Monday, 31 December 2012
Sunday, 30 December 2012
Half of NHS staff are overweight or obese and should consider surgery in order to set a better example for patients, a report will say.
NHS organisations must do more to ensure the health and well-being of their staff as this can impact on patient care, the working group at the Royal College of Physicians said.
Overweight and obesity levels among the 1.4m NHS staff mirror that of the general population in that almost half are considered to heavy.
Yet a recent report found less than one in ten trusts had a plan or policy to reduce obesity amongst staff approved by the board.
NHS organisations should implement guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on health improvement among staff just the same as other workplaces, it said.
John Wass, author of the new report told the Sunday Times: “We want to make sure that people who working in the hospital health service are exposed to the ability to get help where they need it, because a lot of them are overweight.”
Saturday, 29 December 2012
As regulars on this blog know we like and support Jimmy Moore. He helped us dispose of a wacko forum moderator on the UK’s largest diabetes forum. A moderator who attacked and banned a good friend of ours (and many others) Dr.Jay Wortman. Jay is a Canadian Doctor and type two diabetic who uses and spreads the lowcarb word at every opportunity. As Jimmy has helped us we believe in loyalty. Without loyalty, what’s left ?
One of Jimmy’s staunchest critics, Evelyn Kocur AKA Carbsane can hardly contain herself with her latest attack on Jimmy. A few weeks ago Jimmy was a guest on a podcast with a man called David Duke. Duke is racist and in my opinion a complete nutter. He is an ex Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. If you are young and not American you may not remember the KKK. Take my word for it, they were a large outfit and highly dangerous. So warped and twisted Hitler would have been proud of them. The KKK were responsible for many crimes including murder. They were cowards and hid behind hooded masks when holding meetings and carrying out their racist crimes. OK you’ve got the picture, so what was a guy like Jimmy doing getting involved with the likes of Duke ?
In my opinion it was a mistake, a big mistake. Evelyn Kocur knows this and states on her blog “For the record, I don't believe Jimmy is a neo-Nazi or a white supremacist or any of that. I don't think he was doing any recruiting or anything like that by going on Duke's show or linking to his blog” so why all the excitement and Evelyn’s wet dream ? Because she is a failure. She can’t control her weight or her mouth. She stands for nothing, very much like my nemesis Carbophile. Jimmy is liked because he is a human being that talks openly about his success and failures. He is far from perfect, just like the rest of us. Our money is on Jimmy, he is an open and honest guy. What you see is what you get ! What is Evelyn ? Why is she dedicating her life to the rubbishing of Jimmy and others ? Why can’t she get to a healthy weight ? That’s easy, lack of self discipline and she eats too much ! She can certainly talk the talk, but she can’t walk the walk !
Carbsane blog here.
From Jimmy tonight.
Let me be VERY clear–I DO NOT AGREE WITH DAVID DUKE ON ANYTHING ELSE BESIDES NUTRITION!
In fact, a couple of weeks after I was on his radio show, the producers of his radio show contacted me again and said they enjoyed having me on the first time and wanted me to come back again to discuss other issues outside the realm of diet and health. I refused because my passion is nutrition and healthy living. In no way does my appearance on “The David Duke Show” imply that I am in agreement with his very extreme and hurtful beliefs about anything else which I have discovered doing research into his work these past few days. Yikes! No wonder people are so up in arms about this which is why I quickly removed links to his web site from my blog as soon as I realized exactly who he was and why I decided to write this blog post today. By no means did I ever intend to promote the non-nutritional beliefs of this man and anyone who knows me personally wouldn’t even question this. Again, those few vindictive Jimmy Moore haters out there will use whatever glimmer of opportunity they can muster up to try to destroy the good that I’m doing.
Jimmy's blog here.
Jimmy's blog here.
Friday, 28 December 2012
Personalized Prediction of Lifetime Benefits with Statin Therapy for Asymptomatic Individuals: A Modeling Study
Physicians need to inform asymptomatic individuals about personalized outcomes of statin therapy for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, current prediction models focus on short-term outcomes and ignore the competing risk of death due to other causes. We aimed to predict the potential lifetime benefits with statin therapy, taking into account competing risks.
Methods and Findings
A microsimulation model based on 5-y follow-up data from the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort of individuals aged 55 y and older living in the Ommoord district of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, was used to estimate lifetime outcomes with and without statin therapy. The model was validated in-sample using 10-y follow-up data. We used baseline variables and model output to construct (1) a web-based calculator for gains in total and CVD-free life expectancy and (2) color charts for comparing these gains to the Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) charts. In 2,428 participants (mean age 67.7 y, 35.5% men), statin therapy increased total life expectancy by 0.3 y (SD 0.2) and CVD-free life expectancy by 0.7 y (SD 0.4). Age, sex, smoking, blood pressure, hypertension, lipids, diabetes, glucose, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and creatinine were included in the calculator. Gains in total and CVD-free life expectancy increased with blood pressure, unfavorable lipid levels, and body mass index after multivariable adjustment. Gains decreased considerably with advancing age, while SCORE 10-y CVD mortality risk increased with age. Twenty-five percent of participants with a low SCORE risk achieved equal or larger gains in CVD-free life expectancy than the median gain in participants with a high SCORE risk.
We developed tools to predict personalized increases in total and CVD-free life expectancy with statin therapy. The predicted gains we found are small. If the underlying model is validated in an independent cohort, the tools may be useful in discussing with patients their individual outcomes with statin therapy.
Full article http://www.plosmedicine.org/article
Monday, 24 December 2012
Seasonal greetings and a healthy and happy New Year
Thank you to all the people that take the time to read our blog. A special thank you to the people that take the time and trouble to comment, much appreciated.
The lowcarb diabetic team.
Saturday, 22 December 2012
Saturday night is music night. Check this out, one of the all time governors still going strong playing with the best musicians around. Check out the drummer, certainly no slouch and one of the best live snare drum sounds I have ever heard. Eddie
Looking back at some of the great quotes of the last year.
“The attacks are from a certain quarter and certain people.....I will always go on the offensive where they are concerned. They are SCUM......and why any right minded person would want anything to do with the idiot Eddie Mitchell and his pack of rabid Dog's is beyond me.” Ken aka Cugila aka too many names to mention.
"There's a faction on the forum trying their best to disrupt the forum and spoil it for the many, hopefully the Admin will remove these threads and we can all get back to normal and begin helping one another and welcoming newbie’s to the forum, goodness knows what the forum looks like today for people looking in for the first time" Nobhead
"Choking the chicken won't satisfy all my paleo needs...." Borofergie at the forum of flog.
"I wouldn't discuss food with most dieticians, let alone drugs" Grazer on the flog.
“I grant that this does seem to be one of the biggest forums. But it isn't the best forum at all... IMHO it's far from it. As to a doctor recommending this site. If my diabetic team or my GP recommended me to join here. I resign from their care from immediate effect as I would have no faith in them at all.” Jopar at the flog.
And the quote of the decade goes to Borofergie talking to Kenny boy aka Angeleyes. On the flog.
“Please accept my profuse apologies Angeleyes. I was confusing you with a fat ex-copper that used to be a mod on here”
The world of diabetes was left stunned today, when Time Magazine, rolled out their annual man of the year award in New York. Regarded by many, as one of the most prestigious awards, this year went to relative newcomer Paul DeFeo. Although beset with some major personal battles this year Paul found time to take on lowcarb anti miscreants and help others. At the award ceremony today, Roger ‘Keto Warrior’ Jenkins stated “Paul is always cheerful and making a major contribution in the fight against dietary stupidity”
Jenkins long time sidekick Monty Beantipper could not attend due to him being on remand and currently residing in Brixton Prison. It is alleged Beantipper masterminded the recent arson attack at the Celebrations Chocolate Factory in Barrow-in-Furness. Long term anti and Celebrations aficionado Sid Bonkers said, “due to Beantipper my Christmas has been completely knackered” However Sid’s mates at DCUK have sent him a pallet of Hobnobs to help him through the Yuletide holiday.
Friday, 21 December 2012
(Reuters) - The European Medicines Agency said it has launched a review of Merck & Co Inc's cholesterol drug Tredaptive after the medicine failed a U.S. trial assessing its effectiveness and safety.
Although the commercial fallout from any decision to pull the drug from the market in Europe would be limited, it would be a blow to Merck's reputation.
Although the commercial fallout from any decision to pull the drug from the market in Europe would be limited, it would be a blow to Merck's reputation.
Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson estimates that Tredaptive sales in Europe and other non-U.S. markets are running at only around $50 million a year, compared to Merck's overall revenue of $47 billion.
The drug is designed to raise "good" HDL cholesterol but the 25,000 patient study found it didn't do better at preventing heart attacks, deaths or strokes than traditional statin drugs that lower "bad" LDL cholesterol.
The large-scale trial also found that patients taking the drug suffered more non-fatal but serious side effects than those only taking statins.
The medicine was approved for use in Europe in 2008, but U.S. regulators were unwilling to approve it until Merck conducted the costly long-term study to better assess its safety and effectiveness.
Merck said on Thursday that it no longer planned to seek regulatory approval for the drug in the United States and recommended that doctors did not start new patients on Tredaptive in countries where it is already available.
The regulator backed that advice on Friday, but added that patients currently using the drug should speak a doctor at their next appointment but not stop their treatment.
Tredaptive is sold under the brand name Pelzont in Italy and Trevaclyn in both Italy and Portugal. A decision on the future of the drug in Europe is expected in January.
(Reporting by Chris Wickham; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
Arguably, the greatest crime in the history of mankind, was the Jewish Holocaust. Over 6 million innocent people murdered, on a mass production, industrial scale. Many deny this ever took place. Yet the evidence is overwhelming. Thousands of eye witness accounts, millions of documents and photographs prove this event to be true.
What’s this got to do with diabetes you may be asking. I believe countless more have been sent to an early grave due to extremely poor diabetes information, and especially dietary information. Diabetics cannot process carbohydrates without drugs. The vast majority do not need the drugs that big pharma push at every opportunity 24/7. Many of these easy option drugs have been banned and proved to kill. The answer is simple, do not eat the foods that make you ill ! The evidence for lowcarbing is massive, but so many deny the obvious. So many deny what stares them in the face. More drugs are not the answer.
Over sixty years on from the greatest crime ever committed, has anything changed ? Greed, ignorance and stupidity still reigns supreme !
Two years on and our blog is going strong. Liked by some, hated by others, that’s just how we like it. Call us whatever you like, but no one can accuse us of being a cakes and commiserations outfit. Our blog ain’t no popularity contest.
Back in 2010 when we started this blog, we had a couple of hundred page views in the first month, now it’s thousands per day. In that time forums have come, and some have gone. We learned awhile ago, if you want everyone to like you, and run a social club that’s cool, but if you want people to read your blog or forum, it’s no good being middle of the road.
There are far too many outfits trying to please all, and end up helping very few. They rapidly become a self appreciation society, and spend most of their time preaching to the converted. Worse still, they push the same failed dietary advice that has lead to the epidemics of type two diabetes and it’s often linked obesity. The NHS and DUK are going nowhere in reducing the grim stats we see in each years published audits.
There is only one way to control diabetes, especially type two, and that is lowcarb ! Over four years on and I still ask medics, dietitions and antis, how do I control my diabetes on two metformin a day and hold non diabetic numbers, other than lowcarb ? I am still waiting for an answer.
A driver who admitted causing the death of woman in North Lanarkshire after suffering a diabetic fit has been jailed for six years and eight months.
Brian Docherty's car mounted the kerb and hit Elizabeth McGuiness and Barbara McCready in Motherwell in June 2011.
Ms McGuiness, 63, died and Mrs McCready, 64, was seriously injured.
The High Court in Glasgow heard that Docherty, 45, had not told the DVLA about his diabetic condition and should not have been driving at the time.
He also had a poor history of taking medication to control his diabetes.
Jailing him judge Lady Stacey said: "Nothing I can say or indeed anything you can say or do can lessen the grief for the family of Ms McGuiness.
"You will have to live with the knowledge of causing the death of one woman and serious injury to another.
Thursday, 20 December 2012
12/20/2012 12:47 PM ET
Merck & Co Inc. (MRK: Quote) Thursday announced disappointing results from a study of its cholesterol drug Tredaptive and said it is abandoning plans to seek an approval for the drug from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Merck said Tredaptive failed to show it could reduce heart attacks and strokes, compared with statin drugs, as per a large-scale study known as HSP2-Thrive. The drug also raised safety concerns.
Merck shares are down 2.3 percent in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Tredaptive is a single-pill combination of niacin, a B vitamin organic compound, with a Merck-developed compound called laropiprant.
Niacin is known for increasing levels of good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol, while laropiprant is designed to inhibit a side effect of niacin related to reddening of the skin.
Merck in 2007 sought approval for Tredaptive from the FDA, which rejected the drug and asked Merck to furnish results from the HSP2-Thrive study.
HPS2-Thrive was conducted by the Clinical Trial Service Unit at Oxford University and funded by Merck. The trial enrolled about 25,670 patients at high risk of heart attack and related cardiovascular events. Patients in the study were followed for a median of 3.9 years.
The study assessed whether adding Tredaptive to a regimen including simvastatin lowers cardiovascular risk compared with the statin therapy alone.
Results showed that adding the combination of extended-release niacin and laropiprant to statin therapy did not significantly further reduce the risk of the combination of coronary deaths, non-fatal heart attacks, strokes or revascularizations compared to statin therapy.
There was a also a statistically significant increase in the incidence of some types of non-fatal serious adverse events in the group that received extended-release niacin/laropiprant.
Merck and the study investigators are informing regulatory agencies of the results. The company also is preparing communications to health-care providers in countries where the medicine is currently available.
Based on the current understanding of these new data and until further analysis can be completed, Merck is recommending that providers not start new patients on Tredaptive.
Tredaptive has been approved in about 70 countries, including in Europe, and is sold in about 40 countries. Sales through the first three quarters of 2012 were about $13 million.
Merck is trading at $42.63, down 2.35%, on a volume of 13.7 million shares on the NYSE.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
December 18, 2012 in Diabetes
For some people with diabetes, there may be such a thing as too much care.
Traditional treatment to reduce risks of heart disease among patients with diabetes has focused on lowering all patients' blood cholesterol to a specific, standard level. But this practice may prompt the over-use of high-dose medications for patients who don't need them, according to new research from the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS) and the University of Michigan Health System.
The study encourages a more individualized approach to treatment that adjusts treatment according to the patient in order to improve the quality of care. The findings appear in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Authors also suggest that blanket goals routinely used to lower heart attack risks may unnecessarily expose some patients to potential adverse side effects of high-dose medications. Researchers also note that when these standard goals are used to assess whether a health provider delivered high quality care, they may encourage overly aggressive treatment.
"We want patients to get the treatment they need to prevent heart attacks and cardiovascular issues but we don't want to expose them to additional treatment risks without strong evidence of the benefits," says senior author Eve Kerr, M.D., director of the Center for Clinical Management Research at the VAAAHS, professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
"We need to move away from a one-size-fits-all performance measure that misses the point of providing appropriate treatment."
Managing cholesterol is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes who often have an increased risk for a heart attack. This is especially true for people age 50 and over.
Physicians commonly aim to lower blood cholesterol for all patients with diabetes to below 100 mg/dl. Recent evidence, however, highlights the importance of individualized treatment for each patient that's not focused on bringing cholesterol levels down to a set value.
In the new study, researchers found that 85 percent of veterans age 50-75 with diabetes treated at the VA received appropriate care, most importantly because they were on at least moderate doses of cholesterol treatment medications called statins. But among patients 18 and older who had no known heart disease, nearly 14 percent may have unnecessarily received high-dose statin medications, putting them at risk of harm from overtreatment.
The research stems from new safety data published this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on commonly-used cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins. The FDA issued new guidelines for statin drugs warning users that the medications can cause memory loss, elevated blood sugar levels, and type-2 diabetes, in addition to muscle damage and liver disease.
"The study reveals that we may have both underuse and overuse of statins and should invigorate efforts to make sure that each patient has the opportunity to be treated in a personalized way that is best given their risk profile," says Circulation Editor and Director of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D.
Authors says modern healthcare electronic record systems that combine blood pressure, prescription and other health data on individual risks such as heart disease make this method of individualized treatment possible.
The study included more than 960,000 active Veterans Affairs primary care patients 18 years of age or older with type 2 diabetes treated from July 2010 to June 2011.
As we’re winding down the year 2012, it’s time to take a look back on the past twelve months to see who made waves on behalf of the message of healthy low-carb living. It’s incredible to think about just how vilified this way of eating has become in our culture. Even still there are prestigious medical doctors, esteemed scientific researchers and average, everyday laypeople all willing to be identified with this concept because they have seen for themselves the amazing health improvements that can happen as a result of embracing a high-fat, controlled-carbohydrate nutritional approach.
Words of Jimmy Moore
Check out Jimmy's blog and website here for some great information and more on this headline !
Words of Jimmy Moore
Check out Jimmy's blog and website here for some great information and more on this headline !
Some nutritional experts consider scurvy a manifestation of acidosis, extreme acidity or low pH. That condition gives rise to many other diseases, even cancer. Thanks to using citrus to curb the two million earlier sailors' scurvy, scurvy's occurrence has greatly diminished from the late 18th century till now. But it does still occur.
Due to terrible diets or practicing bulimia to become anorexic, there has been a scurvy surge among teens. It can also afflict alcoholics or older people whose ability to absorb vitamin C has diminished from excessive medications or poor diets.
Early signs of encroaching scurvy(1) Chronic low energy, strength, and/or depression. Even bone strength is affected. Since acidosis and scurvy are similar, the classic acidosis symptom of wasting away becomes evident while losing weight.
(2) Bleeding gums, loose teeth, or gingivitis. This is an obvious and easy to notice sign that the collagen needed for building and maintaining tissue is deteriorating. Vitamin C is vital for collagen.
(3) Rapid mood changes, short tempers, and irritability can be an early sign of scurvy. Add more vitamin C to your diet or look into other possibilities before seeking pharmaceutical interventions.
(4) Bruises that occur easily, and often linger may be an indication of vitamin C deficiency. Low healing of minor wounds and dryer hair may also point to inadequate vitamin C levels.
(5) Chronic limb or joint pain is another sign for you to check into low vitamin C as a missing nutrient. Sometimes scurvy gets to a point where bleeding occurs within joints, causing severe pain.
(6) Anemia is another sign of possible vitamin C deficiency. If you seem to catch every cold or flu that comes your way, maybe more vitamin C will help elevate your immune system.
Monday, 17 December 2012
I have seen some ludicrous statements made by forum moderators but this one took lunacy to Pluto tonight ! What is it about forum moderators ? Albeit this forum board member likes to post as a member. But it seems to me once the mod hat goes on it has a devastating effect on the grey matter under it. Check this out !
Part of a members posting.
“Why is the well-known fact that many thousands of people are killed and damaged by drugs every year somehow just swept under the carpet?”
The mod quoted the above quote and asked.
“Again show me some real evidence that this "well know fact" is true please. I really object to things being stated as factually accurate 100% true statements without offering any evidence to back up the claims.”
Try reading up one just one diabetes drug and I think the member is owed an apology.
“Glaxo announced Jan. 17 that it is taking a $3.5 billion charge to cover expenses linked to investigations and suits over Avandia. The reserve brings to $6.4 billion the amount the drugmaker has set aside in the past 12 months for legal costs tied to Avandia.
The latest settlement resulted from Glaxo’s move to resolve all Avandia cases brought by Joseph Zonies and Thomas Cartmell, two plaintiffs’ attorneys picked by U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe in Philadelphia to lead a group steering the progress of more than 1,600 cases consolidated there. Zonies, of Denver, and Cartmell, of Kansas City, Missouri, didn’t return calls seeking comment.
Glaxo said in September it would stop promoting Avandia worldwide after regulators said the medicine would be withdrawn from Europe and sales would be limited in the U.S.
The company agreed last year to pay about $460 million to resolve about 10,000 suits accusing it of hiding Avandia’s heart attack risks. Facing 13,000 Lawsuits”
Well, ETYM may not be flogging drugs at the moment, but why are they defending the truly awful record of big pharma ?
More on Avandia here
ETYM link here
Undercover reporters were sold Valium, opiates and other controlled drugs without prescription at nine pharmacies.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham MP has demanded an urgent review, claiming watchdogs may not be "fit for purpose".
The Department of Health insisted it was tackling prescription drug abuse.
It is illegal for pharmacists to sell prescription-only drugs without a prescription unless it is a medical emergency.
But several London pharmacies sold the BBC's Inside Out programme diazepam or its trade name drug Valium - a strong and addictive sedative in the benzodiazepine family - for up to £85.
Latest figures show 293 people died in 2011 from misuse of benzodiazepines, more than double the 125 killed by cocaine and ecstasy combined.
Islington-born Josh Jarrett, 51, a supported housing officer, was prescribed Valium as a boy for hyperactivity.
After 44 years addicted to benzodiazepines he says his life has been ruined.
Withdrawal causes hyperventilation, panic attacks, vomiting and seizures.
Mr Jarrett said: "I'd rather somebody lop my arm off than take my medication from me.
Sunday, 16 December 2012
It's unbeatable in pastry and delicious with a roast, says Claire Hargreaves.
A few years ago, if you'd called your restaurant Lardo you'd probably have been considered bonkers. Lard was a four-letter word guaranteed to send us recoiling in horror at visions of clogged arteries and playground fatties. If there was one food reviled and derided above all others, lard won hands down.
Now, though, a restaurant in Hackney, east London, has named itself after the wicked white stuff, arguing that lard might actually be one of the tastiest foods around. The most popular pizza that Lardo hatches in the igloo-shaped wood-fired oven at its heart is its Lardo, Marjoram and Rocket, a pizza draped with paper-thin slithers of lardo, the Italian word for cured pig back-fat, and doused with a marjoram dressing and some rocket leaves.
Also flying off the menu is Lardy Loin – aromatic melt-in-the-mouth slices of lardo with a smidgen of loin, served with yummy fingers of freshly baked focaccia. We're learning to love lard once more, it seems.
"The best lard comes from many of the heritage-breed pigs that we've devalued," says Eliza Flanagan, Lardo's owner. To drive home the message, the restaurant's postcard is a close-up of the free-range pigs that provide its charcuterie: Mangalitzas whose long curly locks make them look more like sheep than pigs. "I am not a sheep," the caption helpfully informs diners.
Our ancestors, of course, had no trouble recognising the virtues of lard. So central was it to our diet that the room where we stored our food, the larder, was named after it. Many British households kept a family pig, so the fat you used over winter was good old lard – as it still is in many countries today. Its great strength was that it coaxed out the flavours of foods that it was cooked with. In pig-rearing counties such as Wiltshire, housewives threw the fat into scrumptious lardy cakes, which are happily seeing a quiet revival.
The loveliest lard is from fat found inside the loin and around the kidneys, known as flare or leaf fat. That's rendered then left to solidify into blocks of crystalline white fat. It's so pure and malleable that a museum in Ukraine has used it to make more than 30 lard sculptures – including a particularly appetising one of Marilyn Monroe's ample lips and breasts.
Lard, with its high smoking point and unobtrusive taste, was the ideal fat for roasting, so our grannies roasted their potatoes in it. Today, home cooks are cottoning on to goose and duck fat, now sold in fancy jars in delis and supermarkets at vast expense, but they still struggle with using our native pork fat – perhaps because it's not yet packaged poshly.
It's also in short supply – and much of what's around is channelled into cosmetics and soaps. "Proper lard is difficult to find," says charcutier Graham Waddington whose Gloucestershire-based company Native Breeds crafts Lardo's lardo. "You'd need to buy pork fat from a butcher and render it yourself. But these days few butchers have any to sell."
Waddington dismisses the highly processed lard sold in supermarkets, often hydrogenated and treated with bleaching and deodorising agents. One reason we can't get pork fat in Britain, says Waddington, is that pigs are now bred to have as little fat as possible.
"Our demonisation of fat has meant that in recent decades farmers have mainly produced lean, fast-growing breeds such as Hampshire and Duroc. They're slaughtered at around five months, which doesn't allow time for them to develop a proper layer of fat." Instead, Waddington uses slow-growing heritage breeds such as Mangalitza or Saddleback that are reared to at least a year to give them time to develop a good fat covering.
Lard also has fantastic shortening qualities, hence its use in all types of pastry. A Melton Mowbray pork pie, for instance, must use lard in its hot-water pastry casing to qualify as the real thing. "The pastry is baked free-standing. As it cooks, the fat on the outer layers of the pastry burns off, giving it a crisp crunch that you experience as you eat it," says Matthew O'Callaghan, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association and a food historian.
If you watched The Great British Bake Off you'll also have seen lard hailed as a must-use ingredient in puddings and cakes. On the series, O'Callaghan demonstrated how to make the perfect spotted dick – using lard. "Lard has a low melting point so after a cake has cooked it solidifies quickly, trapping in the air," he says. "If you want the lightest, fluffiest cakes and puddings, use lard. People think lardy cake is heavy. Actually, it's surprisingly light."
Chefs, such as Jeremy Lee at Soho's Quo Vadis, vigorously champion lard for roasting potatoes and in pastry. "Lard is up there with goose and duck fat – it's a very sophisticated ingredient," Lee says. Lard also has great preserving qualities which, says Lee, makes it ideal to make a pork confit whereby pork belly or shoulder is cooked in its own rendered fat which then solidifies and seals the meat. "Confit takes on a heavenly melting texture which is one of the world's best things," he enthuses.
Lee is also an aficionado of lardo – gourmet lard if you like – which he wraps around his famous meat terrines. Since Roman times it's been produced in the Tuscan village of Colonnata, famed for its marble, and is highly prized. Raw backfat is wrapped in rosemary and other herbs and spices, then cured in marble basins for a minimum of six months. Michelangelo is said to have treated himself to a nibble while seeking out choice cuts of marble. Lardo's Eliza Flanagan believes lardo is catching on here too. "Once people discover it they totally get it. It has an amazing silky texture, creaminess and depth of flavour. Customers get very grumpy if we take our Lardo pizza off the menu."
If you're reaching for the extra-virgin olive oil in horror at all of this, you might not need to. Recent research is questioning the received wisdom that animal fats are the main cause of obesity and that we should eat vegetable oils instead, and carbs rather than fats. A book by the American science journalist Gary Taubes quotes US government figures showing that nearly half the fat in lard is monounsaturated.
Monounsaturated fat raises HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and 90 per cent of that fat is the same oleic acid that's in olive oil. "If you replace the carbohydrates in your diet with an equal quantity of lard, it will actually reduce your risk of having a heart attack," claims Taubes. Unsurprisingly, UK Government advice does not agree. Yet.
Saturday, 15 December 2012
Friday, 14 December 2012
Greater access to cheap vitamin D supplements would improve the health of at-risk groups, experts say.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) says up to 25% of UK children are vitamin D deficient, leading to a rise in rickets cases.
In the BBC's Scrubbing Up column, the college's Prof Mitch Blair called for concerted action to tackle the problem.
The government said those with the greatest need already received free supplements.
The RCPCH said other options to increase vitamin D levels, such as fortifying a wider range of foods, should be considered.
Half of the UK's white population, and up to 90% of the black and Asian people in the country are thought to be affected by vitamin D deficiency.
The first signs of deficiency include muscle and bone pain as well as swelling around the wrists and ribs.
A lack of the nutrient is linked to a higher incidence of diabetes, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis as well as rickets - a disease that causes bones to become soft and deformed.
In January this year, the chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, recommended all pregnant and breastfeeding women, children aged six months to five-years-old and the over-65s should take vitamin D supplements.
Writing in Scrubbing Up, Prof Blair said: "Vitamin D can be found in some foods such as oily fish, eggs and mushrooms - but only 10% of a person's recommended daily amount is found naturally in food.
"Put bluntly, eating more fish and getting out in the sun a bit more won't make much of a difference to your vitamin D levels."
The RCPCH is also calling for a public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the warning signs of vitamin D deficiency and how to prevent it, and more research into the link between vitamin D deficiency and bone disease.
It says this is needed to help investigations into bone injuries in children.
Prof Blair added: "The government's Healthy Start programme provides vitamins free to low income families and 'at risk' groups.
"But these vitamins appear to be in short supply and uptake is low. Ensuring people are aware they're available is crucial."
The college is to produce leaflets in a bid to raise awareness of vitamin D deficiency among the profession.
In addition, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is looking into proposals for further fortification of food and drink, as happens in countries including the US, Canada and Finland.
Prof Nicholas Clarke, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, said who has been warning of the dangers of vitamin D deficiency since 2010, said: "I strongly support the use of supplements and widespread fortification of foods."
Dame Sally said doctors and other health professionals were "best placed" to give advice on vitamin D.
She added: "The Department of Health has also made sure vitamin D supplements are available free to pregnant women and young children from low income families through our Healthy Start scheme.
"Local NHS organisations must make sure those eligible for Healthy Start get the supplements they're entitled to, and the department continues to work closely with the NHS on this."
Thursday, 13 December 2012
I see tonight my old butt kicker friend Borofergie is down, but not out.
Borofergie one of the true lowcarbers and butt kickers has a severe shoulder injury. What’s the betting he will be back in no time and running half marathons. What’s the betting he will be holding non diabetic BG numbers on no meds.
We wish him a speedy recovery.
Whatever way you look at it, we are one of the richest countries on earth. Tonight people are sleeping rough, in parks and shop doorways at minus 3 centigrade. This is in a country when some men spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a car. And people say I am nuts. What’s wrong ? Greed and greed personified.
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
The cadaverous Jopar was in fine form today when she gave her verdict on the forum of diabetes.co.uk.
“I grant that this does seem to be one of the biggest forums. But it isn't the best forum at all... IMHO it's far from it. As to a doctor recommending this site. If my diabetic team or my GP recommended me to join here. I resign from their care from immediate effect as I would have no faith in them at all.”
So there you have it, Jopar spends over four years on a forum, 2221 posts and logged in up to 18 hours a day, and then rubbishes it. Stay with it Jopar, the forum needs a few court jesters, and you are easily the best in the history of the forum.