I’m currently a PhD student at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. My project is on the metabolic and physiological responses to a meal in healthy people (e.g. glucose metabolites and insulin signalling) and to see whether this is altered in pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. My final PhD study in on cancer metabolism.
This blog is about health and related topics that I’m interested in, and not necessarily related to what I do academically. I mainly focus on chronic disease (e.g. obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and more recently on the evidence regarding saturated fat and coronary heart disease.
Chronic disease: I’ve long been unsatisfied with the limited and simplistic information that trickles down to the general public, as well as our society’s narrative of disease: that it ‘just happens’ and ‘is the kind of thing that happens when you get older’. One of my main philosophies is that things simply don’t ‘just happen’ and that ‘there is an explanation for everything’. So I'm interested in the core mechanisms and underlying factors that seem to be responsible for various diseases, and also write about other theories of disease that I consider to be incorrect or incomplete.
Saturated fat and coronary heart disease: the advice to reduce saturated fat as a means of reducing the risk of coronary heart disease is perhaps the single most influential recommendation in conventional dietary advice. It is based on evidence that saturated fat increases the amount of cholesterol in LDL particles, which is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Most conventional dietary advice then assumes that saturated fat therefore increases the risk of coronary heart disease, but this is not always a correct assumption to make. Among randomised controlled trials (the gold standard), those that are better controlled, and therefore most closely reflect a true test of reducing saturated fat and replacing it with polyunsaturated fat, show no benefit at all. This is not widely appreciated due to a focus on poorer quality of evidence (such as risk factors and observational studies) and the inclusion of inadequately controlled trials in current meta-analyses.
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