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  #1   ^
Old Sat, Feb-17-24, 07:12
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Demi Demi is offline
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Default The Atlantic diet — could this be the healthiest way to eat?

The latest diet advice being pushed in the UK:

Quote:
The Atlantic diet — could this be the healthiest way to eat?

Nutrition scientists have championed a new way of eating. Foods such as red meat, cheese and bread are on the menu.


It might sound too good to be true but adopting a diet that advocates eating cheese, bread, rice, potatoes and pork — washed down with a glass of red wine — could be a good move for your long-term health.

A study published last week found that a diet based on the eating habits of people living in northwestern Spain and Portugal — known as the Atlantic diet — can reduce belly fat, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The risk of heart disease and diabetes is also lowered. Increasingly, there’s a buzz around the diet among nutritionists and scientists. Other studies have suggested that it may even reduce depression and increase longevity.

For the latest study, published in the Jama Network Open journal by scientists from several Spanish universities, a team of researchers recruited 250 families (574 people) from rural northwestern Spain. Participants were asked to follow either the principles of the Atlantic diet, based on the traditional local cuisine and seasonal produce, or their usual diet.

“The Atlantic diet typically contains local, fresh and minimally processed seasonal foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and olive oil,” says Alex Ruani, a researcher in nutrition science at UCL and chief science educator at the Health Sciences Academy. “But it also features moderate amounts of meat, mainly pork, some starchy-based carbs like bread and pasta, dairy including milk and a little wine.”

Before the start of the study — then again six months later — the scientists took measurements of waist circumference, cholesterol and blood sugar levels and blood pressure from those taking part. Results showed that compared with those eating their usual diet, those on the Atlantic diet had reduced levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol,had had a “significant decrease in waist circumference”, losing almost 2cm from their middle. Increased levels of cholesterol and belly fat are considered risk factors for metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

Dr Linia Patel, a dietician and a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association who is also a nutrition researcher at the University of Milan, says it is not the first time that the Atlantic diet has been proven to boost health and longevity. “It’s a cousin of the much-lauded Mediterranean diet,” Patel says. “And there’s mounting evidence that it is a very healthy way to eat.”

It’s been received wisdom for years that the Mediterranean diet — with its emphasis on fresh, seasonal vegetables, fish, olive oil and pulses — is the healthiest way to eat. Now it is becoming increasingly clear that the Atlantic diet may have equally impressive benefits, without the need to cut out red meat, potatoes and dairy products entirely. The Atlantic diet allows for more beef and pork and tends to be starchier than the Mediterranean diet.

In another study, published in BMC Medicine three years ago, Spanish and Portuguese researchers analysed the diets and health of 3,165 people in their sixties or older for more than a decade. They concluded that sticking to the Atlantic diet was associated with a lower risk of early death from any cause among older adults. With no faddy fasting or calorie counting, researchers reported in the Journal of Functional Foods that older adults found the Atlantic diet relatively easy to follow. “It is a lifestyle diet rather than a short-term weight-loss plan,” Patel says. “But it will bring long-term benefits to health.” Here’s how.

Eat plenty of eggs and dairy

Dairy and eggs feature prominently in Atlantic-style eating. “Most Spanish and Portuguese people consume the equivalent of a glass of milk a day and cheese is included in a lot of dishes,” Patel says. “Both are an important source of calcium in the diet.” Eggs are added to many popular dishes, from Spanish tortilla and huevos rancheros (Spanish baked eggs) to the tomatada (eggs poached with tomatoes and vegetables) and ovos verdes (a boiled egg coated in breadcrumbs with a herby filling), which are among the favourites in Portugal. We each consume an average 202 eggs a year in the UK, but are beaten by the Portuguese who eat even more, with an average intake of 220 eggs each a year. Containing magnesium, iron, selenium, vitamin D and B vitamins, choline (a vitamin-like compound used to make cell membranes) and phosphorus (which is important for healthy bones and teeth as well as being a key source of protein, important for muscle maintenance and growth), they are a “compact and convenient health food,” Patel says. A study in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal reported that one egg a day could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Like milk, cheese is a complete protein food, with all the essential amino acids needed for health, along with a similarly long list of nutrients. “Aged cheeses, including parmesan, are fermented and contain a range of beneficial bacteria that boost the gut microbiome,” says Eli Brecher, a nutritionist. “With a low glycaemic index [GI], cheese won’t trigger unhealthy blood sugar spikes.”

Get stuck in to potatoes — they’re packed with micronutrients

Potato-based dishes such as patatas bravas, tortilla and Portuguese garlic-roasted potatoes feature prominently in the Atlantic diet. Far from being calorific stodge, Ruani says that potatoes are an underrated source of micronutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, potassium and iron, and contribute a significant amount of fibre to the diet. In a review of evidence published in the journal Nutrients by researchers from the University of Surrey, potatoes were also “reported to be more satiating than other starchy carbohydrates, such as pasta and rice, which may aid weight maintenance”.

Obviously too many deep-fried chips and salty crisps are to be avoided, but potatoes served with other vegetables, such as tomatoes, as in patatas bravas, and in salads are a healthy addition to the diet. Adding a little milk or olive oil to potatoes will lower their glycaemic load, Ruani says, and the Surrey team reported how cooling cooked potatoes or serving them cold in a salad, changes the structure of the starch they contain, so that blood-sugar spikes after eating them are reduced.

Eat stews — not just in winter

How you cook your food can be as important as the kind of food you eat. “In northwestern Spain and Portugal, cooking methods often include hearty stews and soups and not just in the winter,” Ruani says. Portuguese stews such as cozido, made with different types and cuts of meat and vegetables, are nutritious and filling, and also bring health benefits.

Red meat — pork and beef — is allowed

“Meat is a definite feature of the Atlantic diet,” Patel says. The most popular types are pork and lean beef. “Meat is a good source of protein nutrients, including iron, B12, zinc and B vitamins, and can play a part in a healthy diet but do stick to healthy guidelines,” she says. The best and most easily absorbed form of iron is the heme iron found in red meat. In the UK, the NHS says “red meat, including pork and beef” can form part of a balanced diet, although government advice is to eat no more than 70g a day of cooked weight of red meat and to avoid processed meat products such as salami and sausage.

“Stewing meat is a big part of the Atlantic diet and is a great way to enhance the bio-availability of nutrients — the amount of vitamins and minerals our bodies can absorb from the food,” Brecher says. “Compared to grilling, roasting or frying meat, it also reduces the production of damaging AGEs [advanced glycation end products[, the compounds created when some foods are cooked at high temperatures that are associated with causing harmful inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.”

Yes, you are allowed bread, rice and pasta

Starchy carbs such as bread, rice and pasta are definitely on the Atlantic menu, although Patel says it’s best to opt for wholegrain versions, which are preferable for their added fibre content. Rather than eating a massive bowl of pasta or a doorstep sandwich, little and often is the attitude, with people typically consuming mini portions of these carbs up to six times per day. Traditional rice-based dishes such as Spanish paella and Portuguese rice with beans (arroz de feijao) tend to be rich in vegetables and seafood, providing additional valuable nutrients. A review of 38 papers on pasta in the journal Nutrients last year could find no association between the amount of regular white pasta that people consumed and weight gain. Neither did it send blood sugar soaring, considered a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. “A little of these foods is fine,” Brecher says.

Eat at least one portion of pulses each week for gut health

From Portuguese beans made with pinto beans to Spanish bean stew with butter beans, pulses and legumes (including chickpeas, beans and lentils) feature prominently in the Atlantic way of eating. Patel says that in the UK we eat nowhere near the 50g a day of legumes that the World Health Organisation recommends for all-round health. Patel says they are packed with fibre, plant polyphenols and nutrients that boost gut and digestive health. “Our intake of legumes in the UK is around 28g per person per week,” Patel says. “We would definitely benefit from following the higher intakes of the Spanish and Portuguese.”

Stick to seasonal fruit and veg

One key aspect of the Atlantic diet is consuming more of whatever fruit and vegetable is in season locally. This makes absolute sense, Brecher says, and making use of local greengrocers, pick-your-own farms or farmers’ markets is a good move. “Seasonal and local produce tends to be more nutritious because it doesn’t have to travel far to get to you, so flavour and freshness are not compromised,” she says. “Waxes and preservatives are often used to make non-seasonal fruits and vegetables last longer, but since nutrient content starts to deplete as soon as they are picked, it means they might be far lower than expected by the time you eat them.”

Use olive oil in almost everything to protect your brain

Statistics show that Spain is among the largest consumers of olive oil worldwide, with each Spaniard consuming an average 11-14 litres per year. In Portugal, the intake is lower (6-8 litres per person per year) but it is still well ahead of the UK, where the estimated annual intake is just under one litre per person. And yet replacing other fats with olive oil can boost health and longevity. A 2022 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that consuming half a tablespoon (7g) or more of olive oil daily led to a 29 per cent reduced risk of early death from neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and a 19 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared with those who rarely or never consumed olive oil.

Marta Guasch-Ferré, a research scientist at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health’s department of nutrition and an author on the paper, was born in Spain and says that olive oil is traditionally the staple fat used in Spanish and Portuguese homes. “[During my childhood] We baked with olive oil, fried with it, added it to salads and used it in anything that required a fat,” Guasch-Ferré says. “In my research I’ve noticed health gains with people using really very small amounts of olive oil compared to those having none of it.”

Eat more oily fish for heart health

It is rare to find a menu in Spain or Portugal that doesn’t feature oily fish such as sardines, mackerel and boquerones, or fresh anchovies. Rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, oily fish is also a source of lean protein, vitamins A and D as well as B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, iodine, selenium and zinc. The official recommendation from Public Health England is that we consume two 140g portions of any fish a week, one of them the oily variety. With an average weekly intake of only 54g we fall well short of that.

“The Spanish and Portuguese eat plenty of oily fish and we should follow their lead,” Patel says. “Fatty fish consumption is associated with lower incidence of heart disease and omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain and eye health.” Steer clear of high-salt options, she says, such as smoked, canned or pickled fish that may contribute to hypertension risk. “Opting for fresh or frozen fish varieties when possible can help keep sodium intake in check,” Ruani says.

Increase your intake of tomatoes

Tomatoes have high levels of lycopene, an antioxidant released when they are cooked that is linked to a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer, and are also rich in other disease-fighting and health-boosting antioxidants. According to the British Tomato Growers’ Association, we consume about 160g of tomatoes (equivalent to two regular-sized tomatoes) a week or 8.32kg each per year, which is encouraging but some way short of the Spanish intake, which is 12.98kg per person per year. “Using tomato-based sauces and adding tomatoes to salads and stews is a great step towards the Atlantic way of living,” Patel says.

Eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day

In the UK we tend to consume most of our daily calories in the evening. Marta Garaulet, a professor of physiology and nutrition at the University of Murcia in Spain, who studies meal timing and its effects on health and weight, says the Spanish and Portuguese favour a large midday lunch followed by evening tapas (small plates of food), often not until 9pm. “In Spain our main meal of the day is between 2pm and 3pm when we consume 35 to 40 per cent of our calories,” Garaulet says. “Despite eating our dinner late by UK standards, we don’t eat very much at all in that last meal.” A 2022 review of nine published papers in Obesity Reviews journal found that people who consumed most of their calories earlier in the day lost more weight and had greater reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol levels than people who ate more later on.

Drink red wine (in moderation)

Wine is allowed on the Atlantic diet — just don’t overdo it. While red wines, such as Spain’s rioja and ribera del duero, contain the highest concentrations of beneficial polyphenols, antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, white wines also contain a decent amount, Brecher says. Moderation is key and no more than one glass with a meal is the rule of thumb. “There is room to enjoy one glass of wine with a meal a few times a week,” she says. “Drinking alcohol with your food may impair digestion in those with a more sensitive gut, and alcohol can have a negative impact on the quality of our sleep, so aim for at least two alcohol-free days per week and don’t exceed the 14 unit weekly upper limit.” Where the Spanish and Portuguese score extra points is in their habit of making a glass of wine last an entire meal. I’ll raise a glass of rioja to that.

‘I’ll never stop being astonished at Portugal’s propensity for double carbs’

When I first visited Portugal just over 12 years ago,gambas da costa (prawns from our coast), amêijoas (clams), dourada (sea bream) and robalo (sea bass) and the simple way of cooking it all enthralled me. People here want to taste the seafood, not the sauce. That led me to a love affair with the country where I now live: after spending one of the lockdowns on the Portuguese coast I decided not to return to London. The move has completely changed my eating habits because this wonderfully seasonal produce is not only abundant but much more affordable. Here I use extra virgin olive oil (sometimes pork lard) as my main cooking fat, and I eat more citrus fruits, almonds, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and carrots, and feel better and lighter all round. Crucially, I can go for a blow-out mariscada (seafood platter) lunch with friends, and not feel in need of a nap afterwards.

The Atlantic diet, which is particularly identified with northern Portugal and Spain’s northwestern coast, is a close cousin of the Mediterranean, but with added the addition of meat, beans, potatoes and rice — as well as even more fish (the Portuguese are the biggest fish and rice eaters in Europe). It’s the Atlantic cooking style that seems particularly conducive to good health: grilling, soups and stews, which accrue nutrients in the broth.

Cozido à Portuguesa (slow-cooked pork, beef, sausages, vegetables and potatoes) is a national dish; feijoada (black bean and pork stew) is another; and the traditional Christmas Eve meal is bacalhau cozido com todos (stewed salt cod with everything, including potatoes and cabbage, fresh garlic and olive oil).

Soup is a cornerstone of life, and the favourite, caldo verde, or green soup, showcases another treasure of the national diet — cabbage. Brassicas here are king, adored in a way that the Scottish child in me sometimes finds unfathomable.

I will also never stop being astonished at the propensity for double carbs at lunch and dinner — rice and potatoes or rice and chips (gorgeous, yellow, hand-cut chips, mind) are a table staple — and this is no country for vegetarians who like to eat out. But when I’m sitting in an old-school neighbourhood tasca and notice a customer handing an empty Tupperware to the staff, I remember there’s not a lot of processed food eaten at the average Portuguese table; a takeaway largely involves stopping at a family restaurant to pick up the dish of the day. The social benefits of eating like this are high, as well as the nutritional ones.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...-when-h8dxk3t8p
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  #2   ^
Old Sat, Feb-17-24, 10:15
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JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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All sounds wonderful to me…including those nutrient dense potatoes…and it is still a vegetable also "minimally processed", e.g. whole grain bread not wrapped in plastic and no preservatives. "Moderate" amounts of meat, food eaten earlier in day, seafood and oily fish with local, seasonal fruits and veg, etc. hard to go wrong. The popularized "Mediterranean Diet" was always critiqued that it did not account for the wide diversity of all the countrys on the Med many diets. Italians also eat beef and pork and use lard in cooking in certain regions.

Last edited by JEY100 : Sat, Feb-17-24 at 13:44.
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Old Sat, Feb-17-24, 10:33
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Calianna Calianna is online now
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Funny how the diet they eat, the bold section headings and the actual advice given seem to contradict or are just plain vague:

Quote:
Eat at least one portion of pulses each week for gut health

From Portuguese beans made with pinto beans to Spanish bean stew with butter beans, pulses and legumes (including chickpeas, beans and lentils) feature prominently in the Atlantic way of eating. Patel says that in the UK we eat nowhere near the 50g a day of legumes that the World Health Organisation recommends for all-round health. Patel says they are packed with fibre, plant polyphenols and nutrients that boost gut and digestive health. “Our intake of legumes in the UK is around 28g per person per week,” Patel says. “We would definitely benefit from following the higher intakes of the Spanish and Portuguese.”


So they say you should eat at least one portion weekly, although WHO says you need 50g/day (while not mentioning how big one portion is on the Atlantic diet), and that they feature prominently in the Atlantic diet - but no indication of exactly how much they consume in the Atlantic diet.


The push for fresh oily fish always confounds me. I doubt it's that difficult to get fresh fish in the UK that's actually FRESH - living on islands surrounded by water means fish are likely one of the most readily available sources of protein, at least in towns near the coasts. But if you go someplace like landlocked W Va, or Oklahoma, any fish available will be canned, smoked, or frozen - and they distinctly recommend against canned and smoked. Even here in PA - I only live a couple hours from the Atlantic and about an hour from the Chesapeake Bay, but our local stores "fresh" fish departments generally have "fresh" fish with signs saying "previously frozen, thawed for your convenience" So frozen it is. But something they never seem to mention is that all fish has mercury in it these days. So you're supposed to eat all this fresh fish, while strictly limiting your fish consumption because of the mercury content.

Oh and then there's those individuals who are highly allergic to fish, as in keep the epi-pen handy in case you accidentally consume something you didn't realize had Worcestershire sauce in it. (because Worcestershire has some anchovy in it)



Then there's beef and pork:

Quote:
Red meat — pork and beef — is allowed

“Meat is a definite feature of the Atlantic diet,” Patel says. The most popular types are pork and lean beef. “Meat is a good source of protein nutrients, including iron, B12, zinc and B vitamins, and can play a part in a healthy diet but do stick to healthy guidelines,” she says. The best and most easily absorbed form of iron is the heme iron found in red meat. In the UK, the NHS says “red meat, including pork and beef” can form part of a balanced diet, although government advice is to eat no more than 70g a day of cooked weight of red meat and to avoid processed meat products such as salami and sausage.


So how much red meat are the ones doing the Atlantic diet eating? I somehow doubt they're strictly limiting their intake to 70 g daily. And are they eating processed meat products? They don't mention those little details - but unless they're eating the entire carcass at one meal, chances are they're eating plenty of processed meats too, because those are old fashioned preservation methods. And then there's the question of what they're doing with all the fat from the pork and beef, since they're still only recommending lean cuts.

This gives us a little hint though:

Quote:
When I first visited Portugal just over 12 years ago,gambas da costa (prawns from our coast), amêijoas (clams), dourada (sea bream) and robalo (sea bass) and the simple way of cooking it all enthralled me. People here want to taste the seafood, not the sauce. That led me to a love affair with the country where I now live: after spending one of the lockdowns on the Portuguese coast I decided not to return to London. The move has completely changed my eating habits because this wonderfully seasonal produce is not only abundant but much more affordable. Here I use extra virgin olive oil (sometimes pork lard) as my main cooking fat, and I eat more citrus fruits, almonds, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and carrots, and feel better and lighter all round. Crucially, I can go for a blow-out mariscada (seafood platter) lunch with friends, and not feel in need of a nap afterwards.


And yet they're still warning: don't eat more than 70g of red meat/day, make sure it's lean, avoid processed meats, and eat lots of fish/seafood (but stay away from salted and canned fish, while not even mentioning the mercury content)... but then there's also this:

Quote:
Cozido à Portuguesa (slow-cooked pork, beef, sausages, vegetables and potatoes) is a national dish; feijoada (black bean and pork stew) is another; and the traditional Christmas Eve meal is bacalhau cozido com todos (stewed salt cod with everything, including potatoes and cabbage, fresh garlic and olive oil).


Many of the distinctions they point out between what they consume on the Atlantic diet and what is consumed in the UK is not all that significant -

8.32kg tomatoes/year in the UK vs 12.98kg or tomatoes/year on Atlantic (that amounts to a difference of 0.08kg tomatoes/week, which is about 2 oz or 1/4 cup per week)

202 eggs/year vs 220 eggs/year. (approximately 1/3 of an egg per week)

And yet more contradiction to those egg numbers:

Quote:
A study in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal reported that one egg a day could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.


That would be 365 eggs per year - so even the Atlantic diet is still falling very short of that ideal.



You'd think that if they wanted to show this as a truly viable diet, they'd stick to the differences that actually separate it from the typical standard diet that includes a lot of convenience foods, fast foods, and junk foods:

Quote:
“The Atlantic diet typically contains local, fresh and minimally processed seasonal foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and olive oil,” says Alex Ruani, a researcher in nutrition science at UCL and chief science educator at the Health Sciences Academy. “But it also features moderate amounts of meat, mainly pork, some starchy-based carbs like bread and pasta, dairy including milk and a little wine”




In other words, what they actually eat in Spain and Portugal on the so-called Atlantic Diet is an historically traditional diet. The nuances such as olive oil or lard, salted fish or fresh, exactly how many eggs weekly and how much cheese or milk daily or weekly - those are all going to be slightly different in different countries. The biggest thing is that they're not eating a lot of junk.

But then I doubt most people these days are even aware of what was historically traditional in terms of diet - they can't imagine a world without a fast food place or Starbucks on every corner, not having an entire grocery aisle of boxed cereals, another aisle with nothing but sodas, and yet another separate aisle (or even 2 or 3) containing nothing but snacks, cookies, crackers, and chips.
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Old Sat, Feb-17-24, 11:48
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Here's the study in full:

Traditional Atlantic Diet and Its Effect on Health and the Environment

A Secondary Analysis of the GALIAT Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial


JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7(2):e2354473.
doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.54473
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Old Sun, Feb-18-24, 02:42
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I'm surprised this is a new idea. Don't a lot of UK residents vacation in Spain and Portugal? Wouldn't most people already know that the food cultures there tend to be based on fresh local home-made foods with a lot less industrial crap? I knew that just from Portuguese immigrants I knew plus my brother's trip to Spain and how he crowed about the food (he's slim and health-conscious.)

This advice is a bit of a nothing-burger for me. You can pick any ethnicity, focus on its local fresh food that everyone's great-grandmas would have made, and you'll probably be way better off than modern SAD convenience eating.

I also question all of those "(country x) consumes twice as much (food) as (country y)" stats, because aren't those based on production and sales, not necessarily human consumption? Ie, they might be ignoring waste.
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Old Sun, Feb-18-24, 06:03
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A British citizen living in Portugal in search of a freelance article she can submit back to The Times.
And the always accurate "3-day food diary was used to collect dietary intake data" at 6 months.

This diet could be seen as one of the many "black swans" that disprove The Carbohydrate-Insulin model. A majority of diet patterns are based on carbohydrates. You don't even need Kevin Hall's study to see the flaws with blaming sugar or carbs. Minimally processed high carb food can support metabolic health, and has for centuries.
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Old Sun, Feb-18-24, 09:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEY100
A British citizen living in Portugal in search of a freelance article she can submit back to The Times.




That article was quite a leap from the actual study - explains a lot about why there were so many disjointed bits of information:

The British don't eat enough eggs! Those on the Atlantic diet eat more eggs than the British! The UK gov't suggests eating more than 1-1/2 times as many eggs though.

The UK food police want you to eat no more than 70 g of beef or pork daily, and make sure it's lean. No sausages or processed meats though. Eat fish, but not salted or canned fish. So you should follow the Atlantic diet - they eat beef, pork, salted fish, sausages, and even use lard in cooking.

The more I look at that article, the more I started wondering what the point was - the UK entities that make the restrictive food recommendations are right, or maybe because the author was doing so well on the Atlantic Diet that the diet they actually eat in Spain/Portugal is better, because I was constantly asking "Wait - what, huh?" the whole time I was reading it.


Quote:
And the always accurate "3-day food diary was used to collect dietary intake data" at 6 months.

While there's always a lot that goes right over my head when reading any "full study", I did manage to catch that about the 3 day food diary... the last 3 days out of 6 months being the food intake the results are based on, so not even an actual "diary" of what they ate for 3 days, much less 6 months, but yet another recall.

I'm married to someone who had always hated to eat the same thing for dinner 2 nights in a row, so I need to stagger leftovers... and yet if I ask which leftover he'd rather have, he has always asked me "what did we have last night for dinner?" because no matter how good or unique it was, what he had for dinner obviously made so little impression on him that he doesn't recall what he ate the night before for dinner, just knows he doesn't want to eat the same thing 2 nights in a row. Therefore, even a 3-day food recall would evoke mostly blank stares. (He recalls breakfast because even though he eats something different for breakfast each day, he has a habit of eating the same thing on the same day of the week every week.)

Quote:
This diet could be seen as one of the many "black swans" that disprove The Carbohydrate-Insulin model. A majority of diet patterns are based on carbohydrates. You don't even need Kevin Hall's study to see the flaws with blaming sugar or carbs. Minimally processed high carb food can support metabolic health, and has for centuries.


Still, the very reason these traditional regional diets work to improve health over a highly processed food diet (even if not resulting in ideal health) is that they're traditional diets - they purposely hearken back to what our ancestors ate hundreds or thousands of years ago (including full fat cheese, butter, lard, and eggs), and avoid modern processed foods, focusing on foods that were part of the traditional diet of an area for ages. It's been said many times, "if your grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, don't eat it" Of course that saying works a lot better for someone in my age range or older - you'd need to go back more than 100 years now to avoid the beginnings of the highly processed food era.

Sigh.

Processing does make it possible to keep more types of food longer without spoiling, mainly because there's not much of food value left in a lot of it to spoil. Some ultra-processing makes it possible to transport food over long distances without spoiling along the way, and could certainly provide much needed calories to populations experiencing famine. But such highly processed food that can keep for years and help in such dire situations really shouldn't be the mainstay of anyone's diet. Unfortunately, that's what it's become in this country, as well as other countries following in our junk food footsteps, even though it's still possible to get food that isn't highly processed. So many just don't have the time/energy/inclination to prepare foods that they need to "process" (prepare and cook) themselves.

While sometimes it's a matter of working long hours and not sleeping well that saps an individual's energy, part of the reason they don't have the energy to prep and cook real foods is that they've been eating the highly processed stuff, creating a cycle of no energy to cook, so you open a package to eat, which is so devoid of nutrients that it saps your energy, leaving you hungry in no time, so you reach for more packaged food that is devoid of nutrients... round and round it goes, in a continual cycle of hunger, nutritional bankruptcy, and exhaustion.
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Old Mon, Feb-19-24, 06:32
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Washington Post gave its take on this diet, with quotes from Willett, Gardner and Mozaffarian,

What’s the Atlantic diet? A variation on Mediterranean eating shows benefits. The Atlantic diet looks and sounds a lot like the Mediterranean diet. Here’s how the two compare.

Quote:
The “Atlantic diet” — what some experts are calling a variation on Mediterranean eating — is getting some buzz after a study found adherents to the diet had a significantly lower risk of chronic health problems. Both diets stress the importance of eating fresh fruit, vegetables, fish or other seafood, and the use of olive oil, as well as moderate amounts of wine.

The Atlantic diet consists of foods traditionally eaten in northwest Spain and Portugal. It recommends three to four servings a week of both seafood and lean meat, a variety of seasonal vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and olive oil.

One of the main differences between the Atlantic diet and the Mediterranean diet is that the Atlantic version incorporates more brassicas, which is a family of vegetables that includes turnip greens, turnips, kale, cabbage and cauliflower, said Mar Calvo-Malvar, an attending specialist in laboratory medicine at the University Clinical Hospital of Santiago de Compostela in Spain and a principal investigator of the Galiat Study, a clinical trial focused on the Atlantic diet.

Continues…


https://wapo.st/3UGhx3l

Last edited by JEY100 : Mon, Feb-19-24 at 06:46.
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  #9   ^
Old Mon, Feb-19-24, 11:27
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Calianna Calianna is online now
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Thanks for the link to the WaPo article.

Quote:
“From a cultural perspective, our intervention was grounded in a diet that aligns with the cultural and gastronomic heritage of the area, featuring local and economically accessible foods,” Calvo-Malvar said. “This approach not only contributes to preserving cultural traditions but also enhances the likelihood of dietary adherence and sustainability.”


As we've seen with the Mediterranean diet (in all it's iterations - including the significantly higher fat "French paradox" diet), it's an historically traditional diet.

I have my doubts that consuming mostly fish and seafood has all that much to do with it at all - it's just what happens to be most readily accessible in coastal areas. I have serious doubts that "lean" meat has anything to do with it at all, especially since the author of the previous article described cooking with lard.

Traditional cultures simply didn't waste anything if they could possibly help it. Excess pork fat was rendered to make lard. Excess beef fat was rendered to make tallow for candles (not very nice candles, but for those who couldn't afford beeswax candles, a much cheaper option to have at least some light after dark)

Quote:
The Atlantic diet consists of foods traditionally eaten in northwest Spain and Portugal. It recommends three to four servings a week of both seafood and lean meat, a variety of seasonal vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and olive oil.

One of the main differences between the Atlantic diet and the Mediterranean diet is that the Atlantic version incorporates more brassicas, which is a family of vegetables that includes turnip greens, turnips, kale, cabbage and cauliflower,


It includes more brassicas because the Atlantic area has a slightly cooler climate than the areas of the Mediterranean studied to come up with the Med diet, and those vegetables need a slightly cooler climate for a longer period of time to grow to maturity than what's.

I get the distinct feeling that the people who study these diets and health outcomes really have no clue about what it takes to grow certain types of food - Rocky, mountainous regions with long harsh winters always relied heavily on animal products, while filling in with whatever relatively short season crops they were able to grow in cooler weather which could be preserved for the winter.

Somewhat milder climates (France, Spain, Portugal) grew foods that had slightly longer growing seasons or needed slightly longer "cool" seasons.

Warmer climates (Mediterranean) grew foods that required longer, warmer growing seasons.

They sure are trying to make it sound like there's got to be one ideal diet for everyone on the planet, when realistically there isn't even one specific assortment of foods that can be grown everywhere.

Every culture historically ate what was available locally and only what was in season, unless it could be stored using primitive preservation techniques for the winter.

We're just a mess these days because we can get every type of food from all over the globe, including tons of highly processed carbs.
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Old Mon, Feb-19-24, 12:25
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cotonpal cotonpal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calianna
I get the distinct feeling that the people who study these diets and health outcomes really have no clue about what it takes to grow certain types of food - Rocky, mountainous regions with long harsh winters always relied heavily on animal products, while filling in with whatever relatively short season crops they were able to grow in cooler weather which could be preserved for the winter.

Somewhat milder climates (France, Spain, Portugal) grew foods that had slightly longer growing seasons or needed slightly longer "cool" seasons.

Warmer climates (Mediterranean) grew foods that required longer, warmer growing seasons.

They sure are trying to make it sound like there's got to be one ideal diet for everyone on the planet, when realistically there isn't even one specific assortment of foods that can be grown everywhere.

Every culture historically ate what was available locally and only what was in season, unless it could be stored using primitive preservation techniques for the winter.

We're just a mess these days because we can get every type of food from all over the globe, including tons of highly processed carbs.


Thank you for this. It makes so much sense.
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Old Fri, Feb-23-24, 09:47
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From Nina Teicholz, Unsettled Science

Quote:
For those who find the Mediterranean diet not quite to their liking, how about the “Atlantic Diet?” The Washington Post tells us that this “variation on Mediterranean eating” is "getting some buzz after a study found adherents to the diet had a significantly lower risk of chronic health problems.”

The good news: this is a randomized clinical trial.

The “Atlantic diet” is the local cuisine of Northwestern Spain and Northern Portugal. These folks eat more seafood, dairy and meat than their brethren in the Mediterranean region, but less pasta. Instead they eat “other starches such as chestnuts, potatoes and bread.”

The researchers hailed from Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia in Northwestern Spain. They randomized 250 local families to the Atlantic diet group (AD) or to a control group. They counseled the families in the AD group how to cook and eat the right foods, and the AD group had “food baskets (free of charge) delivered every 3 weeks with a variety of local foods characteristic of the traditional Atlantic diet.”

As for the controls, they got nada. No food baskets, nor lessons on how to cook. They simply “followed their habitual lifestyle.

Welcome to what is known in the clinical trial business as performance bias, which reflects different levels of care given to the intervention vs. the control groups. If you deliver food baskets every three weeks to your Atlantic diet group and nothing to the controls, you’re not only providing free food, which increases adherence to a diet, but you’re reminding the AD people that they’re enrolled in a clinical trial and should be eating healthfully. Not so for your controls. Maybe it’s these reminders that matter, not actual diet followed? We’ll never know.

This kind of performance bias is the nutritional equivalent of doing a drug study without providing a placebo to the control group.²

Self-respecting journal editors would never publish the results from such a trial, because they’d know they’re unreliable. Without a placebo, there’s no way to know if the health benefits observed were due to the food itself or the greater attention lavished on the intervention group.

This failure to have parallel interventions in both the intervention and control groups is the bad news of this trial. In scientific lingo, the trial was “poorly controlled.” Yet the researchers don’t seem to understand; the editors at JAMA Network Open don’t seem to care, nor (apparently) do the peer reviewers, and certainly not the WP reporter writing this up. The same seems true for the very influential epidemiologists whom the WP reporter contacted for comments.

Here at Unsettled Science, we’re wondering if anybody actually reads these papers anymore or cares about trial design?

But now you’re asking, surely if the Atlantic diet made subjects healthier , then that’s a good thing? Can’t we just go ahead and tell people to eat that way? Yes, but… look at the components of the Atlantic diet. You’ll need a different link to see those. The “food consumption recommendations” (shown in Table 1) included eating “sweets, pastries, cakes, candies, ice cream etc.” only “a few times per month” and “sugary drinks” only “a few times per month.” Beer seems off the menu entirely.

So, maybe the Atlantic diet reduces chronic disease risk due to the olive oil and 3-4 servings of fish and cheese every week? Or maybe just telling people to avoid sugar (and beer) does the trick. This kind of study will never tell us.


2 Our favorite example of performance bias was in the study, called PREDIMED, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, which cemented the Mediterranean diet’s haloed spot in the nutrition world. Like the Atlantic Diet trial, PREDIMED was conducted in Spain, and it also neglected to provide a placebo similar to the intervention. When the PREDIMED investigators realized this flaw, three years into the study, they tried to address the problem. As the authors wrote in the supplementary material published with their paper, “The initial dietary protocol for the Control group started with the delivery of a leaflet summarizing the recommendations to follow a low-fat diet and scheduled one yearly visit. In October 2006, 3 years into the trial, we realized that such a low-grade intervention might potentially represent a weakness of the trial and amended the protocol to include quarterly individual and group sessions with delivery of food descriptions, shopping lists, meal plans and recipes (adapted to the low-fat diet) in such a way that the intensity of the intervention was similar to that of the Mediterranean diet groups, except for the provision of supplemental foods for free.” It was appropriate of these researchers to acknowledge this problem in their study, but we take exception with their choice of words: it wasn’t that such a low-grade intervention “might potentially represent a weakness of the trial;” it was, in fact, a fundamental flaw. Ironically, PREDIMED was retracted five years later for a different reason (incomplete randomization) and simultaneously republished, with the authors claiming that correcting for their errors had no influence on their original results. The performance bias problem was never addressed. PREDIMED remains the largest and most important clinical trial ever conducted on the Mediterranean diet, and its fundamental design flaws have in no way impeded its continued 5-star status among nutrition experts.

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Old Fri, Feb-23-24, 14:31
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I am admittedly terrible at reading those studies - but am I correct in assuming that they really have no idea at all what the control group ate - and how much? Or did the last chart where they asked what the participants ate apply to both the intervention and control groups?

It's one thing to give the control group carte blanche on eating whatever they wanted during those 6 months - but it doesn't sound to me like they even asked them what they ate, as if it's completely immaterial, as long as they know what the intervention group ate.

Or perhaps because they weren't giving them any guidance and weren't giving them any food baskets, they just didn't care to include information they'd collected about what the control group ate in the results.
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Old Sun, Feb-25-24, 09:20
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I do wonder if the control diet was a version of the standard American diet (SAD). That seems to be what a lot of diet studies use as the control and it's why they always show that the intervention diet is better. It would be difficult to find a worse diet than SAD.
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Old Tue, Feb-27-24, 06:20
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Quote:
PREDIMED remains the largest and most important clinical trial ever conducted on the Mediterranean diet, and its fundamental design flaws have in no way impeded its continued 5-star status among nutrition experts.


It worked... for the people who funded it. In their true goal.
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Old Tue, Feb-27-24, 09:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger
I do wonder if the control diet was a version of the standard American diet (SAD). That seems to be what a lot of diet studies use as the control and it's why they always show that the intervention diet is better. It would be difficult to find a worse diet than SAD.


That's a very good point, and you could be very right about that since they really don't seem to give any information about what the control group was eating, and we know that as time goes on, UPFs are infiltrating European diets more, so they are becoming more like SAD diets. (Although I doubt they're anywhere near as bad as the typical SAD diet, at least not quite yet)

And considering how much the Atlantic diet allows in carbs, meats, and fats, it doesn't sound all that much different from a 1950's standard US diet... actually sounds like it's not all that much different from the French paradox diet, at least as far as macros are concerned.
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