Wednesday, 18 October 2017

the true cost of a plate of food around the world

Where in the world is the most expensive plate of food?
This publication exposes the relative price of a nutritious meal in countries around the globe when compared to the average daily income.

The pdf file has some strong data on food insecurity and poverty!
While someone living in New York might spend just 0.6% of their daily income
on the ingredients to make a simple bean stew, someone in South Sudan would need to
spend 155% of their daily income...

Are the markers we use in cardiovascular prognosis correct?

Probably, the most difficult question that we need to answer as scientists working in the interface of Aquaculture and Health Sciences is this one: are the markers we use in cardiovascular prognosis correct?

It is a rather hard question; no easy answer is available. Latest publications which suggest that the current markers we are using in the prognosis of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are probably wrong.

According to (Fielding, 2017) : in 2004, the ‘Ω-3 index’ was described as the sum of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20 : 5 n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22 : 6 n-3) in red blood cells (RBCs) as an index of coronary heart disease mortality.

However, recent studies have reported differential metabolism of EPA and DHA. High-dose supplementation with EPA and DHA led to increased levels of RBC DHA that were associated with decreased liver fat.

In summary, dietary intake or supplementation studies with n-3 fatty acids should include measurement of n-3 status in a standardized way.

The Ω-3 index, reflecting EPA and DHA status throughout the body, is convenient and may be appropriate in some cases, but as EPA and DHA assimilate differently in membranes, and have different potency, measurement of individual fatty acid composition in RBCs may be more informative.

In another recent paper, (Givens, 2017) reports the fact that it is now generally accepted that the effects of reducing intake of Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA) are dependent on what replaces them in the diet.

Reduced CVD risk has been associated with replacement of SFA with cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids (cis-PUFA) and/or cis-monounsaturated fatty acids (cis-MUFA), with replacement by carbohydrate leading to no reduction or even increased CVD risk.

For references and to read the full article, click HERE.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

towards a better conversation.

Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, Celeste Headlee shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. "Go out, talk to people, listen to people," she says. "And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed."

What did neolithic man eat after a hard day at Stonehenge?

A neolithic feast: some of the food that would have been eaten by the builders of Stonehenge. Photograph: English Heritage

Could the neolithic man eat "Sweet pork and rich cheese" after a hard day at Stonehenge?

Yes, according to this article where it is suggested that: analysis of bones and pottery fragments shows special foods were consumed in feasts at the ancient site.

A couple of points though:

Historically, how did they know how to make cheese? 
The first records of cheese production were in the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia countries...

Where did they find honey to feed to the porks? Honey production in UK is rather weather limited...

It looks that the Stonehenge people had some Med background / skills. Could we suggest that it was actually people from Southern Europe who built Stonehenge and not "locals"?
The history of food consumed in these feasts might give us some insight on the true origin of the People!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

can fish kill obesity?

According to WHO, 
the number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades. If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022. The study was published in The Lancet ahead of World Obesity Day (11 October) (Abarca-Gómez et al.). It analysed weight and height measurements from nearly 130 million people aged over five years (31.5 million people aged five to 19, and 97.4 million aged 20 and older), making it the largest ever number of participants involved in an epidemiological study. More than 1000 contributors participated in the study, which looked at body mass index (BMI) and how obesity has changed worldwide from 1975 to 2016. Obesity rates in the world’s children and adolescents increased from less than 1% (equivalent to five million girls and six million boys) in 1975 to nearly 6% in girls (50 million) and nearly 8% in boys (74 million) in 2016. Combined, the number of obese five to 19 year olds rose more than tenfold globally, from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016. An additional 213 million were overweight in 2016 but fell below the threshold for obesity.

So, adding obese and overweight people aged 5-19 years old, we have a sum of 337 millions.
You can stop reading this article now. And just think how many obese/overweight people under 19 y old you know.  
Do these people have a sports hobby? Do they exercise at all? What do they eat? How often do they eat fish?

obesity on the rise: what can we do?

the news are rather worrying...

Tenfold increase in childhood and adolescent obesity in four decades: new study by Imperial College London and WHO
World will have more obese children and adolescents than underweight by 2022

The number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades. If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022, according to a new study led by Imperial College London and WHO.

[the full paper is here

What can we do to battle this trend?
What can we do as parents? as teachers? as Food Scientists?

Some ideas:
1. what about banning soft drinks at vending machines in schools? 
2. Updating the menus in canteens in schools so more fruits and less processed food is served? I don't think that sausage rolls are that healthy...
3. Diet and exercise is a philosophy that needs to be taught and re-taught and re-re-taught on a continuous base, not only to children but most importantly to parents as it is the parents who formulate healthy or non-healthy eating patterns in the family...
And let's not forget, that Irish food Pyramid has some severe scientific mistakes.

As a father of a child being taught this wrong food pyramid at school, I am concerned about the message that we pass to the young people...

Yannis Zabetakis

p.s. here is the correct Pyramid that should be taught

Wednesday, 11 October 2017