Butter is not healthier than margarine or vegetable oil

by Reijo Laatikainen on December 16, 2013

This slide deck depicts scientific data regarding health effects of butter, margarine and vegetable oils. I show how unequivocal the scientific data is due to many interacting factors and imperfect research methods. My conclusion: Dietary pattern loaded with butter is unhealthier than otherwise similar food pattern having vegetables oils or margarine as main edible fat.

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I presented today my thoughts on diet discussions in social media at 8th World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki. The other speakers in the session spoke more on how the low carb communities and other interest groups behave and why they do so. I wanted to focus on neglected origins of debate: namely exaggaration of study outcomes by researchers themselves, negligence of complexity of nutrition science and the role of traditional media per se.

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Nordic diet study and its aftermath

by Reijo Laatikainen on June 24, 2013

Nordic diet was recently hyped in some media due to SYSDIET study and increasing popularity of Scandinavian cuisine (“Noma diet”). 24 week long SYSDIET study demonstrated that Nordic diet reduces some indicators of cholesterol metabolism and one inflammatory marker (IL-1Ra) when compared to unhealthy diet without affecting blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. My slide deck describes the findings of the study and some fallacies in media coverage regarding the study. Nordic diet was not shown to be better  than Mediterranean diet.

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You have probably heard of Predimed study. It was an extraordinary study which cemented the benefits of Mediterranean diet. One of the principal investigators, professor Jordi Salas-Salvadó kindly answered some questions I had on my mind regarding the Study.

Jordi Salas-Salvadó works as a professor of nutrition and director of human nutrition unit at Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain.

Reijo Laatikainen: First of all, congratulations for the great results and being able to carry out such a huge study successfully! Is the research team happy with the results? 

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Predimed study: Mediterranean diet prevents cardiovascular events

February 27, 2013

A large Spanish randomized controlled trial on Mediterranean diet cemented the cardiovascular benefits of Mediterranean diet pattern. Mediterranean diet, supplemented either with extra virgin olive oil or nuts, reduced the risk of by cardiovascular events by 30 % in people already treated with many drugs, like statins. The control diet was lower in fat and […]

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Sydney Diet Heart Study, a die hard story

February 16, 2013

After  40 years of its ending, the main results of Sydney Diet Heart Study are finally published. This is the only published randomized trial where saturated fat based diet outperfoms PUFA based diet in terms of coronary heart disease deaths. However, the modern margarines, canola oil, flax seed oil and nuts are healthy. Read the […]

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Why nuts do not cause weight gain as expected

January 3, 2013

In the last post I elaborated on the dietary factors that are linked to weight management in long term. Nuts seemed to protect from weight gain. Nuts are packed with calories; so: how is this possible? This slide deck summarizes the scientific evidence in humans. Why nuts do not cause weight gain from pronutritionist

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Which foods help in weight maintenance? A systematic review

November 22, 2012

A research team behind Nordic dietary recommendations 2012 have put together a solid scientific package regarding diet and weight maintenance. There is so much fuss about different weight loss regimens but less on how to maintain the weight; either the current normal weight or the new weight after inital weight loss period.  This systematic review concluded […]

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Red and processed meat vs dairy. Suprising data from cohorts

November 14, 2012

Red and processed meat foods are linked to many diseases. This slide deck summarizes the overwhelming evidence from cohort studies and some RCTs showing the adverse effects of red meat on diabetes, strokes, heart disease and colorectal cancer. In contrast, high intake of dairy is linked to improved health outcomes. This is unexpected because dairy […]

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Why grains may cause bowel symptoms?

October 17, 2012

There are myriad blog posts and “expert” opinions on gluten and on its possible detrimental effect on us. Many of these writings are based on anecdotal data and myths -not on solid scientific evidence in humans. However, a recent randomized trial showed that gluten may cause bowel symptoms in a small fragment of patients with sensitive […]

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