New York, Oct 1 (AP/UNB) — Eating red meat is linked to cancer and heart disease, but are the risks big enough to give up burgers and steak?
A team of international researchers says probably not, contradicting established advice. In a series of papers published Monday, the researchers say the increased risks are small and uncertain and that cutting back likely wouldn't be worth it for people who enjoy meat.
Their conclusions were swiftly attacked by a group of prominent U.S. scientists who took the unusual step of trying to stop publication until their criticisms were addressed.
The new work does not say red meat and processed meats like hot dogs and bacon are healthy or that people should eat more of them. The reviews of past studies generally support the ties to cancer, heart disease and other bad health outcomes. But the authors say the evidence is weak, and that there's not much certainty meat is really the culprit, since other diet and lifestyle factors could be at play.
Most people who understand the magnitude of the risks would say "Thanks very much, but I'm going to keep eating my meat," said co-author Dr. Gordon Guyatt of McMaster University in Canada.
It's the latest example of how divisive nutrition research has become, with its uncertainties leaving the door open for conflicting advice. Critics say findings often aren't backed by strong evidence. Defenders counter that nutrition studies can rarely be conclusive because of the difficulty of measuring the effects of any single food, but that methods have improved.
"What we need to do is look at the weight of evidence — that's what courts of law use," said Dr. Walter Willett, a professor of nutrition at Harvard University who was among those calling for the papers' publication to be postponed.
Willett, who has led studies tying meat to bad health outcomes, also said the reviews do not consider the particularly pronounced benefits of switching from red meat to vegetarian options.
The journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, defended the work and said the request to have it pulled before publication is not how scientific discourse is supposed to happen. Guyatt called the attempt to halt publication "silly."
In the papers, the authors sought to gauge the potential impact of eating less meat, noting the average of two to four servings a week eaten in North America and Western Europe. They said the evidence for cutting back wasn't compelling. For example, they found that cutting three servings of red meat a week would result in seven fewer cancer deaths per 1,000 people.
Based on the analyses, a panel of the international researchers said people do not have to cut back for health reasons. But they note their own advice is weak and that they didn't take into account other factors, such as animal welfare and the toll meat production has on the environment.
There was dissent even among the authors; three of the 14 panelist said they support reducing red and processed meats. A co-author of one review is also among those who called for a publication delay.
Those who pushed to postpone publication also questioned why certain studies were included or excluded in the reviews. Harvard's Dr. Frank Hu also noted that about a third of American adults eat at least one serving of red meat a day. He said the benefits of cutting back would be larger for those who eat such high amounts.
Still, other researchers not involved in the reviews have criticized nutrition science for producing weak and conflicting findings. Dr. John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said such advice can distract from clearer, more effective messages, such as limiting how much we eat.
As for his own diet, Guyatt said he no longer thinks red or processed meats have significant health risks. But he said he still avoids them out of habit, and for animal welfare and environmental reasons.
Dhaka, Sept 24 (UNB) - Consuming unhealthy food, high in fat and sugar, may have negative long-term effects on spatial memory, a study conducted in rats suggests, reposts The Indian Express.
Spatial memory is responsible for the recording of information about one’s environment and spatial orientation.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, investigated cognitive function in rats that alternated between a ‘cafeteria diet’ of foods high in fat and sugar — like pies, cake, biscuits and chips — and their regular, healthy diet.
Over a period of six weeks, the rats were fed junk food in intervals of either three, five, or seven consecutive days, separated by their healthy chow diet.
The researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia found that the rats’ spatial memory recognition deteriorated in increments according to their pattern of access to junk food — the more days in a row they ate junk food, the worse their memory got.
“Anything over three days a week of eating badly impacted memory in these animals,” said Professor Margaret Morris from the UNSW School of Medical Sciences, and senior author of the study.
The researchers tested the rats’ spatial memory by first familiarising them with two objects.
They then repositioned one of the objects and monitored the rats’ ability to recognise a change in their environment.
A healthy animal, Morris explained, would be more likely to explore the object that had been moved.
“We all know that a healthy diet with minimal junk foods is good for our overall health and performance, but this paper shows that it is critical for optimal brain function as well,” she said.
Morris and her team previously showed diet-related changes in rats’ hippocampuses, which she explained as the part of the brain responsible for helping us find things and navigate spaces.
“This particular brain region is important in all of us. It’s also already known to be affected in humans by poor diet,” she said.
In addition to the reduced spatial memory recognition, the study also identified physical differences between rats who consumed the junk food on the three-day and five-day intervals.
The rats who were fed the cafeteria diet on the five-day schedule were considerably heavier, longer and had greater fat mass than those on the three-day schedule.
Their metabolic profile also bore a closer resemblance to those on the seven-day schedule than those on the three-day schedule.
The study adds to existing research on cognitive function and unhealthy diets — but it differs from the body of evidence in important ways.
Many existing studies test animals that have unrestrained access to junk food, which doesn’t resemble how junk food is consumed by humans.
“I think these kinds of experiments where animals have access only some of the time is a better model. I hope this paper starts to add to a more accurate idea of what happens when we eat unhealthily part of the time, not all of the time,” said lead author of the paper, Michael Kendig.
The researchers said that while the study produced important results, more research was needed before the findings could be translated to humans.
“It is notoriously difficult to do this kind of work in humans, due to ethical concerns,” Morris said.
It’s very unlikely to order Indian food at Cox’s Bazar however, after my recent trip there, I choose to believe otherwise. In fact, it is widely believed that Cox’s Handi is far better than that of Dhaka’s thus, when a friend recommended me to visit Koyla near Laboni Beach for lunch, I jumped at the opportunity.
Koyla’s location is exactly next to the entrance of Laboni Beach yet despite being in such a prime location, they were quite empty at 12.30pm. They have rooftop, indoor, and outdoor seating space and since it was quite windy, we chose to sit outside. You’d require taking off your shoes to sit on their elevated garden seats. The waiters were quick to provide us with a menu and to our surprise, they had naan/paratha available on their menu. Why was it surprising for us? Because we had been on the hunt to find them at Cox’s but all the places had them available after 5pm only. We placed an order for Chicken Reshmi Butter Masala, Garlic Naan, Sweet Lassi, and a Lemonade.
The order arrived a little after 20 minutes but we were happy with the presentation. Not only was the food served in antiques, the Lassi arrived in a Matka (earthen pot). We were also served some salad and achaar as condiments. The Naan was buttery for sure but what upset me a little was its flakiness since I prefer them to be slightly plump. However, it was the succulent chicken that won me over. These bite sized creamy boneless chicken was unlike any reshmi chicken I’ve had. It was soft and melted in my mouth due to its proper marinating with curd. Reshmi Chicken tends to have a mild, sweet, and nutty taste and this dish delivered it all!
The Lassi was overpriced for what was offered. Of course, the presentation was a nice touch but in terms of taste, the Lassi was too thick to be consumed with a regular straw and there was nothing extraordinary about it either. The Lemonade was a much better choice compared to this Lassi as at least it was refreshing.
I am so glad that during this trip, I chose to be spontaneous with my picks of where to eat. Most tourists tend to stick to deshi food everyday (which is completely fine). However, it is about time we give a chance to the other cuisines this place has to offer. Koyla will definitely be a place I will make sure to visit every time I’m in Cox’s Bazar and you should make sure you do too. If not for their Indian food, you may give their Bangla food a try at least.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - I had been seeing a buzz around the interior of this new restaurant in Dhanmondi called Little Asia. Upon entering you’ll notice a warm lighting throughout the place with some seats next to the windows receiving natural lighting. We took some time to look around and finally picked a place to sit.
To start off, the menu was immense. Since they are named Little Asia, they wanted to bring in food from different parts of Asia. I went for the two dishes that everyone had been posting pictures of: Chicken Maki Roll and Nasi Goreng.
The concept of Japanese Maki roll is used for their Chicken appetizer. A layer of shredded chicken breast wraps capsicum, mushroom and cheese and is later fried with a layer of breadcrumbs. The presentation of the dish really pops out until you realize that the bed of sauce is actually store-bought ketchup and not marinara. However, somehow this dish tasted good! The coating was crispy and the cheesy interior is something no one can resist. The reason why I think I enjoyed the dish is because it tasted quite familiar to the evening snacks I have at home which have bread crumbs as their coating.
The Nasigoreng didn’t really look appetizing but the flavors of the rice really won me over. The smoky and aromatic taste of the rice made the rice a meal itself. I could binge on it without any sides however, 2 chicken satay, a poached egg, salad, and chips are also provided with this meal. The rice itself was so good that the sides really didn’t make much of a difference to me. They also were out of the typical Indonesian chips that they tend to serve on regular days and thus, we were provided with packaged chips. The sambal had quite a kick to it but yet failed to be close to the authentic one in terms of color and consistency.
Other than that, I really liked their Halal Bar which had an array of nonalcoholic drinks. We ordered the Blueberry Yoghurt and Nutty Vanilla Freddo which was a new addition. I wasn’t particularly pleased with any of the thickness. The Blueberry Yoghurt had a great potential to be a must-have drink but the consistency of the drink was a let down for me. As for the Freddo, it was nothing impressive and barely had any Nutty taste unlike the name suggests.
For me, Little Asia has some good dishes but some very odd ones. If they maintain the taste of the rice of their Nasigoreng, I will recommend it to whoever asks me for a place for an Indonesian meal.
By: Ifreet Taheea
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - With Uttara being the new hub for almost every restaurant and cafe to consider expanding to, the main restaurants there tend to get hidden. Fat Joe’s is one such burger (and pizza) joint that not many people are aware of.
To start off, if you are looking for a premium burger, this is not your place. This is just an upgraded version of the messy burgers you typically find at most restaurants these days. The location of Fat Joe’s is inside Heart World and the interior is quite simple if you ask me. Their menu consists of pizzas, burgers, sides, poutine, and wings. We ordered the Molten Chic, Cruncheese, and Signature Pizza and for sides we had the Buffalo Wild Wings, and Onion Rings. Now began the waiting period, it took them quite a long time to serve however, once we received our orders, the portions seemed to be quite big.
My burger was the Cruncheese and I, being an anti-messy burger person, crave it till this date. The burger had a well-seasoned beef patty as well as a block of cheese, coated with breadcrumbs, and then deep fried. As soon as I took a bite, the cheese oozed out and soon I was devouring the entire thing. What really stands out in this burger is the use of green chili mixed sauce. The spiciness really helps in giving the milky texture of the mozzarella a kick. The Molten Chic’s patty was really juicy. Despite being a thick chunk, they managed to not overcook the chicken. The other condiments in the burger though were not working with the chicken. The mayo was way too sweet to go with the chicken patty.
The Signature Pizza was something that still gives me nightmares. With a base as thick as a loaf of bread and meat which weren’t cooked well, the overall taste of the pizza was just disappointing. We took a bite only and left the rest of the pizza untouched. As for the sides, the onion rings were very basic. What I didn’t like is that the batter was not coated evenly leaving some onions exposed. The wings were way to vinegary. I’d prefer that they would deep fry the wings and then coat them in a sauce as they were soggy when we had them.
My overall experience with Fat Joe’s has been mostly bad. Other than the Cruncheese, I wouldn’t really recommend anyone to try that place out. You might as well spend a similar amount at Mad Chef or Khana’s in Uttara.
By: Ifreet Taheea