Trending Topics pieces (Article Analyses, Evidence Clips and Other Topics) are published in timely response to recent media and journal articles, position statements, clinical guidelines, etc. Since they are based on the most recent evidence/publications, they may not be consistent with PEN evidence in other PEN content areas. As soon as possible, when this occurs, the PEN content will be reviewed and updated as needed.
Article Analysis: Dementia, Stroke and Sugary and Artificially Sweetened Drinks
Benefits of Reducing Saturated Fat Intake Criticized
A recent editorial by Malhotra, et al. made headlines claiming that reducing saturated fat intake has no effect on coronary heart disease. The authors do not cite the best or most recent evidence to support this claim. Importantly, they fail to acknowledge the results of a recent Cochrane review, which found moderate quality evidence that reducing saturated fat intake decreased cardiovascular (CV) events (including CV deaths, CV morbidity or unexplained CV interventions) in populations at low, moderate and high risk (1). When talking about reducing saturated fat intake, it is important to consider the replacement calories. Recent evidence identifies that the greater reductions in CV events occurred when saturated fat was replaced with polyunsaturated fat, but not with carbohydrate (1). The editorial does emphasize the benefits of a whole dietary approach, such as the Mediterranean diet, instead of focusing on specific nutrients. There is merit to this approach. The Mediterranean diet pattern is low in saturated fat and includes rich sources of unsaturated fat such as oils, nuts, seeds and oily fish, in addition to plenty of legumes, vegetables, fruit and whole grains. See additional commentary from David Katz published in Linkedin: Sat-Fat Bait & Switch.
Seems we were not alone in our concerns about the opinion piece that garnered media attention last week. Further expert reaction from the U.K. to the editorial on saturated fat and heart disease is available from Science Media Centre.
See Additional Content: Is a reduced saturated fat diet recommended for primary or secondary cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention?
Hooper L, Martin N, Adbelhamid A, Dave Smith G. Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jun 10;(6):CD011737. doi.10.1002/14651858.CD011737. Abstract available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26068959
Sugary Drink Research
Using 2004 data from the Canadian Community Health Survey to analyze sugary drink consumption and using data purchased from Euromonitor International, researchers at the University of Waterloo projected the health and economic impact of sugary drinks in Canada, which includes over 63,000 projected deaths that will cost the health care system more than $50 billion over the next 25 years. The research was commissioned by Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Diabetes Association (now Diabetes Canada), Childhood Obesity Foundation, Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada, and Heart & Stroke. Click here to view the media release and to gain access to the Health and Economic Impacts of Sugary Drinks in Canada research summary.
Tax and Sugar-sweetened Beverages
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends taxing sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), such as pop/soft drinks/soda, fruit drinks, sport drinks, energy and vitamin water drinks, and sweetened iced tea and lemonade, to lower consumption and to reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay worldwide. In February 2016 Dietitians of Canada also recommended taxation on SSB
. Listen to a recent eight-minute Viewpoint Podcast
interview with Kate Comeau from Dietitians of Canada. Within the WHO report
, it states, "The evidence for meaningful health effects is strongest for taxes on SSB, with suggestions that SSB prices would need to be raised by 20%, or more. Such taxes lead to more than proportional reductions in SSB consumption and net reductions in caloric intake, and thus contribute to improving nutrition and reducing overweight, obesity and NCDs. Similarly strong evidence shows that subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables, that reduce prices by 10-30%, are effective in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption". WHO further suggests that funds raised go toward fruit and vegetable subsidizes. See Additional Content: What interventions can help reduce consumption of energy from SSB in children?
Taxation and Sugar-sweetened Beverages
Dietitians of Canada has released its position on taxation and sugar-sweetened beverages. Based on moderate quality evidence, it is the position of Dietitians of Canada that an excise tax of at least 10-20% be applied to sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Canada given the negative impact of these products on the health of the population and the viability of taxation as a means to reduce consumption. Click here for more information: http://www.Beverages-and-Taxation.aspxViews/Sugar-sweetened-dietitians.ca/Dietitians-