BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6947.138 (Published 09 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:138

Americans, who obtain a third of their total fats from meat (mainly hamburgers, cheeseburgers, meat loaf, hot dogs, ham, beef, and luncheon meat), will be relieved that they don't have to swap beef for chicken in low cholesterol diets (Archives of Internal Medicine 1994;154:1261-7). The step 1 diet, restricting saturated fats to between 8% and 10% of total energy, is equally successful at lowering cholesterol concentration whether it includes beef or chicken. Greasy hamburgers, however, are out: the beef must be lean.

Another attempt to balance the risks and benefits of use of oral contraceptives is reported in “Annals of Internal Medicine” (1994;120: 821-6). Follow up of over 150000 nurses for 12 years showed no difference in death rates between women who had ever taken the pill and women who had never taken the pill. Duration of past use did not affect mortality either, prompting the authors to conclude that using the most effective method of contraception is safe.

A new newsletter raising the profile of social inequalities in health landed on Minerva's desk this week. Aimed at politicians, policymakers, and the public, the first issue (Society and …

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