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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:39 am 
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The Big Fat Lie, Part Three

As I hinted in Part One, I spent a couple of hours pacing off the grocery shelves at the Pagosa Springs City Market last week — something I had never before had an inclination to do. And no, I wasn’t doing it for the exercise. I wanted to have some real numbers to validate my theory that we Americans are killing ourselves in the grocery store aisles.

But before I share the numbers collected that day in my little notebook, I want to share a few photos of a very different research project: my partner Cynda Green’s “Paleo Thanksgiving Dinner.”

Some of you are already aware of the “Paleo Diet” that is currently attracting so much national attention. The term “Paleo” is short of “Paleolithic” — as in, “the Paleolithic era,” which lasted about 2.5 million years, and during which time humans lived as hunter-gatherers (we assume). But about 10,000 years ago (we assume) humans began to develop diets based on agriculture and domesticated animals, and ceased living the hunter-gatherer lifestyle in the more ‘civilized’ areas of the world.

No carbohydrate-rich potato chips or corn chips in this appetizer. Just healthy stuff. The dip is a dairy-free version based on a ‘Paleo’ homemade mayonnaise.

The “Paleo Diet” is a modern fad diet popularized by Colorado State University professor Loren Cordain in his 2001 book with the fittingly simple title: “The Paleo Diet.” Numerous other scientists had written about the “Paleotlithic diet” long before Dr. Cordain got around to popularizing it, but no one had yet had the temerity to trademark the phrase “The Paleo Diet” — as Dr. Cordain has now done.

The main “Paleo” course: turkey with bread-free stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans with walnuts, sweet potato medallions baked with coconut oil, gravy made with coconut flour. The “Paleo” qualifications of the organic red wine remain a hotly contested issue.

Other popular weight loss diets — notably the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet — have been built around a similar nutritional focus on high-fat-and-protein accompanied by a minimum of carbohydrates. But the “Paleo Diet” was the first to propose the theory that we actually evolved as a species eating a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat and protein. The theory has apparently appealed to the American psyche; the “Paleo Diet” was the most-searched weight loss diet on Google last year.

A Paleo Diet dessert at Cynda’s. Sugar free, it consisted of mixed berries layered with whipped coconut ‘cream’ in Martini glasses. Presumably, cavemen had Martini glasses?

Of course, there really was an authentic “Paleolithic Diet” some 2.5 million years ago when (some believe) mankind was evolving from apehood. But we have very little knowledge what that diet consisted of. Mastodon Smoothies? Wild Roots Fricassee? We simple don’t know much about it; no archaeologists have has yet dug up a Paleolithic refrigerator and settled the question once and for all. So we use our imaginations.

The imaginative proponents of the “Paleo Diet” claim that human metabolism has been unable to adapt fast enough to handle many of the foods that have become available since the advent of agriculture. We modern humans are supposedly maladapted to eating foods such as grain, legumes, and dairy — and even more to the point, our bodies are unsuited to the high-calorie processed foods that are a staple part of most modern diets. Our inability to properly metabolize these comparatively new food types has led to modern-day problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Proponents claim that followers of a Paleolithic diet may enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life.

One traditional dish that didn’t require any adjustment to fit the “Paleo” requirements: a “natural” turkey from Safeway.

We might reference here, the little chart that I posted in Part Two, that shows the dramatic increase in diabetes since the beginning of the 1980s, when the U.S. government and American nutritionists told us to stop eating saturated fat (which, for many of us, implied the consumption of that insipid food known as skim milk.)

Since America started cutting out dietary fat in the 1980s, and especially since we began steering clear of animal fats, numerous chronic diseases (as well as obesity) have approached epidemic proportions. But our government and our university-trained nutritionists have yet to concede that.. maybe, a mistake has been made? A Big Fat Mistake?

According to the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, for example, Alzheimer’s disease went from number 32 in 1990 to number nine in 2010 in the ranking of leading causes of death in the U.S. Only 879 people died from Alzheimer’s in 1979. According to a report published by the National Center for Health Statistics, “In 2010, Alzheimer’s disease was the underlying cause for a total of 83,494 deaths and was classified as a contributing cause for an additional 26,488 deaths. Mortality from Alzheimer’s disease has steadily increased during the last 30 years…”

As far as I can tell, no one can explain this increase. But we know it began around 1980.

From a 2010 report by the American Heart Association — the folks who first told us to cut out dietary fats:

Although there is some debate regarding the amount of excess mortality associated with overweight, it is clear that obesity (body mass index >30 kg/m2) is associated with marked excess mortality in the US population. Even more notable is the excess morbidity associated with overweight and obesity in terms of risk factor development and incidence of diabetes, CVD end points (including coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure), and numerous other health conditions, including asthma, cancer, degenerative joint disease, and many others.

But isn’t it a scientific fact that eating fat causes people to become fat? Or is it rather the other way around… that it’s been the lack of dietary fat that has made America so enormous?

It’s becoming more and more evident (to some of us) that French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin hit the bull’s-eye when he wrote, in 1825, “The second of the chief causes of obesity is the floury and starchy substances which man makes the prime ingredients of his daily nourishment. As we have said already, all animals that live on farinaceous food grow fat willy-nilly; and man is no exception to the universal law…”

With that in mind, let me share with you my disturbing stroll through City Market last week…

http://pagosadailypost.com/2014/12/01/t ... art-three/


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:55 pm 
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The one-minute workout: High Intensity Interval Training hits all new low

From Tabata's four-minute routine to the seven-minute workout, recent research has taught us that short, sharp bursts of exercise can be incredibly effective.

But, one minute?

National guidelines recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, but a small, new study, published in the journal Plos One has found that just one minute of "all-out" exercise can improve your health.

Researchers from McMaster University in Ontario decided to see just how low we could go with high-intensity interval training and still see results. They recruited 14 overweight, sedentary but healthy men and women and put them on a six-week exercise program using stationary exercise bikes.

The program consisted of three 10-minute sessions a week at which the participants pedalled as hard as they could for 20 seconds and then cruised for two minutes.

All up there were three intervals of the 20-second "all out" cycling in each session, totalling one minute of intense exercise.

Before and after the sessions, the researchers measured their blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and were tested for aerobic endurance.

At the end, all participants' endurance levels had improved on average by 12 per cent. Generally, they also had lower blood pressure and their mitochondria (which power our cells) activity had increased.

The male participants' blood sugar levels had improved, but not the women's which, the researchers speculated, was because of the different ways men and women metabolise fat and sugar during exercise.

The authors said the study "provides further evidence of the potential for very brief, intense bursts of exercise to elicit physiological adaptations that are associated with improved health status in a time-efficient manner."

The study used a small sample size and the authors say that further research is needed, but they are confident we won't be seeing a 30-second workout (that has measurable benefits) any time soon.

"We've dropped from 30-second all-out intervals to 20-second intervals," lead author, Martin Gibala told The New York Times, "because for many people those last 10 seconds were excruciating."

Trying to halve the intervals again, would be a stretch.

"Maybe if you did more of them, it might work," Gibala said.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT, which involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, has become the hottest trend in fitness in recent years. In fact, HIIT was named the top worldwide fitness trend of 2014.

HIIT workouts, which are usually 30-minute sessions or less, are known to improve cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, not to mention help shed weight fast.

Now, it seems even if you only have a minute to spare, you can help your health and improve your fitness levels.

Whether it is sprinting up stairs, cycling or running on the spot, the upshot of the study is that there is no excuse not to exercise.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/lifesty ... 27hdj.html


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:01 am 
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Beer doctor blows top off defence

Forensic Toxicologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM), Luke Rodda has blown the top off a contentious drink-driving defence through his PhD research into deaths involving beer.

Dr Rodda's PhD thesis, Alcohol Congener Analysis in a Forensic Context, included a focus on the detection of hop-derived beer markers in biological specimens from clinical and post-mortem forensic casework.

His research found that almost 60 per cent of Victorian deaths involving alcohol involved the consumption of beer.

Dr Rodda's study of beer was inspired by his quest to analyse the "hip flask defence" - a loophole that can allow inebriated drivers to get away with being over the limit.

The "hip flask defence" applies when a driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident and then flees the scene.

Research closes drink-driving loophole
When the police apprehend them and they have an alcohol reading which is above the legal limit, the culprit claims they had a quick swig of scotch or a similar beverage to calm their nerves.

They claim they weren't drunk at the time of the accident.

Dr Rodda's study sheds light on the drinking behaviours of the individual.

His technique can not only prove a person has consumed beer, but also what type of beer they were drinking as beer in clear glass bottles is artificially hopped and beer in brown glass bottles is hopped naturally.

The results were achieved over a three-year study which included five separate drinking studies of different kinds of beer involving five volunteers - under strict medical supervision - and their blood and urine measured using his developed technique.

The results indicated that beer consumption can be confirmed in the bloodstream for at least six hours after a person reaches a level of .05.

Dr Rodda has been involved with the analysis and reporting of alcohol, drugs and poisons for over seven years.

http://www.psnews.com.au/vic/Page_VICpsn39012.html


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 3:09 pm 
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Marcus Blackmore: the medicine man

Marcus Blackmore is riding the crest of a boom in sales of vitamin supplements, even though his products carry little weight with many in the medical profession.

Long before Marcus Blackmore became king of the largest nutraceutical empire in the southern hemisphere, he used to study the scriptures of his father's faith, a heretic creed to many because of its fundamental belief in nature's healing powers. "Doctors can bury their mistakes," Maurice Blackmore, the man widely regarded as the father of Australian naturopathy, used to tell his son. "So why do patients only come to seek my advice after they've been to five doctors without any results?"

It was a good question and Marcus Blackmore was keen to learn. In 1950, at the age of five, he used to visit his father in his Queensland naturopathic clinic and idle away the hours by sticking product labels into an exercise book: "Fluvacs" (a mixture of iron and potassium) to combat flu; "Pep Ups" (a multi-mineral formula to restore energy); "Renatone" (to tone the kidneys) ...

As a young teenager, Marcus Blackmore learnt how to prepare skin creams and ointments, although during one school holiday he and a friend decided to concoct a laxative formula consisting of dates, raisins and senna. His friend - later to become an eminent doctor - couldn't stop licking his fingers for the taste. "The next day he just shitted himself away," says Blackmore now, laughing. "He's never forgotten it."

Raised in a household that banned white sugar and white bread (but gave considerable licence to Sanitarium Nutmeat!), Blackmore began working for his father full-time at the age of 18. Over the years - as young bull clashed with old - he was sacked three times before eventually taking over the business at 28.

That was in 1973 - 12 years before the company was publicly listed - and today Marcus Blackmore bestrides a complementary medicines industry in Australia that has grown 54 per cent in the past five years to be worth $3.5 billion in revenue a year, part of an estimated $138 billion annual global market.

Such is the popular acceptance today of complementary medicines that an estimated 70 per cent of Australians are said to be regular users of a natural healthcare product.

Three years ago, Marcus Blackmore and his colleagues provided a briefing session to federal politicians and bureaucrats following a report by Access Economics showing that millions of dollars in healthcare costs could be saved if complementary medicine was more widely used - without compromising patient outcomes.

The report indicated that taking fish oil was a highly cost-effective intervention to prevent heart disease; that the use of a herb, St John's wort, for mild to moderate depression could save nearly $50 million a year; and that Phytodolor, a herbal remedy of leaves and barks, could reduce the cost of treatment for osteoarthritis.

Seated at the table were senior Labor and Liberal party politicians, including Simon Crean, Julie Bishop, Philip Ruddock and Peter Dutton.

Just as his father had done 70 years earlier, Marcus Blackmore was working the corridors of power to passionately argue the case for natural medicine. And being a consummate salesman, he made sure a small bottle of "pollie pills" - his "Executive B Stress" brand - was placed in front of everyone at the meeting. "All of the bottles went," claims Blackmores' chief executive, Christine Holgate.

Although Blackmore only hints at it, and Tony Abbott's office declined to respond to inquiries, it is understood that Australia's health-conscious prime minister is a regular consumer of Blackmores products, as is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop. Both are friends of Blackmore's, but the political connections don't end there.

On a visit to federal parliament several years ago, Blackmore - the founder of the National Nutritional Association of Australia (now the Complementary Medicine Association) - bumped into then NT Country Liberal Party senator and parliamentary secretary for health Grant Tambling. Blackmore had only been in the building a few minutes when politicians from both sides began glad-handing him. "I reckon half the people in this place take your product," Tambling observed. To which Blackmore replied, "At least half."

In 2011, Jillian Skinner, NSW Minister for Health, lauded Blackmores for helping to keep her macular degeneration at bay. "Not much can be done for dry macular degeneration except by way of diet and taking supplements," she told state parliament. "Lots of leafy vegetables helps and an egg a day ... and hazelnuts and fish and ... supplementary medications Lutein-Vision and Macu-Vision developed by Blackmores following representations from Paul Beaumont, a world leader in macular degeneration disease."

With this kind of political wink and nod, one might conclude the complementary medicines industry had finally overcome the hostility Marcus Blackmore's father faced during the 1930s, '40s and '50s (in Victoria, in 1942, the rallying cry from doctors was "oust the quacks").

"On my dad's deathbed [in 1977], he said to me, 'The sad thing about my life, son, is that I didn't see naturopathy become a profession.' And it still isn't really a true profession in that sense."

Which comes as some relief to John Dwyer, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of NSW and founding president of Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM), a group formed in 2011 to combat the alarming increase in use of - as they see it - "non-proven alternative therapies". Along with public-health advocate Dr Ken Harvey, Dwyer has been the group's most strident voice, attacking the "non-evidence based pseudo-science" of the complementary and alternative medicines industry and endeavouring to have certain courses removed from higher education.

In an email sent two years ago to a list of National Health & Medical Research Council reviewers - those appointed by NHMRC to assess applications for funding - Dwyer made it clear that FSM wanted to see "nonsense" such as "homoeopathy, reflexology, kinesiology, healing touch therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, iridology and energy medicine" removed from tertiary courses and for vice chancellors and deans to heed the call from his roster of "prominent scientists and clinicians". (In April this year, the NHMRC released a review into homoeopathy and concluded there was no reliable evidence for its effectiveness in treating health conditions.)

"Obviously you will only support good science," Dwyer wrote to the NHMRC reviewers, "and may well be as frustrated as we are that 'pseudo-science' is flourishing. May we add your name to our list?"

According to Professor Stephen Myers, foundation head of Southern Cross University's School of Natural and Complementary Medicine, the email casts serious doubt on the independence of the NHMRC review process.

The information campaign by Friends of Science in Medicine, however, appears to be working. "Our university is petrified of them," says Marc Cohen, head of the Department of Complementary Medicine at RMIT University. "They engage in letter-writing campaigns, saying it's an embarrassment that you teach chiropractic and that Chinese medicine is quackery. FSM pretty much destroyed chiropractic at Macquarie University."

John Dwyer makes no apologies. His views on complementary medicine are withering. "The popularity of alternative medicines is a triumph of marketing, I'll admit that," he says, "but from a scientific, clinical point of view, alternative medicine has got very little use for people to stay healthy or to help them with their health problems.

"Clearly, Blackmores is built on a solid rock of consumer sentiment - just as Marcus Blackmore wanted - but it's not built on anything but a fairy-floss approach to science. There have been surveys showing that many Australians are spending $80 or more a month on supplements, and scientists all around the world have been studying modern Western populations and pointing out that the vast majority of people do not need to take vitamin supplements. The advertising claims, for example, that are made by Blackmores that they relieve stress and provide energy are simply false."

Marcus Blackmore doesn't know whether to laugh or cry when told these comments. "John Dwyer has made an art form of being a critic of our industry and philosophy and he can't afford to change," he says.

"Dwyer would tell you there's no evidence for traditional Chinese medicine and that reflexology is a lot of rubbish, yet just about every hospital in China has a reflexologist. To say there is no evidence for Chinese medicine is an affront to the Chinese."

Dwyer tells Good Weekend he's never taken a vitamin or mineral supplement in his life, although he acknowledges that certain people need to take them in certain situations. He cites the benefits of both vitamin D for elderly people with osteoporosis and the role of folate for pregnant women in developing a healthy foetus.

"But this wholesale marketing of supplements to Australians as something that should be part of their normal monthly routine to keep them well ... that's just seeing us waste billions of dollars a year," he says.

"Dwyer's comments are unscientific," Blackmore retorts, "and it's a shame when people who purport to be scientists are so one-eyed they're not prepared to open their mind to the fact there may be other levels of science. I can tell you I was at Hamilton Island last week. I had sciatic pain down my side and I had a woman in our team give me acupuncture. One treatment. Gone.

"There's been a hell of a lot of observation and deduction over 5000 years in China. They haven't necessarily had a double-blind gold-standard crossover trial that orthodox medicine requires of new chemical entities that have never existed on the planet before. So it's a different approach to science. This is holistic. It involves a philosophy. It involves a way of life."

Maurice Blackmore was already a pioneering figure in the world of Australian natural health when Marcus was born in 1945. Twenty-two years earlier, Blackmore senior had arrived in Brisbane by ship from the UK looking for a healthier life.

He was 17 years old and within a few years had fallen under the spell of naturopath and herbalist Frederic Roberts, the creator of Australia's first soy foods.

By 1934, after studying naturopathy and chiropractic, Maurice Blackmore had set up "Blackmore's Naturopathic Rest Home" in Rockhampton in Queensland with a consultation and treatment room and space for three live-in patients. By the end of World War II, he was married to Marcus's mother Edna, operating part-time naturopathic clinics throughout Queensland, and producing a range of mineral-based products in the belief that mineral deficiency was the cause of most ailments.

"He always wore a jacket and tie and had two nurses wearing white coats with a chain, watch and badge," his son says. "You would swear you were walking into the Mayo Clinic."

Some of Maurice Blackmore's patients would go on to become leading naturopaths themselves, among them American marine Rex Reno, who'd been so badly injured at Pearl Harbor that he was told by doctors he had no more than three years to live. Blackmore put Reno on a 12-month regime of celloids to build up his body tissue, and within a few years Reno was running his own clinic in Nambour.

"My father's life's work was minerals and mineral therapy," Blackmore says. "He was cautious about vitamins and preferred to use low-dose minerals because he believed that anything that promotes blood circulation is going to be healing and that the body can only repair itself if it builds new cells. In turn, it can only build new cells if it's got the right nutrition, hence his work on minerals."

Marcus Blackmore's father was a prolific writer and publisher but in 1951 he caused an outcry by producing a booklet called Food Remedies, which not only promoted the nutritional and medical value of a natural diet, but also questioned the competence of the medical profession.

Doctors, politicians and the press responded by attacking naturopaths in general and questioning Maurice Blackmore's qualifications in particular, while the Queensland Labor government introduced the Medical Acts Amendment Bill to curtail naturopathic activities. They never bargained on Maurice Blackmore's political savvy.

"In those days in Queensland, a lot of people travelled by train, particularly politicians," his son says. "So that's how my dad got to meet these guys."

Not only did Maurice Blackmore have the support of Country Party politicians - and future premiers - like Frank Nicklin and Joh Bjelke-Petersen, he also had a powerful weapon in the form of testimonials from people who had found "naturopathic cures" for their ailments. He placed these endorsements in newspaper advertisements and his own health publications.

"I suffered greatly for many years from chronic constipation and all the ills that go with this kind of complaint," claimed one. "I saw many doctors in those years, but none ever gave me any relief. I consulted the Blackmore Clinic and in 12 months was completely cured. I think it would be disastrous to interfere with the work of the Blackmore Clinics." There were 8000 testimonials like this. The Medical Acts Amendments Bill was scrapped.

Marcus Blackmore greets me at the front door of his home overlooking the glorious, storm-threatened waters of Sydney's Pittwater. Through the trees you can see his Palm Beach 50 boat moored at his private jetty, one of six vessels that the champion sailor owns, in addition to the French-made Squirrel jet-engine helicopter that he learnt to pilot at the age of 60 and now keeps parked at Sydney's Mascot airport.

Last year he flew himself and a friend to Dubbo to attend a celebration of Johnny Cash's music - even though he doesn't much like music because of the damage done to his ears while serving as a gunnery officer during the Vietnam War. (Blackmore is today vice-chairman of the Defence Support Reserves Council.)

Last year he also invited more than 150 friends to Hamilton Island for a three-day celebration of his wedding to Caroline Furlong, his partner of 15 years. He was 68 and this was his first marriage. "Sometimes it takes a long time to make decisions, mate," he says wryly.

Among the wedding guests were billionaire property developer Lang Walker; businessman and philanthropist Jack Smorgan; Hungry Jacks founder Jack Cowin ("I tell him to stop selling that shit and take more vitamins," Blackmore says); Geelong Football Club president Frank Costa; Australia's Ukrainian-born sailing coach Victor Kovalenko; Kay Cottee, the first woman to circumnavigate the world non-stop; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop; and Petrea King, founding director and chief executive of the Quest for Life Foundation. Reverend Bill Crews from the Exodus Foundation performed the ceremony in a chapel by Catseye Beach.

Also among the guests was Alexander (Aly) Borromeo, the long-time former captain of the Philippines national football team, who had only met his father, Marcus Blackmore, for the first time two years earlier.

"Aly was born in the US," says Blackmore. "His [Filipino] mother and I made a decision that he would be brought up in the Philippines. I didn't contact him until he was 27 and then his mother said to me one day, 'It's time you met your son.' I was on tenterhooks but I went to the Philippines and I have to say that you couldn't wish for a son who was as good-looking, respectful or as engaging to Caroline and Immy [Imogen Merrony, Caroline's daughter] as Aly.

"We had lunch together and I was more nervous than he was. I didn't say, 'Hello son.' I don't know what I said, but he made me feel at home."

Marcus Blackmore wanted to be a ferryman when he was young, such was his love of the water. Today he possesses the riches of Solomon through his nutraceutical empire (profits of $25 million on an annual turnover of $325 million last year), but his network of friends is testament to something far more enduring than mere business prowess.

"He is singularly the most generous person I have ever known," says Sydney naturopath Rita Cozzi.

"He doesn't just donate money, like a lot of [rich] people," agrees Kay Cottee, "he puts inordinate amounts of time into people and causes."

"He was absolutely crucial to my trip," Cottee says of her historic 189-day solo voyage aboard Blackmores First Lady in 1988. "He wasn't thinking seriously of sponsoring me until he became a bit concerned about the safety aspects. I shudder to think what the final bill was but he is constantly doing things like that."

Blackmore is also revered as an honorary chief in Samoa. "He provided the largest amount of money to help schools that were damaged [in the 2009 tsunami]," says his Samoan-born employee of nearly 26 years, Pito Hatherly. "Whenever he arrives now, they're all waiting to honour him with a kava ceremony."

Blackmore has always supported his close friends. "After I had a lung removed for cancer," says John Fahey, former NSW premier and finance minister in the Howard government, "Marcus said to me over a glass of wine one night in Parliament House, 'You've got to go and see Petrea King.' I'd never heard of her before but Marcus insisted I see her ... and later I felt a whole lot better about myself."

Known nationally for her work with people facing grief, loss and trauma, Petrea King says there's no one quite like Blackmore in Australia. "If there's a high-profile person in this country who is depressed, suicidal, dealing with some unexpected challenge, dealing with some tragic event, dealing with an illness, Marcus is always on the phone saying, 'Will you speak to this person?' He is clearly a very astute businessman, but he has a heart every bit as big as his business skills. And for me that says a lot about his visionary leadership."

BLackmore will need all of his considerable energy and "visionary" leadership in the coming years as his industry squares off against John Dwyer's Friends of Science in Medicine. A few weeks ago, Dwyer appeared before the Health Care Complaints Commission's inquiry into "false or misleading health-related information or practices". His submission was unambiguous: FSM wanted stronger regulations for "purveyors of alternative medicine" and a clearly defined and enforceable code of conduct whereby practitioners were held responsible and accountable for advice they provided.

Dwyer took aim at homoeopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors, osteopaths, kinesiologists, anti-vaccination organisations, colonic irrigation services, home births, and esoteric breast massage as examples of individuals and organisations providing "non-science-based" information or intervention.

This infuriates not only Blackmore but experts in the field of complementary medicine such as RMIT University's Marc Cohen, who accuse Dwyer of employing "the straw man" argument. "He targets crystal therapy or reiki, the fringe of complementary medicine, and he shoots that down as being unscientific and tries to tar all of complementary medicine with the same brush.

"Obviously there are really flaky people in natural medicine, but that's what they [FSM] focus on. Mind you, if they put the mirror up to Western medicine it's orders of magnitude greater in terms of damage done. How many people die from the known and proper use of pharmaceuticals? Doctor-caused [iatrogenic] disease varies between the top two and top three causes of death in the United States and we are talking hundreds of thousands of people."

Blackmore agrees. "You've got to remember that the medical profession is a very slow adopter of things. Ignaz Semmelweis, the German obstetrician, was the first guy to wash his hands when delivering babies. It's a great parallel for our business because the death rate in Semmelweis's hospital was much lower than any other hospital, but Semmelweis was so persecuted that he ended up in an institution."

Professor Lesley Braun, Marc Cohen's co-author of the book Herbs & Natural Supplements, says it's patently wrong to suggest there is no "biological plausibility" or "evidence" for how nutritional and herbal medicines work. She reels off the latest research: randomised controlled trials on fish oil for rheumatoid arthritis; a meta analysis behind coenzyme q10 and hypertension; a meta analysis behind St John's wort and depression; a randomised controlled trial behind the herb caladonian and bronchitis; a randomised controlled trial behind saffron and depression.

She says that given the widespread use of complementary medicine, it is now incumbent for doctors to understand it better and to look at the plethora of studies that have been done. We know that a lot of pharmaceutical medicines used long term actually have an effect on the nutritional status of the body, so we've got this new thing that never arose in previous generations - interactions between pharmaceutical medicine and nutrients."

Marcus Blackmore appears to be a genial man with more friends than most people could collect in three lifetimes. His blood boils over, however, with Dwyer's attempts to tarnish an industry that Blackmore believes is built on a paradigm of wellness as opposed to illness. And he's ready for the fight that's coming.

http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/marc ... 1xxf3.html


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:34 am 
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Salvation Army drops 17 places on charity reputation survey

One of Australia's best-known welfare organisations, the Salvation Army, has dropped 17 places from last year in the 2014 AMR Charity Reputation Index, a yearly survey which measures the overall reputation of the country's 40 largest charities .

The Salvation Army dropped from No.10 in 2013 to No.27 this year.

The results follows allegations of child sex abuse by Salvation Army staff that were the subject of a royal commission inquiry. More than 100 children came forward with reports of physical, sexual and indecent abuse.

In a February hearing of the royal commission, James Condon, leader of the Salvation Army's Eastern Territory, said the charity's reputation was no longer a priority.

"The priority is the survivor, not protection of the Salvation Army," he said.

The National Heart Foundation of Australia dropped nine places in this year's index.

The Foundation's "Tick of Approval" program has come under mounting pressure recently after a Brisbane woman started a campaign using the hashtag #heartfoundationpetition, urging people to "boycott the tick".

The campaign followed claims that some food with a tick mark are highly processed, highly refined sugar-loaded products, such as mayonnaise, burgers and pizzas.

In October, more than 55,000 people had signed the petition to have the Heart Foundation scrap the tick program.

The Herald reported late last year that the National Heart Foundation spent nearly 40¢ in the dollar on fund-raising in 2012.

This is compared with other not-for-profit organisations such as World Vision, which spent 11¢ in the dollar on fund-raising, and the humanitarian arm of the Red Cross 4¢.

A spokesperson from the Heart Foundation said she was not familiar with AMR's yearly Charity Reputation Index, and as such refused to comment. However, the foundation recently announced a review of its food tick approval scheme.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has topped the list for the fourth year running as Australia's most reputable charity, followed by Guide Dogs, which are ahead of last year by two spots.

AMR surveyed 4066 Australians aged 18-64.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/salvatio ... 2bp36.html


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:40 am 
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Holy roast! Religious Brits more likely to be overweight than atheists

‘Tis the season to be jolly’, and taking after Father Christmas himself – who has evidently succumbed to the temptation of more than a few mince pies – Brits who believe in God are more likely to be overweight, according to the latest figures.

Research from the University of Coventry concluded that people of faith are more overweight than godless heathens, with Christians likely to be most overweight of all.

In research that for the first time examined the links between religion and health in the UK, Dr Deborah Lycett studied the Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 7,000 people and discovered that people belonging to a religious group were on average almost a point higher than atheists.

Similar studies have already been conducted in the US, where one found the more dedicatedly religious someone is, the greater their chances of being overweight. The study looked at those who rarely prayed and those who attended worship every week.

Lycett’s study found that while Christians were the portliest, Sikh men came in at a close second, with "a significantly higher waist-to-hip ratio … seen in Christian and Sikh men.”

The least likely to be overweight were Buddhists, who are known for observing a strict lifestyle without succumbing to temptation.

Writing in the Journal of Religion and Health, Dr Lycett said: “The association between religion and obesity is unclear and unexplored in the general English population.”

She added that while some of the results were influenced by lifestyle factors, the religious belief of the participants was still a factor.

“Some of this was explained demographically, but it was not accounted for by smoking status, alcohol consumption or physical activity level.”

“Religious communities may need greater healthy weight promotion or benefit from tailored interventions built on their beliefs,” she added.

The study gathered information from 7,414 adults over the age of 16 who took part in the 2012 Health Survey for England, and found that on average those who describe themselves as religious had a BMI 0.91kg per square meter higher than non-believers.

Current NHS guidelines state that any BMI between 18.5kg and 25kg per square meter is healthy, with those over 30kg considered obese.

Obesity is a stubborn problem in the UK, and not just in religious communities. The NHS spends £9 billion a year on diabetes treatment alone.

According to government statistics, almost a quarter of men are now obese, rising from 13.2 to 24.4 percent in the last 20 years.

http://www.rt.com/uk/217079-religion-ma ... evers-fat/


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 10:25 am 
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Dye warning in bean curd products

It is not known how many batches of Taiwanese-made bean curd products that could contain a carcinogenic dye have been imported, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.

Yesterday the ministry warned that Te Chang Foods' braised-meat, beef, vegetarian shiitake mushroom, satay and black pepper flavoured dried bean curd all could contain the dye dimethyl yellow, which causes cancer in animals.

It said people should throw out the products and the company will be undertaking a recall.

Ministry spokesperson Gary Orr said it was not known how many affected batches made it to New Zealand shelves, nor for how long the dye was being put in the products.

"They've alerted us as soon as they've become aware of the issue but the dye could have been added to the food for quite some time prior to being detected by them."

Mr Orr said it was likely some people in New Zealand had already eaten the bean curd.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/ ... d-products


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:31 am 
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Fears for drug rehab funding as ACT users shift to ice

The head of the ACT's peak drug support advocacy body has warned the waiting lists for drug treatment would blow out and users be placed at risk if feared federal government cuts to treatment providers were realised.

Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT executive officer Carrie Fowlie said a growth in ACT users of ice, reflecting a national trend as a higher purity of drug was available, meant treatment services were already stretched.

"When we have people experiencing really serious harm because of the purity, then we have these two month waiting lists for treatment – the harms will be exacerbated."

"It would be catastrophic for the sector to lose federal drug funding."

Ms Fowlie said treatment services saved lives, with alcohol still the drug causing the widest and most expensive harm to society, but no federal funds had been confirmed beyond June 30.

The fear was cuts by the Department of Social Services, which on Monday scrapped all future funding for financial counselling and housing advocacy groups like National Shelter, would also extend to drug treatment providers.

Karralika drug outreach program chief executive Camilla Rowland said she feared $280,000 of federal funding for a family treatment program, to be exhausted in February, was at risk, at a time when Karralika had the highest rate of methamphetamine concern among clients in its 36-year history.

"People who come and seek treatment – chronic methamphetamine users – their physical health [is] very poor.

"It takes significant – far more intensive – health treatment."

Figures show overall ACT methamphetamine use has been generally stable since 2011, but of the people who inject drugs surveyed, the portion who used ice in the past six months rose to 72 per cent, from 61 per cent in 2013.

Powder meth users rose from 29 per cent to 36 per cent in the same period.

Ms Rowland said a greater share of public money was warranted for treatment of users of illicit drugs, rather than law enforcement.

In the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association submission for the ACT government's 2015-16 budget in October, the association said it was "unacceptable" some drug users had to wait up to two months to access residential alcohol and drug treatment.

"The research tells us that ... people waiting to access treatment tend to have increased drug, psychiatric and employment problems," the submission stated.

"It perpetuates or prolongs crisis, risks and harms for people needing treatment, their families and the community."

Assistant Health Minster Fiona Nash said the growing problem of ice would be the "first work priority" of the newly shaped National Advisory Council for Alcohol and Drugs, now led by former Nationals MP Kay Hull.

http://www.smh.com.au/act-news/fears-fo ... 2djt0.html


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:29 am 
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Raw milk regulations to remain in SA for now, Government says

The South Australian Government says it has no current plans to follow Victoria in making it harder to sell so-called raw milk for human consumption.

The Victorian Government has introduced new rules requiring dairy farmers to either pasteurise the milk or add a bittering agent to make it unpalatable.

Earlier this month, a three-year-old boy died in Victoria after drinking unpasteurised milk sold for cosmetic purposes.

It is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption but legal loopholes have allowed some South Australian dairy farmers to continue to distribute the product.

Food Minister Leon Bignell said he would keep an eye on the impact of the changes in Victoria and may revisit the issue.

"Raw milk is one of the worst offenders in terms of bacteria being passed onto humans, so that's why people have been pasteurising milk for decades," he said.

"We need to make sure that for the safety of people in South Australia that food is processed in the proper way and the safety of South Australians has got to be paramount."

SA dairy farmers say tougher measures needed
The president of the South Australian Dairyfarmers' Association (SADA), David Basham, said there was a small but strong underground market for raw milk in the state, although it was unclear how many producers were supplying it.

A court case involving Willunga Hill producer Mark Tyler, whose dairy was raided by Biosecurity SA last year, is ongoing.

Current food regulations also allow businesses, including Hahndorf producer Udder Delights, to make cheese from raw milk under strict conditions.

Mr Basham said unpasteurised milk was too readily available in South Australia and the local industry would monitor the impact of the new regulations in Victoria.

"If it works, then we'll be encouraging the Government to do likewise here," he said.

"We need to be relatively proactive but we don't want to jump too quickly and head down the wrong path. There might be other ways that we might be able to achieve a better outcome."

Mr Basham said national food standards needed to be made more stringent "so the regulations are a bit clearer about their intent".

"The wording is just 'leave the door slightly ajar' and I think we need to change those words to make sure that that loophole is closed," he said.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/sa/a/25871561 ... ment-says/


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:22 am 
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New Year's Day laws target pensioners, solariums, immigrants and pokies

A New Year means new laws, but not everybody will be pleased with the changes.

The income test for the valuable Commonwealth seniors health care card will become a lot stricter from New Year's Day onwards.

Account-based pensions and superannuation income streams won't be exempt from the income test to receive the card.

Disability Support Pension applicants meanwhile must be assessed by a government-approved doctor instead of their own GP. If the government doctor finds they're not completely unable to work they could be put on the dole instead - which is about $160 a week less.

The government is also cracking down on the amount of time disabled pensioners can spend overseas before losing their payments. They can go overseas, without losing payments, for only four weeks a year.

Applicants for Newstart, sickness, widow or youth allowances, or parenting payments will have to wait a week before receiving payments.

And if Newstart recipients miss an appointment with a service provider without good reason they'll have their payments suspended until they reschedule the appointment. The government says more than a third of job seeker appointments were missed in the past year.

In New South Wales it's natural or nothing, with solariums banned. From Thursday it will be illegal to offer UV tanning services for a fee, with fines of up to $44,000 for anyone caught offering them.

At least 10 people die every year from melanoma caused by tanning beds in NSW.

Some tough new environmental rules will also take effect from January 1.

The maximum penalty for a corporation that doesn't comply with the environmental authority regarding a contamination order will rise from $137,500 to $1 million.

In NSW's 860 national parks, smoking will be banned from Thursday. The state government says the move is aimed at lessening the risk of bush fires and reducing litter. Picnic areas, campgrounds, beaches, lookouts, walking tracks and national park roads will all be included in the ban.

In Western Australia people who bite or spit at police officers will undergo a mandatory blood test from Thursday onwards.

Officers previously had to wait up to six months for their own test results if they were suspected of having contracted an infectious disease in the line of duty.

People accused of having transferred bodily fluids including semen, blood and saliva, to an officer will now have to have their blood tested. Those failing to comply will face a $12,000 fine and 12 months' jail.

In the Northern Territory clubs and pubs will have a very Happy New Year, will the government allowing an increase in pokie machines.

From July 1, the territory will scrap the current cap of 1190 machines. Pubs will be able to boost their number of machines from 10 to 20 and clubs from 45 to 55.

Up until now new venues had been prevented from offering electronic gaming machines, but the government says it's restoring an even playing field.

But the new year doesn't bring all gloom and taxes.

The commonwealth is giving states an extra $406 million to continue universal access to preschool for another year.

It's starting a new program to give free flu vaccinations to indigenous children aged under five, at a cost of almost $4 million, and offering bursaries to young carers so they can concentrate on study instead of having to find part-time work.

One of the big-ticket industry items announced in the May budget also starts up on January 1: a $476 million skills fund.

Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to get money from the fund to provide training or mentoring support to their staff.

The government is planning to spend an extra $8 million on anti-people smuggling ads - including in Australia.

On the sporting fields, January 1 brings changes to the ASADA act in accordance with the new World Anti-Doping Code, which has stronger penalties for drug users but also offers them a chance to plea bargain.

Australian sportspeople will be unable to associate with anyone in a professional capacity who has been banned, convicted or disciplined by any doping body.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014 ... and-pokies


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:04 pm 
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Queensland doctors suspended, reprimanded for inappropriate acts

ONE was busted in a police sting for prescribing an illegal-drug precursor, another molested patients by rubbing up against them and two had sex with their patients.

They are among the 19 doctors who appeared before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal last year, resulting in five Queensland doctors being suspended and two having their registration cancelled.

Another four doctors have had conditions placed on their ability to practise after the quality of their patient care was found lacking.

Many other doctors accused of serious misconduct are never publicly disclosed because their cases are not heard in the tribunal.

GP Nemalan Moodley had his registration cancelled after he molested six patients during consultations and was convicted of nine counts of sexual assault. He has been barred from reapplying to practise for five years and subsequently deported.

The majority of doctors facing reprimand in the tribunal were foreign-trained or aged in their 70s. All of them were men, except for one, former Dalby doctor Padmaja Putha, 43, who admitted she had exaggerated her medical experience in India in a CV she used to apply for registration in Australia.

Putha had her doctors registration cancelled last May after she was dobbed in by an anonymous tip-off.

Rajeshwar Chandra from Cleveland was suspended for two years, after asking a female patient if she was trying to give him an erection, then forged letters claiming she had withdrawn a complaint.

Indooroopilly doctor Neville Blomeley, who was well-known because of his positions with Queensland Cricket, the Brisbane Roar Football Club, and the University of Queensland Rugby Club, had his registration suspended for 15 months after having sex with a patient.

Three surgeons including Rockhampton’s Antonio Vega Vega were reprimanded for their treatment of patients, and one obstetrician – Bharat Doolabh who worked at John Flynn Private Hospital in Tugun – was also reprimanded and suspended for a year.

Surgeon Allan Clarke, who trained in South Africa, was investigated after an elderly patient developed multiple blood clots in her lungs and a blood disorder following knee surgery. Clarke conceded he should have given an anticoagulant earlier.

In the case of Mackay surgeon William Fitzgerald, who admitted he made a mistake by not swiftly returning patient for more bowel surgery, the case judge found the female patient was continuing to suffer.

“The patient’s recovery has been long … I am told she still suffers difficulties associated with the procedures,” Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said.

Queenslanders made 2375 complaints in 2013-14. Only 59 were sent to a tribunal hearing.

There are more than 19,000 doctors registered in Queensland.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/qu ... 7173083731


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:53 pm 
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Study reveals just how lonely and miserable life is for the overweight

Being insulted by shop assistants, ignored by bar staff, left out by friends, mocked by passers-by, ridiculed by the opposite sex and photographed by teenagers.

These indignities are some of the frequent humiliations faced by overweight people, according to new British research.

Up to 40 per cent of the 2573 dieters questioned in the Slimming World study said they faced some form of judgment, criticism or humiliation at least once a week.

It included young people winding down car windows to shout abuse, passengers refusing to share a seat on public transport, men in nightclubs feigning romantic interest and teenagers taking pictures or videos on their phones.

Even being a paying customer did not stop comments on food choices from supermarket staff, laughter from shop assistants when asked for clothes in a bigger size, and feeling humiliated as bar staff served slimmer customers first.

Weight discrimination does not motivate people to lose weight, the study found.

Instead, it left 47 per cent feeling ashamed, 41 per cent depressed and 30 per cent like they were useless.

Around 61 per cent of respondents said they were more likely to be greeted by strangers with a smile since losing weight.

Slimming World's research specialist Professor James Stubbs says criticism of overweight people is widespread.

"Not only is this rude and unpleasant, it's also really unhelpful when it comes to motivating people to lose weight," Prof Stubbs said.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015 ... overweight


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:29 am 
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Senator Zed Seselja gets on his bike for the Ride to Cure Diabetes

When ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja cycles 80 kilometres through the Barossa Valley, it will be children like Ethan Jeffress who keep him motivated should the going get tough.

Senator Seselja will join more than 350 cyclists taking part in the Ride to Cure Diabetes on January 17 who will ride either 35, 80 or 160 kilometres to fund money for medical research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

He hopes to raise $3500 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation when he does the ride.

"I've gotten to know a lot of families who deal with type 1 diabetes and it is, I think, a very tough and very challenging condition to deal with for a family," he said.

"I think the work JDRF does in looking for a cure but also in supporting families through those difficult times is just really valuable, so to be able to raise a small amount of funds for JDRF along with many others will hopefully make a difference."

Kathryn Jeffress' three-year-old son Ethan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nearly two years ago. The Florey mother said it meant the world to her that so many people were helping to raise funds for such an important cause.

Type 1 diabetes typically affects young people and is an auto-immune disease that destroys the body's ability to produce insulin.

The condition requires a daily regime of multiple injections or continuous infusion through a pump as well as six to eight finger-prick tests.

Mrs Jeffress said Ethan first started showing signs of being unwell shortly after the birth of her third child Mia.

She said his diagnosis was a terrifying period as he developed diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with type 1 diabetes.

"When it's as severe as Ethan's was, it can be life-threatening and we nearly lost him. It was terrifying," Mrs Jeffress said.

"It was a horrible, horrible time, his diagnosis. As a teacher, I had dealt with a handful of kids that had type 1 and I knew what we were going to be up against ... I kind of knew that it meant a lifetime of needles and finger pricks and constant worry."

Ethan has an insulin pump and requires a cannula insertion every three days. He also needs 8-10 finger pricks daily, including throughout the night.

"Having to hurt your own child every day is without a doubt the hardest thing," she said.

"The fact that he doesn't get a break from it is hard."

She said her son was incredibly brave and strong.

Mrs Jeffress lives in hope that one day a cure might be found.

"I want type 1 to be type none," she said. "In 100 years, we might be in that place but right now we need the research and resources."

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-new ... 2iii6.html


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:51 am 
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Queensland salmonella outbreak leaves 110 violently ill

Eggs used in deep-fried ice cream batter have been blamed for a Queensland food poisoning outbreak that left 110 people violently ill.

Metro South Health officials confirmed last night tests conducted at Chin Chin Chinese Restaurant returned positive for salmonella and they believed the raw eggs were to blame, the Courier Mail reports.

Eight of the 15 people at Julie Holmes' birthday dinner on Sunday night fell violently ill, with six hospitalised – two overnight – and four put on drips.

"I haven't eaten for three days," she said. "It's just dreadful, the worst thing I've ever been through."

Cheryl Broadhurst, who was part of the birthday group, said her family was still feeling the effects of the poisoning almost one week later.

Her 21-year-old daughter was rushed to Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital yesterday morning.

"They didn’t even ask her where she had eaten — they just knew," Ms Broadhurst said. "She kept blacking out because she was so dehydrated."

The popular family restaurant located in Springwood was slapped with a temporary closure by Logan City Council as victims continue to come forward, with cases almost doubling overnight.

So far, 110 people who dined at Chin Chin on Saturday and Sunday nights have reported falling ill.

Health inspectors expect that number to rise over the next two days and have called for guests of the restaurant to avoid public areas until free of food poisoning symptoms for 24 hours.

A sign on the restaurant's door yesterday read: “Closed for maintenance until further notice.”

Its Facebook page, which enjoyed mostly positive reviews, has been inundated with angry patrons who are threatening legal action.

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/0 ... a-outbreak


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:13 pm 
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Making sense of sugars and sweeteners

If eating less sugar is one of this year's good intentions, how will you go about it? Cut down on sweetened food in general – or look for a different kind of sweetener?

Either way it's worth dipping into The Ultimate Guide to Sugars and Sweeteners, a new book that makes sense of the growing number of sugars and sweeteners appearing in our food supply both as products on supermarket shelves or ingredients added to manufactured foods.

Co-authored by Alan Barclay, a clinical dietitian who consults to Australia's Glycaemic Index Foundation, Claudia Shwide-Slavin, a New York-based diabetes educator, and Philippa Sandall, editor of the University of Sydney Human Nutrition Unit's GI newsletter, the guide is refreshingly free of hype. Instead of demonising or evangelising any of these sweeteners, it provides facts such as kilojoule counts, their relative sweetness compared to sucrose (cane or table sugar), and effects on levels of blood glucose – if the information is available – and leaves us the readers to make up our own minds.

In between A for agave syrup and Z for zero calorie sweeteners are some now-familiar alternatives to cane sugar like stevia, maple syrup and coconut palm sugar and others that are less well-known such as monk fruit (or luo han guo) – a zero kilojoule sweetener extracted from a Chinese plant and now shaping up as a contender to stevia, say the authors – and lucuma powder, a low sugar sweetener derived from a starchy Peruvian fruit.

The active ingredient in commercial monk fruit sweeteners is an intensely sweet glucose molecule (200 to 400 times sweeter than sucrose) that's blended with other ingredients to create a table-top sweetener. It's sometimes used to replace sugar – and reduce kilojoules – in some brands of chocolate milk.

Lucuma powder, sold in some health food stores and online, has 84 kilojoules per level teaspoon (sucrose has 67). As yet, it's not clear what the effect of lucuma powder or monk fruit-based sweeteners is on blood glucose levels.

The guide also tackles some of the confusion that comes with shopping for alternative sweeteners – like the similarity of names like brown rice syrup, rice syrup and rice malt syrup. It turns out that all three are the same thing – a malted grain syrup made from rice containing three types of sugar, maltose, maltriose and glucose. It has a high GI and although it has the same number of kilojoules per teaspoon as table sugar you may need to use more because it's less sweet. Agave syrup and agave nectar are also the same thing, although the flavour may vary slightly between brands.

As for the word "natural" on the label, tread cautiously is the advice – it's often applied to sweeteners that come from plants even though they're highly refined.

"Be wary of products with 'natural' in bold type on the packaging, read ingredient labels carefully and remember that 1) 'natural' products aren't always quite what they appear to be, and 2) natural is not a synonym for safe or even 'good for you'," say the authors. "To be truly pedantic, the only 100 per cent natural sweetener is probably the one made entirely by Mother Nature – honey from the hive."

If you're a home baker experimenting with sugar alternatives there's a section comparing recipes for vanilla cookies and blueberry bran muffins using a number of different sweeteners. The best performers for vanilla cookies compared to caster sugar or demerara were honey and coconut palm sugar – agave syrup wasn't bad but xylitol (a sugar alcohol extracted from plants) wasn't great. With the muffins, honey, coconut syrup and a sweetener made from monk fruit worked well. Agave was okay but rice syrup produced a rubbery texture.

What about sugar and health? There's a section on this too which includes a snapshot of the evidence linking high GI carbohydrates and added sugar to heart disease including three 2014 observational studies from the US that suggest a high consumption of added sugars (15 per cent of total kilojoules), typically as sweetened drinks can increase the risk of a heart attack, and a systematic review of randomised controlled trials in humans that found 50 grams of added pure fructose daily raises blood fats called triglycerides – a known risk factor for heart disease. Other research has found that a high GI diet can also raise levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol – a more serious risk factor than raised triglycerides.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well- ... sweeteners


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