Is potassium effective against high blood pressure?

I’ve written previously about how salt (sodium) only marginally raises blood pressure, and how the evidence that there is any benefit to reducing salt intake in the diet is weak at best. Now it’s time to look at that other salt, potassium. While sodium raises blood pressure, potassium supposedly lowers blood pressure, and many people have been given the recommendation to replace their table … Read more

The optimal diet for longevity and weight loss?

It started with an experiment on locusts in 1991. David Raubenheimer and Stephen Simpson, two zoologists who were at the time doing research at Oxford University, wanted to know what would happen to locusts if they varied the relative proportions of protein and carbohydrate in their diets. They therefore conducted an experiment in which they fed locusts pellets containing varying proportions of protein and carbohydrate, … Read more

Does a high fibre diet prevent disease?

All doctors (and probably most non-doctors) have heard of Burkitt’s lymphoma, a type of cancer found primarily in children living in malaria-endemic areas in Africa. Denis Burkitt was the first person to describe the disease, and also the first person to propose that there was an environmental cause (now known to be simultaneous infection by both malaria and Epstein-Barr virus).

Most doctors probably don’t know … Read more

Does omega-3 prevent heart disease?

I have a confession to make. For at least the last ten years, I’ve taken an omega-3 supplement every day. Religiously. Why? I literally have no idea. I don’t remember exactly when or why I started taking it. Presumably I read somewhere that it was a good idea. This was before I started studying medicine, and the decision certainly wasn’t based on any thorough evaluation … Read more

Is a ketogenic diet effective against dementia?

A sea change is underway. Ten years ago, it was heresy to propose that a ketogenic (a.k.a low carb high fat) diet was in any way healthier than the low fat high carb diet supported by public health authorities. It was branded a “gimmick” diet. In some places, doctors who prescribed it to their patients risked having their medical licenses revoked.

The German physicist Max … Read more

Do fruit and vegetables prevent cancer?

For the last couple of decades we have been bombarded with messages to eat more fruit and vegetables. One of the main arguments for this, and indeed the entire motivation behind the “5-a-day” campaign that started in the early 90’s, is that fruit and vegetables protect against cancer. But do they really?

The European Prospective Investigation in to Cancer and Nutrition, otherwise known as the … Read more