Ingredients

American food is in a state of crisis. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, food costs are skyrocketing, family farms are in decline and our agricultural environment is in jeopardy. Ingredients (2009) explores a thriving local food movement as our world becomes a more flavorless, disconnected and dangerous place to eat. Discovering better flavor and nutrition, Ingredients is a journey that reveals the people behind the movement to bring good food back to the table and health back to our communities.

Learn more at www.ingredientsfilm.com

Societal Control of Sugar Essential to Ease Public Health Burden

Robert H. Lustig, MD, and a team of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researchers argue that sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health. In a new report, they maintain that sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

 

 

Non-communicable diseases now pose a greater health burden worldwide than infectious diseases, according to the United Nations. In the United States, 75 percent of health care dollars are spent treating these diseases and their associated disabilities.

Robert Lustig, MD

In the Feb. 2 issue of NatureRobert Lustig, MD, Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, and Claire Brindis, DPH, colleagues at UCSF, argue that sugar’s potential for abuse, coupled with its toxicity and pervasiveness in the Western diet, make it a primary culprit of this worldwide health crisis.

This partnership of scientists trained in endocrinology, sociology and public health took a new look at the accumulating scientific evidence on sugar. Such interdisciplinary liaisons underscore the power of academic health sciences institutions like UCSF.

Sugar, they argue, is far from just “empty calories” that make people fat. At the levels consumed by most Americans, sugar changes metabolism, raises blood pressure, critically alters the signaling of hormones and causes significant damage to the liver – the least understood of sugar’s damages. These health hazards largely mirror the effects of drinking too much alcohol, which they point out in their commentary is the distillation of sugar.

Worldwide consumption of sugar has tripled during the past 50 years and is viewed as a key cause of the obesity epidemic. But obesity, Lustig, Schmidt and Brindis argue, may just be a marker for the damage caused by the toxic effects of too much sugar. This would help explain why 40 percent of people with metabolic syndrome — the key metabolic changes that lead to diabetes, heart disease and cancer — are not clinically obese.

“As long as the public thinks that sugar is just ‘empty calories,’ we have no chance in solving this,” said Lustig, a professor of pediatrics, in the division of endocrinology at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at UCSF.

“There are good calories and bad calories, just as there are good fats and bad fats, good amino acids and bad amino acids, good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates,” Lustig said. “But sugar is toxic beyond its calories.”

Limiting the consumption of sugar has challenges beyond educating people about its potential toxicity. “We recognize that there are cultural and celebratory aspects of sugar,” said Brindis, director of UCSF’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (IHPS). “Changing these patterns is very complicated.”

According to Brindis, effective interventions can’t rely solely on individual change, but instead on environmental and community-wide solutions, similar to what has occurred with alcohol and tobacco, that increase the likelihood of success.

Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH

The authors argue for society to shift away from high sugar consumption, the public must be better informed about the emerging science on sugar.

“There is an enormous gap between what we know from science and what we practice in reality,” said Schmidt, professor of health policy at UCSF’s IHPS and co-chair of UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s (CTSI) Community Engagement and Health Policy Program, which focuses on bridging academic research, health policy, and community practice to improve public health. In order to move the health needle, this issue needs to be recognized as a fundamental concern at the global level,” she said.

The paper was made possible with funding from UCSF’s CTSI, UCSF’s National Institutes of Health-funded program that helps accelerate clinical and translational research through interdisciplinary, interprofessional and transdisciplinary work.

Claire Brindis, DPH

Many of the interventions that have reduced alcohol and tobacco consumption can be models for addressing the sugar problem, such as levying special sales taxes, controlling access, and tightening licensing requirements on vending machines and snack bars that sell high sugar products in schools and workplaces.

“We’re not talking prohibition,” Schmidt said. “We’re not advocating a major imposition of the government into people’s lives. We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people’s choices by making foods that aren’t loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.”

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For more information, please visit http://www.ucsf.edu.

Photos by Susan Merrell

 

Reference 

Lustig RH, Schmidt LA, Brindis CD. Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature 2012; 482 (7383): 27-9.

 

An Orthomolecular Approach to Diabetes

Julian Whitaker, MD (born August 7, 1944), graduated from Dartmouth College in 1966, and received his medical training at Emory University Medical School  in Atlanta in 1970. He is a member of the American Medical Association and is board certified in anti-aging medicine.

In 1979 Dr. Whitaker opened the Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, California, and today it is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive alternative medicine clinic. At this clinic they have unparalleled success treating diabetes. Their personalized nutritional protocols at and weight-loss strategies have helped thousands of patients reduce their reliance on insulin and oral diabetes drugs — often eliminating them altogether.

 

Forks Over Knives

What has happened to us? Despite the most advanced medical technology in the world, we are sicker than ever by nearly every measure. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug and major medical operations have become routine.  Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the three leading causes of death in the USA, even though billions are spent each year to “battle” these very conditions.  Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases.

Could it be there’s a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive but so straightforward, that it’s mind-boggling that more of us haven’t taken it seriously?

Forks Over Knives (2010) examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the socalled “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.  The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional scientist from Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic.

Inspired by remarkable discoveries in their young careers, these men conducted several groundbreaking studies, one of which took place in China and is considered among the most comprehensive health-related investigations ever undertaken.  Their separate research led them to the same startling conclusion: degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented—and in many cases reversed—by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet. Despite the profound implications of their findings, their work has remained relatively unknown to the public.

In addition, cameras follow “reality patients” who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes.  Doctors teach these patients how to adopt a whole foods plantbased diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments—while the challenges and triumphs of their journeys are revealed.

The film features leading experts on health and tackles the issue of diet and disease in a way that will have people talking for years. Read More

 

Watch the full documentary

Diabetes May Significantly Increase Your Risk of Dementia

People with diabetes appear to be at a significantly increased risk of developing dementia, according to a study published in the September 20, 2011, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Our findings emphasize the need to consider diabetes as a potential risk factor for dementia,” said study author Yutaka Kiyohara, MD, PhD, of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. “Diabetes is a common disorder, and the number of people with it has been growing in recent years all over the world. Controlling diabetes is now more important than ever.”

People with diabetes were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, such as vascular dementia, which occurs when there is damage to blood vessels that eventually deprive the brain of oxygen.

For the study, a total of 1,017 people who were age 60 and older were given a glucose (sugar) tolerance test after an overnight fast to determine if they had diabetes. Study participants were monitored for an average of 11 years and then tested for dementia. During the study, 232 people developed dementia.

The study found that people with diabetes were twice as likely to develop dementia as people with normal blood sugar levels. Of the 150 people with diabetes, 41 developed dementia, compared to 115 of the 559 people without diabetes who developed dementia.

The results remained the same after the researchers accounted for factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. The risk of dementia was also higher in people who did not have diabetes, but had impaired glucose tolerance, or were “pre-diabetes.”

In addition, the study found the risk of developing dementia significantly increased when blood sugar was still high two hours after a meal.

 

Reference

Matsuzaki T, Sasaki K, Hata J, Hirakawa Y, Fujimi K, Ninomiya T et al. Association of Alzheimer disease pathology with abnormal lipid metabolism: The Hisayama Study. Neurology 2011; 77 (11): 1068-1075.

 

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days (2008) is an independent documentary film that chronicles six Americans with diabetes who switch to a diet consisting entirely of vegan, organic, uncooked food in order to reverse disease without pharmaceutical medication.

The six are challenged to give up meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, packaged food, and even cooked food for 30 days. The film follows each participant’s remarkable journey and captures the medical, physical, and emotional transformations brought on by this radical diet and lifestyle change. We witness moments of struggle, support, and hope as what is revealed, with startling clarity, is that diet can reverse disease and change lives.

The film highlights each of the six before they begin the program and we first meet them in their home environment with their families. Each participant speaks candidly about their struggle to manage their diabetes and how it has affected every aspect of their life, from work to home to their relationships.  www.rawfor30days.com


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Powerful Antioxidant Resveratrol Prevents Metabolic Syndrome In Lab Tests

Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta have discovered that resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in common foods, prevents a syndrome in some offspring that could lead to later health issues such as diabetes.

Resveratrol is found in fruits, nuts and red wine, and has been shown to extend the lifespan of many species.

Human offspring that have trouble growing in the womb have an increased risk of developing metabolic problems later in life. But U of A medical researchers Jason Dyck and Sandra Davidge and their teams found that administering resveratrol to the young offspring of lab rats after weaning actually prevented the development of a metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and higher deposits of abdominal fat.

Dyck and Davidge published their findings in a recent edition of the peer-reviewed journal Diabetes. Dyck is a researcher in the departments of Pediatrics and Pharmacology, while Davidge is a researcher in the departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Physiology. Both are also members of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, as well as the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute. Dyck and Davidge were co-senior authors of the study.

The study took advantage of the fact that “infancy is a potential window of opportunity to intervene and prevent the future development of metabolic diseases.” The researchers noted this is the first potential pharmacological treatment that may help babies that developed in a growth-restricted environment in the womb.

“There is a concept that in utero, there are genetic shifts that are occurring – reprogramming is occurring because of this strenuous environment babies are in, that allows them to recover very quickly after birth,” says Dyck.

“When babies are growth-restricted, they usually have a catch-up period after they are born where they catch up to non-growth-restricted groups. It might be that reprogramming that creates this kind of ‘thrifty’ phenotype, where they want to consume and store and get caught up.

“That reprogramming appears to make them more vulnerable to developing a host of metabolic problems.”

Earlier this year, Dyck and Davidge published another paper in Diabetes demonstrating that rat offspring not growing well in the womb had noticeable side effects from high-fat diets after birth – the rats deposited more fat in the abdominal area, developed glucose intolerance, more dramatic cases of insulin resistance and insulin resistance at earlier stages of life.

Dyck and Davidge are continuing their research in this area, examining whether treating the mother during pregnancy can prevent metabolic problems in rat offspring affected by intrauterine growth restriction.

Davidge is an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions (AIHS) Scientist and a Canada Research Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Health. Dyck is an AIHS Senior Scholar and the Director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the U of A.

 

Reference 

Dolinsky VW, Rueda-Clausen CF, Morton JS, Davidge ST, Dyck JR. Continued postnatal administration of resveratrol prevents diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rat offspring born growth restricted. Diabetes 2011; 60 (9): 2274-84.

 

Omega-3s May Reduce Diabetes Risk: 3 Studies Compare Plant & Marine Sources

Increased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids from plant or marine sources are associated with reduced risk of type-2 diabetes, according to three new studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

 

 

J Clin Nutr August 1, 2011; 94 (2)

 

Editorial

Edith JM Feskens
The prevention of type 2 diabetes: should we recommend vegetable oils instead of fatty fish?
Am J Clin Nutr 2011 94: 369-370;
First published online July 6, 2011.
doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.020172
Full Text       Full Text (PDF)

 

Nutritional epidemiology and public health

Diana P Brostow, Andrew O Odegaard, Woon-Puay Koh, Sue Duval, Myron D Gross, Jian-Min Yuan, and Mark A Pereira
Omega-3 fatty acids and incident type 2 diabetes: the Singapore Chinese Health Study
Am J Clin Nutr 2011 94: 520-526;
First published online May 18, 2011.
doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.009357
Abstract       Full Text       Full Text (PDF)

 

Luc Djoussé, Mary L Biggs, Rozenn N Lemaitre, Irena B King, Xiaoling Song, Joachim H Ix, Kenneth J Mukamal, David S Siscovick, and Dariush Mozaffarian
Plasma omega-3 fatty acids and incident diabetes in older adults
Am J Clin Nutr 2011 94: 527-533;
First published online May 18, 2011.
doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.013334
Abstract       Full Text       Full Text (PDF)

 

Raquel Villegas, Yong-Bing Xiang, Tom Elasy, Hong-Lan Li, Gong Yang, Hui Cai, Fei Ye, Yu-Tang Gao, Yu Shyr, Wei Zheng, and Xiao-Ou Shu
Fish, shellfish, and long-chain n−3 fatty acid consumption and risk of incident type 2 diabetes in middle-aged Chinese men and women
Am J Clin Nutr 2011 94: 543-551;
First published online June 15, 2011.
doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.013193
Abstract       Full Text       Full Text (PDF)

  

 

A ‘Nutty’ Solution To Type 2 Diabetes Management

Eating nuts daily could help control type 2 diabetes and prevent complications.

TORONTO, Ont., July 12, 2001–Eating nuts every day could help control Type 2 diabetes and prevent its complications, according to new research from St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto.

In the research, published online by the journal Diabetes Care, a team of researchers led by Dr. David Jenkins (University of Toronto Department of Nutritional Sciences; St. Michael’s Hospital Risk Factor Modification Centre) reports that consuming two ounces of nuts daily as a replacement for carbohydrates proved effective at glycemic and serum lipid control for people with Type 2 diabetes. The article, entitled “Nuts as a Replacement for Carbohydrates in the Diabetic Diet,” is available here:http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2011/06/02/dc11-0338.abstract

“Mixed, unsalted, raw, or dry-roasted nuts have benefits for both blood glucose control and blood lipids and may be used as part of a strategy to improve diabetes control without weight gain,” said Dr. Jenkins, who also has appointments with St. Michael’s Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the U of T’s Department of Medicine. He also serves as Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism.

Jenkins and his colleagues provided three different diet supplements to subjects with Type 2 diabetes. One group was given muffins, one was provided with a mixture of nuts including raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and macadamias, and one group was given a mixture of muffins and nuts.

Subjects receiving the nut-only supplement reported the greatest improvement in blood glucose control using the glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test. The nut diet subjects also experienced a reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (known as LDL, or “bad cholesterol”). The subjects provided the muffin supplement or mixed muffin-and-nut supplement experienced no significant improvement in gylcemic control but those receiving the muffin-nut mixture also significantly lowered their serum LDL levels.

“Those receiving the full dose of nuts reduced their HbA1c [the long-term marker of glycemic control] by two-thirds of what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognizes as being clinically meaningful for therapeutic agents. Furthermore, neither in the current study nor in previous reports has nut consumption been associated with weight gain. If anything, nuts appear to be well suited as part of weight-reducing diets,” Dr. Jenkins said.

“The study indicates that nuts can provide a specific food option for people with Type 2 diabetes wishing to reduce their carbohydrate intake.”

Preventing Diabetes Damage: Zinc’s Effects On A Kinky, Two-Faced Cohort

In type 2 diabetes, a protein called amylin forms dense clumps that shut down insulin-producing cells, wreaking havoc on the control of blood sugar. But zinc has a knack for preventing amylin from misbehaving.

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