The raison d'etre of this website is to provide you with hard scientific information which may help you make informed decisions in your quest for health (so far I have blogged concise summaries of over 1,500 scientific studies and have had three books published).

My research is mainly focused on the effects of cholesterol, saturated fat and statin drugs on health. If you know anyone who is worried about their cholesterol levels and heart disease, or has been told to take statin drugs you could send them a link to this website, and to my statin or cholesterol or heart disease books.

David Evans

Independent Health Researcher

Monday, 11 July 2011

Aspartame increases the incidence of headaches

This post contains a summary of a study published in Neurology 1994 Oct;44(10):1787-93 and a recipe for steak and kidney casserole.

Study title and authors:
Aspartame ingestion and headaches: a randomized crossover trial.
Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic
Van den Eeden SK, Koepsell TD, Longstreth WT Jr, van Belle G, Daling JR, McKnight B.
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.

This study can be accessed at:

The study examined whether ingestion of aspartame is associated with headaches. Subjects received aspartame (approximately 30 mg/kg/d) or a placebo for periods of 7 days.

The study found that subjects on the aspartame treatment had 9% more headaches compared to the subjects on placebo.

Van den Eeden concluded that some people are particularly susceptible to headaches caused by aspartame and may want to limit their consumption.

More information on this subject: Books : Scientific Studies : Other Websites : Videos : Food Mall 

Recipe of the day

Steak and Kidney Casserole

serves 4
450g casseroling steak, cubed
Beef Chuck Steak - 1.25 lbs.
Food Mall: Steak
2 lamb’s kidneys
2 small onions, chopped
3 sprigs of parsley, roughly torn
10-12 medium-sized closed cup mushrooms
1 medium carrot, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, crushed
280ml tomato passata
125ml red wine
125ml water

1.Start by preparing the meat and vegetables, in particular the kidney and mushroom. Of these last two ingredients, start with the mushrooms. Cut these into very fine pieces, approximately 2-3mm across. I do this by removing the stalks (which I finely chop) then first slicing the mushroom into 2-3mm-wide slices one way and then turning by 90 degrees and slicing into similar width slices the other way. If the mushroom was particularly “deep” to the chopping board I may cut the longer “strips” in half, but otherwise I leave it at this. You should finish with a big mound of tiny mushroom pieces.

2.Next prepare the kidney. Start by rinsing the kidney then placing it on the chopping board with the opening facing down and slice through it along the length of the back. The kidney should then fan out into two halves on your chopping board, like a butterfly, revealing white “fingers” of tubing fanning out into the kidney meat from the central entry point. This white material is very tough so carefully cut the kidney meat away from this, teasing the meat away from the white threads until they can be removed and discarded. Next chop up the kidney meat into tiny pieces, each 2-3 mm across. If in doubt, go for extra small pieces – I did actually give the final pile of kidney meat an extra chop with the knife as if I was trying to finely chop a pile of herbs. The idea is that the mushroom and kidney pieces should, in texture, be indistinguishable.

3.If using the oven (I used a slow cooker), preheat the oven to 180C.

4.Heat some oil in a pan and brown the steak and kidney meat in small batches, transferring each batch to the casserole dish as it is done. I add the kidney meat, with its blood, to the final batch of steak meat. This meat-browning stage is optional but I find it helps the meat to retain some moisture provided the oil is really hot and you sear the meat in small batches, rather than putting it all in the pan and allowing it to steam cook slowly.

5.Next cook the onions over a medium heat until tender, if necessary topping up the oil in the pan a little. And then add to the meat in the casserole dish.

6.Add the parsley and half to two-thirds of the mushrooms to the casserole dish and mix thoroughly.

7.Pour the passata over the top of the meat mix, then pour over the wine and water (if using a slow cooker, use just-boiled water to ensure you have put some hot liquid in) and finally sprinkle the crushed garlic, remaining mushroom and carrot pieces over the top. Do not stir these all in. The passata will act like a cap on the meat, preventing any bits at the top drying out and the carrot will be steamed through the passata without going completely mushy.

8.If cooking in the oven, cover with foil before adding the lid (to prevent any liquid escaping) and cook in the oven for 2 hours, removing the foil for the last 10-15 minutes to thicken up the sauce. If using a slow cooker, just put the lid on and then cook on high for 2 hours and then on low for 4 hours (or on low for 6-8 hours), removing the lid and turning up to high about an hour before eating to evaporate slightly.

9.When done, stir thoroughly.

Steak and Kidney Casserole