less Alcohol
Drinking alcohol c
an raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases around the world. While some research has suggested that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by negative effects. In the US, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. If you drink more than that, cut back.
Bottom Line: Drinking alcohol in any quantity may raise your blood pressure. Limit your drinking to no more than one drink a day for women, two for men.

4. Eat More Potassium-Rich Foods
Potassium is an important mineral. It helps your body get rid of sodium and ease pressure on your blood vessels. Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake
. To get a better balance of potassium to sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and more fresh, whole foods.
Foods that are particularly high in potassium include:
Vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes and sweet potatoes
Fruit, including melons, bananas, 
avocados, oranges and apricots
Dairy, such as milk and yogurt
Tuna and salmon
Nuts and seeds
Beans
Bottom Line: Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure.


5. Cut Back on Caffeine
If you’ve ever downed a cup of coffee b
efore you’ve had your blood pressure taken, you’ll know that caffeine causes an instant boost. However, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that drinking caffeine regularly can cause a lasting increase. In fact, people who drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, than those who don’t. Caffeine may have a stronger effect on people who don’t consume it regularly. If you suspect you’re caffeine-sensitive, cut back to see if it lowers your blood pressure.
Bottom Line: Caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, although for many people it does not cause a lasting increase.

6. Learn to Manage Stress
Stress is a key driver of high blood pressure. When you’re chronically stressed, your body is in a constant fight-or-flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels.
Bottom Line: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Finding ways to manage stress can help.


7. Eat Dark Chocolate or Cocoa

Here’s a piece of advice you can really get behind. While eating massive amounts of chocolate probably won’t help your heart, small amounts may. That's because dark chocolate a
nd cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids, plant compounds that cause blood vessels to dilate. A review of studies found that flavonoid-rich cocoa improved several markers of heart health over the short term, including lowering blood pressure. For the strongest effects, use non-alkalized cocoa powder, which is especially high in flavonoids and has no added sugars.
Bottom Line: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain plant compounds that help relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.





8. Lose Weight
If you’re overweight, losing weight c
an make a big difference for your heart health. According to a 2016 study, losing 5% of your body mass could significantly lower high blood pressure. Losing weight can help your blood vessels do a better job of expanding and contracting, making it easier for the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood.
Bottom Line: Losing weight can significantly lower high blood pressure. This effect is even greater when you exercise.

9. Quit Smoking
Among the many reasons to quit smoking is that the habit is a strong risk factor for heart disease.
Bottom Line: There’s conflicting research about smoking and high blood pressure, but what is clear is that both increase the risk of heart disease.


10. Cut Added Sugar and Refined Carbs

There’s a growing body of research showing a link between added sugar a
nd high blood pressure. In the Framingham Women’s Health Study, women who drank even one soda per day had higher levels than those who drank less than one soda per day. Another study found that having one less sugar-sweetened beverage per day was linked to lower blood pressure.
And it’s not just sugar — all refined carbs, s
uch as the kind found in white flour, convert rapidly to sugar in your bloodstream and may cause problems. Some studies have shown that low-carb diets may also help reduce blood pressure.
Bottom Line: Refined carbs, especially sugar, may raise blood pressure. Some studies have shown that low-carb diets may help reduce your levels.

11. Eat Berries
Berries are full of more than just juicy flavour.
They’re also packed with polyphenols, natural plant compounds that are good for your heart. One small study had middle-aged people eat berries for eight weeks. Participants experienced improvements in different markers of heart health, including blood pressure.
Bottom Line: Berries are rich in polyphenols, which can help lower blood pressure and the overall risk of heart disease.



12. Try Meditation or Deep Breathing

While these two behaviours could also fall under “stress reduction techniques,” meditation and deep breathing deserve specific mention. Both meditation and deep breathing are thought to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is engaged when the body relaxes, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
Bottom Line: Both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure.


13. Eat Calcium-Rich Foods

People with low calcium intake often have high blood pressure. While calcium supplements haven’t been conclusively shown to lower blood pressure, calcium-rich diets do seem linked to healthy levels.
Bottom Line: Calcium-rich diets are linked to healthy blood pressure levels. Get calcium through dark leafy greens and tofu, as well as dairy.


14. Take Natural Supplements

Some natural supplements may also help lower blood pressure" including
"Aged garlic extract: It h
as been used successfully as a stand-alone treatment and along with conventional therapies for lowering blood pressure.
Fish oil: Long credited with improving heart health, fish oil m
ay benefit people with high blood pressure the most.
Bottom Line: Several natural supplements have been investigated for their ability to lower blood pressure.


15. Eat Foods Rich in Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps blood vessels relax. While magnesium deficiency is pretty rare, many people don’t get enough. You can incorporate magnesium into your diet with vegetables, dairy products, legumes, chicken, meat and whole grains.
Bottom Line: Magnesium is an important mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Find it in whole foods, such as legumes and whole grains.

Take Home Message
High blood pressure affects a large proportion of the world’s population. While drugs are one way to treat the condition, there are many other natural techniques that can help. Controlling your blood pressure through the methods in this article may, ultimately, help you lower your risk of heart disease."

Kerri-Ann's full article with further information / research links is here

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you.
If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan