The Cato Institute makes the case that "the federal government may be institutionally incapable of providing wise dietary advice." The problems cited include divided and thus inconclusive science, risk avoidance, premature decision making, and distortions introduced by lobbyists.
Not all carbs are created equal. Harvard's prolific Dr. David Ludwig illuminates the connection between carbohydrate quality and health, this time in BMJ. A key message: "Replacing processed carbohydrates with unprocessed carbohydrates or healthy fats would greatly benefit public health."
The BBCruns a 5 minute feature on UK Deputy Labor Leader Tom Watson, who has lost 96 pounds in eleven months by cutting out sugar and starch and eating more fat. Given his personal transformation, Watson asks if government should be giving dietary advice when there is such scientific controversy surrounding nutrition.
One of the world's leading oncologists, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee of Columbia University Medical Center (and The Emperor of All Maladies fame), set to launch human trial of ketogenic diet therapy as an accompaniment to drug therapy in specific types of cancer treatments. Recent mouse studies demonstrate the efficacy of administering ketogenic diets—which lower insulin levels—while treating some types of cancer.
Is a calorie really a calorie? Harvard researcher and clinician, Dr. David Ludwig, makes the case for the "Carbohydrate-Insulin Model" and a low-glycemic load diet in JAMA Internal Medicine. Clinical Endocrinology News covers the debate, here.
Are ketones the "fourth macronutrient" and can a ketone supplements make you run faster? Runner's World reports on the trendy ($99 for three 2.2oz bottles) supplement. Warning: "I liken the flavor to a mixture of raspberry-flavored vodka, cough syrup, and nail polish remover; others have described it as a mix of rubbing alcohol and toilet cleaner with a hint of fruit."
FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, announces new steps to improve health through nutrition. The FDA reportedly regulates 80% of America's food supply, so potential to make a difference seems real. But announcement underwhelms, with bureaucratic double-speak and little, if any, meaningful innovation. Dr. Gottlieb pins his "Nutrition Innovation Strategy" on modernized nutrition labels, better ingredient lists, and resolving issues of 'identity' (as in should an almond beverage be called "milk"). Public comments may be submitted and a public hearing is set for July 26.
Dr. Amy McKenzie presents Virta Health's results for improving outcomes of patients with pre-diabetes at ADA conference. At one year, none of the 95 subjects who completed the study progressed to type 2 diabetes, and over 60% achieved HbA1c of less than 5.7mg/dL (~15% at baseline). 70% of participants lost more than 7% of their body weight.
A new CDC report shows that exercise rates among adults are increasing, while obesity is also on the rise. The AP explores possible explanations.
Reinsurance giant, Swiss Re, hosted a "meeting of the minds" on nutrition and health in Zurich last week. Experts on many sides came together to highlight common ground and debate differences. A key message: type 2 diabetes is often reversible and offering patients options to do so should become the standard.
Pittsburgh area politician, John Fetterman, loses ~150 pounds by cutting out sugar/grains and walking more. Will this mayor and Democratic nominee for LT Governor help bring the message of reducing processed sugar and starch for better health to the people of Pennsylvania?
Former FDA Commissioner, Dr. David Kessler, argues with food pundit Marion Nestle about what we really know about healthful eating: "I think we have failed in giving nutritional advice to people. If diet & exercise were the answer, we'd all do it & there wouldn't be a problem...I would try to get answers to very basic questions...Is a calorie a calorie?" Unfortunately, NuSI's crusade to address this sort of question has been diminished.
Professor Tim Noakes, a leading scientist in the field of sports medicine, acclaimed author of The Lore of Running, and now advocate for low-carb diets, was found innocent of endangering the public and unprofessional conduct for the second time. The Nutrition Coalition covers the ruling and the story behind it. Congratulations, Professor Noakes!
California mayor, Sean Wright, is sharing his success with a keto diet for weight loss, reversing prediabetes, and resolving fatty liver. He invites fellow residents of Antioch to learn more and join him in a journey to better health.
Problems with sugar start early and get worse. According to reports on a new CDC study, American toddlers build up to 7 teaspoons added sugar per day by age 2. "High amounts of added sugar can be hidden in seemingly healthy food: a single-size serving of yogurt with fruit at the bottom can contain up to six teaspoons of sugar. In a regular 8 ounce serving of apple or orange juice, there are 5.5 teaspoons of sugar, on average."
New WHO study presented at European obesity conference in Vienna projects that without a change in course, global obesity and diabetes rates will reach 22% (obesity, up from 14% in 2017) and 12% (diabetes, up from 9% in 2017) by 2045.
Author Nina Teicholz's op-ed in the LA Times asks why our government has enacted new regulations that require chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus when the science doesn't support the notion that this will make a difference in the battle against obesity.
New study shows lifestyle advice to "eat less, exercise more" fails to meaningfully reduce the progression from prediabetes to a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
A medical mystery: What happened to US healthcare spending, beginning around 1980? The New York Times documents how US spending has escalated relative to peer countries, but life expectancy gains have fallen behind. Could the low-fat, grain-heavy diet, introduced in the late 70s, be playing a role?
"Our livers are in trouble." Read more about The Hidden Liver Crisis in America and how a lower-carb, higher-fat diet can turn things around.
A public-private partnership to reverse type 2 diabetes? Working together with county and city governments, can Virta Health bring better health to a region of Indiana, and demonstrate the efficacy and cost saving potential of its virtual clinic model for reversing type 2 diabetes?
A well written, detailed post from Drs. Wood, McKenzie, Volek and Phinney of Virta Health, discusses the impressive improvement in CVD markers seen after 1 year with Virta's T2D reversal protocol, which includes a low-carb, high-fat diet. Peer reviewed study published in Cardiovascular Diabetology.
The New York Times (and MedPage) report on a new survey out of Boston Children's Hospital, published in AAP's Pediatrics, demonstrating exceptional glucose control in patients (both adults and children) with T1 diabetes consuming a very low-carb diet and using less insulin. These patients also report fewer adverse events like hypoglycemia. This was not an RCT, but is nonetheless very encouraging data that documents an otherwise unheard of phenomenon: normal blood glucose levels for those with Type 1 diabetes.
Another small, short duration RCT published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows replacing carbohydrates with fat and protein improves glucose control and satiety in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Given the failure of our national dietary prescriptions to reduce levels of chronic disease, it is no wonder that the "nutrition debate" continues. In the latest volley, nutritional epidemiologist Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian argues in the BMJ that nutrition science can indeed be relied upon to improve our understanding of the connection between food and health. But Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz disagree, and make a strong case for "caution and humility" when interpreting epidemiological data for the purposes of population-wide dietary strategies for prevention of chronic disease.
On a related note, back and forth we go with epidemiological studies. The New York Times reports on a new Swedish analysis, published in Heart, which makes the case that when fully adjusted for confounding variables, nuts aren’t as heart healthy as previously reported. Case in point, the same NYT reporter published an article entitled, "Nuts may lower your risk of heart disease" in November, 2017. Similarly, the Star Tribune reports that many older Americans are paying for vitamin supplements that may cause harm, as early exuberance for vitamins outpaces the evidence and consumers can't keep up with the ever-changing recommendations.
Virta Health, a Silicon Valley startup reversing type 2 Diabetes with a virtual clinic model and strict, low-carb diet, receives a shot in the arm from the VC community—$45 million in additional funding to help bring its model to scale. This is a strong endorsement of Virta's excellent results.
- Can a healthier diet help battle depression? The Wall Street Journal reports on a new field: nutritional psychiatry. Recommendations center around replacing sugar and processed foods with real, whole foods.
- A small West Virginia hospital—WVU Medicine Jefferson Medical Center—eliminates sugar-sweetened beverages. Here's to a health system practicing what it preaches!
- FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb apparently believes that clearer food labels and salt reduction will improve American diets and save lives. But logic tells us that tweaks around the edges of a failing dietary paradigm will amount to nothing.
- A new, Czech epi study (a large-scale ecological analysis) of cardiovascular disease risk across 158 countries points the finger at dietary carbs, not fat. "Results... identify high carbohydrate consumption (mainly in the form of cereals & wheat) as the dietary factor most consistently associated with the risk of CVDs." For a thoughtful analysis of this study, see The Nutrition Coalition's post.
- The CDC releases a new report on diabetes prevalence in US adults. The National Health Interview Survey was expanded to include questions about type 1 (0.55% of adults) vs. type 2 (8.6% or adults) and insulin status, so this report includes more robust information. Non-hispanic black adults have highest diabetes prevalence: 11.52%.
- The "obesity paradox" is debunked once again. A large cohort study (of white Europeans) shows lowest risk of CVD events/death at BMI of 22-23. "Any public misconception of a potential ‘protective’ effect of fat on CVD risk should be challenged."
- Trouble in paradise... The American Diabetes Association and American College of Physicians (ACP) quibble over blood sugar targets & drugs. The ACP defends its new, higher, blood sugar targets for diabetic patients, claiming it wants to "minimize harms such as low blood sugar, other medication-related adverse effects, medication burden, and costs." Note that carbohydrate restriction—never on the table in mainstream conversations—meets all of those goals AND results in lower, rather than higher, blood sugar.
- While on the topic of food and blood sugar management, Dr. Robert Lustig posts a pdf of a fantastic letter from a UK Member of Parliament to the British Prime Minister. The MP testifies to the potential of low-carb, full-fat eating for improved health, especially among citizens with diabetes. "My blood sugars are not only more stable, but I have managed to reduce my insulin requirements by almost 50%."
- The New York Times reports on a new JAMA study (based on NHANES data) that confirms Americans are still getting heavier. Between 2007/8 and 2015/16, obesity rates among adults climbed from 33.7% to 39.6%. Meanwhile, The Hill reports on new data from NCHStats which shows that over the last 12 yrs (as obesity has escalated) more Americans are exercising. Now over 53% of American adults meet activity guidelines, versus just 41% in 2005. Something is not working, here.
- The NYT reports on a new comprehensive scientific review that found optimal protein levels for people over 40 trying to gain muscle mass are roughly twice our federal recommendations. And remember, many women do not even get the recommended level of ~46g/day.
- A concise opinion piece by Ben Greenfield in The Hill on why the dietary guidelines are failing Americans, and why Congress needs to act to change them to align with modern science. Case in point, a retired special ops combat controller asks, in an op-ed in The Dallas Morning News, why so many of our troops struggle with weight? It's not lack of exercise. His answer? It's the food... controlled by our dietary guidelines.
- Might this non-invasive continuous blood sugar monitoring wearable help regular people understand that the bagel they are eating is essentially pure glucose after 15 minutes in their digestive tract?
- A small clinical trial, ongoing in overweight men with recurrent prostate cancer, shows a keto diet leads to significant weight loss. At six months, patients averaged 28 lbs lost on keto versus 0 lbs in control group. BMI was reduced by an average of more than 4pts. Unclear if diet/weight loss deters cancer growth (trial ongoing). Similarly, a small prospective pilot study of patients placed on a 4 week ketogenic diet to prepare for bariatric surgery showed "highly significant decreases in body weight (− 10.3%, p < 0.001, in males; − 8.2%,p < 0.001, in females), left hepatic lobe volume (− 19.8%, p < 0.001)" and a resolution of micronutrient deficiencies.
- A clinical report, published in Cell Metabolism, finds that carbohydrate restriction delivers "rapid and dramatic reductions of liver fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors" in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). No pill can do this for you.
- Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism published a study that demonstrates how fasting glucose creeps up gradually, often tied to chronic insulin resistance. Authors argue for early detection and intervention to prevent progression.
- Is it possible to reverse type-2 diabetes? Virta Health proves the answer is "yes," releasing hands-down stellar one year results, published in JIMR Diabetes. Here's an easy-to-understand animated short that explains how Virta works. For a longer read, try this interview with Dr. James McCarter, Virta's Head of Research. Separately, the British Journal of Sports Medicine runs the text of Virta Medical Director Dr. Sarah Hallberg's popular (~3 million views) TEDx, "Reversing type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines."
- Dr. David Ludwig pens a grim reality check on rising obesity rates in kids, published last month in Pediatrics. Ludwig writes: "The second, more fundamental lesson is that our public health approach to the epidemic has largely failed so far." Fortune reports briefly on the same study to which Ludwig was responding, which looks a NHANES data from 1999-2016.
- The obesity paradox—the idea that obesity might protect patients with heart disease and help them live longer— has been debunked. The LA Times explains why a new study published in JAMA Cardiology demonstrates that excess weight can mean younger onset of CVD and, thus, fewer years of disease free life.
This week, we introduce Dinner Ideas, a free online tool that will help you answer that age-old question, "What's for Dinner?" We've got you covered with thousands of easy, everyday meals.
It is a fun, visual experience... with a click-through to basic recipes (in case you need help executing)! Mix-and-match the three sections until your plate looks just right!
Why not give it a go—try Dinner Ideas.
Once you've created your first few Dinner Ideas, you are ready to get started thinking about which Vintage Diet is right for you!
There are 6 to choose from. The flow chart, below, will lead you to the diet that works best for you based on your health and preferences.
Get started below!
- What is Chile doing to protect its children from the aggressive advertising campaigns that aim to hook kids on junk food?
- How did hippie food preferences—like vegetarianism—spread across America? Read about it in a new book. And while we are on the subject, read about how carob traumatized a generation.
- Is the obesity epidemic raging in Africa worse than the HIV epidemic of the 90s?