2017 Dietary Guidelines Include Healthy Revisions, but Still Falls Short for Effective Prevention of Heart Disease


On January 7, 2016, the U.S. government released its 2015 to 2020 dietary guidelines 1,2,3,4,5 many of which are steps in the right direction. Perhaps one of the most promising changes is a shift away from focusing on specific nutrients toward a general focus on eating real food.

Story at-a-glance

  • The 2015 to 2020 dietary guidelines for Americans is shifting away from focusing on specific nutrients toward a general focus on eating real food, moderating protein consumption and, for the first time, limiting added sugars
  • The limit on dietary cholesterol has been removed entirely. This is good news, since dietary cholesterol is actually one of the most important molecules in your body
  • They refuse to review recent studies and continue to vilify saturated fat, stating it raises LDL while ignoring that it only increases safe large fluffy LDL particles and actually increases HDL

My main objections are that they still do not consider the hazards of eating too many non-fiber carbs, which can exacerbate insulin and leptin resistance. And they still inaccurately accuse saturated fats of promoting heart disease.

On the upside, they do suggest reducing processed grains overall. The following graph, created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,6 shows the discrepancies between the 2015-2020 dietary recommendations and what Americans actually consume, comparing statistics from 1970 and 2013.7

US Dietary Consumption

Beneficial Changes in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines

Among the beneficial changes brought forth in the 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans, we have:

    • New sugar limit: For the first time, the guidelines recommend limiting added sugars to a maximum of 10 percent of your daily calories. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that would equate to about 50 grams of sugar per day, which is still too high if you’re insulin-resistant or diabetic.

I recommend limiting your total fructose intake to 25 grams per day for optimal health, and as low as 15 grams a day if you’re insulin resistant or diabetic.

    • Artificial sweeteners should not be used for weight loss. While they say artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are probably OK in moderation, they should not be promoted for weight loss.

This recommendation reflects the overwhelming amount of evidence showing that artificial sweeteners in fact tend to promote weight gain, and have been shown to worsen insulin resistance and metabolic disorders to a greater degree than refined sugar.

    • Moderate protein consumption. The new guidelines note that men in particular, tend to eat too much protein.

The guidelines do not go so far as to suggest a limit, however, although it does specify eating 8 ounces of seafood per week which, besides protein, is a source of healthy omega-3 fat.

Nor does it strictly warn against eating processed meats, even though it mentions processed meats have been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

For reasons detailed in my previous article, “The Very Real Risks of Consuming Too Much Protein,” I recommend limiting your protein to about one-half gram of high-quality, organic, pastured/grass-fed protein per pound of lean body mass, which for most would be 40 to 70 grams a day.

Eating more high-fat/low-mercury fish in lieu of red meat is one great way to reduce your protein consumption, as fish is far lower in protein than meat. As for processed meats, they have far more risks than benefits, and are best avoided as much as possible.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, has actually classified processed meats as a Group 1 carcinogen, as the evidence strongly shows it can cause colorectal cancer in humans.

  • Eat more veggies. The guidelines recommend eating 2.5 cups of a wide variety of vegetables. In my view, you can’t really overdo it when it comes to vegetables, as they’re very low in calories, and supply much needed fiber and prebiotics that nourish beneficial gut bacteria.

Good News: Limit on Dietary Cholesterol Has Been Removed

For the past four decades, the U.S. government has warned that eating cholesterol-rich foods, such as eggs, would raise LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream and promote heart disease. Alas, decades’ worth of research has utterly failed to demonstrate this correlation.

Now, finally, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has addressed this scientific vacuum, announcing that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”8

In the past, the guidelines suggested a limit of 300 milligrams (mg) per day; the equivalent of about two eggs. Now, the limit on dietary cholesterol has been removed entirely. This is good news, since dietary cholesterol is actually one of the most important molecules in your body.

Cholesterol plays an important role in brain health and memory formation, and is indispensable for the building of cells and the production of stress and sex hormones, as well as vitamin D. (When sunlight strikes your bare skin, the cholesterol in your skin is converted into vitamin D.)

Eggs are a healthy source of cholesterol, provided you buy high-quality eggs, meaning organic and pasture raised. The Cornucopia Institute has created an egg scorecard,9 based on 28 organic criteria, to help you select eggs of the highest quality possible.

Bad News: Saturated Fat Myth Remains

Unfortunately, they still do not retract their previous misinformation and do not tell the truth about saturated fat. Insisting that it raises LDL, while ignoring that it only raises safe fluffy LDL particles, they still omit the very important fact that it actually increases HDL.

This is surprising, considering all the evidence. For example, a 2014 meta-analysis10 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (which included data from 76 studies and more than a half-million people) found that those who consume higher amounts of saturated fat have no more heart disease than those who consume less.

Moreover, those who ate higher amounts of unsaturated fat, including both (healthy) olive oil and (unhealthy) corn oil — both of which are recommended over saturated fats — did NOT have lower incidence of heart disease.

Another meta-analysis11 published in the British Medical Journal last year also failed to find an association between high levels of saturated fat in the diet and heart disease. Nor did they find an association between saturated fat consumption and other life-threatening diseases like stroke or type 2 diabetes.

Saturated Fat Recommendations Do Far More Harm Than Good

Despite such findings, the updated dietary guidelines still recommend limiting both trans fats (which are indeed harmful) and saturated fat (which is not) to less than 10 percent of your daily calories. This is a far cry from what most people probably need for optimal health. Saturated fats not only are essential for proper cellular and hormonal function, but also provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet.

If you’re insulin-resistant, which most Americans are, then you’d likely benefit from getting as much as 50 to 80 percent of your daily calories from healthy fats. I personally consume about 75 percent of my diet as healthy fat.

For weight loss, they also recommend sticking to low- and non-fat dairy, which I believe is a serious mistake. Low-fat recommendations do more harm than good across the board, but it may be particularly counterproductive if you’re trying to lose weight. In fact, mounting evidence clearly shows that a high-fat, low-carb diet can be exceptionally effective for weight loss — provided you’re eating the right kinds of fats.

For example, research from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows low-carb, high-fat diets promote faster weight loss than a low-fat diet. Low-carb dieters lost 10 pounds in 45 days, while the low-fat dieters needed 70 days to lose the same amount of weight.

Summary of Heart Healthy Diet

To break it down into simple terms, to protect your heart health you need to address your insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains (non-fiber carbs). To safely and effectively reverse insulin and leptin resistance, thereby lowering your heart disease risk, you need to:

  • Eat REAL food, ideally as close to their natural state as possible. Avoid processed foods and other sources of refined sugar and processed fructose, and limit non-fiber carbs to under 50 grams a day.
  • Focus your diet on whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
    • Large amounts of vegetables
    • Low-to-moderate amounts of high-quality protein (think organically raised, pastured animals and high-fat/low-mercury fish, such as wild Alaskan salmon, anchovies, and sardines)
    • As much high-quality healthy fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources). Sources of healthy fats that you’ll want to add to your diet include the following:
Organic seeds Coconuts, and coconut oil (for all types of cooking and baking), MCT Oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw nuts, such as macadamias and pecans Organic pastured egg yolks Avocados
Grass-fed meats Palm oil Raw cacao nibs

Flawed Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines Turn Healthy People Into Statin Users

According to the U.S. cholesterol treatment guidelines, issued in 2013, if you answer “yes” to ANY of the following four questions, your treatment protocol calls for a statin drug:

  • Do you have heart disease?
  • Do you have diabetes? (either type 1 or type 2)
  • Is your LDL cholesterol above 190?
  • Is your 10-year risk of a heart attack greater than 7.5 percent?

Your 10-year heart attack risk involves the use of a cardiovascular risk calculator,12 which researchers have warned may overestimate your risk by anywhere from 75 to 150 percent13 — effectively turning even very healthy people at low risk for heart problems into candidates for statins. The guideline also does away with the previous recommendation to use the lowest drug dose possible and instead basically focuses all the attention on statin-only treatment and at higher dosages.

While shifting attention to LDL cholesterol rather than total cholesterol is a step in the right direction, the guidelines still ignore the density of the lipoproteins. The division into HDL and LDL is based on how the cholesterol combines with protein particles. LDL and HDL are lipoproteins — fats combined with proteins. Cholesterol is fat-soluble, and blood is mostly water. For it to be transported in your blood, cholesterol needs to be carried by a lipoprotein, which is classified by density.

Large fluffy LDL particles are not harmful. Only small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, as they can squeeze through the lining of your arteries. If they oxidize, they can cause damage and inflammation. So, you could potentially have an LDL level of 190, but still be at low risk, if your LDLs are large, and your HDL to total cholesterol ratio is above 24 percent.  And remember, saturated fat increases your HDL.

Five Reasons to Avoid Statin Drugs

So, while the dietary guidelines no longer focus on reducing dietary cholesterol to protect your heart, and the cholesterol treatment guidelines have stopped using total cholesterol as a measure of heart disease risk (honing in on elevated LDL cholesterol instead), we’re still far off the mark when it comes down to how to best prevent heart disease.

Refined sugar and processed fructose are in fact the primary drivers of heart disease, so that’s where the focus needs to be; not on driving down your cholesterol with the aid of a statin drug (and/or avoiding healthy saturated fats in your diet). The ONLY subgroup that might benefit from a statin are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.

There are many great reasons why you should NOT take a statin drug unless you have this genetic defect, including but not limited to the following five:

  • They don’t work as advertised. A 2015 report14 published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology concluded that statin advocates used a statistical tool called relative risk reduction (RRR) to amplify statins’ trivial beneficial effects. If you look at absolute risk, statin drugs benefit just 1 percent of the population. This means that out of 100 people treated with the drugs, one person will have one less heart attack.
  • They deplete your body of CoQ10. Statins block HMG coenzyme A reductase in your liver, which is how they reduce cholesterol. But this is also the same enzyme that makes CoQ10, which is an essential mitochondrial nutrient that facilitates ATP production.
  • They inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2 — a vitamin that protects your arteries from calcification.
  • They reduce ketone production.15 If you take CoQ10 while on statins you did not solve the problem, as the same enzyme also inhibits your liver’s ability to produce ketones, which are not only water-soluble fat nutrients important for tissue health but also important molecular signaling molecules.
  • Because of  Nos. 2, 3 and 4 they increase your risk for other serious diseases, including:
    • Cancer. Research16 has shown that long-term statin use (10 years or longer) more than doubles women’s risk of two major types of breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma.
    • Diabetes. Statins have been shown to increase your risk of diabetes via a number of different mechanisms, two of which include increasing your insulin resistance, and raising your blood sugar.
    • Neurodegenerative diseases
    • Musculoskeletal disorders and motor nerve damage. Research17 has shown that statin treatment lasting longer than two years causes definite damage to peripheral nerves.”
    • Cataracts

New Class of Cholesterol Drugs May Be Even More Harmful Than Statins

Also beware of a newer class of cholesterol absorption inhibitors called PCSK9 Inhibitors.18 PCSK9 is a protein that works with LDL receptors that regulate LDL in the liver and release LDL cholesterol into the blood.  The inhibitors work by blocking that protein and thus having less LDL to circulate in the blood; in clinical trials, these drugs lowered LDLs by about 60 percent.

While these drugs are being touted as the answer for those who cannot tolerate some of the side effects of the other drugs, such as severe muscle pain, trials have already discovered that PCSK9 inhibitors can produce “neurocognitive effects,” with some patients experiencing confusion and attention deficits.19 There’s evidence suggesting these drugs may actually be even more dangerous than statins.

Making Sense of Your Cholesterol Levels, and Assessing Your Heart Disease Risk

As a general rule, cholesterol-lowering drugs are not required or prudent for the majority of people — especially if high cholesterol and longevity run in your family. Also keep in mind that your overall cholesterol level says very little about your risk for heart disease.

For more information about cholesterol and what the different levels mean, take a look at the infographic above.  As for evaluating your heart disease risk, the following tests will provide you with a far more accurate picture than your total cholesterol or LDL level alone:

HDL / Cholesterol ratio HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24 percent
Triglyceride/HDL ratio You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2
NMR LipoProfile Large LDL particles are not harmful. Only small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, as they can squeeze through the lining of your arteries. If they oxidize, they can cause damage and inflammation.

Some groups, such as the National Lipid Association, are now starting to shift the focus toward LDL particle number instead of total and LDL cholesterol, in order to better assess your heart disease risk. Once you know your particle size numbers, you and your doctor can develop a more customized program to help manage your risk

Your fasting insulin level Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar.

The insulin released from eating too many carbs promotes fat accumulation and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight. Excess fat, particularly around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease

Your fasting blood sugar level Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dl had a nearly 300 percent increase higher risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl
Your iron level Iron can be a very potent oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levels you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should monitor your ferritin levels and make sure they are not much above 80 ng/ml.

The simplest way to lower them if they are elevated is to donate your blood. If that is not possible you can have a therapeutic phlebotomy and that will effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body

How to Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease Without Drugs

Heart disease is predominantly the end result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and cholesterol-lowering medications are far from being magic bullets to lower your risk of dying from heart disease — especially when you consider that your body needs cholesterol for optimal functioning.

In a nutshell, preventing cardiovascular disease involves reducing chronic inflammation in your body. Proper diet, exercise, sun exposure, and grounding to the earth are cornerstones of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. For more details on how to naturally reduce your risk of heart disease, please review the following 10 heart-healthy strategies:

Eat REAL FOOD. Replace processed foods (which are loaded with refined sugar and carbs, processed fructose, and trans fat — all of which promote heart disease) with whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods, ideally organic, and/or locally grown.
Avoid meats and other animal products such as dairy and eggs sourced from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Instead, opt for grass-fed, pastured varieties, raised according to organic standards. Limit your protein intake to one half gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass which is about 40 to 70 grams for most people.
Eliminate no-fat and low-fat foods, and increase consumption of healthy fats. Those with insulin resistance would likely benefit from consuming 50 to 85 percent of their daily calories from healthy saturated fats, such as avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw dairy, organic pastured egg yolks, coconuts and coconut oil, unheated organic nut oils, raw nuts, and grass-fed meats.

No- or low-fat foods are usually processed foods that are high in sugar, which raises your small, dense LDL particles.

Balancing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is also key for heart health, as these fatty acids help build the cells in your arteries that make the prostacyclin that keeps your blood flowing smoothly.

Omega-3 deficiency can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3s and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article.

You also need the appropriate ratios of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and all of these are generally abundant in a whole food diet. To get more fresh vegetables into your diet, consider juicing.
Optimize your vitamin D level. Some researchers, like Dr. Stephanie Seneff, believe optimizing your vitamin D level through regular sun exposure, opposed to taking an oral supplement, may be key to optimizing your heart health. If you do opt for a supplement, you also increase your need for vitamin K2.
Optimize your gut health. Regularly eating fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables, will help reseed your gut with beneficial bacteria that may play an important role in preventing heart disease and countless other health problems.
Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption.
Exercise regularly. Exercise is actually one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent and treat heart disease. In 2013, researchers at Harvard and Stanford reviewed 305 randomized controlled trials, concluding there were “no statistically detectable differences” between physical activity and medications for heart disease.

High-intensity interval training, which requires but a fraction of the time compared to conventional cardio, has been shown to be especially effective. Exercise is one of the most important stimulants of mitochondrial biogenesis.

Pay attention to your oral health. There’s convincing evidence linking the state of your teeth and gums to a variety of health issues, including heart disease. In one 2010 study,20 those with the worst oral hygiene increased their risk of developing heart disease by 70 percent, compared to those who brush their teeth twice a day.
Avoid statins, as the side effects of these drugs are numerous, while the benefits are debatable. If you are taking statins for any reason it is imperative to take Coenzyme Q10. I believe the best is the reduced form called Ubiquinol.

CDC Executive Resigns After Being Caught Colluding With Coca-Cola to Salvage Soda Market


 Story at-a-glance

  • Email evidence shows a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) executive aided a Coca-Cola representative in efforts to influence World Health Organization (WHO) officials to relax sugar limits
  • Last year, WHO announced soda is a key contributor to child obesity, suggesting restrictions on sugary beverages
  • Two days after Barbara Bowman, Ph.D., director of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP), was exposed for offering guidance to leading Coca-Cola advocate, Bowman resigned from her post

I’ve often written about the collusion between industry and our regulatory agencies, and how industry-funded research tends to simply support and promote the industry agenda rather than shed truthful light on the benefits or risks of any given product.

Recent media reports have now revealed devastating evidence showing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) executive aided a Coca-Cola representative in efforts to influence World Health Organization (WHO) officials to relax recommendations on sugar limits.1

In March 2015, WHO published a new sugar guideline that specifically targeted sugary beverages, calling them out as a primary cause for childhood obesity around the world, especially in developing nations, where the soda industry is now aggressively expanding its reach.

WHO’s recommendation to limit soda consumption was a huge blow to an already beleaguered soda industry, struggling to maintain a declining market share amid mounting evidence identifying sweetened drinks as a primary contributor to the obesity and diabetes epidemics.

The damning email correspondence between Coca-Cola and the CDC was obtained by the nonprofit consumer education group U.S. Right to Know (USRTK).2 According to PhillyVoice:3

“The emails were between Barbara Bowman, Ph.D. director of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Dr. Alex Malaspina, a former Coca-Cola scientific and regulatory affairs leader and the founder of a food industry-funded group, International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI).

They allegedly show Bowman’s multiple attempts to aid Malaspina’s relationship with WHO leaders whose actions (think soda tax) were hurting the beverage industry.

According to the report, Bowman — whose job is to try to help prevent obesity, diabetes and other health problems — ‘appeared happy to help the beverage industry cultivate political sway with the World Health Organization.'”

Soda Politics

This kind of political maneuvering and back scratching is covered at length in Marion Nestle, Ph.D.’s book “Soda Politics.” I interviewed Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, last year.

In response to the CDC-Coke scandal, she says:4

“[T]he fact that a high-level U.S. health official is communicating in this way with a beverage industry leader appears improper,” adding the emails “suggest that ILSI, Coca-Cola and researchers funded by Coca-Cola have an ‘in’ with a prominent CDC official.

The official appears to be interested in helping these groups organize opposition to ‘eat less sugar’ and ‘disclose industry funding’ recommendations.

The invitation to dinner suggests a cozy relationship … This appearance of conflict of interest is precisely why policies for engagement with industry are needed for federal officials.”

Nestle’s book reveals the soda industry is well aware of the connection between soda consumption and obesity and obesity-related diseases.

Soda companies are by law required to inform the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about vulnerabilities, and for the last decade Coca-Cola has been telling the SEC that obesity is the most significant threat to soda industry profits.

In short, Coca-Cola knows that once the truth about soda’s influence on obesity becomes fully recognized, their jig is up.

Exposed CDC Official Steps Down

For many years now, health advocates have warned people about the connection between sugary drinks and obesity, and the message has slowly but surely started to take hold.

U.S. soda sales have dropped 25 percent since 1998,5 no doubt due to successful public health advocacy, and this makes the current scandal all the more scandalous, as it’s an attempt by a high-level health official to undo all the work that’s already been done to protect the public health. According to USRTK:6

“Alex Malaspina was able to ask for and receive regular input and guidance from a top official at the … CDC on how to address actions by the World Health Organization that were hurting the food and beverage industry.

The emails … reveal that … Bowman … tried to help Malaspina find inroads to influence WHO officials to back off anti-sugar talk. Bowman suggested people and groups for Malaspina to talk to, and solicited his comments on some CDC summaries of reports … ”

Surprisingly, Bowman had the good sense to immediately vacate her post once her betrayal of the public trust was exposed.

According to The Huffington Post,7 Bowman “announced her immediate departure from the agency … two days after it came to light that she had been offering guidance to a leading Coca-Cola advocate who was seeking to influence world health authorities on sugar and beverage policy matters.”

Perfect Example of Why Revolving Door to Industry Needs to Be Shut

While Bowman didn’t mention her public disgrace as a factor in her resignation, saying she’d made the decision to retire “late last month,” her boss, Ursula Bauer, Ph.D., confirmed Bowman’s dealings with Coca-Cola in an internal email to CDC staff.

In it, Bauer states the “perception that some readers may take from the article [revealing Bowman’s dealings with Malaspina] is not ideal,” adding that the situation “serves as an important reminder of the old adage that if we don’t want to see it on the front pages of the newspaper then we shouldn’t do it.”8

Bowman’s connections to Coca-Cola actually dates back decades,9 and it’s anyone’s guess as to how those ties may have slowed down the path to truth and influenced public health policy. She’d been at the CDC since 1992; she was appointed director of the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) in February 2013. But earlier in her career, Bowman worked as a senior nutritionist for Coca-Cola.

This just goes to show the power of the corporate and federal regulatory agency revolving door allegiances. Public servants must choose the hard road of doing what is best for the public, not their former bosses and acquaintances.

Few have that kind of integrity, it seems, and this case is a perfect example of why the door between private industry and public health and regulatory agencies needs to be more closely monitored. This is not a new problem and is pervasive in Washington for other industries. Yet the U.S. Congress and Senate continually fail to pass legislation to address this glaring loophole that decimates public health.

Philadelphia Imposes Soda Tax and Other Bad News for Big Soda

This scandal comes on the heels of a number of blows against the soda industry. Aside from WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan announcing soda is a key contributor to child obesity and suggesting restrictions on sugary beverages, Philadelphia recently decided to implement a soda tax to cut consumption.

Mexico imposed a soda tax in 2014, and San Francisco requires ads for sugary drinks to include a health warning as of last year. Many cities around the world are also considering similar measures to restrict soda sales. However, the stance against sugar taken by WHO was perhaps considered one of the most serious. In a June 2015 email to Bowman, Malaspina expresses worry about negative publicity related to sugar-rich products and European soda tax plans.

Malaspina says WHO’s actions can have “significant negative consequences on a global basis,” and that “the threat to our business is serious.” He also notes that WHO officials “do not want to work with industry,” adding that, “something must be done.” In response to Malaspina’s request for suggestions on how to get an audience with WHO, Bowman replies that “someone with Gates or ‘Bloomberg people’ may have close connections that could open a door at WHO,” USRTK writes.

“She also suggests he try someone at PEPFAR program, a U.S. government-backed program that makes HIV/AIDS drugs available through the sub-Saharan Africa. She tells him that ‘WHO is key to the network.’ She writes that she ‘will be in touch about getting together.'”

Clearly, the soda industry is struggling to stay alive. But at what cost should they be allowed to promote their business? It’s equally clear that the price for their unrestricted success is disease and death of its consumers, which is why these kinds of backdoor dealings are so unpalatable.

Without Conflicts of Interest, Could Junk Food Industry Survive?

In 2013, I interviewed Michele Simon, who has practiced public health law for nearly 20 years, fighting corporate tactics that deceive and manipulate you about health. Last year, she released a report that revealed disturbing ties between the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) — considered a premier source of nutritional science — and the primary purveyors of obesity and chronic ill health.

ASN is sponsored by 30 different companies, including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Monsanto and the Sugar Association, just to mention a few, each of which pays $10,000 a year in return for “print and online exposure, annual meeting benefits, and first choice to sponsor educational sessions, grants, awards and other opportunities as they arise.” As noted by Simon:

“In other words, food, beverage, supplement, biotech and pharmaceutical industry leaders are able to purchase cozy relationships with the nation’s top nutrition researchers.”

Junk food purveyors gain even more influence by sponsoring educational sessions at various conferences and annual meetings, and featuring speakers that represent the industry. ASN’s ties are particularly problematic since they also publish three academic journals, including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN).

These ties can “taint scientific objectivity, negatively impact the organization’s policy recommendations, and result in industry-friendly research and messaging that is shared with nutrition professionals and the general public alike,” according to Simon.

Obesity researcher David Allison, Ph.D. tops the list of those with the most conflicts. Allison serves on the editorial board of the AJCN, ASN’s flagship publication, even though he has ties to PepsiCo, the Sugar Association, World Sugar Research Organization, Red Bull, Kellogg, Mars, Campbell Soup and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

According to Simon, “having Allison in such a critical gatekeeper role demonstrates how industry can potentially influence even the science that gets published.”

‘Just Say No’ to Soda

“Just Say No” was a slogan created by first lady Nancy Reagan. The “Just Say No” advertising campaign against recreational drug use was prevalent through the 1980s. Today, the same slogan would be appropriate to discourage soda consumption, and a whole lot easier to implement as well.

If you struggle with weight or chronic health issues, replacing soda and other sweet drinks, including fruit juices, with pure water could be one of the best things you could possibly do. Granted, other dietary changes are likely needed as well, but for many, ditching soda can go a long way.

If you crave some flavor, try adding some lime or lemon juice to still or sparkling water. Tea is another option. Just avoid adding sugar, and steer clear of bottled varieties as they’re usually loaded with added sugars. Ditto for so-called “designer water” like Vitamin Water.

If you find it difficult to quit, don’t be discouraged. Many are indeed addicted to soda. To break free, be sure to address the emotional component of your food cravings using tools such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). A version referred to as Turbo Tapping tends to be particularly useful for eliminating soda addiction in a short amount of time.

If you still have cravings after trying EFT or Turbo Tapping, you may need to make some changes to your diet. My free nutrition plan can help you do this in a step-by-step fashion.

Remember, sweetened beverages, whether sweetened with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), naturally occurring fructose or artificial sweeteners are among the worst culprits in the fight against obesity and related health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Ditching ALL of these types of beverages is a significant first step toward reducing your risk for chronic health problems and weight gain.

Unearthed Correspondence Reveals How Sugar Industry Manipulated Nutritional Science for Decades


Heart Health

Story at-a-glance

  • Decades’ worth of research convincingly shows excess sugar damages your health, yet the sugar industry managed bury the evidence and cover it up with faux science that supports sugar as an important food
  • A historical analysis provides substantial evidence that the sugar industry has spent decades manipulating, molding and guiding nutritional research to exonerate sugar and shift the blame to saturated fat instead
  • Most studies giving sugar a free pass have obvious conflicted industry funding behind them. For example, one recent paper came to the unlikely conclusion that eating candy may help prevent weight gain

For years, we’ve been warned about the dangers of eating too much fat or salt, but health authorities and media have been relatively silent about sugar, despite rising obesity rates and failing health in just about every area that has adopted a Western processed food diet.

The sad truth is, there’s copious amounts of research, spanning many decades, showing that excess sugar damages your health in many ways, yet the sugar industry managed to bury the evidence and cover it up with faux science that supports its own claims, which is that sugar has little or nothing to do with weight gain and ill health.

To this day, they want you to continue believing the outdated myth that saturated fat is to blame instead of sugar, and the calories-in, calories-out myth. Fortunately, the truth is finally starting to see the light of day, and many brave souls have stepped up to the plate to expose and dismantle the orchestrated deception.

Sugar Deceptions Exposed

One of them is science journalist and author Gary Taubes, who in 2012 partnered with Dr. Cristin Kearns, a dentist and fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, to write “Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies.” In their exposé, featured in Mother Jones, they wrote:1

“For 40 years, the sugar industry’s priority has been to shed doubt on studies suggesting its product makes people sick. On federal panels, industry-funded scientists cited industry-funded studies to dismiss sugar as a culprit.”

His latest book, which will be released this fall, is “The Case Against Sugar.” I have read this book and will be interviewing Taubes shortly. If you ever had any doubt about how corrupted and influential the sugar industry is, then you simply must read this book.

Taubes delves into the systematic cover-up of science showing sugar indeed causes disease, and is the most likely culprit in our current health crises of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Gary’s book goes into far more detail than this or the featured New York Times article. 2

Dozens of scientists at three American universities have also banded together to create an educational website called SugarScience.org,3 aimed at making independent sugar research available to the public.

Kearns — interviewed by NPR above — is also making headlines with a new paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine,4 which details the sugar industry’s influence on dietary recommendations.5,6,7,8,9,10

Historical Analysis Shows Sugar Industry Manipulated Nutritional Science

Kearns’ historical analysis provides substantial proof that the sugar industry has spent decades manipulating, molding and guiding nutritional research to exonerate sugar and shift the blame to saturated fat instead. As reported by The New York Times:11

“The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease.

The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article,12 which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine [NEJM], minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat.

Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show that the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.”

Obnoxious Research That Should Raise Your Suspicions

Some of the studies giving sugar a free pass has industry fingerprints clearly visible all over it. For example, one recent paper13 came to the unbelievable and highly unlikely conclusion that eating candy may help prevent weight gain, as children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who don’t.

The source of the funding reveals the basis for such a bizarre conclusion: The National Confectioners Association (NCA), which represents candy makers like Butterfingers, Hershey and Skittles.

Last year, Coca-Cola Co. was exposed funneling millions of dollars to an anti-obesity front group, paid to downplay the links between soda and obesity14 — a link that has been firmly established by many previous studies.

Evidence has also emerged showing how the sugar industry influenced the scientific agenda of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, which back in 1971 created a national caries program — again downplaying any links between sugar consumption and dental caries.15

The role of sugar in the diet of diabetics is even downplayed, despite its obvious risks. As noted by Kearns in the NPR interview above, diabetic literature often doesn’t even mention the need for restricting sugar.

Tragically, while type 2 diabetes can be successfully reversed with a proper low-sugar diet, the focus is placed on simply managing the condition through the use of insulin instead — a strategy that typically makes the condition worse.

Diabetics are also urged to use artificial sweeteners, even though studies have clearly shown that artificial sweeteners promote weight gain and worsen insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi-backed research, on the other hand, came to the disturbing and highly irresponsible conclusion that drinking diet soda was more helpful for weight loss than pure water.16

US Dietary Guidelines Were Tainted From the Start

According to Kearns’ historical analysis, one of the Harvard scientists paid to produce research for the sugar industry back in 1967 was Mark Hegsted, Ph.D., a nutrition researcher who passed away in 2009.

In 1977, while heading up the nutrition department at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Hegsted helped draft an early document that eventually became the U.S. dietary guidelines.

In the decades since, U.S. health officials have urged Americans to adopt a low-fat diet to prevent heart disease, and as a result, people switched to processed low-fat, high-sugar foods instead.

This, it turns out, is the REAL recipe for heart disease, yet by taking control of and shaping the scientific discussion, the sugar and processed food industries managed to keep these facts under wraps all these years. The end result is clearly visible in the health statistics of today.

In an accompanying editorial,17 Marion Nestle, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, writes:

“From a deep dive into archival documents from the 1950s and 1960s, they have produced compelling evidence that a sugar trade association not only paid for but also initiated and influenced research expressly to exonerate sugar as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD).”

Shaping Public Opinion Through Research and Legislative Programs

The records, which number around 1,500, include hundreds of pages of letters and correspondence between scientists, nutritionists and sugar executives. The documents were found in the archives of now-defunct sugar companies, as well as in the library records of deceased university researchers who played key roles in the industry’s strategy.

The records reveal that as far back as 1964 — a time when researchers had begun suspecting a relationship between high-sugar diets and heart disease — John Hickson, a sugar industry executive, introduced a plan for how the sugar industry could influence public opinion “through our research and information and legislative programs.”

As reported in the featured article:18 “Hickson proposed countering the alarming findings on sugar with industry-funded research. ‘Then we can publish the data and refute our detractors,’ he wrote.”

This idea is what led to the hiring of Hegsted and two other Harvard scientists to review and debunk the studies linking sugary diets with heart disease. “I think it’s appalling,” Nestle told The New York Times.19 “You just never see examples that are this blatant.”

Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, also noted that the documents are a potent reminder of “why research should be supported by public funding rather than depending on industry funding.” Unfortunately, it will take a lot to make such a shift. Even clamping down on conflicts of interest is turning out to be difficult. As Nestle told Bloomberg:20

“I, for example, have been told repeatedly that since I wrote ‘Food Politics,’ I am ineligible to serve on federal advisory committees because I am too biased. What this tells me is that people who on principle refuse to take food industry funding are excluded from the candidate pool. But people who do take industry funding are considered acceptable as long as they disclose their financial ties appropriately which, unfortunately, many do not.”

Sugar Industry Responds

Meanwhile, the Sugar Association remains steadfast in its course, responding to Kearns’ paper by saying:21 “We question this author’s continued attempts to reframe historical occurrences to conveniently align with the currently trending anti-sugar narrative, particularly when the last several decades of research have concluded that sugar does not have a unique role in heart disease.”

It’s interesting to note that the sugar industry’s primary defense is to lean on a “scientific foundation” of research tainted by their own conclusions! Take their response to British nutritionist John Yudkin’s work for example. In 1972, Yudkin published the book, “Pure White and Deadly,” in which he presented decades of research pointing at dietary sugar — rather than fat — as the underlying factor in obesity and diabetes.

In response, the Sugar Association secretly funded a white paper called “Sugar in the Diet of Man,” which claimed sugar was not only safe and healthy, but an important “energy” food. “Scientists Dispel Sugar Fears,” reads the headline of the Sugar Association’s press release.22 And, while they funded the paper in question, they made it appear to be an independent study.

The Sugar Association’s biggest apologist was Ancel Keys, Ph.D., who, with industry funding, helped destroy Yudkin’s reputation by discrediting him and labeling him a quack. The smear campaign was a huge success, bringing sugar research to a screeching halt. Like the tobacco and chemical industries, those who profit from sugar have become very adept at crushing dissenting voices, including those in the halls of science.

By silencing sugar critics, the sugar industry was able to continue the promotion of saturated fat as the dietary villain, despite its lack of scientific support. The 21st century brought super-sized sodas along with super-sized health problems, and the food industry continues to look the other way — hoping you won’t catch on to the truth.

Just as Big Tobacco angled to place the blame for cancer elsewhere, Big Sugar has scrambled for cover, borrowing Big Tobacco tactics such as undermining science, intimidating scientists and subverting public health policy.

How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

According to a 2014 study,23 more than 7 out of 10 American adults get at least 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugar; 1 in 10 get 25 percent or more of their daily calories from added sugars. It also found that:

  • People who consumed 21 percent or more of their daily calories in the form of sugar were twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to those who got 7 percent or less of their daily calories from added sugar
  • The risk nearly tripled among those who got 25 percent or more of their calories from sugar

More recent research shows that high-sugar diets are also a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease in children — and pose a significant risk even far below current levels of consumption. As noted in the latest scientific statement on children’s sugar consumption from the American Heart Association (AHA):24

“Strong evidence supports the association of added sugars with increased cardiovascular disease risk in children through increased energy intake, increased adiposity, and dyslipidemia … [I]t is reasonable to recommend that children consume ≤25 g[rams] (100 cal[ories] or ≈ 6 teaspoons) of added sugars per day and to avoid added sugars for children <2 years of age.”

According to the AHA, kids eat on average 19 teaspoons of added sugar a day — about three times more than recommended, and the evidence clearly indicates that this dietary trend goes hand-in-hand with our current epidemics of obesity and chronic disease. A single can of soda or fruit punch can contain about 40 grams of sugar, making sweetened drinks particularly risky for young children.

Breakfast cereals, cereal bars, bagels and pastries also tend to contain high amounts of added sugars. For the longest time, there was no real cutoff recommendation for sugar, aside from recommendations to eat sugar “in moderation” — something that is virtually impossible to do if you’re eating processed foods. Thankfully, this is finally changing. The AHA now recommends limiting daily addedsugar intake to:25,26,27,28,29,30,31

  • 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men
  • 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women
  • 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for toddlers and teens between the ages of 2 and 18
  • Zero added sugars for kids under the age of 2

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has also issued sugar recommendations, suggesting kids between the ages of 4 and 8 limit their added sugar to a maximum of 3 teaspoons a day (12 grams), and children age 9 and older stay below 8 teaspoons. While I agree with the 25 gram max as a general recommendation for healthy people, in my view, virtually everyone would benefit from the under age 2 recommendation.

Tips for Reducing Your Added Sugar Intake

One of the easiest and most rapid ways to dramatically cut down on your added sugar and fructose consumption is to simply eat real food, as most of the added sugar you end up with comes from processed foods. Other ways to cut down on the sugar in your diet includes:

  • Cutting down, with the aim of eliminating, sugar you personally add to your food and drink or consume in the form of processed foods and sweetened beverages
  • Using Stevia or Luo Han instead of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. You can learn more about the best and worst of sugar substitutes in my previous article, “Sugar Substitutes — What’s Safe and What’s Not
  • Using fresh fruit in lieu of canned fruit or sugar for meals or recipes calling for a bit of sweetness
  • Using spices instead of sugar to add flavor to your meal

The Truth About Sugar Addiction


Sugar, in moderate amounts, is essential to our body. As a carbohydrate, it helps supply you with the energy you need for your daily activities. All of your cells use it. But at the same time, sugar is also a calorie, and once it is in consumed in excess, negative effects to your health will follow. Massive sugar addiction can result in obesity, diabetes, heart damage or failure, cancer cell production, depletion of brain power, and shorter lifespans.1

Moderation is important in this case. Yet avoiding food with high sugar content is definitely easier said than done these days, given the variety of options in stores. Some of the usual suspects include energy drinks, sodas, candy bars, artificial sweeteners, and so much more. Everyone has access to them.

What Lies Behind Sugar Addiction

Sugar addiction obviously begins when you crave anything that contains this sweet ingredient. Eating sugar triggers production of natural opioids in your brain. These hormones aid in relieving the pain and are triggered in the same way one would consume illegal drugs.2

According to researchers, your tongue has two sweet receptors in it, which evolved during the early times, when our ancestors ate a typically low-sugar diet. As the years went by, people’s tongues were still not able to adapt to sweet treats. This is why when the receptors in your tongue are highly stimulated, it results in your brain sending out excessive reward signals whenever you eat something with sugar in it, which end up overriding your self-control mechanisms. This leads to addiction.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote in The Atlantic that:

“The brain’s pleasure center, called the nucleus accumbens, is essential for our survival as a species… When you consume any substance of abuse, including sugar, the nucleus accumbens receives a dopamine signal, from which you experience pleasure. And so you consume more. The problem is that with prolonged exposure, the signal attenuates, gets weaker. So you have to consume more to get the same effect — tolerance. And if you pull back on the substance, you go into withdrawal. Tolerance and withdrawal constitute addiction.”3

Another major player in possible sugar addiction is the hormone leptin. It is responsible for telling the brain how energy that is stored from fat is to be used. Moreover, it targets taste receptors in your tongue, which could increase or decrease your food cravings. When you lack leptin or if there is a problem with your body’s leptin receptors, then your chances of craving food will be bigger, and more often than not, sugar is always the first pick when it comes to combatting cravings.

76 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health

Too much sugar can lead to detrimental effects to your health. I counted at least 76 ways (yes, you read that right!) in which sugar can cause serious health risks for you. These hazards are divided into four categories: Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses, Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency, Bodily Impairments, and Behavioral Changes.

Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency

  1. Upsets the mineral relationships in your body
  2. Chromium deficiency
  3. Interferes with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and protein
  4. Increases total cholesterol, triglycerides, and bad cholesterol levels
  5. Decreases good cholesterol levels
  6. Lowers vitamin E levels
  7. Body changes sugar into two to five times more fat in the bloodstream compared to starch

Behavioral Changes

  1. Addictive and intoxicating, similar to alcohol
  2. Rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, and anxiety
  3. Leads to difficulty in concentration, drowsiness, and crankiness in children
  4. Results in decreased activity in children
  5. Reduces learning capacity and can cause learning disorders that could affect schoolchildren’s grades
  6. Increases risk of antisocial behavior
  7. Decrease in emotional stability
  8. Depression
  9. Alcoholism

Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses

  1. Feeds cancer cells
  2. Can induce cell death
  3. Increases fasting levels of glucose
  4. Increases systolic blood pressure
  5. Significant increase in platelet adhesion
  6. Leads to formation of kidney stones and gallstones
  7. Rapid sugar absorption promotes excessive food intake
  8. Obesity
  9. Decreases insulin sensitivity, leading to high insulin levels and eventually diabetes
  10. Reactive hypoglycemia
  11. Headaches, including migraines
  12. Dizziness
  13. Gastrointestinal tract problems
  14. Food allergies
  15. Promotes chronic degenerative diseases
  16. Causes atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases
  17. Causes cataracts and nearsightedness
  18. May lead to autoimmune diseases like arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis
  19. Causes emphysema
  20. Contributes to osteoporosis
  21. Contraction of appendicitis, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins
  22. Parkinson’s disease (people with said disease have high sugar intake)
  23. Increases risk of gout and Alzheimer’s disease
  24. Acidity in saliva, tooth decay, and periodontal diseases
  25. Gum disease
  26. Greatly promotes uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
  27. Toxemia in pregnancy
  28. Contributes to eczema in children
  29. Worsens symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  30. Increases risk of polio
  31. May lead to epileptic seizures
  32. Could lead to high blood pressure in obese people
  33. Increased consumption in intensive care units can induce death

Bodily Impairments

  1. Has potential to induce abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual
  2. Suppression of immune system, increasing risk of contracting infectious diseases
  3. Loss of tissue elasticity and function
  4. Weaker eyesight
  5. Premature aging
  6. Increases advanced glycation end products wherein sugar molecules attach to proteins and end up damaging them
  7. DNA structure impairment
  8. Can cut off oxygen to brain via intravenous feedings
  9. Change in protein structure and causes a permanent alteration of protein acts in your body
  10. Changing of collagen structure
  11. Skin aging
  12. Impairs physiological homeostasis of bodily systems
  13. Lowers ability of enzymes to function
  14. Increases liver size by making liver cells divide, increasing the amount of liver fat
  15. Increase kidney size and producing pathological changes
  16. Pancreatic damage
  17. Increase in body’s fluid retention
  18. Affects urinary electrolyte composition
  19. Slows down ability of adrenal glands to function
  20. Compromises lining of capillaries
  21. Brittle tendons
  22. Can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind’s ability to think clearly
  23. Causes hormonal imbalances
  24. Increases free radicals and oxidative stress
  25. Leads to substantial decrease in gestation, with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age infant
  26. Dehydration among newborns
  27. Affects carbon dioxide production when given to premature babies

How to Break Sugar Addiction

Don’t fret – it’s not too late to kick those bad habits to the curb. I have a couple of recommendations on how to safely consume sugar without sacrificing your health.

The first would be to appeal to your emotions. Sometimes, when you crave food, it is triggered by an emotional need such as wanting to relieve stress or feel a little bit happier after a tiring day. More often than not, people tend to ignore their emotions when considering whether to eat healthy or otherwise.

I highly recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a simple and effective psychological acupressure technique that could help you manage the emotional components of your cravings. It has been proven to relieve a lot of emotional traumas, abolish phobias and post-traumatic stresses, break down food cravings, and lessen physical pain and discomfort.

What EFT entails in its practitioners is to have the right mindset when going on a diet or just taking steps to improve on their health. If you’re already curious, you can browse through the basics of EFT here.

Another way to reduce sugar consumption would be to lessen the amount of sugar that you consume on a daily basis – below 25 grams to be exact – including that from whole fruits.

I also advise you to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) at all costs. This is a sweetener that is made from corn and found in many of the food items that we eat and drink today. Now, this is considered to be deadly not only because of the amount of sugar that goes in it, but also because of the health risks that can it can cause, most of which were already mentioned above.

Sugar Addiction

Story at-a-glance

  • Sugar addiction happens due to intense cravings for sweet food. It is triggered by the brain by sending signals to the receptors in our tongue that were not able to develop from the low-sugar diets of our ancestors
  • Here are 76 ways in which sugar could pose a significant threat to your health, divided into four categories: Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses, Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency, Bodily Impairments, and Behavioral Changes
  • Your emotions might be more important than you think, as newer and more recent studies show that conditioning yourself and analyzing the impacts of your eating habits can help you curb bad practices – sugar addiction included

 

How Nutrition Influences Cancer


Story at-a-glance

  • Cancer is not a nuclear genetic disease, but occurs as a result of previous mitochondrial damage, which then triggers nuclear genetic mutations that may lead to cancer
  • Mitochondrial function can be significantly improved through diet. Eating higher amounts of healthy fats and lower amounts of net carbs, along with moderate amounts of high-quality protein, is key
  • Normal, healthy cells have the metabolic flexibility to adapt from using glucose to using ketone bodies. Cancer cells lack this ability, so when you reduce net carbs (total carbs minus fiber), you effectively starve the cancer

Is it possible that chromosomal damage is simply a marker for cancer and not the actual cause of the disease? Compelling evidence suggests this is the case, and in the featured lecture, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gary Fettke reviews some of this evidence.

Having battled cancer himself, Fettke came to realize the influence of nutrition on cancer, and the importance of eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber, i.e. non-fiber carbs). Fettke is not the only one promoting the metabolic model of cancer.

Earlier this year I interviewed Travis Christofferson, author of a phenomenal book called “Tripping Over the Truth: The Return of the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Illuminates a New and Hopeful Path to a Cure,” on this topic.

The Metabolic Model of Cancer

The Cancer Genome Atlas project that began in 2006 set out to sequence the genomes of cancer cells. It was the largest government project ever conceived, involving 10,000 times the amount of genetic sequencing done by the Human Genome Project. Alas, the results didn’t conform to their original expectations.

The evidence clearly showed that something other than mere gene mutation was at play. The mutations found in cancer cells were simply too random. Some cancers didn’t even have any genetic mutations driving them. So what then could the driving factor be?

In a nutshell, the nuclear genetic defects typically thought to be responsible for cancer actually occur further downstream. Mitochondrial damage happens first, which then triggers nuclear genetic mutations that may lead to cancer.

Moreover, scientists are now finding that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of virtually ALL diseases, placing mitochondrial function at the very center of just about any wellness or disease prevention program.

As Fettke notes, one of the primary considerations is glucose metabolism within your mitochondria — a theory initially brought forth by Dr. Otto Warburg in the 1920s.

In 1931, Warburg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. As it turns out, cancer cells do not have the same metabolic flexibility as healthy ones.

Cancer Cells Are Metabolically Limited to Feed on Sugar

A cell can produce energy either aerobically, in the mitochondria, or anaerobically, in the cytoplasm. Anaerobic metabolism generates excessive levels of lactic acid, which can be toxic.

Warburg discovered that in the presence of oxygen, cancer cells overproduce lactic acid, and this became known as the Warburg Effect. So what does this tell us about the nutritional origins of cancer? In a nutshell, Warburg’s findings tell us that sugar “feeds” cancer while fats “starve” it.

Healthy cells can use either glucose or ketone bodies from fat as an energy source, but cancer is metabolically restricted to using glucose only. Cancer cells for the most part lack metabolic flexibility and simply cannot metabolize ketones, and this is why nutritional ketosis appears to be so effective against cancer.

Cancer could actually be more accurately classified as a mitochondrial metabolic disease. Few people inherit genes that predispose them to cancer. Most inherit genes that prevent cancer. Inherited mutations typically disrupt the function of the mitochondria, and the heightened risk for cancer is a result of that weakness.

The good news is you can optimize your mitochondrial function by addressing certain lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise, and this knowledge opens up a whole new way of looking at and treating cancer.

As explained by Fettke, the metabolic model of cancer is “based around energy and growth; random chromosomal mutations are secondary.” Furthermore:

“All cells require an energy source of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). They also require building materials that are either sourced locally or transported in normal cells convert glucose primarily into ATP and a little into maintenance.

Cancer cells do the opposite. There’s a diversion of glucose away from ATP production to the building materials required for cell growth … The other building materials require protein and fatty acids and cancer steals those from its surroundings.

That invasion of surrounding tissue accounts for how cancer spreads and metastasizes … The driving force behind all of this is oxygen-free radical production.

I believe the free radical production then causes the DNA damage in a random fashion, and account for the chromosomal abnormalities. So, if we can find the source of the oxygen free radicals, we might be onto something.”

Processed Food Diet Is a Major Cancer Promoter

What drives free radical production? Inflammation is a major driver, and our modern processed food diet is highly inflammatory.

Key culprits include polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), trans fats and added sugar in all its forms, especially processed fructose (such as high-fructose corn syrup), as well as refined grains. Artificial ingredients can also promote inflammation.

By reducing the amount of net carbs you eat, you will accomplish four things that will result in lowered inflammation and reduced stimulation of cancer growth. You will:

  1. Lower your serum glucose level
  2. Reduce your mTOR level
  3. Reduce your insulin level
  4. Lower insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1, a potent hormone that acts on your pituitary gland to induce metabolic and endocrine effects, including cell growth and replication. Elevated IGF-1 levels are associated with breast and other cancers)

Indeed, one of the basic reasons why a high-fat, low-net carb diet (nutritional ketosis) works so well is because it drives your inflammation down to almost nothing. And when inflammation disappears, your body can heal.

What Cancer Requires for Growth

In order to thrive and grow, cancer cells need fuel in the form of glucose, plus building materials in the form of protein, fatty acids, phosphate and acetate. These building materials are not readily available in your bloodstream, so cancer cells “steal” them from surrounding cells.

The process that allows the cancer cells to invade surrounding tissue is known as the Reverse Warburg Effect. This effect is based on hydrogen peroxide generation caused by the interaction between oxygen free radicals and water.

So invasive or metastasizing cancer, in essence, is the result of the Warburg Effect and the Reverse Warburg Effect. I highly recommend viewing the featured video to get a better grasp on these processes, and how they contribute to cancer formation and spread. As noted by Fettke, knowing all of this presents us with a whole new set of cancer prevention and treatment options, including the following:

  • Limit or eliminate sugar and net carbohydrates (non-fiber carbs) to avoid feeding cancer cells
  • Limit or eliminate PUFA oils and trans fats to prevent the formation of harmful free radicals and damaging small, dense LDL particles
  • Limit protein (I recommend using a formula of one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass) to avoid stimulating mTOR pathway
  • Increase antioxidant intake (via whole food and/or supplements) to counteract free radical damage
  • Increase healthy fat intake to feed healthy cells while starving cancer cells

The Importance of Diet for Successful Cancer Treatment

Remember, the foundational aspect that must be addressed is the metabolic mitochondrial defect, and this involves radically reducing the non-fiber carbohydrates in your diet and increasing high-quality fats. This does not mean a low total carbohydrate diet. You need to have plenty of fresh, organic and fiber-filled vegetables (low net carbs).

You can actually have several hundred grams of vegetables per day as the fibers will be converted to short-chain fatty acids, which will improve your ability to burn fat for fuel and also nourish your microbiome.

You can replace the non-fiber carbs with up to 70 to 85 percent healthy fats, along with a moderate amount of high-quality protein, as excessive protein can also trigger cancer growth by stimulating mTOR, which accelerates cancer growth. That’s really the solution. If you don’t do that, other treatments may not work.

According to Fettke, studies have shown that nutritional ketosis, i.e. eating a high-fat, low-net carb diet significantly improves health outcomes in patients undergoing conventional cancer treatment such as chemotherapy.

It’s also important to remember that glucose is an inherently “dirty” fuel as it generates far more reactive oxygen species and secondary free radicals than burning fat. But to burn fat, your cells must be healthy and normal. Cancer cells lack the metabolic flexibility to burn fat and this why a healthy high-fat diet appears to be such an effective anti-cancer strategy.

When you switch from burning glucose as your primary fuel to burning fat for fuel, cancer cells really have to struggle to stay alive, as most of their mitochondria are dysfunctional and can’t use oxygen effectively to burn fuel. At the same time, healthy cells are given an ideal and preferred fuel, which lowers oxidative damage and optimizes mitochondrial function. The sum effect is that healthy cells begin to thrive while cancer cells are starved.

General Nutrient Ratio Guidelines for Mitochondrial Health and Cancer Prevention

For optimal health, you need sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. However, ever since the advent of processed foods and industrial farming, it’s become increasingly important to be specific when discussing these nutrients. There are healthy fats and unhealthy ones. Ditto for carbohydrates and protein. Much of the benefits or risks are related to how the food was grown, raised, and/or processed.

To achieve nutritional ketosis, it is important to keep track of your net carbs and total protein intake. Net carbs are calculated by taking the total number of carbohydrates in grams and subtracting the amount of fiber contained in the food. The resulting number is your net carbs. For optimal health and disease prevention, I recommend keeping your net carbs below 40 or 50 grams per day.

Translating Ideal Protein Requirements Into Foods

Substantial amounts of protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Some vegetables also contain generous amounts of protein — for example, broccoli. To determine whether or not you’re getting too much protein, simply calculate your body’s requirement based on your lean body mass by subtracting your percentage of body fat from 100, and write down everything you eat for a few days.

Then, calculate the amount of daily protein you’ve consumed from all sources. Again, you’re aiming for one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. If you’re currently averaging a lot more than what is optimal, adjust downward accordingly. You could use the chart below or simply Google the food you want to know and you will quickly find the grams of protein in that food.

Red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood average 6 to 9 grams of protein per ounce.

An ideal amount for most people would be a 3-ounce serving of meat or seafood (not 9- or 12-ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18 to 27 grams of protein

Eggs contain about 6 to 8 grams of protein per egg. So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12 to 16 grams of protein

If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese)

Seeds and nuts contain on average 4 to 8 grams of protein per quarter cup Cooked beans average about 7 to 8 grams per half cup
Cooked grains average 5 to 7 grams per cup Most vegetables contain about 1 to 2 grams of protein per ounce

Beware of Unhealthy Fats

When it comes to fat, it’s really crucial to distinguish healthy from the unhealthy ones. The vast majority of fats people eat are actually very unhealthy. As a general rule, avoid all processed and bottled vegetable oils, which are typically high in damaged omega-6 fats. (Also be careful with olive oil. While healthy, up to 80 percent of commercial olive oils are actually adulterated with oxidized omega-6 vegetable oils, so make sure it’s third party-certified as genuine.)

Another general rule: do not be afraid of naturally saturated fats! They’re among the healthy ones. Sources of healthy fats you want to include more of in your diet include:

Olives and olive oil (third party-certified authentic) Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, and cacao butter
Raw nuts, such as, macadamia and pecans, and seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin, and hemp seeds Organic-pastured egg yolks Avocados
Grass-fed meats Lard, tallow and ghee Animal-based omega-3 fat such as krill oil

Nutritional Ketosis Can Offer Hope and Health

Fettke finishes his lecture listing a number of known benefits of nutritional ketosis in the treatment of cancer, including the following:

It’s safe It’s well-tolerated
It can be used with other cancer treatments (and may actually improve the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments) Ketones are protective to surrounding cells, reducing the power of the cancer to spread
It gives patients a sense of control, which has been shown to improve survival rates If useful as a treatment, it should certainly be considered for prevention
It gives patients hope, which also improves survival It’s the least expensive cancer treatment available

A Radical Experiment in Nutritional Ketosis

To give you an idea of how nutritional ketosis can benefit your health beyond cancer prevention, consider the case of Dr. Peter Attia. His experiment is a very clear example of the effects diet can have on overall health markers. Attia is a Stanford University-trained physician with a passion for metabolic science, who decided to use himself as a lab rat — with incredible results. He describes his experiment in the video below.

Although he’s always been active and fit, he did not have genetics on his side. His natural tendency was toward metabolic syndrome, in spite of being very diligent about his diet and exercise. So he decided to experiment with nutritional ketosis to see if he could improve his overall health status.

For a period of 10 years, he consumed 80 percent of his calories from healthy fat and continuously monitored his metabolic markers, such as blood sugar levels, body fat percentage, blood pressure, lipid levels and others.

He experienced improvement in every measure of health, as you can see in the table below. An MRI confirmed that he had lost not only subcutaneous fat but also visceral fat, which is the most detrimental type. His experiment demonstrates how diet can produce major changes in your body, even if you are starting out relatively fit. And if you’re starting out with a low level of fitness, then the changes you experience may be even more pronounced.

BEFORE AFTER
Fasting blood sugar 100 75 to 95
Percentage body fat 25 10
Waist circumference in inches 40 31
Blood pressure 130/85 110/70
LDL 113 88
HDL 31 67
Triglycerides 152 22
Insulin sensitivity Baseline Increased by more
than 400 percent

 

More Than Half of The American Diet is Ultra-Processed Junk Food


Lung Cancer Risk

Story at-a-glance

  • An astonishing 60 percent of the food Americans eat is ULTRA-processed, and these foods account for 90 percent of the added sugar consumption in the U.S.
  • About 2 percent of the calories in processed foods come from added sugars. By definition, unprocessed or minimally processed contain none. Ultra-processed foods get 21 percent of their calories from added sugars
  • The 2015 U.S. dietary guidelines recommend limiting sugar intake to a max of 10 percent of daily calories. Cutting down on ultra-processed foods is a simple way to reduce your added sugar intake

About 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes to buy processed food.1,2,3 What’s worse, new research shows that, astonishingly, more than half—nearly 60 percent, in fact—of the food Americans eat is ULTRA-processed.4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11

Basically, half of what the average American eats in any given day are convenience foods that can be bought at your local gas station.

Moreover, those ultra-processed foods account for 90 percent of the added sugar consumption in the U.S.  Data from a nationally representative food survey was used for this study, which found that:

  • On average, 57.9 percent of the calories people eat comes from ultra-processed foods
  • 29.6 percent of calories comes from unprocessed or minimally processed foods (such as meats, eggs, milk, and pasta)
  • Processed but not ultra-processed foods (such as canned or preserved foods, cured meats and cheeses) account for 9.4 percent of calories
  • 2.9 percent of calories comes from “processed culinary ingredients” such as vegetable oil, table salt, and sugar
  • Less than 1 percent of daily calories comes from vegetables

Excessive Sugar Consumption Drives Disease Statistics

The dangers of eating too much added sugar have been well-established, and have even become officially recognized. For the first time ever, the 2015-2020 U.S. dietary guidelines12 now recommend limiting your sugar intake to a maximum of 10 percent of your daily calories.13

Decreasing sugar consumption is indeed at the top of the list if you’re overweight, insulin resistant, or struggle with any chronic disease. Research14 has shown that as much as 40 percent of American healthcare expenditures are for diseases directly related to the overconsumption of sugar.

More than $1 trillion each year is spent on treating sugar and junk food-related diseases, which runs the gamut from obesity and diabetes, to heart disease and cancer.15

According to a report16 on the global cancer burden, published in 2014, obesity is responsible for an estimated 500,000 cancer cases worldwide each year. A more recent British report estimates obesity may result in an additional 670,000 cancer cases in the U.K. alone over the next 20 years.

For over half a century, nutritional guidelines have focused on cutting saturated fats and cholesterol, and we now know that this was a very serious mistake.

As fats were removed from processed fare, the sugar content increased (to make the food palatable), and sugar is the real culprit of virtually all diseases previously blamed on dietary fats.

What is Ultra-Processed Food?

Anything that isn’t directly from the vine, bush, tree, or from the earth is considered processed. Bread and pasta, for example, are processed goods. Ditto for anything canned or frozen.

Depending on the amount of adulteration the food goes through, processing may be considered minimal or significant. “Ultra-processed” foods are at the far end of the significantly altered spectrum.

Examples of ultra-processed foods include breakfast cereals, pizza, soda, chips and other salty/sweet/savory snacks, packaged baked goods, microwaveable frozen meals, instant soups and sauces, and much more. In the featured study, ultra-processed foods were defined as:

  • Food products containing several ingredients that are not traditionally used in cooking
  • Besides salt, sugar, oils and fats, they can include artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and other additives “used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods”
  • These ingredients may also be added “to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product”
  • They typically contain preservatives and chemicals that give them an unnaturally long shelf-life

Ultra-Processed Foods Contain FAR More Sugar Than Processed Foods

The difference between processed foods and ultra-processed foods in terms of sugar content is quite dramatic.

The researchers found that about 2 percent of the calories in processed foods came from added sugars. By definition, unprocessed or minimally processed contained none. Ultra-processed foods, on the other hand, got 21 percent of their calories from added sugars.

Not surprisingly, the authors of the featured study concluded that: “Decreasing the consumption of ultra-processed foods could be an effective way of reducing the excessive intake of added sugars in the USA.”

On a positive note, the researchers also found that there were significant differences in how much ultra-processed foods people ate.

One in 5 people (about 60 million Americans) actually got more than 70 percent of their calories from real food (i.e. unprocessed or minimally processed), and only 30 percent from ultra-processed fare.

As noted by Time Magazine:17 “7.5 percent of the people with the lowest processed food consumption actually met the federal dietary recommendations of eating no more than 10 percent of daily calories from sugar.

So if people avoid processed foods, it’s possible to reach recommended nutritional requirements.”

So there is a ray of hope. In my view, eating a diet consisting of 90 percent real food and only 10 percent or less processed foods is a doable goal for most that could make a significant difference in your weight and overall health.

I realize for many  this is a challenge, but I know it is doable. Unless I’m travelling, my diet is very close to 100 percent real food, much of it grown on my property. One just needs to make the commitment and place a high priority on it.

Carb-Rich Foods are As Risky As Cigarettes

In related news, research suggests refined non-vegetable fiber carbs such as potatoes, bagels and breakfast cereal are as risky as smoking, increasing your risk for lung cancer by as much as 49 percent.

Your risk is particularly high if you’ve never smoked. Among smokers, eating a high glycemic diet was associated with a 31 percent increased risk for lung cancer. As reported by UPI:18

“A high glycemic index, a measure of the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels, was linked to a greater chance for developing lung cancer, researchers at the University of Texas MD Andersen Cancer Center found…

While increased levels of carbohydrates can increase the risk, the researchers said the quality of carbohydrates, rather than the quantity, has the strongest effect.

Foods such as white bread and puffed rice cereal are highly refined, which is why the researchers suggest swapping them out for whole-wheat or pumpernickel breads and pasta.

“The results from this study suggest that, besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, such as avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption and being physically active, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer,” Dr. Xifeng Wu, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas, said…”

High glycemic foods, i.e. refined carbs high in sugar, promote insulin resistance and obesity, and this isn’t the first time a connection has been made between a high-sugar and/or obesity and cancer.

In fact, cancer specialists who discussed the cancer trend at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago warned that obesity will likely overtake smoking to claim the lead spot as the principal cause of 10 different types of cancer within the next decade.19 Obesity is also associated with worsened prognosis after a cancer diagnosis, raises your risk of dying from the cancer treatment, and raises your risk of additional malignancies and comorbidities.20

Half of All Americans are Pre-Diabetic or Diabetic

Other recent research suggests that nearly half of all adults living in California now have diabetes or prediabetes, and most are not even aware of it. (For a list of pre-diabetes and diabetes rates by county, see the original news story.21) According to Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy which commissioned the report:22 “This study is a wake-up call that says it’s time to make diabetes prevention a top state priority.”

As reported by Marinij Health:23

“Nationally, diabetes rates have tripled over the past 30 years. In California, the rate has increased by 35 percent since 2001…Some health experts say one way to address the diabetes epidemic is to impose a tax on sugary beverages. Berkeley became the first city in the country to pass a soda tax in 2014, but similar efforts have repeatedly failed in the Legislature…

[H]owever, two legislators — Democratic Assemblymen Jim Wood, of Healdsburg, and Richard Bloom, of Santa Monica – [have] proposed a “health impact fee” of 2 cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened sodas and other drinks. And last month, a Field Poll about childhood obesity-prevention policies showed more than 7 in 10 of voters polled believe there’s a close link between a child regularly drinking sugary beverages and diabetes.”

In 2008, pre-diabetes and diabetes affected 1 in 4 Americans. Then, research24,25 published last year which looked at data up to 2012, found that HALF of all Americans are now either pre-diabetic or diabetic. In all, 12 to 14 percent have full-blown diabetes, and another 38 percent are pre-diabetic. So California is not unusual in that sense. Moreover, as in California, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes as Caucasians.

Why Diabetes is Such a Dangerous Disease

Diabetes has become so common that many don’t even bat an eyelash anymore, but this is a serious mistake. Aside from the potentially deadly side effects of diabetes drugs, which I’ve covered in previous articles, the health complications that diabetes fosters are many, including but not limited to the following:

High blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke – 75 percent of diabetics have high blood pressure (130/80 mm Hg or higher). Death from heart disease and risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes. Amputations – In 2004, 71,000 lower limb amputations due to diabetes were performed in the U.S.
Blindness — Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 years Dental disease — Almost one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal disease
Kidney disease – Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.

In 2005, more than 45,700 people began treatment for end-stage kidney disease in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and another 178,700 were living on chronic dialysis

Pregnancy complications — Poorly controlled diabetes before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy among women with type 1 diabetes can cause major birth defects in 5 to 10 percent of pregnancies, and spontaneous abortions in 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies
Nervous system disease — About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage such as: impaired sensation or pain in hands or feet, poor digestion, carpal tunnel syndrome and erectile dysfunction Cancer— People with prediabetes have a 15 percent higher risk of cancer, especially cancers of the liver, stomach, pancreas, breast, and endometrium.

Women with diabetes have a 50 percent greater risk of developing colorectal cancer than women without diabetes.26

People with the highest insulin levels at the time of a cancer diagnosis also have significantly increased risks of cancer recurrence, as well as a greater risk of being diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer27

What’s the Key to Resolving Insulin Resistance and Diabetes?

The answer can be summarized in three words: Eat real food. Intermittent fasting, or the more accurate term, Time Restricted Feeding (TRF), can also be helpful. When you fast, your liver burns off the available liver fat, and by temporarily depleting your liver fat stores you restore metabolic stability to your liver and improve hepatic insulin sensitivity.

Exercise is also an important component. Studies have shown that exercise is beneficial and increases insulin sensitivity, whether you lose weight or not,28 and even if you’re physically active as little as 2.5 hours a week can be beneficial.29 When it comes to diet though, the long-term and most sustainable answer is to simply cut way down on ultra-processed foods, and to think of “diet” in terms of unprocessed whole foods, with which you then cook from scratch.

Truly, a major part of the problem is that so few people take the time to cook their own meals anymore. But relying on a “gas station diet” of ultra-processed foods is a recipe for insulin resistance, obesity, and related diseases that will ultimately cost you a fortune in medical bills and shorten your lifespan.

When you consider the ultimate, long-term price tag of all this convenience food, the time you invest in cooking will pay tremendous dividends. Remember if you want to be healthy, you or someone you trust needs to spend some serious time in the kitchen preparing your own food.

If you’re insulin/leptin resistant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or are overweight, you’d be wise to limit your total fructose intake to 15 grams per day until your insulin/leptin resistance has resolved. For others, limit your daily fructose consumption to 25 grams or less. This can be pretty difficult unless you eat real food, and the reason for this is because ultra-processed foods are eight times higher in sugar than minimally processed or unprocessed foods.

Replace Refined Carbs With Healthy Fats and Moderate Amounts of Protein

Since you’re cutting a lot of energy (carbs) from your diet when you eliminate processed sugars and grains, you need to replace them with something better, including:

    • As much high quality healthy fat as you want. Your body needs saturated and monounsaturated fats to stay healthy, in appropriate quantities, as they provide many beneficial effects, contrary to what you have probably been told.30 It is good to target about 90 percent of your fat calories from them. If you’re insulin resistant, you may need upwards of 50-85 percent of your daily calories in the form of healthy fats.

Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts, and animal fats. Remember—fats are high in calories but small in volume, so when you look at your plate, vegetables should be the largest portion by far, as they are not calorie dense.

  • Moderate amounts of high quality protein found in organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats and dairy products, fish, legumes, and nuts. Aim for one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which places most people in a range of 40-70 grams of protein per day. Use the chart below to help you.
Red meat, pork, poultry and seafood average 6-9 grams of protein per ounce.

An ideal amount for most people would be a 3 ounce serving of meat or seafood (not 9 or 12 ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18-27 grams of protein

Eggs contain about 6-8 grams of protein per egg. So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12-16 grams of protein.

If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese)

Seeds and nuts contain on average 4-8 grams of protein per quarter cup Cooked beans average about 7-8 grams per half cup
Cooked grains average 5-7 grams per cup Most vegetables contain about 1-2 grams of protein per ounce

Fermented Foods and Fiber Help Prevent Diabetes

Optimizing your gut health is also important. Multiple studies have shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than lean people. Recent research31,32 also suggests your microbiome can influence your risk of diabetes. Fortunately, optimizing your gut flora is relatively easy.

You can reseed your body with good bacteria by regularly eating fermented foods (like fermented vegetables, especially fermented with starter culture that has strains that produce vitamin K2, natto, raw organic cheese and miso) or by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.

Recent research33 also shows that increasing your fiber intake can help prevent diabetes. In this study, those who had the highest intake of fiber (more than 26 grams a day) had an 18 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest intake (less than 19 grams a day).

One way that a high-fiber diet may be protective against obesity and diabetes has to do with your intestinal bacteria’s ability to ferment fibers. When you eat foods high in fermentable fibers, such as cabbage, beans, and other vegetables, the bacteria in your intestines ferments them into butyrate and propionate, which are short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) involved in sugar production.

Just be sure to get most of your fiber in the form of vegetables, not grains, and focus on eating more vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The following whole foods, for example, contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Chia seeds Berries Vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts
Root vegetables and tubers, including onions and sweet potatoes Almonds Psyllium seed husk, flax, and chia seeds
Green beans Cauliflower Beans

105-Year-Old Cyclist Rides 14 Miles In An Hour En Route To A World Record


French cyclist Robert Marchand, 105, reacts after setting a record for distance cycled in one hour, at the velodrome of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, outside Paris on Wednesday.

Frenchman Robert Marchand set a new world record Wednesday when he cycled 22.547 kilometers (about 14 miles) in an hour — at the age of 105.

Wearing a purple and yellow cycling suit, pink helmet and yellow glasses, Marchand completed 92 laps at the Velodrome National, an indoor track near Paris that’s used for elite cycling events. According to The Associated Press, he set a new record for the 105-plus age group and received a standing ovation from people in the crowd, who chanted “Robert, Robert” as he rolled to a stop.

Still, he said he could have done better.

“I did not see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left,” Marchand said, according to the AP. “Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time. I’m now waiting for a rival.”

For comparison, the U.K.’s Bradley Wiggins rode 54.526 kilometers (about 34 miles) in 2015 and holds the record for the men’s hour, the BBC reported.

“I am not here to be champion. I am here to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike,” Marchand said, per Eurosport.

His record-breaking ride Wednesday was incredible, but Marchand’s entire life has been a series of singular events. The AP has this on his background:

“Marchand, a former firefighter who was born in 1911 in the northern town of Amiens, has lived through two world wars. He led an eventful life that took him to Venezuela, where he worked as a truck driver near the end of the 1940s. He then moved to Canada and became a lumberjack for a while.

“Back in France in the 1960s, Marchand made a living through various jobs that left him with no time to practice sports.

“He finally took up his bike again when he was 68 years old and began a series of cycling feats.

“The diminutive Marchand — he is 1.52 meters (5-foot) tall and weighs 52 kilograms (115 pounds) — rode from Bordeaux to Paris, and Paris to Roubaix several times. He also cycled to Moscow from Paris in 1992.

“Ten years later, he set the record for someone over the age of 100 riding 100 kilometers (62 miles).”

So what’s his secret? Marchand’s coach and friend Gerard Mistler told the AP it’s simple: He eats fruits and vegetables, doesn’t smoke, drinks wine only on occasion, goes to bed at 9 p.m. and exercises every day.

Mistler, perhaps cognizant of the cloud of doubt that hovers over impressive cycling performances, told the news service: “If had been doping, he would not be there anymore.”

As if this story couldn’t get any better, here’s some amazing photos of the feat.

“He’s got two essential qualities. A big heart that pumps a lot of blood, and he can reach high heart beat values that are exceptional for his age,” Marchand’s physiologist, Veronique Billat, told the AP.

“He’s got two essential qualities. A big heart that pumps a lot of blood, and he can reach high heart beat values that are exceptional for his age,” Marchand’s physiologist, Veronique Billat, told the AP.

“If the president of his teenage club who told him he was not made for cycling because he was too small could see him today, he would kick himself,” Marchand’s coach and friend Gerard Mistler told The Associated Press.

“If the president of his teenage club who told him he was not made for cycling because he was too small could see him today, he would kick himself,” Marchand’s coach and friend Gerard Mistler told The Associated Press.

The centenarian was mobbed by members of the media at the velodrome on Wednesday.

 

Do Anti-Snoring Gadgets Really Work?


      

The back of your throat relaxes when you sleep, and that can cause the airway to vibrate — in a thundering snore.

To what lengths would you go to stifle the thunderous snorts and buzz-saw growls of a spouse or roommate, just so you can get a good night’s sleep? Dozens of anti-snoring devices crowd the market, ranging from slightly absurd to moderately torturous.

“Some of them are more medieval than others,” says Dr. Kim Hutchison, associate professor of sleep medicine in the department of neurology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore. And some of the devices, she says, even have some basis in fact.

“When you sleep, the back of your throat relaxes. That narrows your airway and, as you’re breathing in, it causes it to vibrate,” explains Hutchison. So, many anti-snoring products are aimed at opening up that airway, or the tunnels that lead to it. For example, you can buy hollow nose plugs that, instead of closing the nostrils, prop them open.

“If you have a deviated septum or something like that, those could help open up your nose and decrease snoring,” says Hutchison, but they won’t help everyone because “most snoring appears in the back of your throat.”

Other devices are designed to force sleepers to turn on their sides.

“Sleeping on your back makes your tongue block your airway a little, sort of like the skinny part of a balloon, when you let air out of it,” Hutchison says. So some devices combine straps and pillows that make sleeping on your back uncomfortable — or poke you if you roll over.

There are also chin straps aimed at repositioning your jaw in a way that opens the airway. They might work for some, says Dr. Richard Schwab, director the Pennsylvania Sleep Center. But one chinstrap on the market covers the wearer’s entire mouth. “A terrible idea!” says Schwab. “You should never cover your mouth — you could choke.”

Devices that gently poke and prod might help some snorers, says Hutchison. Eventually, some people do stop sleeping on their backs, to avoid being jabbed to consciousness. If that’s not annoying enough, there are more insistent devices: wristbands that send a little electric shock every time you snore.

That seems drastic. But maybe not, if love is on the line.

“Snoring can create a lot of stress in a relationship,” Schwab points out. “It’s an intermittent noise, so you can’t just get over it. People lose so much sleep, they can’t sleep in the same beds.”

And snoring that routinely disturbs your partner could be a sign you should see a doctor, says Schwab. You might have sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by loud snoring and interrupted breathing. People with untreated apnea are at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

A lot of apnea cases go undiagnosed, Schwab says. Consider prodding your snoring partner to see a doctor — even before trying some of the at-home remedies.

“If you treat the snoring and not the sleep apnea, you might never get evaluated,” says Schwab. And that’s important, because sleep apnea is treatable.

Sleepers can wear masks linked to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, which are very effective at keeping airways open and stopping the problem, he says. Sleep apnea can prevent the snorer from getting deep sleep; many people say they feel more awake after using the machines.

The whir of the machine can take getting used to at first, Schwab says, but it’s much quieter than snoring, so roommates usually love them. The bonus for the snorer: It doesn’t shock you awake. And it actually works.

Hey Good Lookin’: Early Humans Dug Neanderthals


     

Someone who looks like this could be in your family tree.

Be careful whom you call a Neanderthal. You may be one yourself. Or at least you may have Neanderthal ancestors.

That’s the conclusion of a study being released Thursday that examined DNA extracted from Neanderthal bones more than 35,000 years old.

More Than A Handshake?

There’s little question that modern humans and Neanderthals bumped into each other once upon a time.

“The archaeological record shows they overlapped between about 30,000 and 80,000 years ago,” says David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School.

There was some fossil evidence that they may have done more than shake hands in passing, but the initial genetic evidence suggested otherwise.

“And so the big open question was whether they exchanged genes during that time when they overlapped in the Middle East and in Europe,” he says.

To find out whether the two human species interbred, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, launched an audacious effort to sequence all 3 billion letters of Neanderthal DNA. As hard as it may be to believe, fragments of DNA can survive in bones that are more than 30,000 years old. New techniques can sequence those fragments, and new software can line the fragments up.

Neanderthals Crib Sheet

The main strategy for finding whether modern humans and Neanderthals exchanged genes was to compare the Neanderthal DNA with DNA from modern humans — some whose ancestors had remained in Africa, and others who had migrated to Europe, Asia and the New World. If the Neanderthal DNA was more similar to the non-African DNA, it would indicate that Neanderthals contributed their genes after the first modern humans migrated out of Africa.

Reich says that’s what they found.

“The non-African is more closely related to the Neanderthal,” Reich says. “Quite definitely. Highly statistically significantly overwhelming evidence that they’re more closely related on average to Neanderthals.”

In other words, Reich and his Leipzig co-authors are totally sure that Neanderthal genes found their way into modern humans when the two species intersected. They report their findings in the journal Science.

“The simplest possible explanation is that it occurred once,” Reich says. “But it very easily could have occurred on multiple occasions. Perhaps it’s likely that it occurred on multiple occasions.”

Reich says it’s hard to pin down exactly how much DNA Neanderthals contributed to modern humans. “We estimate about 1 to 4 percent of the genetic ancestry of non-Africans is from Neanderthals,” he says.

‘Neanderthal’ Is No Insult

And just to be clear: Reich says there’s no stigma to have a bit of Neanderthal heritage.

“Absolutely not,” he says. “In fact, people who have Neanderthal DNA have done just fine in our society.”

Now that scientists have the sequence, they can start looking for regions of DNA that differ between Neanderthals and humans.

The bones in the study came from the four archaeological sites shown here. The numbers indicate the dates (before present) from which the bones came. So, the samples from the Vindija site are more than 38,000 years old.

“And then, once the regions are identified, [we can] look to see what genes are here, what biological sense can we make of this,” geneticist Richard Green say.

Green recently left Leipzig to join the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz. He says they’ve already begun to identify genes that have changed — for example, genes that control the tails on sperm, genes that are involved in wound healing, genes that affect the shape of our hair.

Learning About Ourselves

Along with the chimpanzee genome completed a few years ago, the Neanderthal genome will help scientists like Green pin down the genetic changes that made modern humans human.

“Which one of these happened very recently, since we split even from Neanderthals? And which ones of these are much older and happened in the 6 million years or so since we diverged from chimpanzees?” Green says.

Green says for the moment, the real value of the Neanderthal genome is what it tells us about how modern human evolved. John Hawks, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, agrees.

Hawks compares this finding to the first time humans were able to look back at the Earth from beyond Earth’s orbit.

“We can say, ‘Here’s a picture of what we are from the outside — from the distant past,’ ” says Hawks. “And we can use that to get a new picture of what we are. It’s amazing. I can’t express how I feel this morning. It’s really cool.”

Pinky DNA Points To Clues About Ancient Humans


A replica of the pinky bone fragment found in a Siberian cave. Researchers used the bone bit to extract and sequence the genome of a girl who lived tens of thousands of years ago. Scientists in Germany have been able to get enough DNA from a fossilized pinky to produce a high-quality DNA sequence of the pinky’s owner.

“It’s a really amazing-quality genome,” says David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. “It’s as good as modern human genome sequences, from a lot of ways of measuring it.”

The pinky belonged to a girl who lived tens of thousands of years ago. Scientists aren’t sure about the exact age. She is a member of an extinct group of humans called Denisovans. The name comes from Denisova cave in Siberia, where the pinky was found.

Two years ago, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig reported that they had been able to get just enough DNA from the fossil to make a rough sequence of her DNA. But Matthias Meyer developed a far more efficient way of recovering ancient DNA, so he went back to the tiny amount of DNA left over from the first effort, and reanalyzed it.

“And from this little leftover, we were able to determine the sequence of the Denisova genome 30-fold over,” says Meyer.

What that means is they were able to look at every single location along all of this girl’s chromosomes 30 times to be absolutely certain that they had the right DNA letter in the right spot. The new results appear in the online edition of the journal Science.

The high-quality sequence gives scientists valuable new data for studying ancient humans. Researchers have begun, for example, to explore which modern human populations may have inherited genes from Denisovans.

The entrance to the Denisova cave in southern Siberia.

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

“We still cannot detect a trace of any Denisovan genetic material at all in mainland Eurasia” — places such as China and Japan, says Harvard’s Reich. “It’s only in Southeast Asia and Australia that we detect it.”

Understanding the flow of genes will tell scientists about where and when ancient humans moved around the planet.

Reich says for the moment, nearly all scientists know about the Denisovans comes from a girl’s pinky. “One of the amazing things about the Denisovans is we still don’t know what kinds of artifacts they left behind, what kinds of archaeology. We really only know them from their DNA,” he says. “So it’s really a genome in search of an archaeology.”

Svante Pääbo, senior author on the new research paper, says it will now be possible to comb through the Denisovan genome to see how it differs from that of modern humans.

“This is perhaps, in the long term, to me, the most fascinating thing about this — what it will tell us in the future about what makes [modern humans] special in the world relative to Denisovans and Neanderthals,” says Pääbo.

Now that they’ve completed a high-quality genome sequence of their Denisovan, the German scientists have begun work on improving the sequence of another extinct group of humans: the Neanderthals. They expect that work to be published in a year or so.