Probiotics and or prebiotics seem to be the hot new nutrition topic. Every supplement company and the yogurt industry is offering their own proprietary probiotic guaranteed to “fix “your microbiome. We don’t know why we have “sick” microbes, but we often do. Processed foods can be suspect – antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, hormones, preservatives for long shelf lives are not ideal environments for keeping them healthy and happy. Just read an ingredient label and you will find a plethora of other candidates.
Species of bacteria found in Culturelle: Lactobacillus rhamnosus plus inulin (a prebiotic – not an bacteria)
Species of bacteria found in Align: Bifidobacterium longum
Also can find species on most yogurt products.
Warning; These products are quite expensive and as all dietary supplements have not met any regulation standards from the FDA. Please consult your physician before taking any probiotic or any other dietary supplement. Often, they are not what they claim.
“The weight-loss idea is quite appealing: Limit your eating to a period of six to eight hours each day, during which you can have whatever you want.” However, is it effective for weight loss?
“Almost every type of diet out there works for some people,” he said. “But the take-home supported by this new research is that when subjected to a properly designed and conducted study — scientific investigation — it is not any more helpful than simply reducing daily calorie intake for weight loss and health factors.”
Nevertheless, intermittent fasting may act as a positive tool for some people to practice the act of mindful eating. (SJF).
Michael Pollan started it – “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Many people are taking more of an interest in plant-based diets. People are switching for various reasons – weight control, sustainability, the environment in general, health reasons, media hype. Food companies load their products fortified with grams and grams of protein in order to “make up” for an alleged protein deficit – however, there are plenty of non-meat sources of protein found in plant foods. Most Americans get enough protein. “Protein is not the key for weight loss and animal protein is not the healthiest food we can eat. Carbs are not the enemy – they are a source of energy, and are staples in the diets of the longest-living people in the world.” Garth Davis, M.D. Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession with Meat is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It. 2015
High amounts of protein are not needed by most consumers unless there is a medical reason. The adult RDA or Daily Value is about 50 grams for most adults. That amount can be found in only 3-4 ounces of most meats – or a portion about the size of a deck of cards.
People have tried a number of diets – Paleo and Keto are of the low carb genre resulting in high protein and high fat diets. Since then, weight gain has taken over with an obesity rate higher than ever along with its companion- diabetes type 2.
Michael Pollan refers to the American diet as ‘the “American paradox” – the more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become”.
Most people have never heard of NAFLD, a.k.a. non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, HOWEVER, nearly one in four adults in the U.S. has NAFLD. NAFLD is more common in obesity and diabetes type 2.
In the long term, NAFLD can cause fibrosis (scarring) of the liver that eventually can cause impairment of normal liver function. Advanced scarring can lead to cirrhosis, an irreversible condition that can lead to liver failure. The only long-term treatment is a liver transplant. No drugs are currently approved to treat it.
The emphasis should then be on prevention with the usual recommendations: Eat less processed foods, lose a little weight if necessary, and more exercise comes to mind – healthier lifestyles in general, e.g. less alcohol.
Normally most of the blood draining from the GI tract (gut) travels directly to the liver before entering general circulation. This exposes the liver to toxins that may cause oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
There are new clinical trials on subjects diagnosed with NAFLD to investigate the influence of probiotics on the microbiome residing in the GI tract. These findings suggest that the probiotic – prebiotic blends can stop the progression of liver disease, liver damage and liver inflammation when compared to a placebo. Interesting???
Richard Moore. Life Extension: The Science of a Healthier Life, May, 2022.
The obesity epidemic rages on with no end in sight. Unfortunately, as we focus more on weight control and body size, more people are affected by being the victims of fat shaming. Even health professionals are often guilty by not addressing the weight problem with their patients – patients become ashamed due to the lack of help they experience from their physicians or the professionals themselves may be victims of the epidemic. They may be crying out for help for weight loss advice and interpret the silence as a shameful topic. This can result in more cases of body dissatisfaction, more dieting attempts like yo-yo dieting and/or avoidance of reporting eating disorder symptoms such as bulimia and anorexia.
There is an alternative approach – Health at Every Size (HAES). This concept focuses more on healthy weights rather than how much a person weighs. A study in 2011 called the Succeed Foundation conducted a Body Image Survey that aimed to improve body image and prevent eating disorders. The survey revealed the following:
“30 percent of women say would trade at least one year of their life to achieve their ideal weight and shape.
46% of the women say have been ridiculed or bullied because of their appearance.”
“ HAES approach briefly states:
Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger and satiety.
Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically active.
Lately there’s a lot of buzz about taking probiotics that is becoming a household word on food labels; everyone wants to get in on the claims made to benefit them and the microbiome with a simple pill.
First of all what is the microbiome ? Everyone has one that is individual to them. It refers to our personal colony of micro -organisms, mostly bacteria, in our body that outnumbers our human cells. It is crucial to our digestion and integrity of the intestinal lining; it determines how and when and where things are absorbed into the bloodstream, participates in our metabolism and plays a role in our immune defenses. In the gastrointestinal tract the bacteria in the microbiome digest things we couldn’t digest otherwise like high fiber foods.
Mark Bittman and David L. Katz, MD – How to Eat: All Your Food and Diet Questions Answered. 2020
Eat probiotic foods along with prebiotic foods since rebiotics are the food that bacteria eat and what sustains good bacteria long-term. They include foods like oatmeal, bananas, berries, asparagus and beans.
Carrie Daniel-MacDougall, Ph.D, M.P.H., a nutritional epidemiologist at MD Anderson who studies diet and the microbiome says:
“Unless your doctor is prescribing probiotics for a specific person purpose, stick to getting them from foods like yogurt that may have other nutrients like calcium.”
In some cases, probiotics from food or supplements may help individuals with irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease. There is also potential for harm if used improperly or in combination with other medications. Your doctor or a certified nutritionist can help you find the one that’s right for you. Sometimes the probiotic could even disrupt or displaced some of the good bacteria you already have. McDougall says.
We’re Number One: In Morbidity, Mortality, and Expense
“U.S. has the best doctors, hospitals, and medical technologies, the most innovative surgery, the newest drugs and spends the most per capita on healthcare of all the countries on the globe.”
Are Americans healthier? Do we enjoy better healthcare? Do we live longer? The answer to each of these questions is an unequivocal NO. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Americans have the worst health out comes of any country of the 37 richest countries – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In several of the most lethal chronic diseases, Americans rank amount the worst of the developed countries in the world: #1 in diabetes, #2 in Alzheimer’s disease, #5 in cancer, and #6 in cardiovascular disease.
What is metabolic (met) syndrome?
It started to “rear” its head in the 1980’s – every one is at risk for three noncommunicable diseases associated with the met syndrome – hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are due to abnormal metabolism in different cells in different organs.
For example: What about diabetes –in 1976, diabetes was rare; only 5% of people in the US over age 65 had it, and the prevalence in the general population was 2.5%. By 2000, estimates said 151 million diabetics were walking the planet and the prediction was, by 2010, there would be 221 million. In fact there were 285 million. By 2014, 422 million, 2019, 463 million- predictions 568 million by 2030.
Lustig, Robert, MD, MSL Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine, 2021
How are we doing? Not so well. Metabolical is a wonderful book to begin to understand why diet with its predominance on processed foods makes a difference in our quest for heath.
“Aspartame intake was associated with increased breast and obesity-related cancers.”
Soft drinks accounted for more than half of their artificial sweetener intake, while table-top sweeteners represented 29 per cent and yoghurt or cottage cheese 8 per cent.
The researchers then compared consumption of these sweeteners to the rate of cancer in participants, while adjusting for other possible factors such as age, body mass index, smoking, poor diet, physical activity and family history of cancer.
The participants who consumed the largest amount of sweeteners had an increased cancer risk of 13 per cent compared to non-consumers, the study found.
“More specifically, aspartame intake was associated with increased breast and obesity-related cancers,” it said. Needless to say: This study need replication since it has been implicated in cancer studies since its role in the food supply began a few decades ago. Additionally, since this study is observational, it only suggests an association, not causation.
An Anti-InflammatoryDiet May Protect Against Dementia.
A study published in the journal, Neurology found greater adherence to an anti-inflammatory diet resulted in a lower risk of dementia. The study included 1,059 people with an average age of 73 and free from dementia .They completed a diet questionnaire from the previous month that included food groups that constituted a diet score. A pro-inflammatory diet reflected high scores and included foods that were cooked at high temperature and excess consumption of omega-6 fats in relation to omega-3 fats. An anti-inflammatory diet included fruits, vegetables, legumes, coffee, tea. for lower diet scores. Safe low temperature ways to cook foods included poaching, boiling, stewing, steaming while dangerous methods included frying, grilling barbecuing, and roasting.
Results: “After a three year followup, 6% of the participants developed dementia. It was determined that one-point increase in the dietary score was associated with a 21% increase in dementia, and that participants with the highest third of dietary scores had a three times greater risk of dementia compared to participants whose scores were among the lowest third.”
Neurology. Dec 2021, 97(24)e2381-e2391.
Life Extension: The Science of a Healthier Life. May 2022.
The 1950’s brought a renewed hope for the country after two decades of Depression and War. However, food historians deplore the state of the cuisine during this period – it mainly consisted of processed foods which many blame for this anti-gastronomic desert. In addition, the rise of the fast food industry, i.e. hamburger chains that sprouted up along side the newly build national highway system did not offer any better fare. Freeing Mom from the kitchen seemed to be the dominant theme as appliances and prepared foods became the ‘norm”.
After WWII, America’s economy boomed, women entered the workforce as never before and food got a little strange. Housewives spent less time in the kitchen, so food companies came to the rescue with a buffet of processed foods. Foods were purchased in a can, package or pouch. Soups were available as liquids or in dry form. Tang landed on supermarket shelves and frozen dinners laid on trays in front of TV sets. TV dinners were introduced in 1953 by Swanson and with a flick of a wrist you could turn back the foil to display turkey in gravy, dressing, sweet potatoes and peas ready in about 30 minutes – all with no dishes to wash.
Better Living Through Chemistry
“Better Living through Chemistry” was the slogan of the times along with “I like Ike” referring to the popular Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 5-star general from WWII winning the U.S presidency from 1953 to 1961. This change in processing came from the demand of the Army during WWII to provide needed ready-to-eat meals. The food industry responded by ramping up new technologies in canning and freeze-drying to feed the troops. The marketing of these foods presented a challenge, however. At first, many of them were less than palatable, so food companies hired home economists to develop fancy recipes and flooded magazines, newspapers and TV with ads to broadcast their virtues. Actually the first cake mix was available in 1931, but was met with disdain due to the use of dehydrated eggs, e.g. Women later would respond more favorably if they could crack their own eggs into the batter so they would feel like they were doing something positive in the kitchen.
People rushed to buy appliances, houses, cars, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and backyard barbecue grills and new home freezers. They also bought television sets in record numbers and watched shows that represented their new idealized lives like Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver. Beaver’s mother, June Cleaver was depicted as a housewife freed from household chores and often was serene and perfectly dressed with pearls and high heels pushing a vacuum cleaner and putting meals on the family table, all before solving the family problems.
Fast Food Nation
The birth rate soared and created what is known as the Baby Boomer Generation. Fifty million babies were born from 1945 to 1960. Food marketing shifted to kids with Tony the Tiger and fish sticks leading the campaign. Fast food had its beginnings strengthened in 1955 when Ray Kroc bought a hamburger stand from the McDonald’s brothers in San Bernadino, California. Disneyland opened in 1955 and was so popular they ran out of food on the first day.
The Seven Countries Study
In 1958, the American scientist, Ancel Keys started a study called the Seven Countries Study, which attempted to establish the association between diet and cardiovascular disease in different countries. The study results indicated that in the countries where fat consumption was the highest also had the most heart disease. This suggested the idea that dietary fat caused heart disease. He initially studied 22 countries, but reported on only seven: Finland, Greece, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, United States, and Yugoslavia.
The problem was that he left out:
Countries where people eat a lot of fat but have little heart disease, such as Holland and Norway and France.
Countries where fat consumption is low but the rate of heart disease is high, such as Chile.
Basically, he only used data from the countries that supported his theory. This flawed observational study gained massive media attention and had a major influence on the dietary guidelines of the next few decades, i.e. cut the fat out of our diets.
The First Artificial Sweetener
In the diet world, Saccharin was manufactured in granules and became a popular sugar substitute for dieters. It was first produced in 1878 by a chemist at Johns Hopkins University, but became popular after sugar shortages in WWI and WWII. In the United States, saccharin is often found in restaurants in pink packets as “Sweet’n Low”. It was banned later but it remains on the market today. The basis for the proposed ban was a study that documented an increase in cancer in rats being fed saccharin. The “Delaney clause” of the Food Additive Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act states that no substance can be deemed safe if it causes cancer in humans or animals. In suspending the proposed saccharin ban, Congress ordered that products containing the popular sweetener must carry a warning about its potential to cause cancer. The FDA formally lifted its proposal to ban the sweetener in 1991 based on new studies, and the requirement for a label warning was eliminated by the Saccharin Notice Repeal Act in 1996.
1951 I Love Lucy debuts on CBS.
1952 The Lipton food company rolls out its dehydrated onion soup that will earn it fame as a base for onion soup mix: 2 envelopes of mix plus 1 cup of sour cream. Lipton eventually prints the recipe, “California Dip” on the package.
1953 Eggo Frozen Waffles are introduced.
1954 Employee Gerry Thomas from the C.A. Swanson Co, has an idea (although fellow workers nearly laughed him out of the Omaha plant): package the left-over turkey, along with some dressing, gravy, cornbread, peas and sweet potatoes into a partitioned metal tray, sell it frozen, and consumers could heat it up for dinner. His name for the leftover meal: TV Dinner.
1954 The first Burger King opens in Miami. A burger is 18 cents, as is a milkshake. The Whopper is introduced in 1957 and sells for 37 cents.
1955 Milkshake-machine salesman, Roy Kroc tries to persuade Dick and Mac McDonald (owner of the original McDonalds in California) to franchise their concept. They aren’t interested but tell Kroc to go ahead and try his hand. Kroc opens his first restaurant in Des Plains, ILL., and eventually buys out the McDonalds.
1956 Jif Peanut Butter is introduced.
1956 More than 80 percent of U.S. households have refrigerators. By contrast, only 8 percent of British households have refrigerators.
1957 Better Homes and Gardens prints its first microwave-cooking article.
1957 Margarine sales take the lead over butter.
1958 Eighteen- year-old Frank Carney sees a story in the Saturday Evening Post about the pizza fad among teenagers and college students. With $600 borrowed from his mother, he and his fellow Wichita State classmate, opens the first Pizza Hut in Wichita, KS.
As many as 95% of Americans are not getting enough fiber. Even though fiber is super important for gut health, new research suggests that without adequate fiber, you may be increasing your risk for dementia. According to the author of a recent study, “one possibiity is that soluble fiber regulates the composition of gut bacteria (microbiome). This composition may reflect neuroinflammation, which plays a role in the onset of dementia.” Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oats, legumes, apples, carrots, and citrus fruits. Unless you like statistics, skip them.