Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Fáilte - Welcome - Καλωσόρισμα to UL (on your way to your Ithaka)







This is the main building on UL campus with a welcome message in many languages!

A brilliant idea to make everybody feel at home!

It's a pleasure welcoming new students in UL : Hope that your road is full of adventure, full of knowledge!






By C. P. Cavafy 

As you set out for Ithaca
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon--don'nt be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body
Laistrygonians, cyclops
wild Poseidon--you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours you are seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things.
Mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for,
but don't hurry the journey at all,
better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become,
so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then
what these Ithakas mean.


C. P. Cavafy

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
For Chatto Poetry





Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Seeds of change

Seeds have a particular value in the food chain.

As ever more varieties of food crop die out, seedsavers are stepping in to rescue endangered plant.

You can read the full story here.

and watch this trailer of Bitter Seeds.




Monday, 29 August 2016

New study: Mediterranean diet better than statins for tackling heart disease



Heart disease is better treated with a Mediterranean-style diet than cholesterol-lowering drugs, it has been claimed. A study found those who had a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fish and oils were a third less likely to die early, compared with those who ate larger quantities of red meat, such as beef, and butter.Speaking at a global conference on heart disease in Rome, leading heart disease expert Prof Giovanni de Gaetano said: “So far research has focused on the general population, which is mainly composed of healthy people.“What happens to people who have already suffered from cardiovascular disease? Is the Mediterranean diet optimal for them too?”

The study followed 1,200 people with a history of heart attacks, strokes and blocked arteries over seven years. During that time, 208 patients died but the closer people were to an ideal Mediterranean diet the less likely they were to be among the fatalities.

= = =

This is a very important study shedding light into the dark side of statins.
In our view, the advantages of following Med diet need to be properly communicated to healthy and non-healthy people and also the rush of medical doctors subscribing statins is another side of the problem. The reasoning against statins needs to be steady and ongoing. There are numerous misconceptions on statins out there that need to be eradicated...

Yannis Zabetakis



Further Reading

1. Marine Oils (From Sea to Pharmaceuticals)
2. Lipids and cardiovascular disease: where does dietary intervention sit alongside statin therapy?

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

food4me : some questions...



an interesting study (a major outcome of the project food4me) was published 10 days ago.

The study is around personalised nutrition advice, genotypes and phenotypes and the outcomes are interesting (to say the least).
A debate has started on whether this study is a blow to nutrigenomics but I think there is also another angle we need to view the results.

Have a look on table 3 of the study

After six months... look the impact on these 2 parameters...

1. body weight -0.61 kg
2. BMI -0.24 (where the initial one was 28.9 mean, i.e. strongly overweight! close to obese levels, i.e. 30)


It looks that people may have changed their diets ...but the positive impact of this diet change is rather minimal...

Another limitation of the study was that total cholesterol was measured whereas we know that it is the ratio of HDL/LDL that is important for CVDs and not the absolute levels of total cholesterol...
( you can read here our views on cholesterol and statins)

Yannis Zabetakis


Friday, 19 August 2016

Dietary Supplements (DS) are not a panacea


And the people who took part in this study know this.
We don't know why yet...
Only speculations are heard at the moment.

One reason though could be this : do DS do what they claim on the label ? ?  ._

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Med diet and the brain

What is the link between the Med Diet and the healthy function of the brain?
Well...quite strong as new research suggests.

So, do not forget the pyramid...




Thursday, 11 August 2016

Food and Innovation...the weakest link

Some food4thought for the coming Academic year.

Companies in the food sector, in their quest for innovation, they try different formulations, different packaging etc.
However, only few focus on the actual health benefits of food ingredients.
This is rather surprising...and actually a bit sad.

Given that EFSA has set clear guidelines on how to make novel health claims on foods, it would be beneficial, both for companies AND consumers, to create foods with novel health claims.

This would bring a dual gain.

For companies, the added value of these foods/nutritional supplements would increase dramatically.
For consumers, they will gain access to food with REAL health benefits and not the "soft" (but untrue?) messages they get on the packaging today that do NOT correspond to strong scientific data but it is just misleading info...

The challenge is huge both for companies and Academics.

But at the end of the day, the underlining question for all of us is this: do we really want to promote Science and create Novel (and really Functional!) Food or just play around with words, images and catchy phrases?


Yannis Zabetakis



inflammation and depression



For the people working on the field of inflammation, it is not unknown that inflammation is linked to the onset of many serious diseases, eg. CVDs, diabetes, cancer.

Now, there are fresh data linking inflammation to depression! The full study is here.

Let's try to remember that our diet is the most useful weapon to fight inflammation. Let's, thus, try to enrich our diet with anti-inflammatory foods (e.g. oils, nuts, fish, cheese, yoghurt).