Beware: US salmon may be crawling with Japanese tapeworm, say scientists


 

Image: Beware: US salmon may be crawling with Japanese tapeworm, say scientists

A recently published study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases says wild caught Alaskan salmon may harbor a species of tapeworm previously known to infect only Asian fish. Researchers warn that based on their findings, any salmon caught along the North American Pacific coast may have the parasite. The concern is that if you eat the fish undercooked or raw, you could become a host to this gruesome organism.

CNN reports that the tapeworm newly discovered in Alaskan salmon is named Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, also known as the Japanese broad tapeworm. This species accounts for the most infections in humans, in contradiction to the previous belief that the dubious distinction went to the most common fish tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium latum. A team of scientists found four species of Pacific salmon known to carry the Japanese tapeworm: chum salmon, masu salmon, pink salmon and sockeye salmon. These fish are caught and then shipped worldwide, so the infection may occur in humans anywhere on the planet. (RELATED: Stay informed about the health risks of food ingredients at Ingredients.news)

Tapeworms, including the Japanese version can grow to 30 feet inside a human digestive tract. Infestation often goes undetected, because symptoms may often be mild, with symptoms largely attributed to other conditions by medical practitioners. When fish are commercially caught worldwide, they are placed on ice for the journey to port. But this does not freeze the fish, it only refrigerates them. To kill the possibly present parasite worms, the fish need to be frozen. Salmon sushi at a restaurant or store can be assumed to be an unsafe commodity unless you know it has been frozen or you freeze it yourself. Additionally, the fish can be sufficiently cooked for assurance of safety against parasitic infection.

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Jayde Ferguson, a scientist at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game believes, “The tapeworm itself is probably not new — it’s just that more skilled parasitologist started looking for it. Identifying these parasites is challenging. This was simply a more detailed evaluation of the Diphyllobothrium that has occurred here for over a millennium.”

Professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Dr. William Schaffner stated, “Because we do things that we haven’t done before, now, we have these fresh caught fish that can be transported anywhere and eaten raw. … I am sure we will be on the lookout for this kind of tapeworm going forward.”

Parasitic worms – an under-recognized epidemic

Naturopath Marijah McCain is a widely experienced healer who apprenticed with a parasitologist and knows firsthand about these disgusting critters and how to rid the body of the menace. Though rare, various helminths (worms) such as the tapeworm can find a home in your brain with grave consequences. Quoting Marijah:

“Myself and a handful of others, like Dr. Hulda Clark, have spent years trying to bring the parasite issue to the forefront of preventative & curative medicine. The good news is the medical field is slowly training their doctors once again on the health risks of parasites… Most Americans carry parasites and this is currently a serious health issue. Parasites are not meant to kill you, they just sit inside you and steal your nutrition. But, when a person gets weakened from another ailment the parasites can take hold and become life threatening. This is why EVERYONE with any health disorder should do an anti-parasite program at least once a year. Twice a year if you live with animals. People interested in maintaining good health should also do routine parasite cleansing…”

Marijah says that symptoms caused by parasites include gas, diarrhea, chronic constipation, bloating, fatigue, skin rashes, mood swings, insomnia, nail biting, dry skin, weight gain, bad breath, brittle hair, hair loss, and muscle cramping. Because parasites can invade any tissue in the body, symptoms can occur anywhere. Dr. McCain states that parasites are a contributing factor in conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, some heart disease, arthritis, asthma, as well as others. She points out that in the US, the medical system is in denial about the health risks of parasitic infections, and doctors make a huge blunder when they fail to recognize the role that parasites play in disease. “Parasites are the cause of hundreds of misdiagnosed ailments,” she claims, and recommends natural anti-parasite formulas in lieu of conventional toxic allopathic medications.

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Food and Fertility: What Should Women Consume When Trying to Conceive?


What Should I Eat to Enhance Fertility?

A young fertile couple’s chance of conceiving in the first month they try is 25%-30%.[1] By the end of the first year, about 85% of couples achieve a success; the remaining 15% are diagnosed with infertility.[2]

Infertility has many known causes (eg, ovulatory defect, tubal occlusion, low sperm counts), and many factors lower the chance of pregnancy (eg, older age, lower ovarian reserve, endometriosis). There are modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors for infertility or reduced fertility. Although some factors can’t be altered (eg, age and ovarian reserve), others, such as body weight and lifestyle habits, are modifiable.

Patients frequently ask providers to offer them guidance on the ideal diet to improve their chances of conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to term. A recent review by Chiu and colleagues[3] summarizes the available epidemiologic literature on the reproductive benefits of diets and dietary supplements.

Nutrition and Fertility: Review Findings

This article reviews the potential benefits of consumption of certain micronutrients, macronutrients, and dietary patterns. The following conclusions are drawn from this review:

Folic acid. Folic acid is important for germ cell production and pregnancy. The recommended daily dose to prevent neural tube defects is 400-800 µg. Women who take folic acid-containing multivitamins are less likely to be anovulatory, and the time to achieve a pregnancy is reduced. Those who consume more than 800 µg of folic acid daily are more likely to conceive with assisted reproductive technology (ART) than those whose daily intake is less than 400 µg.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D may affect fertility through receptors found in the ovaries and endometrium. An extremely low vitamin D level (< 20 ng/mL) is associated with higher risk for spontaneous miscarriage risk. Some reports suggest that women with adequate vitamin D levels (> 30 ng/mL) are more likely to conceive after ART when compared with those whose vitamin D levels are insufficient (20-30 ng/mL), or deficient (< 20 ng/mL). These findings, however, are inconclusive.

Carbohydrates. Dietary carbohydrates affect glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity, and by these mechanisms can affect reproduction. The impact is most pronounced among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In women with PCOS, a reduction in glycemic load improves insulin sensitivity as well as ovulatory function. Whole grains have antioxidant effects and also improve insulin sensitivity, thereby positively influencing reproduction.

Omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids lower the risk for endometriosis. Increased levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with higher clinical pregnancy and live birth rates.

Protein and dairy. Some reports suggest that dairy protein intake lowers ovarian reserve. Other reports suggest improved ART outcomes with increased dairy intake. Meat, fish, and dairy products, however, can also serve as vehicles for environmental contamination that may adversely affect the embryo. Fish, on the other hand, has been shown to exert positive effects on fertility.

Dietary approach. In general, a Mediterranean diet is favored (high intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken, and olive oil) among women diagnosed with infertility.

Viewpoint

A well-balanced diet, rich in vegetables and fruits, is preferred for infertile women and should provide the required micro- and macronutrients. It remains common for patients consume a wide variety of vitamin, mineral, and micronutrient supplements daily.[4] Supplements should not replace food sources of vitamins and trace elements because of differences in bioavailability (natural versus synthetic), and inaccuracy of label declarations may result in suboptimal intake of important nutrients.[5,6] Furthermore, naturally occurring vitamins and micronutrients are more efficiently absorbed.

With respect to overall diet, women are advised to follow a caloric intake that won’t contribute to being overweight or obese. Obesity is on the rise among younger people, including children. Obese women have a lower chance of conceiving and are less likely to have an uncomplicated pregnancy.[7] Proper weight can be maintained with an appropriate diet and regular exercise.

Finally, women must abstain from substances that are potentially harmful to pregnancy (eg, smoking, alcohol, recreational drugs, high caffeine intake).

Unfortunately, very few large studies are available to guide us in our recommendations to patients. Most of the available literature is based on retrospective data. Therefore, prospective, randomized studies are urgently needed to study the association between nutrition and fertility, as well as dietary influences on pregnancy outcomes.

Food v exercise: What makes the biggest difference in weight loss?


Searching for the best way to lose weight? Should the emphasis be on diet, or can the solution be found in the gym?

Well, the answer lies somewhere in between.

In the red corner of the weight-loss title fight, sits the dieting contender. On the surface, dieting would appear to have the edge, because no matter what a person’s genetic makeup and metabolism, anyone who stops eating is guaranteed to lose weight.

Starvation, though, is not a dieting option to be recommended or one that is sustainable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So should it be low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-protein, low-GI, small meals or any one of a myriad other popular dieting approaches?

The scientific jury is now firmly in, with dozens of high-quality, randomised controlled trials showing that no one dieting option is the magic solution for everyone.

Apart from some short-term success for particular approaches – mostly low-carbohydrate diets – all of the popular dieting approaches fare poorly for weight loss and adherence once the six-month milestone has passed.

This was demonstrated in one of the largest and longest-run weight loss studies ever conducted, which investigated how diets with different fat, protein and carbohydrate content influenced weight loss.

Over 800 overweight adults took part in the study which ran for two years. Each person was randomly allocated to one of four different diets which ranged from high-carbohydrate/low-fat to low-carbohydrate/high-fat.

After six months, the average weight loss was 7% of the initial body weight, with negligible differences between the diets. Predictably, much of this lost weight was regained, with only half the respondents maintaining their new weight for two years.

As the study progressed, the differences in the nutrient mix between the diet groups became smaller, as fewer people met their diet goals for fat or carbohydrate intake.

If the participants of this research study found it difficult to stick to a diet, despite expert advice and ongoing follow-up and support, then the chances of success in the “real-world” are even more remote.

The rising rates of obesity in the face of continual best-selling “breakthrough” diet plans attest to that.

The significant number of clinical trials clearly and conclusively show that the fat, protein and carbohydrate composition of the diet matter little for achieving weight loss.

Following a sensible eating plan and sticking to it matters most.

Diets aside, regular exercise increases your chance of long-term weight loss. Kenny Holston

So what about the contender in the blue corner: exercise?

Exercise has a modest, but consistent benefit on body fat reduction. And this benefit is independent of dieting.

But the benefit of exercise in weight loss may not be as great as we may have expected. For people who are already overweight, even 60 minutes of physical activity each day may not be enough to halt weight gain.

One recent high-quality study, which looked at the ability of people to hold onto hard-fought weight loss, found that 12 months after a weight-loss program ended, people who kept up more than 90 minutes of physical activity each day lost the most weight.

If you’re breaking out in a sweat just thinking about that much activity, don’t worry. What it really means is that more attention needs to be paid to the food side of the energy balance equation.

Here’s a simple example of the differences between eating and exercise. A 100g chocolate bar could easily be eaten in under one minute.

You’d need to run for 7km to burn off the energy from one chocolate bar. Flickr/yum me

The amount of energy in that bar – 2200 kJ or 500 Calories – would be enough to fuel the body of a sedentary office worker for around five hours with no other food needed. Or you could try a 7km run or 90 minutes walk to burn off the energy from the chocolate bar.

So making some concerted changes to the “input” side of the energy balance equation can reap large benefits for weight loss.

The weight loss literature, though, is a minefield for diets that result in poor adherence and weight rebound. So instead let’s look at those who have been successful in losing weight and keeping it off.

Long-term successful “weight losers” make a conscious effort to adopt at least one weight-loss strategy from the list following:

  • ↑ fruit and vegetables
  • ↑ exercise
  • ↓ kilojoules
  • ↓ fat
  • ↓ sweets and junk food
  • ↓ portion sizes
  • ↓ overall quantity of food

It’s not surprising that all of these behaviour changes are consistent with current recommendations by nutrition and health professionals for safe and appropriate weight loss.

For most people, dieting is not the way to achieve long-term weight loss. And hitting the gym alone seems to work for only the most dedicated of souls.

Small and realistic lifestyle changes will always be the best recipe for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

This Is How Long (And How Much Food) It Takes To Gain Weight


Just a few extra doughnuts per day can result in weight gain over time.
Just a few extra doughnuts per day can result in weight gain over time.

If you’ve ever eaten a ridiculously huge meal and ended up feeling full to the point of near-exploding, you might have entertained this negative thought: I’ve instantly gained weight.

Well, there’s good news (and bad).

What you eat — or overeat — does not instantly turn into weight gain. How much you eat over the course of a few days or week, however, can result in weight gain.

To find out more about how long (and how much food) it takes to gain weight, The Huffington Post Australia spoke to two accredited practising dietitians.

“Weight gain simply happens when we have an imbalance between the kilojoules we’re eating and the kilojoules we’re burning off,” Jemma O’Hanlon told HuffPost Australia. “It doesn’t occur just from one meal — it’s when this imbalance occurs over a period of time that weight gain can creep up on us.”

To put even more simply, Geraldine Georgeou says that “weight gain occurs when we don’t burn off the calories we consume”.

When it comes to getting the right balance, one meal can’t ruin your weight loss efforts.

The key is to enjoy all foods in the right balance, keep your portions lean and focus on eating mindfully and intuitively.Jemma O’Hanlon

As with anything related to the body, the amount of food we need to eat before it ends up as body weight depends on the individual.

“The body is constantly working and using energy to complete tasks automatically without thinking, such as breathing,” Georgeou told HuffPost Australia.

“The calories each person burns to keep our bodies going even at rest is known as our basal metabolic rate. Each person has their own energy requirement which varies depending on numerous factors such as age, height, illness and activity.

“What also varies is the rate at which people can burn their calories, otherwise known as your metabolism. We also use energy in order to complete conscious tasks such as walking, lifting and talking.”

On top of this, the body then uses up energy when we exercise, meaning the more exercise you do the more energy you will burn off.

“When you stay the same weight, the energy your body gets from food equals the energy you burn off through automatic and conscious activity,” Georgeou said. “Don’t forget about incidental exercise. All the daily activities we complete like walking to the train station, taking the stairs or even doing household chores will add up.”

 

But how much extra food equates to one kilogram of weight gain?

“If we’re eating more kilojoules than our bodies are burning, the leftover energy will be stored as body fat,” O’Hanlon said.

“One kilogram of fat is 37,000 kilojoules stored (as fat contains 37 kilojoules per gram, which equals 37,000 kilojoules per kilogram). To gain 0.5-1 kilogram per week, you’d need to be consuming roughly an extra 2000-4000 kilojoules each day.”

In calories, this equates to an additional 500 plus calories per day that our body doesn’t burn off, which isn’t much at all.

“In food terms, that’s roughly equivalent to two slices of pizza or two iced doughnuts,” Georgeou said. “It doesn’t take much to eat over your energy requirement.”

 
Why is it always the most delicious foods? Sigh.

Other foods that add up to around 2000 kilojoules/500 calories include:

  • One Four ‘N Twenty classic meat pie = 1680kJ
  • One Big Mac from McDonald’s = 2060kJ
  • One Double Quarter Pounder from McDonald’s = 3570kJ
  • One large signature iced coffee from Gloria Jeans = 1720kJ
  • One Zinger stacker burger from KFC = 3013kJ
  • Large seasoned chips from KFC = 2070kJ
  • One Banana coconut muffin from Muffin Break = 2340kJ

“Also to note, the average Australian adult consumes about 8,700 kilojoules a day, so some of these single items would be contributing to more than one-third of their daily intake,” O’Hanlon said.

It’s often when we eat past the point of being full that we’re likely to gain weight.Jemma O’Hanlon

While the actual rate people can gain weight varies and depends on the individual and their metabolism, age, height, fitness and state of health, it does not happen overnight.

“When it comes to getting the right balance, one meal can’t ruin your weight loss efforts,” O’Hanlon told HuffPost Australia. “The key is to enjoy all foods in the right balance, keep your portions lean and focus on eating mindfully and intuitively.

“It’s often when we eat past the point of being full that we’re likely to gain weight. Eat slowly and listen to your body, and stop when you feel comfortably satisfied. If you’re eating until you’re stuffed full, chances are you’re eating more than your body needs.”

 
Ah, the all too familiar pants dance.

If you have weighed yourself at one time of the day and noticed your weight has increased a few hours later, O’Hanlon says this is not the result of ‘instant weight gain’.

“We need to keep in mind that throughout the day our weight can fluctuate by a couple of kilos depending on our hydration levels or water retention, or whether we’ve just had a meal or something to drink,” she explained.

This food or drink will first be digested, the waste excreted (to put it politely) and the excess energy stored as fat.

“As we start to digest our food our bodies will use this as energy,” Georgeou said. “On average, it takes us roughly 6-8 hours after eating for food to travel through our stomach and small intestine. The food then travels through the large intestine where further digestion and absorption of water occurs, before it is then eliminated from the body.

“However, if we eat a meal with excess calories than we need — our bodies will store this extra energy as fat to be used at a later time.”

 
If you’re struggling with your weight, see a health professional to get advice and help.

Frustratingly, it’s much easier to gain weight than it is to lose weight.

“Often what we find, though, is that we can gain weight very quickly, while it takes much longer to lose it,” O’Hanlon said. “Think about when you go on holidays. You may come back after a month or so away having gained five kilos, yet to lose that weight it might take quite a few months.”

“When you consume extra food it can be extremely difficult to burn off,” Georgeou said.

“For example, it would take a women in her thirties who is between 65-70 kilos 25 minutes of swimming laps to burn off a Mars Bar. A glass of wine would take approximately 40 minutes of brisk walking for your body to burn off and two chocolate biscuits at 80 calories each would take almost 20 minutes of jogging.”

In saying all this (frankly horrifying) information, unless someone is overweight, obese or underweight, O’Hanlon says our weight is simply a number and shouldn’t be focused on too much.

Our weight is just a number and it doesn’t define who we are.

“The way our bodies are wired is extremely complex and there are so many different factors that affect our weight,” O’Hanlon said.

“Rather than just focusing on our weight, we should be focusing on the bigger picture — on our general health and wellbeing. Our weight is just a number and it doesn’t define who we are.”

What’s to Eat?


As we have been disconnected from the natural world, we have been disconnected from our own intuitive sense. This sense has helped us cultivate health and resist illness for the better part of several million years. Working from “science” and our intellects, however, has led us to the most grave state of suffering in our time on this planet. The dance between man and nature has a mystical history including shamanic practices founded on communication to receptive conduits, about how to engage plants and their medicinal properties.

The truth is that we know what to eat, and what we like is often what we need. Or, at least, this was true up until about the past 200 years. With the introduction of processed foods and sugar, our senses have been hijacked and we’ve been trying to hitch a ride back to our origins ever since.

Follow Your Lead

When I meet with patients, I have them do a 30 day food reset eliminating grains, legumes, white potatoes (resistant starch), and processed food. Essentially, I ask these women to eat food – real organic food for a month. After that, we begin to tailor their diet to their now better honed inner compass. We reintroduce eliminated foods (apart from gluten and cow dairy) and we begin to pay attention to foods that are most relevant to the balancing of the autonomic nervous system. According to Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, cravings for red meat, leafy greens, and citrus are important indicators of whether a patient will thrive on a meat-based (parasympathetic dominant) or a pseudo-vegetarian diet (sympathetic dominant).

The idea is to scrub your mind of the gurus, the blogs, the latest press release on what foods are good and bad for you, and just pay attention to what your body wants to eat to be well.

Real Research Tells Us So

I typically like to report on the latest and greatest research, but this study from 1939, is one of the more profound contributions to nutritional literature I’ve seen, and it supports this idea of instinctive eating.

Dr. Clara Davis took 15 orphans of weaning age and fed them a daily selection of 33 foods for 6 years.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 3.51.38 PM

The staff were under strict orders:

“The nurses’ orders were to sit quietly by, spoon in hand, and make no motion. When, and only when, the infant reached for or pointed to a dish might she take up a spoonful and, if he opened his mouth for it, put it in. She might not comment on what he took or did not take, point to or in any way attract his attention to any food, or refuse him any for which he reached.”

The children were able to thrive without gastrointestinal issues, and anything beyond a minor cold with the exception of one bout of “glandular fever”. They noted that appetite returned 12-24 hours before fever reduction and was noted for unusually large amounts of raw beef, carrots and beets.

With some infants presenting in compromised health, their instincts paved the way for recovery (despite the misfortune of being subject to x-rays!):

“The first infant received for the study was one of the two with severe rickets, and, bound by a promise to do nothing or leave nothing undone to his detriment, we put a small glass of cod liver oil on his tray for him to take if he chose. This he did irregularly and in varying amounts until his blood calcium and phosphorus became normal and x-ray films showed his rickets to”

While it’s certainly not my assertion that humans should not consume dairy, it has been my observation that children (my own) and adults (my patients) can thrive without it. To this point, Dr. Davis noted:

“In fact, the quantities of fresh fruit, carrots and potatoes and of eggs, liver and kidneys in practically all the diets preclude, on the basis of their known vitamin content, any shortage of Vitamins A, B, C and G. For the adequacy in Vitamin D and calcium of the diets of children who took none or little milk for considerable periods of time we cannot speak so surely from an off-hand consideration of the quantities of foods eaten. We can, however, call in evidence the roentgenograms of these children’s bones which showed as excellent calcification as those of the others.”

While so many of us are acculturated to breakfast/lunch/dinner-based diets, and our conditioned beliefs about industry-supported “health foods”, Dr. Davis demonstrated that, self-selection led to surprising dietary arrays.

“In terms of foods and relative quantities of them they failed to show any orthodoxy of their own and were wholly unorthodox with respect to paediatric practice. For every diet differed from every other diet, fifteen different patterns of taste being presented, and not one diet was the predominantly cereal and milk diet with smaller supplements of fruit, eggs and meat, that is commonly thought proper for this age. To add to the apparent confusion, tastes changed unpredictably from time to time, refusing as we say “to stay put,” while meals were often combinations of foods that were strange indeed to us, and would have been a dietitian’s nightmare-for example, a breakfast of a pint of orange juice and liver; a supper of several eggs, bananas and milk. They achieved the goal, but by widely various means, as Heaven may presumably be reached by different roads.”

Back to the Future

She had the courage to suggest that dietitians and pediatricians of the time may have been responsible for obscuring ancient wisdom of self-nurturing in these babies. Patients often ask me for my thoughts on weaning their babies to food. If I had it to do over again, I certainly would do my best to replicate this ingenious study, allowing my baby to learn the art of self-care from toddlerhood.

She echoes the wisdom of Weston Price who identified the perfection of the traditional diet in its ecological niche:

“Confined to natural, unprocessed and unpurified foods as it was, and without made dishes of any sort, it reproduced to a large extent the conditions under which primitive peoples in many parts of the world have been shown to have had scientifically sound diets and excellent nutrition. Certainly their introduction into previously sound primitive diets has invariably brought with it a train of nutritional evils, and their widespread excess in civilized diets is decried by nutritional authorities.”

This study exemplifies how we can only return to a state of vitality through a recognition of our innate capacity for healing, for wellness, and for our connection to the informational exchange between our human form and the natural world.

Our Universe Thrives As An Integrated Whole. Why Should Our Food Be Any Different?


Our Universe Thrives As An Integrated Whole. Why Should Our Food Be Any Different?

We live in a universe — a reality — that is made up of circles within circles; interconnected, interdependent, and whole. Sages have been saying this for thousands of years, and in recent times scientists in an array of disciplines — from physicists to demographers — have come to this same conclusion. You may be wondering what this has to do with nutrition and your health. In one word: Everything.

Our fragmented worldview

If our world is so entwined and interdependent, why is this not readily apparent to most people? We have the distinct misfortune of living according to the Westernized paradigm wherein marketing rules the mind and heart. And the marketers include not only Wall Street ad agencies, but also leaders in the fields of religion, education, politics, medicine, psychology, and even natural healthcare This marketing, relentless and ubiquitous, has shaped the thoughts of people to the point wherein they think in terms of fragmentation instead of holism. Everything has been divided up into smaller groups, specialties, special interests, pieces, and isolated entities that exist out of context.

The conditioned, fragmented worldview has led us to perceive each other as separate “others” rather than seeing each other as the one big interactive family that we actually are. This is true not only socially, but also biologically, mentally, and spiritually. Our modernized societies have put us out of touch with other life forms as well, including the plant and animal kingdoms, as well as the environment and all of its ecological systems that determine the fate of our collective future as human beings.

Ours has often been referred to as a fragile planet. This is because there is a delicate balance that comprises the environment, living organisms, natural resources, and even the climate. When we offset this balance then we offset the whole fabric of life. This applies to the big picture as well as to the foods we eat.

In terms of health and nutrition, rather than regarding whole, natural foods as complete and harmonious, we’ve been misled to accept the fragmented paradigm of pharmacology that promises to heal our ills and keep us well.

The fragmented paradigm of pharmacology.

Pharmacology is based upon the principle that chemicals may be used to elicit a certain response in the physiology, mainly to either suppress or stimulate cellular function. Many natural healthcare practitioners have referred to this as addressing the symptoms but not the cause of the problem. Drugs do not feed the cells; they have no nutrient value. The pharmacological paradigm is at odds with the natural world, so why are we applying it to natural healthcare and the foods that we eat?

What is Nutrition?

Nutrition is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health, immune support, prevention of disease, repair of damaged tissues, cellular function, and growth. Integral to this definition is the fact that “food” does not mean parts of foods nor drugs. Foods come from real plants, while drugs and supplements come from manufacturing plants. If your food is not whole then it is not natural or balanced. This applies not only to your daily diet, but also to the supplements you take.

Many would argue that the modern practice of Nutrition has been pirated and usurped by the purveyors of the fragmented paradigm. It seemed for a short while — from the 1960s through the 1990s — that we were on target to recapture our wholeness visa vis the holistic health movement that seemed to be taking root. Holism taught that we must return to nature, not only by eating real foods in favor of processed and artificial ingredients, but also by understanding that the human body is best served when we regard it as a whole ecosystem that includes every cell of the body as well as the mind, spirit, and emotions. Holistic healthcare became very promising; it was the backlash to a fragmented worldview of healthcare that was not only not working for us, but actually making people worse off. But what went wrong?

Might makes right. Holism was killed, or at least mostly marginalized, by Big Money and Big Marketing. The manufacturers of drugs and of processed foods took over the holistic, natural health industry as an invasive species. They applied their fragmented paradigm and sold it to the consumer and the patient as being better, quicker, easier, more convenient, more potent, and scientifically more powerful than what nature could provide. We have been conditioned to believe that science is smarter, better, quicker, and more powerful than nature. The voices of old timers like Ewell Gibbons, Bernard Jensen, and Jack LaLane were drowned out by marketing messages purveying short cuts and better life through chemistry. The pioneers such as Henry Bieler, MD, who taught that food should be our first medicine, are now silent. In their place are media star physicians touting the latest fad in supplementation, whether it’s zeaxanthin, lutein, coQ10, or whey protein isolate — all fractions of foods without the wholeness or naturally occurring constituents.

To use an overused analogy, we know that if you put all the individualized, unassembled parts of even the best-made automobile into a big box you will not have a working automobile. Chemically speaking, these parts, all included, will have the same chemistry as a functional car. But, alas, the functionality lies not in the chemistry, but in the interconnection of the parts. The same is true of foods. You can consume all your vitamins, minerals, proteins, and flavonoids in their separate forms in something called a “multivitamin,” but these will not function synergistically as they would if they were still assembled as one entity that we call a whole food.

Scientists looking for more natural means of addressing health issues, and those working for pharmaceutical concerns, have conditioned us to believe that parts of foods — such as vitamins, flavonoids, minerals, etc. — are acceptable replacements for nature’s whole foods. A good part of the reason for this is that corporations can make a lot of money selling the fragments, but only grocery stores can make serious money selling the real foods. When we stop to realize that the supplement industry is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, we start to see where the problem lies.

A food is either whole or it is not.

A food is either whole or it is not. There is no such thing as a vitamin bush or a mineral tree. And, if you add a lot of isolated vitamins into a food, they will not be connected to the food’s inherent, natural nutrients. This would be analogous to tossing a new steering wheel onto the front seat of a car and expecting it to have functionality.

Foods contain interconnected, interdependent, and synergistic parts so that vitamin C in a supplement bottle is not the same as acerola cherry, camu camu, amla berries, or a lemon. Such whole foods contain not only vitamin C, but also an array of other nutrients that exist within a complex, including subfactors of vitamin C. The other ingredients have been called cofactors, or helper nutrients, and they exist in all whole foods grown in nature. What’s even more important is that, despite whether we are consciously aware of this truth, our bodies know the difference.

Wholeness is life

The idea of wholeness is ubiquitous. It explains the nature of reality, whether we are discussing food, human relationships, physics, biology, the human organism, life forms, or nature itself. Candace Pert, PhD, author of Molecules of Emotion, proved this when she showed that cell receptors exist throughout the body and that every bodily system works as one unified system. She was ridiculed for her discovery that even memory is contained in all cells, not just in the brain. Time and experimentation proved that she was correct. Physicist David Bohm, PhD, wrote a book called Wholeness and the Implicate Order in which he discussed how the totality of existence is an unbroken whole. The philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti spoke of how the mind itself is a fragmented entity and the only way to escape from one’s own psychological conditioning is to see the totality rather than the parts. Failure to do this results in a life full of internal and external conflict.

Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the area of biosocial science, investigating the biological predicates and consequences of social phenomena. Speaking about human social networks, he noted, “Our experience of the world depends upon the actual structure of the network in which we are residing and all the kinds of things that ripple through the network. This is because human beings form a kind of super organism that has properties that cannot be studied by just studying the individuals.”

Protein researchers Carl Pfeiffer, MD, and Eric Braverman, MD, noted that amino acids compete for absorption with others in the same group. For example, the aromatic amino acid group (tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalamine) and can inhibit one another’s passage into the brain. This competition usually occurs among amino acids with similar structures. Amino acids in each group participate in the same or similar actions and perform the same or similar functions, while dissimilar amino acids are absorbed differently and perform different functions. Because amino acids compete, when you consume them in isolation you risk suffering side effects.

In my book Whole Nutrition I showed how nutrients within foods exist within complexes. These complexes formed naturally over millions of years so that they exist as one functional unit. The power and usefulness of a vitamin, therefore, is only as good as the rest of the cofactors that support it in the food complex. A vitamin pill is not a food.

Nutritional supplements are either whole or not

Here is the truth that most practitioners and vitamin sellers do not readily acknowledge: A vitamin is not a food, and there are only a couple of companies that produce whole food supplements. Thus, most supplements (which, by the way, are manufactured by large pharmaceutical corporations regardless of whether the end product is called “natural”) fall into the paradigm of pharmacology as noted at the outset of this article. There are four basic types of supplements on the market today:

1. So-called natural vitamins and multivitamins. Although labeled “natural,” the truth is that a vitamin, mineral or any other nutrient is no longer in its natural state once it has been removed from its original food complex;

2. Synthetic vitamins and multivitamins. These are simply manufactured by scientists in a laboratory; there is nothing natural about them.

3. Whole food-based supplements. The word BASED is crucial in this description, because “based” implies that there is something to the formula besides whole food. As such, most whole food supplements do not consist of whole foods, but rather mixtures of isolated (sometimes synthetic) nutrients along with foods. This, of course, means that the manufacturer does not have complete faith in nature’s whole foods, and finds it necessary to give it a boost by means of enrichment or standardization. There are some very prominent whole food based supplements that are grown in yeast solutions and treated with isolated vitamins in a soup fed to the plants.

4. Truly whole food supplements. These products are foods that are not standardized or infused with isolates, but merely real foods compressed into a tablet.

Read the labels.

By reading supplement labels, you can spot which parts of a supplement is a food and which is a synthetic or isolate. Examples of the latter include ascorbic acid vitamin C, mixed tocopherols, folic acid, vitamin A palmitate, niacinamide, ester C, thiamine, etc.

It’s the way life works.

Nutrition hinges on the interrelationships, balance and complexity inherent in nature’s whole foods. To break this concept down to its most basic argument: The sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Teamwork yields greater results than a group of individuals who do not cooperate. And, fragmentation, whether pertaining to nutrition, atoms, societies, or the human mind, leads to conflict rather than harmony. This is how life works; it is fundamental to every discipline and relationship in the universe.

How Monsanto Genetically Modifies Our Food Compared To What Happens Naturally In Nature


Are you concerned about Genetically Modified Foods? Here’s (GMOs Revealed) a great documentary that addresses many of the questions and concerns most people have today. 

In March 2014, scientists from Indiana University announced that they had conducted research to examine the operations of the fruit fly genome “in greater detail than ever before possible” and had identified “thousands of new genes, transcripts and proteins.” Their results indicated that the fly’s genome is “far more complex than previously suspected and suggests that the same will be true of the genomes of other higher organisms.” Of the approximately 1,500 new genes that were discovered, 536 of them were found within areas that were previously assumed to be gene-free zones. Furthermore, when the flies were subjected to stresses, small changes in expression level at thousands of genes occurred, and four newly modelled genes were expressed altogether differently.

Why is this important? Because it reveals how little we know about this planet and the organisms dwelling on it, yet also how much we think we know. This kind of hubris is found within all areas of human knowledge, but particularly when it comes to science.

Another great example that I’ve used before is when the populace first realized that the Earth wasn’t flat. Another is a statement made by physicist Lord Kelvin, who stated in 1900 that “there is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” This assertion was shattered only five years later when Einstein published his paper on special relativity.

When it comes to our genes, and the genes of other organisms, we really do know next to nothing. Unfortunately, proponents of the biotech industry (Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, etc.) claim otherwise, and have developed multiple, flawed assumptions that undergird agricultural bioengineering.

The information presented in this article comes from a variety of different sources, but my primary sourceis Steven Druker, a public interest attorney and the Executive Director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity. He initiated a lawsuit in 1998 that forced the U.S. Food and Drug (FDA) to release its files on genetically engineered foods, and recently published a book about it, which has received dozens of rave reviews from the world’s most accredited scientists in the field. I draw primarily from his book for this article.

“This incisive and insightful book is truly outstanding. Not only is it well reasoned and scientifically solid, it’s a pleasure to read – and a must-read. Through its masterful marshalling of facts, it dispels the cloud of disinformation that has misled people into believing that GE foods have been adequately tested and don’t entail abnormal risk.” 

– David Schubert, PhD, molecular biologist and Head of Cellular Neurobiology, Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Natural Genetic Modification Versus Human Induced Genetic Modification

Biotech proponents have an unshakable faith in their GE crops, and these corporations also hold major sway over mainstream media outlets, and close relationships with government agencies like the FDA. Indeed, several high level industry employees have also held positions at these institutions. One example is the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Michael Taylor, who is also Monsanto’s former Vice President for Public Policy. While at the FDA, he was instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

Druker outlines in his book how the commercialization of genetically engineered foods was enabled by the fraudulent behaviour of these government agencies, and how this actually violates explicit mandates for federal food safety law. The evidence shows that the “FDA’s falsehoods have been abundantly supplemented with falsehoods disseminated by eminent scientists and scientific institutions, and the entire GE food venture.”

This is why it’s so amazing to see so many scientists within the field supporting the dissemination of truth, and bringing the falsehoods to light. So if you still think this type of thing is a conspiracy theory, we now have the documents as well as the science, which stands on its own, to show that something is terribly wrong here.

Joseph Cummins, Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus of Genetics at Western University in London, Ontario, believes that Druker’s book is a “landmark” and that “it should be required reading in every university biology course.” 

There are several presumptions on which the bioengineering venture was based, and one of them is that natural breeding is more random and unruly than bioengineering. The standard argument holds that genetic modification has been occurring for thousands of years, and what we do now is simply that process sped up and made better.

Key Presumptions on Which the Bioengineering Venture Was Based

Genetic engineering is based on the presumption that the genome is just a linear system, where the action of a single gene will not impact the action of other genes, or disrupt their normal function.

In 2007, the New York Times published an article outlining how “the presumption that genes operate independently has been institutionalized since 1976, when the first biotech company was founded. In fact, it is the economic and regulatory foundation on which the entire biotechnology industry is built.” 

Basically, genes are viewed as autonomous, adding to the whole without acting holistically because they don’t express their proteins in a closely coordinated matter. Another assumption used to justify genetic engineering is that genes aren’t organized in a specific way, that the sequence in which they occur is meaningless From this point of view, a gene would function normally if it were relocated to a different chromosome or came from a neighbouring gene. Quite a big assumption, don’t you think? Giorgio Bernardi, a biologist at the University of Rome III who specialized in the study of genome evolution, calls this perspective a “bean-bag view of the genome” because it regards the genes as “randomly distributed.”

Druker explains:

Together, these two assumptions supported the belief that a chunk of recombinant DNA could be put into a plan’s genome without inducing disturbance — because if the behavior of the native genes was largely uncoordinated and their arrangement was irrelevant, there would be no important patterns that could be perturbed by such insertions. Accordingly, they engendered confidence in the precision of genetic engineering, because they implied that the outcome of a gene insertion would be exactly what the bioengineers expected.

How could biotech proponents push the idea that the target organism would continue to function just as it had before, and that the change would be limited to the new trait endowed by the inserted gene? How can it simply be assumed that this would not alter any of the organism’s other qualities?

These presumptions still underly genetic engineering today. The example of the fly above serves well here. In the New York Times article cited earlier, the author noted that “genes appear to operate in a complex network,” and states that “evidence of a networked genome shatters the scientific basis for virtually every official risk assessment of today’s commercial biotech products, from genetically engineered crops to pharmaceuticals.”

Molecular geneticist Michael Antoniou, who testified at New Zealand’s Royal Commission in 2001, notes that agricultural bioengineering “was based on the understanding of genetics we had 15 years ago, about genes being isolated little units that work independently of each other.” He also presented evidence showing that genes actually “work as an integrated whole of families.”

Despite the grave possibility that these presumptions are indeed wrong, they still form the backbone of genetic engineering today.

Antoniou himself was even selected to represent multiple nongovernmental organizations to present precaution reasons to the UK’s GM Review Panel, and a plethora of studies that clearly justify it. Despite his presentation, and many others’, the 11 other scientists on the panel, who were biotech proponents, dismissed these studies and continued to argue that it makes absolutely no difference how genes are arranged.

How can a scientist make such a statement?

What do we have as a result? As Druker says:

Such disregard, denial, or avoidance in regard to the evidence was essential for maintaining faith in the venture, because its predictability and safety have always relied on the genome being largely disjointed; and the more the genome instead appears to function as a tightly coordinated system, the more potentially disruptive and unpredictable are the interventions of the bioengineers.

Geneticist, activist, and environmentalist David Suzuki weighed in on this very subject a few years ago in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC):

By slipping it into our food without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment. . . . Essentially, the FDA has said that genetically modified organisms, or food, are basically not much different from regular food, and so they’ll be treated in the same way. The problem is this: Geneticists follow the inheritance of genes, in what we call a vertical fashion . . . [but] what biotechnology allows us to do is to take this organism, and move it, what we call horizontally, into a totally unrelated species. Now, David Suzuki doesn’t normally mate with a carrot plant and exchange genes. What biotechnology allows us to do is to switch genes from one to the other, without regard for the biological constraints. . . . It’s very very bad science. We assume that the principals governing the inheritance of genes vertically applies when you move genes laterally or horizontally. There’s absolutely no reason to make that conclusion.

More Differences

This is a common argument made by GE-food proponents, and commonly used whenever an expert brings up a challenge to the technology’s safety. For example, David Schubert, PhD, a molecular biologist and the Head of Cellular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, commented in Nature Biotechnology that there was mounting evidence that the insertion of even one gene into a cell’s DNA alters the expression patters of genes throughout the entire cell. He said facts like this one, among many others, “cast doubt on the soundness of agricultural bioengineering — and entail the conclusion that it ‘is not a safe option.’ “

Predictably, when a professor and a laboratory director of one of the world’s most prestigious scientific institutions makes a comment like this, there’s going to be a response. This time it came in the form of a letter, published by 18 biologists at respected universities and institutions, stating that Dr. Schubert failed to properly consider “the genetic realities.” The main reality he allegedly failed to recognize is that the natural method of plant breeding is inherently more random than bioengineering.

A portion of the letter reads as following:

We do not take issue with Schubert’s basic contention that unintended genetic and metabolic events can take place. The reality is that ‘unintentional consequences’ are much more likely to occur in nature than in biotechnology because nature relies on the unintentional consequences of blind random genetic mutation and rearrangement to produce adaptive phenotypic results, whereas GM technology employs precise, specific, and rationally designed genetic modification toward a specific engineering goal.

In his book, Steven Druker offers the following counterargument: “This letter thus reveals how strongly the GE food venture relies on the presumption that the natural process driving biological development are intrinsically more disorderly and risk-bearing than the genetic interventions instigated by the human mind. And it confirms that this belief forms the ideological bedrock on which the venture rests.”

In fact, a report published in 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences couldn’t uphold “even the more modest notion that bioengineering and natural breeding pose the same risks.” The panel that produced the report ranked various modes of plant breeding in terms of their disposition to produce unintended effects. They were forced to acknowledge that bioengineering produces far greater effects than pollen-based sexual reproduction. Despite this fact, they still insisted that this does not mean a difference in risks.

Druker says in response:

Thus, there’s no rational way to reconcile the fact that natural breeding is less disruptive and more predictable than bioengineering with the claim that it poses equal or greater risk, which is why the admission in the 2004 report is a rarity — and why biotech proponents almost always ignore or deny that fact and instead assert that natural breeding is more disorderly and unpredictable.

Randomness

According to the biotech industry, natural plant breeding could actually result in crops that are dangerous to human consumption, which is why we should be grateful for genetic engineering. For example, in the same NAS report mentioned above, they portrayed what are known as “jumping genes” as more randomly mobile and threatening, but failed to recognize, as Druker points out, that although these entities do not pose risks within natural pollen based breeding, when bioengineering is employed they do because that process alone “tends to stir them up and get them jumping.”

When it comes to sexual reproduction, it’s yet another area where biotech proponents state that it’s a random phenomenon, despite the fact that we now know that it’s not random, and that there are multiple factors that can and do influence the genetics of life.   Genetic engineering, be it human induced or naturally occurring, requires a genetic “rearragnement,”  a recombination of DNA. The difference between the artificial way and the natural way is that the natural way does not disrupt the entire organism, as was discussed a little earlier in the article and touched upon in the Suzuki quote above.

As Druker explains:

This natural form of recombination occurs during the formation of gametes (the sperm and egg cells). It includes a step called crossover in which two partner chromosomes break at corresponding points and then exchange complementary sections of DNA; and every time a gamete is produced, every set of paired chromosomes engages in it. In this way, all the chromosomes end up with genes from both parents instead of from only one. However, all the genes are preserved, as is the sequences in which they’re positioned. The only changes are in the relationships between aleles. . . . So this natural recombination augments diversity while maintaining stability. And without it, except for the occasional favorable mutation, the composition of chromosomes would stay the same from generation to generation, and genetic diversity would grow at far too sluggish a pace.

He goes on to mention how natural recombination preserves the order of the genes, and is predictable in the way it cuts DNA. The entire process displays a great deal of order.

Despite this fact, scientists who support GE state, as in, for example, the 2004 NAS report, that “genetic engineering methods are considered by some to be more precise than conventional breeding methods because only known and precisely characterized genes are transferred.” They use the idea that the randomness and unpredictability of natural engineering make bioengineering safer.

Yet, as Druker so brilliantly captures:

This misleading tactic fixates on the predictability of the plant’s specific agronomic traits; and it portrays traditional breeding as less predictable than bioengineering because undesired attributes are often transferred along with the one that is desired. However, those who employ this ploy don’t acknowledge that if both parents are safe to eat, the unwanted traits hardly ever pose risk to human health. Rather, they’re undesirable for reasons irrelevant to risk (such as aesthetic appearance or seed size), and breeders must then perform back-crossing to eliminate them while retaining the trait they want. However,  although the inclusion of unwanted traits entails more work, it does not increase attendant risks. Therefore, while breeders can’t fully predict what traits will appear, they can confidently predict that the resulting plant will be safe to eat.

This is why the GE stance on natural modification is so flawed and misleading.

Druker goes on:

Although it describes the sexual reproduction of food-yielding plants as a messy and risky affair that involves the transfer of “thousands of unknown genes with unknown function,” we actually know quite a lot about those genes. And what we know is far more important than what we don’t know. We know that they’re all where they’re supposed to be, and that they’re arranged in an orderly fashion. And we know that during the essential process in which some of them are traded between partnered chromosomes in order to promote the diversity that strengthens the species, their orderly arrangement is marvelously maintained. Most important, we know that their functions mesh to form an exquisitely efficient system that generates and sustains a plant that regularly provides us with wholesome food.

This sharply contrasts with genetic engineering.

As you can see, comparing natural modification to biotech modification is not an easy process, and this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Research shows that it’s not natural modification that’s more random and risky, but biotech genetic modification:

The inserted cassettes are haphazardly wedged into the cell’s DNA, they create unpredictable disruptions at the site of insertion, the overall process induces hundreds of mutations throughout the DNA molecule, the activity of the inserted cassettes can create multiple imbalances, and the resultant plant cannot be deemed safe without undergoing a battery of rigorous tests that has yet to be applied to any engineered crop.

 

How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut


How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut

What happens when we eat lower fiber, more highly processed food? Our gut microbiome (bacteria) changes. In this TED-Ed video “How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut,” Shilpa Ravella explains how gut bacteria is changed.

“The bacteria in our guts can break down food the body can’t digest, produce important nutrients, regulate the immune system, and protect against harmful germs. And while we can’t control all the factors that go into maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, we can manipulate the balance of our microbes by paying attention to what we eat. Shilpa Ravella shares the best foods for a healthy gut.”

Watch Now

The 5 Necessities of an Effective Weight Loss Diet for People With Diabetes


weight loss for people with diabetes

This is not just another general “eat salad and completely avoid carbs” article. I’m tired of seeing generalized diet information that, to be brutally honest, is pointless and inapplicable to most people’s lives. This article is aimed to help the diabetic community focus on and prioritize what works.

Weight loss is science, not magic or voodoo or luck. There is a specific set of requirements needed to lose weight efficiently as a person with diabetes (type 1 or type 2). Yes, you may have heard of your friend’s cousin’s mother doing a no carb detox cleansing bath scrub to lose belly fat who lost 10 pounds, but I highly encourage you to check in with that person who does every fad diet possible in a few weeks or months. Chances are they gained the weight back and then some.

That’s because while some diets cause people to lose weight initially, they don’t employ the basic principles of continued effective weight loss. Whether it’s water weight loss, weight loss from severe calorie deficit, or avoidance of food, a lot of diets promise and sometimes produce acute results — that is temporary or short term results.

From helping hundreds of diabetics lose weight on social media, I was nicknamed the “T1D Fat Loss Coach” and now help people with all kinds of diabetes and chronic illnesses get on effective diets.

I have a 3 “E” rule for an effective diet before you continue on in this article. A diet must be all three of the following for you for it to be effective:

  1. Easy to adhere to long term
  2. Enjoyable or at least not miserable and affecting quality of life (socially or mood related)
  3. Effective in producing results long term (any diet change can produce short term results)

So, in deciding on a diet, make sure you have these rules in mind. These next five components of a diet will determine your success.

Optimal Weight Loss Blood Sugar

Blood sugar management is more important than exercise and diet combined for weight loss. Why? Because chasing blood sugars involves ruining your diet and training effectiveness.

You can’t optimally lose fat, build lean muscle, or get a healthier physique while mismanaging your blood sugars.

When your sugars are low, you are likely to (or at least more at risk to):

  • Overeat to correct lows
  • Overcompensate the overeating with medication that could lead to another low
  • Experience another low in the next 24-48 hours (“lows beget lows”)
  • Reduce intensity of exercise
  • Experience increased hunger and cravings which can be hard to fight

When your blood sugars are high, you are likely to (or at least more at risk to):

  • Overtreat with insulin which could lead to another low
  • Reduce nutrient absorption necessary to increase or preserve lean muscle mass
  • Decrease effectiveness of a workout
  • Experience a false sense of scale weight loss when in reality, you could be losing lean tissue which means reducing your metabolic rate and storing more body fat

In order to improve your metabolic rate and your body’s fat burning capability/processes, blood sugar management has to be a priority. In order to reduce cravings and hypo and hyperglycemic events that negatively affect diet and training, blood sugar management must be a main priority that isn’t overlooked.

Talk to your endocrinologist and diabetes management team as you decide on what the best approach is in conjunction with your changing diet and exercise habits. Then, you can get into specifics on calories and the makeup of those calories for fat loss optimization.

Specifying Calorie Intake

In order for you to lose weight, you have to be in a calorie deficit — that means burning more calories than you take in. You can do this by eating less, burning more calories through activity, or, ideally, a combination of both.

But first, you have to determine what is the appropriate number of calories you should be intaking based on your personal stats and goals. But can’t I just eat “healthy” and lose weight? You can and leave it to chance but even if you eat healthy foods in the wrong quantities, you will gain weight.

There is no universal fix to an individual problem.

That means what works for me doesn’t optimally work for your mom or for you. Specificity is optimal. To figure out how many calories you need to consume, you can find any TDEE calculator online like this one. This determines your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or the calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight.

 IIFYM TDEE calculator

Now if you want to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit which means you need to eat less than what you expend daily. My personal, general rule of thumb is:

  • If you want to lose 5 lbs/2 kg or less, subtract 250 calories from your TDEE
  • If you want to lose 5-15 lbs/2-7 kg, subtract 500 calories from your TDEE
  • If you want to lose over 20 lbs/10 kg, subtract up to 750 calories from your TDEE

This is a general rule that has helped hundreds of my type 1 and type 2 online weight loss clients lose between 5-60 lbs/2-25 kg but always be sure to consult your doctor before starting a new diet and training program.

Once you have your daily caloric limits, you can be more specific and determine your macronutrient goals.

Identifying Your Ideal Macro Balance

Calories determine weight change, but macronutrient balance determines the kind of weight change. Macronutrients are your proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

  • Protein has 4 calories per gram
  • Carbs have 4 calories per gram
  • Fat has 9 calories per gram

Why is macronutrient balance important? Take two people eating a 1500 calorie diet based on the advice above. Person A is eating 90% fat, 5% carbs, and 5% protein while person B is eating a balanced macronutrient diet of 35% protein, 30% carbs, and 35% fat. Who will get better results?

Person A is eating far too little protein and far too much fat. Higher protein diets are effective in helping people lose body fat, reduce hunger and cravings, and manage blood sugars. That little protein intake would increase risk of lean muscle loss which is the exact opposite goal. High protein diets are also proven to not be dangerous or harmful to the kidneys as long as there is no pre existing kidney damage.

That high of fat intake might make person A more hungry too as fat is more calorie dense meaning less total food intake. More hunger = more of a chance to fall off the diet when faced with opportunity to cheat.

The goal is to preserve or even build lean muscle while losing body fat. Losing muscle decreases your metabolic rate and lowers your body’s ability to burn fat. Keeping your protein around 30-40% of your total caloric intake is key for long term fat loss.

What about carbs?

Given that protein is 30-40%, carbs I leave up to my clients’ personal preference. Some people choose a moderate carb intake, some choose a lower carb intake, and some even choose to follow a ketogenic approach.

I personally don’t care as long as you are managing your sugars, eating the right protein amount, and hitting around your decided macronutrient intakes.

In terms of pure weight loss science, hundreds of studies have compared low-carb, high-fat diets to high-carb, low-fat diets and found no significant difference in weight loss when calories and protein are equated.

There may be some instances where clients with insulin resistance or hormonal issues (Type 2, PCOS, Hashimotos, post menopause, etc.) might be encouraged to be on the lower side of carb intake but, for the most part, it is a personal choice.

Carbs and fats usually have an inverse relationship — if one is higher the other is lower. If your protein intake is at 30% and you decide you want to do a moderate carb approach at 30% carbs, then you know your fat intake will be 40% (the remainder).

Some of my preferred macro percentages with my clients are:

  • Low-carb: 40% protein/20% carbs/40% fat
  • Moderate carb: 35% protein/30% carbs/35% fat
  • Moderate carb, high activity level: 40% protein/30% carbs/30% fat

These are just a few of the many possibilities and strategies to elicit fat loss. Simply download a calorie counting app like My Fitness Pal to track these numbers discussed above.

Navigating My Way Through a Food Heavy Culture

Food Choices

It is not necessarily the choices of food that affect us as much as the quantities of food in terms of weight gain and weight loss, directly speaking. Indirectly, food choice can be a major indicator of adherence to a diet.

Eating processed foods is shown to decrease satiety (feeling of fullness), increase cravings, and increase guilt. These repercussions of not eating healthy can slow or even reverse progress. I like to take an 80/20 approach with my diabetic clientele and myself.

80% of the food eaten should be whole foods. 20% can be your personal indulgent. That means if you are alloted 1500 calories a day, 20%, or 300 calories, can come from your craving foods. I believe this helps people cheat within the diet so they stay on track for longer and get far better results than being extremely strict.

An interesting note, a Kansas state nutrition professor ate twinkies and protein shakes for 10 weeks and lost 27lbs/12kg and improved his metabolic profile in the process. He wanted to show that quantity of food is extremely important when it comes to weight loss. Obviously, I don’t recommend doing this and neither does he, so please don’t replicate his experiment.

Meal Timing & Frequency

One of the biggest myths in the dieting world is having to eat every two hours to “stoke the metabolic fire.” There is no metabolic fire or fire inside of your body — I promise. Daily macronutrient & caloric totals matter most not meal timing or frequency. When you add diabetes to the mix, that’s when these variables become more relevant.

Meal timing prior to cardio or exercise can determine if you are going to have a great workout or diabetic emergency. Both hypo- & hyperglycemia can ruin a workout so timing meals according to your activity level can greatly improve blood sugar management, which indirectly improves your ability to adhere to your diet and training.

Meal frequency is a personal preference but some people with diabetes find it easier to minimize glucose variability with smaller, more frequent meals. Ultimately, that is your decision. Whatever fits into your lifestyle best is what you should do.

Effective Weight Loss With Diabetes

Blood sugar management, proper caloric intake, and macronutrient balance will help you lose body fat long term, the right way. There are tons of advanced strategies I’ve used to help people with diabetes transform their bodies but all progress stems from these basic principles. Yes, it takes some work. Yes, you have to type some stuff and do some math. Yes, it takes conscious, daily effort just like diabetes management. But, in doing so, your body will thank you.

The 25 Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2017


Every week in 2017 seemed to bring new, objectively bad news about environmental degradation, government officials being awful, or video gamesbeing ruined by microtransactions. But it wasn’t all bad news: Very exciting and groundbreaking research was added to the scientific literature this year, reminding us that not everything is moving backward.

The 25 studies below, representing the biggest breakthroughs of the year, represent a wide and eclectic range of research areas. Let these snippets from Inverse’s interviews with researchers offer a sense of just how many scientific fields strode forward in 2017:

  • “It’s a terrible way to define different populations,” a geneticist studying skin color said.
  • “Best-case scenario, some of the advertising is true. Worst-case scenario: very little to none of the advertising is true and people may actually get hurt,” said a psychologist about the problems with mindfulness.
  • “What we showed is that diarrhea is actually really good for you,” said a scientist researching diarrhea.

Without further ado, here are the studies that rocked the science world this year, presented in order of popularity among our readers, though not necessarily importance:

25. Neanderthals Never Would Have Outlived Us

Humans still contain a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA. Even though we know that humans and Neanderthals overlapped for about 15,000 years, scientists aren’t sure how our ancient cousins died out. They’re pretty sure that Neanderthals would have been replaced by humans no matter what. Computer modeling shows that humans migrating out of Africa would have replaced Neanderthals, whether or not they died out from other factors. But while they lived together, Neanderthals left their genetic legacy imprinted in our DNA.

24. Magic Mushrooms Can Help with Depression

Scientists put tripping patients into fMRI machines to observe what their brains did under the influence of psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic, “magic,” mushrooms. They found that patients with depression described feeling “reset” after a trip, and brain scans supported this conclusion. Patients who reported feeling better also showed reduced blood flow to parts of the brain associated with depressive symptoms.

23. Teeth From 9.7 Million Years Ago Could Rewrite Human History

Scientists found teeth in Germany that they suspect come from hominins. They date back to before similar human ancestors arose in Africa, suggesting that we may need to rework the entire human evolutionary timeline. Whether it’s a product of convergent evolution or simply related species, these fossils raise more questions about human origins than they answer.

22. Eating Weed and Spicy Food Is Good for Your Gut

More good news from 2017! Researchers found that marijuana and spicy food can ease inflammation in your digestive system, potentially paving the way for new treatments for Type 1 diabetes, colitis, and other gut issues. Capsaicin, the spicy stuff in chili peppers, makes your digestive system produce a type of cannabinoid that can offer protective benefits to your gastrointestinal tract, suggesting that edible marijuana could do the same thing. This is good news for lovers of spicy food and edibles.

21. Dogs Are Genetically Predisposed to Being Good Boys

It’s not all bad news for 2017: Scientists examining dog genetics found that dog genes predispose them to domestication and prosocial behavior. This study is the first to show why, on a molecular level, dogs are _so good). Interestingly, the scientists also found that the same genetic changes that led to domestication also seems to have made dogs less intelligent than wolves.

20. You’re More Likely to View Atheists as Serial Killers

Even though atheism has become more common in modern society, it turns out believing in something might make you seem less like a psychopath, according to a study published this year. People are more likely to believe that a killer in a hypothetical scenario is an atheist instead of a person of faith, according to research published this year. This finding even held true for atheists, perhaps suggesting some internalized stigma leading to unconscious bias. Even Mark Zuckerberg has taken note of this anti-atheist prejudice, announcing his faith a year ago.

19. Human-Pig Chimeras Have a “Safety Switch”

Scientists shocked the world when they announced they’d developed a human-pig chimera, bringing us a step closer to growing human organs inside pigs. But they also soothed our fears of a pig-man apocalypse when they assured us that there is a self-destruct mechanism for human stem cells that accidentally travel to the pig brains. It’s not even clear whether that would lead to enhanced consciousness, but if this safety switch works, we won’t have to worry about it.

18. Psychologists are Growing Skeptical of Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness has become a pop psychology buzzword recently, and psychology professionals are concerned. Fifteen psychologists published a paper this year outlining their concerns that corporate seminars, meditation workshops, and the like are offering psychological benefits that are unproven while ignoring risks. After all, psychological health is not one-size-fits-all.

17. Even Occasional Drinks Can Affect Your Brain Health

We all know that drinking too much can cause chronic health problems, but a massive cohort study of British civil servants found that moderate drinking accelerates cognitive decline. Over 30 years of surveys and health check-ups, the participants who consumed 14 to 21 units of alcohol per week “had three times the odds of right sided hippocampal atrophy,” an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease. This is a serious buzzkill, since previous research has suggested that moderate drinking could have certain benefits for heart health. Following this cohort of research subjects further will reveal more about their health as they age.

16. Your Face Shows Signs of Class Boundaries

It’s sometimes easy to tell whether someone is wealthy based on their clothes, car, home, and other material things. But this year researchers found that social status may show in your face, too. This doesn’t mean that some people are genetically predisposed to be rich, but rather that being poor can impart subtle, lifelong mood symptoms that observers can see on your face even when you’re wearing a neutral expression. Worryingly, the researchers found that this judgment can impair hireability, which could perpetuate class boundaries.

15. Scientists Identified the Maximum Human Lifespan

Life extension advocates like to say that, with the right supplements and therapies, you’ll be able to live long enough to see science bring about immortality. But more conventional-thinking researchers say this isn’t so. They identified the maximum human lifespan as 115.7 years for women and 114.1 years for men. This area of research is still hotly debated, but the new findings fit pretty closely to what other groups have said.

14. A Supervolcano Could Go Off Way Sooner Than We Think

As if 2017 wasn’t bad enough, statisticians say we’re overdue for a supervolcano eruption. On the basis of geological records, a team of researchers estimated that cataclysmic supervolcano eruptions on Earth occur, on average, every 17,000 years. The last one happened 20 to 30 thousand years ago. You do the math.

13. Geneticists Discovered That Light Skin Variations Originated in Africa

Science has often been used in the service of justifying racism, but scientists shut down outdated notions of genetic differences among humans of different ethnic groups this year. Geneticists found that variants associated with light skin actually originated in Africa, not only disproving the backward notion that people with darker skin are less human, but also calling into question the notion that skin color can be associated with certain ethnic groups.

12. Scientists Find the Oldest Human Skeleton in the Americas

After re-examining a skeleton stolen from a submerged cave in Mexico, scientists determined that it may represent the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas. At 13,000 years old, the 80-percent-complete skeleton suggests that humans came to the Americas thousands of years before the people that were previously thought to be the first Americans.

11. Diarrhea Is Your Body’s Immune System Savior

Diarrhea sucks, but there’s actually a good reason for it. Mice infected with a mouse bacteria similar to E. coli exhibited changes in intestinal cells in a way that seemed to cause diarrhea. Scientists have long suspected that diarrhea was the body’s way of clearing out disease, but this study provided the first solid proof.

10. Redditors’ Dicks Match Up With Dick Size Desires

Many penis-havers worry about whether their penis size will match up with the preferences of penis-likers. In a study conducted by and among redditors, they found that penis sizes matched up pretty well with what their potential partners want. These findings fit with what academic researchers have found, but maybe this citizen science confirmation will be more digestible for redditors.

9. Porn Can Change Your Brain

People who watch a lot of pornography don’t necessarily have an addiction or a psychological condition. But neuroscientists have found that people who struggle with their porn use exhibit brain changes. They react more strongly to reward cues associated with porn, similar in some ways to gambling addicts. It’s not clear whether porn addiction is a real condition, though.

8. Scientists Send Data to and from Space Using Quantum Entanglement

Scientists in China transmitted a quantum state almost a thousand miles into space, much farther than had been done previously. This development brought scientists one step closer to the kind of technology that could enable quantum computing. Quantum entanglement is a burgeoning topic in physics that even Albert Einstein didn’t believe could exist.

7. Human Mini-Brain Organoids Raise Ethical Concerns

Scientists can grow miniature models of human organs, called organoids that allow them to perform research that would be unethical on living. But when scientists reported that human brain organoids grafted onto rat brains had begun to integrate, this raised ethical red flags. If a rat has a partially human brain, should we be doing science on it that we wouldn’t do on a human?

Alex Jones

6. Conspiracy Theorists Think Differently

European social psychologists have shed some light on what makes the nearly half of American conspiracy theorists different from the rest. They exhibit a phenomenon called illusory pattern perception, which makes them see patterns of danger where there is no danger. This is the first scientific evidence linking illusory pattern perception to belief in conspiracy theories.

5. Ancient Humans Knew How to Avoid Incest

We know that incest increases the chances of developing genetic diseases, but it turns out our early human ancestors knew about the risks of incest, too. Geneticists and archaeologists examining 34,000-year-old human remains from Russia found that four people buried together were no closer than second cousins, suggesting that even ancient humans made efforts to avoid inbreeding. Researchers say this probably means these early humans made a purposeful effort to mix outside their family groups, including some semblance of romance, as indicated by the jewelry included in their collective burial.

4. Scientists Discovered Our Black Hole Neighbors

Astronomers using NASA’s NuSTAR X-ray telescope found evidence of two super-massive black holes. At the center of galaxies near the Milky Way, they’re still millions of light-years away, but in relative terms, they’re our next-door neighbors.

3. Long-Term Marijuana Use Changes Your Brain

Marijuana is safe, as far as drugs go, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally free of long-term consequences. In a mouse study, neuroscientists found that long-term marijuana use can lead to abnormally high dopamine levels. This suggests that marijuana could be messing with your brain chemistry more than you thought.

2. Scientists Figured Out That Tattoo Ink Doesn’t Stay Put

That’s right, even though the whole idea of a tattoo is that the ink goes into your skin and never comes out, researchers have found that ink pigment nanoparticles migrate and accumulate in people’s lymph nodes. It makes sense since your lymphatic system gets rid of bad stuff and tattoo ink is essentially a foreign invader.