What Did We Learn from Covid?

Have we learned anything from Covid-19? I would hope so and that some good will come of it – although it’s hard to believe that it will happen at times as we are still fighting its many battles.

In his latest book, Metabolical, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL, author of the best selling book, ‘Fat Chance, “insists that if we do not change the way we eat, we will continue to court chronic disease, bankrupt our health care, and threaten the planet. But there is hope.” Metabolical: The Lure and Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine. 2021.

The Bottom Line: If (and it’s a big IF), we change our ways even in small steps that reflect a healthier body, we may be able to better withstand the consequences of an infectious disease like COVID. Make sense???

CLICK HERE. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2020/nutrition-after-age-50.html?intcmp=AE-FOD-DN-BB-ART

Processed Food and Gut Disorders?

October 12, 2018 By Yenny Rojas

It may surprise no one that the foods we eat (and don’t eat) affect the way our digestive system functions. For example, too much bread and not enough fiber can lead to constipation rather quickly. If your diet has consistently been undersupplied of certain proteins, minerals, or other needed nutrients, it can create disorder in your system. This isn’t just a problem for your digestive system; it can also cause problems with your skin, immune system, and respiratory system.

Common causes of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are inappropriate diets, a lack of exercise and inflammation anywhere along the length of the digestive tract. In addition to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), one of the most common GI disorders is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s a chronic condition that causes a variety of signs and symptoms, from mild to severe. While there’s no cure for IBS, dietary and lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain foods and decreasing stress levels can ease symptoms. These may include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, acid reflux, and nausea.

Because there are so many possible causes of GI disorders, they can be difficult to treat.

How Do Processed Foods Impair the GI Tract?

Processed foods are bad to eat for a number of reasons, including that they can contribute to GI disorders. The problems associated with processed foods include:

  • Low-fiber content that could unsettle digestion and aggravate existing GI symptoms
  • High levels of trans fats, which raises bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and increases gut inflammation
  • Additives like preservatives, sweeteners, bleaches or colorants, which can alter the balance of the microbiome of the gut, causing disease and dysfunction

Fiber is Your Friend

Fiber assists in the movement of materials through the digestive system. Processed foods are very low in fiber – so a diet high in processed foods can greatly increase your risk for GI disorders.

Consuming a high-fiber diet is an easy way to help avoid GI disorders or manage the symptoms of one. A diet with sufficient quantities of fiber – 25 to 30 grams a day is recommended to help normalize the digestive process, increasing the size of bowel movements and softening it.

This reduces the risk of hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticulosis). The type of fiber found in foods like beans, bran, and oats (soluble fiber) helps to reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels. In people with diabetes, soluble fiber has shown to slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. Fiber may also improve heart health by helping to reduce blood pressure and inflammation.

Foods that are high in fiber are more filling. You can eat less and stay satisfied longer, making it easier to obtain or maintain a healthy weight.

CLICK HERE.

Go for the Garlic

First cultivated over 5000 years ago, this Central Asia native has a reputation as a culinary and medicinal star in traditional medicine for centuries.  Ancient cultures used garlic to aid the heart and digestion, as well as improved physical strength. And don’t forget its famous ability to ward off vampires and even Dracula himself. (Just kidding). This potent powerhouse enlivens the flavor and nutrition of any dish, leaving a lasting impact on the palate as well as the breath.

It’s a good source of vitamins minerals and anti-antioxidants-  one small bulb packs 7% DV based on 2000 calories per day of heart healthy vitamin B6 and 23% DV and 15% DV respectively of manganese and vitamin C, known to protect against damaging free radicals. That comes with 1 bulb with 42 calories.

“Wild garlic has been widely touted for its heart protection, the research on proven benefits is conflicting. However a recent meta analysis of more than 100 studies provided consistent evidence that garlic powder reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and blood pressure. Garlic also has been linked to the fight against some cancers. A study in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that high intake of allium (the active ingredient) vegetables is likely to reduce the risk of cancer, though more research is needed to confirm this effect.”

“When using fresh garlic bulbs choose tight, firm bulbs with dry, unbroken skin. Keep it uncovered in a dark dry place and it will stay fresh for about a month. Chopping, mincing, and smashing activate garlic’s healthful properties. Enjoy fresh raw garlic pureed into creamy hummus or other healthy dips; roasted releases its creamy sweetness;  spread on crackers or mix with steamed vegetables or add minced to salad dressings.”

Source:

Lori Zanteson. Environmental Nutrition, Volume: EN20-DGGENSC

Garlic Bulbs in Bangkok

Sugar and the Immune System?

Is our health declining? “The statistics are alarming. In 1960, one person in 100 had diabetes; today its one in eight. Experts are now predicting that by 2050, one person in three will suffer with the condition if the trend continues. Even worse, 70 percent of people who get diabetes will also develop heart disease.”

“Three generations of Americans have been raised on what is referred to as the “Standard American Diet” based on high-calorie, nutrient deficient, overly processed foods with the blame primarily on salt, fat, and sugar found in fast foods.”Sadly, we are now witnessing the long-term effects of those eating patterns and runaway rates of chronic illness.”

Source: Judith Finlayson. You Are What Your Grandparents Ate, 2019, page 58.

CLICK HERE.

Where’s the Pork?

” I am not a vegan, but I tend to be aware of the importance of how and what we eat in terms of sustainability, a respect for animal welfare and the impact of food on our environment.” FROM ABOUT THIS BLOG : FOOD, FACTS AND FADS.

Now is the time to “practice what we preach”. It will be interesting to see what happens in California. I am on the side of the animals (pigs, chickens, and veal calves).

CLICK HERE.

What Exactly is Herd Immunity?

This morning after reading the latest from our local paper on Covid stats (Citizen Times, Thursday, July 29, 2021) CitzenTimes.com., an opinion article authored by Eugene Robinson, Columnist was titled “The unvaccinated are testing our luck.” With a background of teaching college level courses in Infectious disease, I was drawn to the article that featured herd immunity, which in my opinion, is not well defined on our media.

Quote from the first paragraph:

“It is hard to know how deadly and disruptive the COVID-19 surge brought on by the delta variant will ultimately prove to be. But one thing is clear: It is completely unnecessary. The vast majority of those who now get sick have only themselves to blame.”

Quote from the last paragraph:

“Any effective investment in getting the nation and the world to herd immunity will ultimately be worthwhile. And it is in everyone’s interest to save anti-vaxxers from their own wrongheaded stubborness.”

Please read for more, Click HERE.

Weight Gain and Inflammation

“Researchers have found a possible explanation for why being overweight is harmful. This new knowledge may provide new drugs for heart attack, stroke, cancer and chronic intestinal inflammation.”

Weight control programs based on lifestyle changes that focus on behavioral strategies for caloric intake and increasing physical activity have been demonstrated to be successful.

CLICK HERE.

Pre Diabetes and Cognitive Decline

In the News

Pre diabetes linked to cognitive decline

“People with higher than normal blood sugar called prediabetes, are more likely to experience cognitive decline and vascular dementia according to a study published in Diabetes, Metabolism, and Obesity.  

Researchers analyzed UK biobank data from almost 450,000 people averaging 58 years old who underwent an HB A1C test, which determines average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months.

Based on these results, they were divided into one of five groups:  low normal blood sugar, normal blood sugar, pre diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, and diabetes. Pre diabetes was classified as having a hemoglobin A1C blood test reading of 6.0% – 6.5% %. Ideal A1C levels are under 5.5%

Results show that people with above normal sugar levels were:

42% more likely to experience cognitive decline over four years and 54% were more likely to develop vascular dementia over eight years. Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.

People with prediabetes and diabetes had similar rates of cognitive decline, 42% and 39% respectively.

MRI brain scans revealed that pre diabetes was associated with a smaller hippocampus and more strongly associated with having lesions on the brain, both of which are associated with age related cognitive impairment.”

Diabetes is thought to be prevented by making some easy lifestyle adjustments in diet and exercise, in other words a diet that restricts refined carbohydrates, sweetened drinks (including fruit juice) and keeping your weight at a reasonable level with more emphasis on the lower carbohydrate side (less than 40 percent of total calories.) Please consult with your physician before you begin any calorie restricted diet, however.

Source: Diabetes Obes Metab. 2021; 1-10.

Life Extension, May 2021

Diet and Lifestyle in Diabetes Control

Notes: Sally Feltner, M.S., Ph.D.

Diabetes blood sugar control is getting worse for U.S. adults. By Bobbie Berman, June 14, 2021 .

The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Fang, Michael, Ph.D., et al. Trends in Diabetes Treatment and Control in U.S. Adults. 2021; 384; 2219-2228, 

After scanning the original article in NEJM for any mention of the role of diet in the control of glycemic parameters, I found none.

In the article above by Mr. Berman, there is only a mention of diet in the following manner:

“A person with diabetes can still eat the foods that they enjoy, just less frequently or in smaller portions.

Follow the advice of a doctor or dietitian, eat a varied meal plan that includes foods from all groups, and stick to the recommended amounts.

Some people with diabetes should eat at the same time each day, while others have a little more flexibility when it comes to the timings of meals. Portion size is also very important in people with diabetes. Speak to a dietitian about the best way to manage this.”

Finally, someone gave it at least an after thought. I had a close relative with diabetes type 2 who when asked if he had ever seen a certified diabetic educator (CDE, often a dietitian,) or spoken about diet with his physician. He always said “No”. 

Perhaps if doctors were more educated about the effects of diet on diabetes control, patients would be more compliant with these recommendations. I am not a certified diabetic educator, but am retired as a registered dietitian. I strongly recommend that if you are diabetic, consult with your primary care physician and try to see someone with the proper credentials about diabetes care. (Sally Feltner)

Take a look at the following article on a study done to compare lifestyle factors vs. metformin ( a common compound taken by diabetic patients for glucose control) Spoiler Alert: LIFESTYLE FACTORS WIN OUT OVER METFORMIN and prevention is the key.

CLICK HERE.

What Healthy Eating Means Now

After years of research on the subject, the consensus appears to be that there is no single diet that’s right for all of us. However, we have learned that we have a better idea of what healthy eating looks like.

The key is your overall eating pattern, not so much how many grams of carbohydrate, fat or protein you eat, or whether it is animal or plant protein. The choices are many: vegetarian?, vegan?, low fat?, low carb? Or perhaps flexetarian ( a little of both?)

The general healthiest pattern is emerging that consists mostly of nutrient dense whole foods that come from nature and includes few, if any highly processed foods. A closer look at this pattern recommends lots of vegetables and avoid sugar and refined grains.

When assessed for weight control, studies show that when individuals are divided into two major groups either low fat or low carbohydrate ,both groups lost weight – an average of 12 pounds, though some lost as much as 50 pounds. The participants also ate healthier and greatly improved their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes: body fat, waist size, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels all of which can contribute to heart disease and diabetes.

A most important recent finding is that eating healthy can make a difference in how well your immune system functions, so important now as it is greatly needed to fight COVID-19. 70 percent of our immune system resides in the gut; therefore we must become more aware of providing nutrients that feed these gut bacteria. Packaged foods create inflammation and hamper immunity. These include not only sweetened drinks, but breakfast cereals, refined bread and pasta. Look more toward whole grains. “A poor-quality diet loaded with sugar, saturated fat, salt, and chemicals is second to only to smoking in terms of its negative effects on health and lifespan,” says, Dr. Steven Heymsfield, professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, who was part of the development of the 2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines.

The best diet is the one that you choose after looking at the evidence that provides healthy benefits. Dr. Heymsfield says: “You could even try a diet for several weeks while keeping track of how it affects your weight, level of hunger and fullness, your mood, blood pressure and level of energy. Then try another for a few weeks and compare the results.”

Source: Nutrition: Your Healthiest Diet, Special Health Edition. 2021