Finally, scientists have definitive numbers proving the clear link between our diet and heart attacks. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.
1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than North Americans do.
2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than their North American counterparts.
3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than North Americans.
4. Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than North Americans.
5. Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats, and suffer fewer heart attacks than North Americans.
Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
I laughed out loud when I first heard this, but it also, sadly, reinforces for me the dilemma of interpreting all cardiac research. Depending on the parameters, methodology and covert or overt goals of researchers, studies can prove that right-handed married women who eat dill pickles every second Tuesday evening while doing yoga are more likely to have heart attacks than those non-pickle-eating southpaw single gals.
I like the science advice from McGill University chemistry professor Dr. Joe Schwarcz (broadcaster, speaker and author of several books on science and nutrition, including this intriguing title about his homeland: Hungary – Where Salami Is A Vegetable). Dr. Joe, as he’s known to his audiences, reminded us last month of a study “proving” that coffee improves Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. He advises: “So be kind to your mice. Put out a bowl of coffee.” Or how about another study “proving” benefits of chocolate on those with hypertension? “Chocolate slashes high blood pressure – if you’re a rat!” You can follow the delightfully skeptical bons mots of Dr. Joe on Twitter.
I’ve already ranted on this site of the need to read the fine print in medical journals when you see research conflicts of interest to avoid being sucked in by, oh, let’s say, research on coronary stent safety (funded by the manufacturers of drug-eluting stents) that strongly recommends continued widespread use of drug-eluting stents.
Dr. Joe’s philosophy seems to be that, as savvy consumers, we should be just as willing to laugh out loud at snake oil miracle cures and self-serving research results as we are at the joke leading off this post.
- How To Make Sense of Medical Research Studies
- Media Journalism Watchdog Slams Cardiac”Polypill” News Hype
- Doctors On The Take: How to Read the Fine Print in Cardiac Research Reports
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