On its way to England: The 1420 Calorie Hamburger!
Yes, dear readers, it’s here – the meal, called by a nutritionist ‘a heart attack in a bun’. Hardees, the fast food chain in the US who have created this 107g of fat in a sandwich known as a ‘Monster Thickburger’ make no apologies for the health effects of this £3 hamburger comprising two big chunks of processed beef, four rashers of bacon and plenty of cheese and mayonnaise. A spokesman for the company, describing this mass of saturated animal fat as a ‘monument to decadence’, made the insightful comment that this was no ‘burger for tree-huggers’. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest was less complimentary, saying: ‘If the old Thickburger was food porn’ the Monster Thickburger is the fast-food equivalent of a snuff-movie.’
[sic]. Go on then – supersize me. French fries and a chocolate malted milkshake on the side. You only live once, you know.

Careful with Vitamin E
A lot of people take supplements of Vitamin E in high doses for various reasons including menopausal symptoms and raising you libido. Actually the vitamin was shown to raise the sex drive of rats but never proved to have the same effect on humans. This hasn’t deterred some people – after all we are living in a rat race aren’t we? Anyway, the men in white coats at the prestigious Johns Hopkin University School of Medicine have conducted a study that showed that taking too much of this vitamin can increase your risk of an early death by as much as 10%. Let’s be clear about this vitamin then. The daily requirement is 10 iu (international units). Multivitamin tablets contain up to 60 iu and are completely safe. However pure Vitamin E supplement typically contain 400, 800 or even more iu and its these high dose supplements of the vitamin that are being questioned with regard to their health value, especially in the over 60s. As always I recommend one multivitamin a day. If you think you should be taking more than that you should discuss it with your doctor.

But eat plenty of Porridge:
The Daily Mail extolled the benefits of porridge giving 6 reasons to start winter days with a steaming bowl of oats.

  1. It helps hangovers by absorbing toxins, neutralising acid and keeping the bowels moving.
  2. It fights heart disease. Porridge contains avenanthramides that act against fat being laid down in the arteries.
  3. It boosts energy by releasing sugar gradually until lunch.
  4. It helps depression due to a high content of Vitamin B6 which boots our serotonin levels. In this way it acts as a ‘natural Prozac’ (Exercise does exactly the same thing and much more intensely.)
  5. It’s high fibre content may help prevent cancer especially bowel cancer.
  6. It is rich in zinc (needed for a healthy immune system) and manganese which is good for the bones.

Homeopathic Tip of the Week: Oscillococcinum

As winter approaches, the papers and magazines are full of articles on how to treat and prevent colds and ‘flu. I will have more to say about this in future columns but for today let me mention the most famous French homeopathic remedy for viral infections. It’s called Oscillococcinum and it is prescribed and used very frequently in France usually in strength 200K. This is an homeopathic remedy easily available over the counter at most French chemists. It’s available over the counter here too, but you will need to buy or order it from a specialist homeopathic pharmacy.