myDr's top 10 health news stories of 2015

17 December 2015

The myDr team has selected these 10 news stories as the top health headlines of 2015. It's no surprise that many are nutritional in subject matter in a year that brought more and more nutrition breakthroughs and brought us closer to understanding the microbiome and its effect on our weight and health.

#1: Fat no longer the fall guy in new US dietary thinking

healthy fats

Fat focus likely to move from total fat consumption onto consumption of healthy fats, according to US scientists. In a major turnaround the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are unlikely to include an upper limit on fat, reversing nearly 4 decades of nutrition policy.

Fat no longer the fall guy in new US dietary guidelines

#2: Red wine health benefits for type 2 diabetes

red wine health benefits for type 2 diabetes

A glass of red wine with dinner for people with type 2 diabetes can reduce heart disease risk and improve blood sugar profiles. The results show the red wine drinkers have a modest increase in HDL (good) cholesterol levels (0.05mmol/L) and a reduced total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol ratio, compared with those who drank water. 

Red wine health benefits for type 2 diabetes

#3: Apple watch saves man's life

apple watch saves man's life

Apple watch saves man's life, alerting him to high resting heart rate which turned out to be a symptom of rhabdomyolysis, a dangerous medical condition. An American teenage football player credits an Apple watch with saving his life after it alerted him that his heart rate was extremely high.

Apple watch saves man's life

#4: Designer vagina operations - men don't care

designer vagina operations - men don't care

Most men are totally happy with the appearance of their female partner’s genitals, with almost all saying they would never suggest she consider labiaplasty surgery.  An Australian study shows that despite rates of cosmetic labiaplasty tripling over the past decade, this cultural shift appears to be primarily driven by women, not men.

Designer vagina operations - men don't care

#5: Mediterranean diet plus olive oil lowers risk of breast cancer

Mediterranean diet plus olive oil lowers risk of breast cancer

Risk of breast cancer was cut by 68% in those who ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive compared with those who stuck to a low-fat diet, large study finds. The authors said this was the first trial to find a long-term dietary intervention which had an effect on reducing breast cancer.

Mediterranean diet plus olive oil lowers risk of breast cancer

#6: Gluten-free foods not necessarily healthier

gluten-free foods are not necessarily healthier

Despite the abundance of gluten-free foods on offer in supermarkets, they offer no health benefits to people without gluten intolerance and may even contain unhealthy substitute starches and fats, according to an Australian study. An audit of more than 3000 packaged foods from major Australian supermarkets shows many of those advertised as gluten-free have more kilojoules, salt, sugar and/or saturated fat than their gluten-containing counterparts. 

Gluten-free foods not necessarily a healthier choice

#7: Mediterranean diet is good for your gut

Mediterranean diet is good for your gut

The Mediterranean diet increases production of short chain fatty acids which in turn reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases, diabetes and heart disease.

Previous research has found people following a Mediterranean dietary pattern have a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Now, microbiologists from the University of Naples in Italy say they have tangible evidence of a positive impact on the community of trillions of microorganisms that live in the gut, which are collectively known as the gut microbiota.

Mediterranean diet is good for your gut

#8: 7 foods that help fatty liver disease

7 foods that help fatty liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is on the rise in Australia and Sydney researchers have identified 7 foods that should improve the course of the disease. 

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a serious condition which can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver cirrhosis.

There are no medicines to treat the disease, with lifestyle improvements and weight loss the main treatments. 

7 foods that help fatty liver disease

#9: Bowel cancer increases in under-50s

bowel cancer increases in younger people

Bowel cancer diagnosis increases in younger Australians, but stabilises among older Australians. A survey by Bowel Cancer Australia shows that almost 80% of young Australians diagnosed were unaware of their risk before being diagnosed.

Bowel cancer increases in under-50s

#10: FODMAPs not gluten the real culprit for some

What if avoiding gluten and wheat was helping your symptoms, but not for the reasons you thought? 

The most commonly given reasons for going gluten-free were abdominal bloating, abdominal pain and fatigue - common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that affects one in 7 adults.

Given that coeliac disease is far less prevalent than IBS, affecting only 0.4% (that's only 4 in a thousand) of Australians, it would appear that too many healthy people are unnecessarily avoiding gluten and wheat.

FODMAPs not gluten the real culprit for some

Last Reviewed: 17 December 2015

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