Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wheat flour, rice and vascular diseases in the China Study II data: Article on Cliodynamics

My article on volume 6, number 2, of the journal Cliodynamics has recently been published; it is titled “Wheat flour versus rice consumption and vascular diseases: Evidence from the China Study II data” (). While this is an academic article, I think that the main body of the article is fairly easy to read. More technical readers may want to check under “Supporting material”, which is one of the links on the left, where they will find a detailed description of the data used and the results of some specialized statistical tests.

In the past I have discussed in this blog the associations with vascular diseases, in the China Study dataset, of wheat flour and rice consumption. The interest in the possible effects of wheat flour AND rice consumption comes from the fact that these foods are similar in some important respects – e.g., they tend to raise insulin levels in similar ways. But as you will see in the article, their associations with vascular diseases are clearly different, particularly when we conduct nonlinear analyses.

While I do not think that wheat flour consumption per se is particularly healthy, the results of the analysis go somewhat against the idea that wheat flour intake is the primary culprit with respect to vascular diseases. The results also go somewhat against the “insulin theory of obesity”, at least in a narrow sense, and call for a broader explanation that includes cultural elements. These points are further elaborated in the article. There is speculation in the article, and also a discussion of possible limitations.



Dani said...

thanks ....

Peter said...

I've read that the Oxford statistician on the China Study, Richard Peto, said that the only thing that was clear from the China Study was that when people moved to the cities, their health declined. Another thing that made me wonder is that supposedly the rice-eating vegans in southern India have horrendous rates of heart disease, much more than the northern Indians who eat a lot of wheat. I used to think that since the most long-lived peoples are the Japanese and the Koreans, both rice eaters, it must be because of the rice, but maybe it's not.
The one thing you said that I don't agree with is that your article is easy to read for us non-scientists.

Nils said...

Excellent article Ned! I love the fresh view. It is very easy to be misled by associations, especially when there are so many confounders. I've been growing more and more wary of the Paleospeak that all grains and legumes are harmful in any amount, or the so called 'safe starches' versus toxic starches. Why should whole minimally processed wheat be different from any other natural food?

Best, Nils

Richard Nikoley said...

Just read that paper Ned. Very interesting. Nice work.

I love that people are beginning to take account of "black swan" confounders and falsifications, looking beyond just-so, simple and pat answers (it's the carbs, or, it's the fat, or, it's the meat). I find particularly interesting that rice is "protective" to a point, and then you get into "too much of a good thing" territory...the intuitive explanation of which is that we require some baseline varriance or balance in nutrients and their sources. We evolved as omnivorous migratory animals, generalists, after all.

Along these same lines, Mike Eades just put up a post actually raising some legit questions about carbohydrate being the principle cause of obesity.

I applauded his post in one of my own that I posted yesterday and it would only be fitting if I did the same for yours.

So, I better get drafting.

Ned Kock said...

Thanks Richard. Please feel free to drop links here to your posts, or relevant posts by others, whenever you want.

Unknown said...

Nice article, very useful information.

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