Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Managing life style disorders like diabetes, blood pressure, ischemic hear disease etc through appropriate diet is always a cherished dream of every affected person. To exploit such a consumer sentiment there have been umpteen number of advice, suggestions, publications, scientific studies, aggressively promoted health products etc and the helpless consumer, who cannot discern what is truth, becomes more frustrated. From time to time reports appear in literature and public media advocating some food or the other as palliative to overcome, "manage", "prevent" or cure certain diseases with very scanty evidence to support the claim. Here is the latest finding from researchers that beetroot juice can lower blood pressure and whether it makes any sense, the readers can come to their own conclusion.    

"Researchers from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found that within six hours of drinking beetroot juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of four to five points among a small group of healthy men. Researchers say that drop may seem small, but on a public health level a reduction like that would equate to a 10 per cent reduction in deaths due to heart disease, website WebMD reported. "It's promising that we can see an effect from a single dose. That effect might be even greater over the long term if they are drinking it day upon day," said researcher Leah Coles. Researchers said this is the first study to look at the effects of adding beetroot juice to a healthy person's diet without making any other diet or lifestyle changes. In the study, 15 men and 15 women drank either 500 ml of a beetroot juice beverage consisting of about three-fourths beet juice and one-fourth apple juice, or a placebo juice. They were then monitored for 24 hours. The same procedure was repeated two weeks later, with those who drank the placebo on the first round receiving beetroot juice on the second. Among both men and women, the results showed a trend to lower systolic blood pressure six hours after drinking the beetroot juice. When researchers limited their analysis to men only, they found a significant reduction of about 4.7 points among those who drank the beetroot juice. Previous studies have also suggested that beetroot's blood-pressure-lowering effects may not be as strong in women".

Can any one really make sense by reading the claims of the scientific group which published their findings in reputed journals? Though the finding by this limited study may be true with regard to the 30 people who were used for the study, there is no guarantee that it will work on others. Unless such studies are conducted using viable number of subjects under different dietary and living conditions, one cannot accept the data as holistic and universally applicable. Why scientists rush to the media to promote their half baked findings is one of the riddles of modern life. Are they not giving false hopes to millions of unfortunate victims of blood pressure disorder? There must be integrity, ethics, codes of conduct and behavioral standards for researchers and as pursuers of truth their honesty should never be compromised.


No comments: