Big Fat Myths by Ruben Meerman

Ruben Meerman and Professor Andrew Brown from the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales published a paper in 2014 When somebody loses weight, where does the fat go? 

Meerman has a physics degree and is known as the surfing scientist and has appeared in a number of television shows including ABC’s Catalyst program. and he is the author of Big Fat Myths, a book that expands on the previous paper. The original paper and later book explains how every molecule of fat escapes the human body during weight loss.

He believes that his research shows that weight loss is best achieved by “eating less and moving more”.

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Tornadoes, Seagulls and the Butterfly Effect

Edward Lorenz was a mathematician and meteorologist. Whilst his name may not be familiar, you would have heard about the results of his work.

Whilst he is best known for his work on Chaos Theory, he made very valuable contributions to other areas of mathematics including climate theory.

Lorenz presented a paper at a meeting in December, 1972 in Washington, DC, the title of the talk being, Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?

The title was a question. The answer is – of course it does not. If it did we would be creating tornadoes every time we clapped our hands. Lorenz conclusion was that long-term weather forecasting was doomed.

The problem of accurate, long-term weather forecasting has been recognised for some time – and seagulls, grasshoppers or butterflies are not part of the problem or solution.

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Bats, Fish and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a type of motor neuron disease, a group of rare neurological diseases that mainly involve the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement. Voluntary muscles produce movements like chewing, walking, and talking.

Despite dozens of studies being published linking ALS with neurotoxins that can be found in fish, it is unlikely that you will hear this information from a doctor or motor neuron disease support groups.

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Do vegetarians live longer?

On 2nd February 2017, Melody Ding, a senior researcher from the University of Sydney published an article in The Conversation titled “Do vegetarians live longer? Probably, but not because they’re vegetarian”. Her preferences were revealed early in the article when she writes, “vegetarianism and its more austere cousin, veganism, are becoming increasingly popular”.

A person calling a vegan diet austere does not know how to cook.

There is overwhelming evidence that vegans (and particularly whole-food, plant-based vegans) live longer and healthier lives.


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Eating Red Meat is Not Natural

Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose is popularly known as alpha-gal. It is a carbohydrate found in the meat of mammals – exceptions being primates (which includes humans) and other African and Asian apes.

Since the early 2000s, severe allergic reaction has been observed several hours after the consumption of red meat. Several deaths have occurred. This is associated with IgE antibodies to alpha-gal as a result of the patients been bitten by ticks. This has occurred in eastern Australia, south-east USA and Sweden.


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BMJ Editorial – Are Some Diets “Mass Murder”?

Richard Smith’s wrote an article Are some diets “mass murder”? in The BMJ on 15 December 2014. He uses a work of a popular commentator to reach his conclusions in this article. Smith’s claim that Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise, demolishes the hypothesis that saturated fat is the cause of cardiovascular disease fails with just a little scrutiny.

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What is the best oil to fry foods?

Whilst watching the news, I saw a banner stating New study shows saturated fats are healthy.  Intrigued, I found the source of this information – an article titled Cooking with vegetable oils releases toxic cancer-causing chemicals, say experts, which appeared in the London Telegraph.

The article actually stated that frying food in vegetable oils creates more aldehydes (a cancer causing chemical) than frying food in saturated fats.  According to the article,

Cooking with vegetable oils releases toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases, according to leading scientists, who are now recommending food be fried in olive oil, coconut oil, butter or even lard.

The results of a series of experiments threaten to turn on its head official advice that oils rich in polyunsaturated fats – such as corn oil and sunflower oil – are better for the health than the saturated fats in animal products.

The research did not indicate that saturated fats are better for your health than vegetable oils.  It stated that if you fry foods in oils then you are better off if you use saturated fats as they are less reactive.

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Liver Cleansing with Olive Oil

The internet has numerous pages advocating an Olive Oil – Lemon Juice Liver Cleanse or Detox. The purpose of the exercise is eliminate gallstones from your gall bladder. The instructions vary but lemon juice and olive oil are featured. Apple juice and Epsom salts are sometimes involved.

This procedure results in numerous green stones passed in the faeces in the following morning.

Unfortunately, the exercise does not remove gallstones and has the potential to cause nausea, severe abdominal pain and may even lead to surgery to remove your gall bladder. It also leads to a false sense of security, giving rise to the belief that you have solved your gallstone problem.


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How Cooking Changed Us

Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham

Richard Wrangham is a Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University. He is also the curator of Primate Behavioral Biology at the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in Uganda.

Wrangham began his career at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania as a member of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee research team.

The standard view of evolution is that by eating meat, humans were able to evolve the larger brains that distinguish us from other primates. Wranghams’s view is that cooking food is a fundamental activity that transformed humans and our society. He is not the first to propose this view but has developed the concept.

Cooking increased the value of our food. It changed our bodies, our brains, our use of time and our social relationships.

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What is a Heart Attack?

Below is an overview of the mechanism that leads to cardiac myocardial infarctions (or heart attack). It took many decades for a basic understanding of this process.

The consensus at the beginning of the 20th century was that heart disease is a normal part of aging. In 1913, a 28 year old pathologist, Nikolay Anitschkow (or Anichkov), working at the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg, showed that by feeding rabbits cholesterol dissolved in sunflower oil induced vascular lesions closely resembling those of human atherosclerosis, both grossly and microscopically. Controls fed only the sunflower oil showed no lesions.

Another difficulty in understanding heart disease is that there are a number of factors involved. Researchers, practitioners and the public become attached to one aspect. Some argue passionately regarding one aspect of heart disease and become blind to other factors.

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