The “so-called” experts on diet and health seem to be once again twisting the numbers to achieve some alternative gains at the expense of public health. This has been highlighted by Kevin White in the UK publication “The Grocer”.
There is a group led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle (USA), that publish a paper each year which is titled The Global Burden of Disease (GBD). They recently published a paper in The Lancet, which suggested that deaths from eating red meat around the world had risen
from 25,000 in 2017
to 896,000 in 2019.
This would be a 36-fold (3,484%) increase in the threat to human health from eating meat in two years. These same authors stated in 2017 that red meat was the least important of 15 dietary risk factors studied.
Understandably this has been challenged by nutrition scientists who have requested that the group produce the evidence for this increase. The claim by GBD is puzzling when we realize that after a “forensic examination” of the data and its assumptions by the nutrition scientists – which also includes globally-recognized meat expert professor Frederic Leroy of Vrije Universiteit in Brussels – it was then compared to a collection of global meta-analyses looking at the relationship between eating red meat and human ill health and deaths. The scientists concluded they could “find no relationship” between the meta-analyses and the GBD data.
A big problem with junk science like this is that it is picked up and published and then used as justification for policies. For example:
This “statistic” has been used as part of the justification for a reduction in red meat consumption as published in the “Eat Lancet Diet” and is referenced in major UK policy documents – including Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy. It has also been referenced in publications by the UN Food System Summit, and the EU’s Farm To Fork Strategy. According to an article in “Farming Independent”, by Claire McCormack, Since publication, GBD 2019 has been cited by 635 documents, including 351 scientific papers and nine policy documents such as the UK’s National Food Strategy.
Here is how the Global Burden of Disease study is described on their website:-
The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study is the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date. Led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle (USA) the GBD study offers a powerful resource to understand the changing health challenges facing people across the world in the 21st century.
Unfortunately a failure to provide the evidence for this will severely undermine the GBD reporting validity and raise serious ethical questions about the motivation of this group and their supporters.
It is very unlikely that a rise of over 3000% in 2 years is even possible, let alone likely.
The great danger of people taking this “junk evidence” seriously Is that it may lead to policies and activities that further erode the understanding of the critical nature of animal food for human health.
To their credit, I understand that the Lancet Publication has also requested evidence to support the GBD claims.
Animal foods are very important for world wide diets because of their high nutrient density. Vitamin K2 for calcium management and vitamin B12 only come from animal foods. Both are critical for reducing heart disease risk. Many people are iron, zinc and folate deficient which is exacerbated by the low bio-availability of these in plant foods. These are much more bio-available in animal foods.
Most plant foods also have some form of anti-nutrient which binds up the minerals in your meal and removes them from your body leaving you under-nourished. For example, wheat flour binds up zinc and iron in your meal so you get less of these essential mineral nutrients from your meal. It is thought that this binding action could be a major factor in the cause of so much poor health in the longer term vegan community.
The very high levels of Omega-6 fats from heavy consumption of vegetable/seed oils and the very low levels of Omega-3 fats is another major concern. Enlightened heath experts recommend a ratio (Omega-6:Omega-3) of these at about 4:1 or less, based on historical levels before the introduction of industrial seed oils to the diet.
As always, if you want to understand how to improve your health with your diet, take a look at my book – “Take Back Your Health”, by George Elder for sale on Amazon.com or available from the Selwyn District Library, in New Zealand.
You may have heard of serotonin, the happiness molecule, but do you know what it really does?
Serotonin is a chemical produced in your body, mostly in your gut, but some is produced in your brain. It is a neurotransmitter, which means it helps with nerve signaling, and is involved in sleep, memory, learning, healing and is the chemical that promotes calmness and contentment. People with healthy levels of this are generally happy.
In order to make serotonin, your body needs all the necessary components. Magnesium is needed, but the most important component is the essential amino acid, tryptophan, which comes from various foods, a little from bread, pasta, corn, bananas, and cookies, but the most abundant sources of tryptophan are high protein foods like tuna, dairy products, turkey, beef, pork, chicken, and eggs.
It is easy to get too little of this essential amino acid because if you drink diet sweetened foods or caffeinated drinks, or you are not getting enough healthy fats such as butter, olive oil, and animal fats then your tryptophan levels can be depleted. Tryptophan levels can also be depleted by stress, lack of natural light, low calorie diets, skipped meals or by lack of exercise. While coffee will stimulate dopamine (the pleasure molecule), it will suppress serotonin (the happiness molecule) over time.
In USA in 1989, the FDA called for a voluntary ban on tryptophan supplements due to a faulty contaminated batch and these only became available again without prescription in USA in 2000. In other countries it has continued to be available, while in USA many doctors switched to prescribing Prozac.
All this means is that if you want to be happy, calm and contented, then your diet really matters as does exercise and getting sufficient natural light. This is especially important for women because females typically generate about one third less serotonin than males. For vegetarians or vegans this is even more difficult as the tryptophan level in their diet is usually very low.
This might be much more important than just a happy feeling. People, who have low levels of serotonin can suffer from anxiety, lack of confidence, panic attacks, depression, obsessive behavior and sleep disorders. It seems that the psychology profession is just beginning to realize the importance of this diet and mental health linkage.
The new field of nutrition psychology is gaining traction fast with psychologists now realizing that poor diet is a major factor in many of the conditions patients present with, and often these conditions can be assisted or even corrected by changing the patients diet. Central to these changes is increasing the level of animal protein while reducing grains and sugar.
Unfortunately, I hear that many people on bad diets often don’t know this and never realize their health problems are caused by their diet. It is only after they make major diet changes and begin to feel hugely better that they realize just how sick their diet was making them. This is particularly a problem for those who are very committed to their diet because their beliefs make them reluctant to even test whether a diet change could help.
So to pull all this together, if you suffer from anxiety, worry easily, have panic attacks, have a tendency to be negative, get edgy or irritable easily, have difficulty sleeping, suffer from jaw pain, or can be a bit obsessive or forgetful, then low serotonin might be a factor. Take a hard look at your diet or try a tryptophan supplement. I read that for many people results can be almost immediate.
Have you heard that before, “Just reduce calories and do more exercise”.
If you asked most people including many doctors how to lose weight, they might have told you this. It seems so easy and we have seen pictures of skinny people who have been starved or who have survived famines. Some people can do it but very few sustain it, even if it seems simple.
Your body is very smart. Different parts of you body have different needs. So this means that if you reduce your calories, your body will choose which processes in your body will get the reduced available nutrients from your food and which parts will not.
Your brain and your heart are likely to be given priority, because these organs are critical to your survival. Your hair, skin and nails can probably function without the best nutrition for a while and you won’t die. You may find that these parts of your body and others deemed less important, gradually become less healthy than they should be. This is a decline in your basal metabolic rate. At the same time the alarm bells will be going off in your body with a strong message to upload more nutrients. This will make you really hungry.
There is strong proof of this problem. Towards the end of World War II, the US Government commissioned a starvation study, called the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. 36 male volunteers were subjected to a 6 month period of only about 1600 calories per day. They were fed mainly potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, bread and macaroni. This was a high carbohydrate diet and the participants got sick.
This from Wikipedia: “The prolonged semi-starvation produced significant increases in depression, hysteria and hypochondriasis. Most of the subjects experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression. Participants exhibited a preoccupation with food, both during the starvation period and the rehabilitation phase. Sexual interest was drastically reduced, and the volunteers showed signs of social withdrawal and isolation. The participants reported a decline in concentration, comprehension and judgment capabilities. There were marked declines in physiological processes indicative of decreases in each subject’s basal metabolic rate (the energy required by the body in a state of rest), reflected in reduced body temperature, respiration and heart rate.”
The reduction in metabolic rate means that their body’s were operating with a lower required level of calories and when this happens, it usually stops further weight loss. To continue weight loss in this situation requires even further calorie reduction.
It doesn’t have to be like this. In the 1970’s, 2 researchers George Blackburn and Bruce Bistrian at Harvard Medical School developed what they called a “protein-sparing modified fast” to treat patients with obesity: 650 to 800 calories a day of nothing but lean fish, meat, and fowl. It had effectively no carbohydrates, making it a ketogenic diet, albeit a very low-calorie version. In one 1985 publication reporting on almost seven hundred patients, the average weight loss was nearly fifty pounds in four months. The patients felt little hunger while on the diet. “They loved it,” Bistrian said. “It was an extraordinarily safe way to get large amounts of weight loss.”
Bistrian and Blackburn did not continue it, because in those days they mistakenly thought that having such a low level of carbohydrates in the diet was unhealthy. Nowadays we know better.
The difference between these 2 diets is the level of carbohydrates. Unfortunately continuous high carbohydrate levels with low calories, force starvation mode because the resulting high level of insulin prevents the body from accessing fat reserves. When a person becomes fat adapted and fuels their body with high fats and very low carbohydrates, the body does not go into starvation mode because it uses stored body fat reserves to provide the missing calories and nutrients.
One of the most successful ways to get your body into fat burning mode is to switch to a ketogenic diet. My book “Take back your health” available on Amazon in e-book and paperback gives a very easy to follow guide to making this change.
I have been eating this way now for nearly 3 years and it is almost effortless. No weighing food or counting calories is necessary. I very seldom feel hungry. Do I need carbs for exercise and energy, no way. I go running, use the gym, go swimming and kayaking anytime with no shortage of energy. In fact most people who make this switch claim to have increased energy.
Am I worried that eating meat will impact climate change? Of course. But animals grown using regenerative agriculture actually sequester carbon into the earth, so I’m am doing the right thing. Grains growing in large mono-crop areas and fertilized by man-made petrochemical fertilizers is killing our soils and reducing nutrients available from our food, not to mention the thousands of small animals killed by this farming approach. So reducing my carbohydrate intake is supporting climate change objectives.
As I have explained, reducing calories does reduce weight, but unless you do it right, it is unsustainable and you will fail. Apparently almost all of “The biggest losers” put their weight back on over the following years.
For more information on health, nutrition and weight loss, read my blog at “www.takebackyrhealth.com” where you will find a link to my book.
In 1847, Ignaz Semmelweis , a young doctor working in Austria noticed that more young women were dying after childbirth in the hospital division where autopsies were also also performed, compared with the division where only midwives assisted birthing. This was before people understood about microbes and hand-washing was not common practice.
After a close friends death from a scalpel wound, Semmelweis discovered that diseases were being transmitted on doctors hands, from the autopsies, to the young birthing mothers. Hand washing was implemented and the death rate plummeted. However the obstetrics head doctor refused to accept the practice and Semmelweis contract was not extended. He was persecuted and eventually died in an asylum.
This is an appalling but true story, the details of which have been used as a basis for the fictional book “Unclean Hands” by Andrew Schafer. A true book about this, Titled “The Doctors’ Plague” has been written by Sherwin B. Nuland. It took at least 10 years after this for hand-washing became an accepted practice in medicine.
Would you be astonished to discover that this horrifying situation has not improved much. Let’s take a look at how our treatment for Type-2 Diabetes reveals this continuing problem.
Type 2 Diabetes is a disease which many doctors have come to believe is progressive and unable to be reversed. I understand this is what is taught at medical school.
The reality is that the most common cause of this disease is a normal reaction of the human body to continuous excess levels of sugar/glucose in the blood which is usually caused by too much sugar and starches (carbohydrates) in the diet over many years.
Does a days eating often look like this? Breakfast: – cereals, bread, bagels, toast, fruit juice. Snack: – cookie, bagel, muffin, fruit, soda, pastry, corn chips. Lunch: – sandwich, bread, pasta, rolls, fruit, cakes. Dinner: – pizza, potatoes, fries, pasta, rice, bread, sweet deserts, beer, burgers. Supper: – muffin, cookie, sweet biscuit, chocolate.
Every single item in the above diet is producing sugar/glucose in the body. Is every celebration accompanied by copious quantities of sugar based treats? Are rewards and treats usually sugar based? Some people don’t realize that carbohydrates, except fiber, convert to sugar immediately you eat them.
The safe non-toxic level of sugar/glucose in your blood is only about 1 teaspoon. After you have used some for energy, if the level is still higher than 1 teaspoon, the body has to reduce it urgently by releasing insulin which signals to muscles and the liver to manage the glucose out of the blood to get this toxic sugar level back down. To do this your body either converts the glucose to glycogen for storage in muscles or into fat for storage in the liver or in fat cells.
If your sugar and therefore your insulin is continuously elevated, then over time, your body becomes resistant to this and as a result the level of insulin required to manage the glucose down becomes higher and higher. Eventually it becomes so high that your body can not make sufficient and you are classified as a Type-2 diabetic.
Some say that Type-2 Diabetes is not a disease at all. It is the result of your body’s normal reaction to continuous high levels of blood glucose. Many doctors, instead of working with the patient to get their glucose levels down, prescribe medications including artificial insulin to push the insulin even higher to signal the liver and muscles to pull out that glucose.
Unfortunately high insulin levels are also very toxic and “insulin resistance” is now recognized as a cause of many diseases, including promoting obesity, PCOS, kidney disease, fatty liver, blindness heart disease, and nerve damage which can often resulting in limb amputation.
Research over many years has shown that this disease can often be reversed by reducing the level of carbohydrates in your diet. The process takes time and needs to be managed carefully in the first few weeks in order to manage sugar levels in the blood, as your body becomes adapted to the changes. The changes can be so immediate that sometimes injected insulin levels must be reduced within hours.
Some doctors are now treating their Type-2 Diabetes and pre-diabetes patients with low carb diets and having amazing success reversing this “disease”. In USA, Virta Health ( https://www.virtahealth.com) is treating hundreds of patients remotely using low carb diet approaches. In UK, Dr David Unwin and in New Zealand Dr. Glenn Davies are having success with the same approach. Dr Bhakti Paul MD in NC USA has a great interview on YouTube (https://youtu.be/3suCjlPfkgw) describing how she treats her Type-2 diabetic patients this way.
Other doctors, researchers and nutritionists have been persecuted for advising patients of these low carbohydrate dietary approaches. Dr. Gary Fettke, an Australia Orthopedic Surgeon was censured and barred from delivering nutrition guidance to patients after he objected to the high carbohydrate meals being given to his patients in hospital. This restriction has now been lifted. Dr. Tim Noakes in South Africa, had to fight a court battle for over 3 years for retention of his license to practice medicine, because of complaints about his low carb nutrition advice to patients. Maryanne Demasi a medical reporter and investigative journalist was persecuted for a report on Low Carb diets on the ABC in Australia.
I have come to understand that many everyday doctors or GP’s working in clinics are unable to put patients on low carb diets because this is not supported by the “standard of care” they are required to operate within. Unfortunately this can mean that their Type-2 diabetic patients may not be getting the best care possible and are forced to accept supplementary insulin in order to manage their diabetes. Suicide is extremely high amongst doctors and this type of problem may be exacerbating their stress. Those doctors and nutritionists trying to implement new practices are often unreasonably restrained by tradition.
The modern management of diabetes reversal is initially very critical and some doctors are now finding that fitting CGM’s (Continuous Glucose Monitors) to their patients with a real time link between the patient and the doctor is allowing for very precise management of this critical period of recovery and the beginning of remission.
Dr. Bhakti Paul In conjunction with the website DietDoctor.com have produced a very good overview for doctors about her successful approach to reversing diabetes using this approach. Take a look here on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/3suCjlPfkgw
There is a debate about cancer, as to whether cancer is a genetic disease, e.g. it’s in your genes and there is little you can do, or is it a metabolic disease, caused by what you eat, how you live, etc. The metabolic school of thought seems to be leading the argument, at present, and this suggests that you might have more control over your fate regarding cancer than previously thought. I recently finished reading Sam Apples new book “Ravenous” based on Otto Warburg and his cancer research from the early 20th centenary, which I can highly recommend.
This from Sam Apple’s book, “In 1982, researchers at the American Cancer Society selected a population of more than 900,000 Americans and asked them to fill out surveys that included basic personal information, such as their weight, height, and smoking habits. By 1998, almost 60,000 of the participants had died of cancer, and the American Cancer Society was anxious to figure out why. Among those digging through the data was Eugenia Calle, an American Cancer Society epidemiologist. Her study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003, found that being overweight or obese increased the risk of nearly every cancer she looked at. Compared with a woman of normal weight, the women in the highest-weight category were 62 percent more likely to die from cancer. The most obese men, in turn, were 52 percent more likely to die from cancer.”
In 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute of Cancer Research jointly published a five-hundred-page report entitled ‘Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer’. The report discusses the evidence linking diet to cancer and finds that the most convincing link is ‘greater body fatness’ to ‘cancers of the colorectal, esophagus (adenocarcinoma), pancreas, kidney and breast cancer,’ and possibly gallbladder cancer as well.
Most significant is that there is a group of ‘diseases’ including: Type 2 Diabetes, cardio vascular disease (CVD), PCOS, caries, macular degeneration, obesity, hypertension, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Cancer. These diseases are sometimes referred to as ‘Western’ diseases, or diseases of civilization, as their prevalence significantly increases after a society adopts western style nutrition including sugar, white flour and polyunsaturated industrial seed oils. So although we don’t hear it stated, cancer growth does seem to be assisted by a high carbohydrate diet including high levels of sugar and polyunsaturated omega-6 seed oils.
I read that cancers growing in a laboratory are fed insulin and glucose and don’t survive on ketones which also supports the research mentioned earlier. One researcher claims that fructose is the “perfect food” for a growing cancer precisely because it helps cancer cells to survive in low-oxygen environments.
Researchers have found that insulin and glucose reduce cancer sensitivity to chemotherapy, meaning that the chemotherapy is less effective. With a Ketogenic diet, chemotherapy is apparently more effective, cancer is more sensitive to the treatment and patients could expect to have a faster and easier recovery. There is a recommendation that they should also fast for 3 days prior to chemo, fast during the chemo and then for 2 days following. This comes from Dr Nashua Winters and Valter D. Longo, but undertake your own research of course.
From Annette Bosworth MD comes the information that one of the most renowned cancer treatment centers in the world, M. D. Anderson in Texas USA, will not begin chemotherapy for brain cancer until the patient has been in ketosis for 2 weeks.
There is a description of how cancer cells grow and divide called the Warburg effect named after the researcher Otto Warburg who was the first to identify that cancers are ravenous for glucose. This claims that most cancer cells need a glucose fuel source to grow and divide, and depriving them of this prevents cancer from growing. There is a secondary related effect of high levels of Insulin and Insulin Like Growth Factor (IGF-1) caused by high levels of insulin, stimulating cancer growth. Both have been known about for decades but until recently, largely ignored by mainstream cancer therapy. This suggests that a low carbohydrate diet, reducing glucose in the body and thereby lowering insulin levels, could halt or slow cancer proliferation.
A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan makes use of cancer’s affinity for glucose. By inserting into your blood, a radioactive dye with glucose, a subsequent scan can locate the places in the body where glucose is being absorbed. For a cancer scan this lights up the body in places where cancer cells are ravenously eating the glucose, helping to identify if and where it has spread.
Professor Jurgen Schole, from the University of Hanover, in 1986 after his low carbohydrate research said, “we were able to demonstrate that the rates of tumor growth in experimental animals, which follow the application of carcinogens, diminish significantly when carbohydrates are replaced by the isocaloric amount (same calorific value) of fat.”
Do vegetarians suffer less from cancer? It is my understanding that many Hindus in India are strictly vegetarian. They suffer from Cancer as do other vegetarian societies. In The Masai, The Inuit and native Americans on the Great Plains, cancer was rare to absent and these societies were heavy meat eaters, sometimes solely for many months of the year. Although this is only an association, it does seem significant, as does their very low levels of sugar consumption.
It seems clear from very recent research and examination of historical research that has been overlooked for years, that sugar is likely to be “a primary cause” of cancer. Sugar pushes up glucose and fructose levels, which push up insulin levels which then stimulates cancer.
This also from Sam Apples book, – Lewis Cantley, the scientist who pioneered the study of how insulin activates the pathways linked to cancer, is among the researchers who have grown alarmed about sugar. He has reportedly stopped eating sugar himself for a simple reason. His research has led him to the conclusion that today’s “high consumption of sugar” is “almost certainly responsible for the increased rates of a variety of cancers in the developed world.”
The repeated heating and cooling of Omega-6 polyunsaturated oils in restaurant fryers, breaks down molecules, oxidizing the oils and creating new compounds and this gets worse as the heating is repeated, as it contaminates and reduces the ‘smoke point’ for the oil. Novel polymers (molecules your body does not recognize, so triggers inflammation) are produced, that cause problems for restaurant cleaning, with new and more powerful cleaning compounds needed to remove the residues from walls and drains.
If we eat food cooked in this ‘soup’, I am not surprised that cancer rates are rising. At home you can avoid this by frying in saturated fat with lard, tallow, avocado oil, butter or coconut oil. Olive oil is not generally advised for frying as it has a lower ‘smoke point’, which is the temperature at which it begins to burn, oxidizing and creating harmful chemicals.
I am aware of another suggestion, that long term use of ‘fat soluble’ statins is anecdotally linked to multiple cancer events in people, maybe because the statin mechanism interrupts the body’s manufacture of LDL cholesterol, which now is becoming recognized in its non-oxidized form, as a healing material and integral to an immune response.
For more Information about using your food as medicine take a look at my book on Amazon US$3.99.
Five servings of fruit and vegetables per day is the UK nutrition guide. But why are fruits and vegetables grouped together in this statement? They bear little relationship to each other in how they impact your health. While fruits are often brightly colored to attract predators and are sweet to encourage you to eat them, vegetables more often come with toxins to dissuade you from eating them and as a result, often require special preparation.
When I am speaking to a group about nutrition and how to heal your body with food, a question is sometimes asked about fruit. Surely it is good, and are we not being told to eat it daily? It contains natural fruit sugars, so cannot be harmful. There is a lot to unpack here so let’s work through the history and science.
Historically humans, birds and many animals have always eaten fruit. It is clearly an ancestral food. However, there are some significant differences between the fruit we see in the supermarket and the fruit our ancestors ate. First the ancestral fruit was not stored in a cool, managed environment and was not available all year around. It was out there growing on the bush or tree and was attractive to all manner of insects, birds, and animals. It had a relatively short ripe season before it was eaten or fell off the tree. There was no farmer protecting it from fungus and insects or putting up bird netting to ensure that it stayed in good condition.
Selective breeding of fruit varieties has changed the ancestral fruits from small, less-sweet varieties to large, sweeter varieties and increased the yields significantly. The original kiwi fruit for example was a small brown plumb like fruit (called a Chinese Gooseberry), before being extensively bred. Most important though is the availability. Our ancestors only had fruit that was in season where they lived and only had the fruit that was not taken by animals, birds, and insects. Once picked it had to be eaten almost immediately.
The breeding of fruit varieties has also changed the fruit in other ways. Fruit has been bred for longer shelf life and to make it able to withstand the rough handling of sorting and packing machines without damage. This changes the fruit in ways that we may not always understand. As a similar example, the breeding of wheat to increase yields in recent years has increased the level of gluten. In another example I am told that heritage tomato varieties have much better taste but their skins damage very easily with handling, so are unsuitable for the supermarket.
Fruit sugar is called fructose. In recent years it has been discovered that the human body metabolizes fructose in a completely different way to other sugars, so different, that it does not spike insulin in the same way as glucose. Dietary fructose is immediately transported to the liver after eating. In the liver it is converted to glucose for energy or uses a process called lipogenesis to convert it to fat for storage within the liver or in our fat cells. Fructose does not stimulate insulin in the same way as glucose because of this different metabolism. This means that a food manufacturer can load a processed food with fructose and “claim” it to be a low GI food and therefore healthier. Unfortunately, excess fructose going to the liver can eventually result in fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Late stages of this will damage a liver forever.
At an ancestral level this different fructose metabolism might have had advantages for primitive people, encouraging them to eat lots of fruit when it was available, because the time window was so small, and they may not get anymore for a long time. Stored in the liver, the resulting fat would be available for many days.
It is fascinating that fruit generally comes ripe just before winter, when many animals need to build up fat reserves to last them through this cooler period. In addition, the fructose (fruit sugar) in fruit is uniquely managed in the body, going directly to the liver to be turned into fat and stored.
Much of the fructose in today’s diets comes from High Fructose Corn Syrup, (HFCS), which uses a process invented in Japan to convert corn into this sweet syrup. This factory-made product has become a very common food additive because it is very sweet, is low cost and being a liquid is easy to handle in the factory. Another item used regularly by manufacturers to make food sweet and “adjust” your view of the nutrition label is fruit juice concentrate which is another name for concentrated fruit sugar.
The thinking that fruit is healthy has driven the establishment of the fruit juice industry where fruit is pulped, filtered to remove unwanted fiber, and packed for easy handling. Unfortunately, this concentrates the sugars while removing most of the fiber. In some cases, sugar is also added to heighten the sweetness. In a normal piece of fruit, the fiber and bulk of the fruit, helps slow down digestion and increases the level of nutrients available to your body. My advice is to avoid fruit juice because the concentration increases the level of sugars markedly and overcomes your natural satiation mechanism. It is easy to drink 6 apples as fruit juice but pretty much impossible to eat 6 apples at one time.
Fruits also develop higher levels of sugar as they ripen, so a green banana will be better for your blood sugar balance than a ripe banana. As an aside, green banana flour has a massively high level of resistant starch which acts as fiber in your body.
There is a wide range of sugar levels in fruits and a little knowledge here can make choosing the better fruits easier. If it is a berry, such as blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries then it is generally much much lower in sugars than other fruits such as apples or bananas. Strawberries are perhaps the best with only 4.9 grams of sugar per 100 grams of fruit. Compare this with banana at 12 grams per 100 grams of fruit. This means that an average sized banana converts to the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar. As already said, greener fruit has lower sugar levels.
Fruits from the nightshade family, including tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum or peppers come with their own toxin. Solanine, which can cause muscle stiffness, arthritis, dizziness, sore throat, stomach cramps, vomiting and headache, if you are susceptible to this. Cooking well, will reduce this but will never completely eradicate the problem. Early people tested food on pigs and feeding them nightshades apparently gave pigs arthritis so were mostly avoided until the last 100 years or so. They taste good. Maybe they should be eaten sparingly.
To get best value from eating fruit, I would suggest you attempt to mimic the way fruit was eaten by our ancestors. Only eat fruit that is in season in your location and limit yourself to one piece per day making sure you eat the whole fruit including the skin, where appropriate, to get all the available nutrients. If eating “trucked-in” fruit, I would suggest limiting yourself to only one piece periodically.
If choosing sugars, I believe that glucose is better than fructose for your body. For more information on using your food for medicine, go to my website at www.takebackyrhealth.com or use the link there to jump to my book on Amazon.
I had an interesting conversation with a young doctor at a local hospital recently. He was convinced that high cholesterol always indicated higher heart disease risk, despite all the recent research that has failed to support this. I suggested he should do his own research because the message he had received just recently at medical school, was clearly wrong.
If my doctor ever suggested that I should be taking a statin to lower cholesterol, I would need a discussion and probably would refuse. The reasons are many. Here is what I have come to learn about statins and cholesterol.
Statins lower cholesterol, but they have many nasty side effects and a careful analysis of their effectiveness suggests that they are not very effective for the majority of people, particularly older people and women. Statins lower cholesterol by interfering with your body’s cholesterol production process, however other compounds are also made by this process including Co-enzyme Q10 which is very important for heart health. Some people on a statin also take a CoQ10 supplement because of this problem.
Perhaps you don’t need to lower your cholesterol? Apparently the majority of people who are hospitalized by a heart attack have normal or even low cholesterol levels. An analysis of cholesterol levels and all cause mortality in older people, clearly showed that lower cholesterol was linked to a shorter life. Older people who live longer generally have higher cholesterol. If you like to read research reports, see this link: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/6/e010401/ This is not surprising since cholesterol is an important element of your immune system and is also used in you body to make vitamin D. A too-low level of cholesterol apparently predisposes you to greater deaths from infection and susceptibly to cancers. Cholesterol is critical for your brain and your nervous system, and without it you will die. A Danish study of over 100,000 people over 9 years identified that the optimum level of LDL cholesterol for longest life was 3.6mmol/L (139mg/dL). The current US guidelines are less than 100mg/dL.
Apparently the old message to reduce cholesterol was based on very poor historical research and is now debunked, but many people and organizations’ in the medical profession have not yet transitioned to this understanding, or are “required” to push the lower cholesterol message because of the “standard of care” they operate within. Even if a doctor knows this, they may be reluctant to give more up to date advice because of the fear of censure by the organization for which they work. The largest US study of 140,000 people admitted to hospital with heart attacks in 2009, revealed their average LDL cholesterol level was lower than that of the general population.
Due to the side-effects of statins, many people voluntarily cease taking them. Sometimes after consultation with their doctor, but sometimes without any consultation because they are reluctant to “disagree” with their doctor. A statin survey in USA in 2012 revealed that 62% had stopped taking them primarily due to the side-effects, particularly muscle aches and pains and loss of energy. This level of abandonment could be understated, due to people being reluctant to reveal their decision. One statin advocate has even developed a side-effect calculator that people can use to help establish what, if any, side-effects they will experience.
How is it that a drug like this has such a high level of side-effects? In order to reduce the incidence of reported side-effects, some statin drug trials have a “run-in” period of about 6 weeks at the start of the trial, where anyone who is showing side-effect symptoms, is eliminated. Then the trial starts officially and of-course the result is a much lower incidence of side-effects than would be the case for the general population. This process clearly minimizes the side-effect levels notified to doctors by the drug marketing companies and seems unethical to me.
Many of the potential benefits of medicines are advertised in terms of “relative risk”. If a doctor is not aware of the statistical significance of this, it can seem that a medicine is much more effective than is truly the case. Imagine if you were presented with information suggesting a drug would reduce your risk of a heart attack by over 30%, would this seem compelling. However it may actually only be around 1%. Here is how this works out: Imagine a 5 year drug trial with 100 people as controls and 100 trialing the drug. If 3 people in the control group had a heart attack but only 2 in the trial group, it could be said that 1 person in the trial group was saved from a heart attack, (2 people had heart attacks instead of 3). One view of the statistics would suggest that 1 out of 3 people was saved (33%), this is known as relative risk, whereas in fact only 1 additional person out of 100 was saved, so the actual risk was 1 out of 100 which is 1.0%. This is not so compelling at all. If this drug then also caused unpleasant side effects you may choose not to take it. While this view of the figures is valid statistics, it is horribly misleading and apparently fools many people including doctors. Reducing your risk by 33%, sounds much better than actually reducing your risk by 1.0%. Statins have been advertised this way.
A group of ethical doctors have begun to evaluate drugs in a different way. Their website www.theNNT.com presents the benefits and harms of drugs using a “Number Needed to Treat” formula (NNT). In other words, how many people would need to be treated and for how long, to gain a benefit for 1 person. For example their evaluation for those who took ibuprofen for headache showed:
1 in 14 became headache-associated pain-free at 2 hours, while 1 in 6 reported “very good” or “excellent” scores on a global evaluation scale. None developed adverse events.
For Statins taken for 5 years
None were helped (life saved), 1 in 104 were helped (preventing heart attack) 1 in 154 were helped (preventing stroke) but 1 in 50 were harmed (develop diabetes) 1 in 10 were harmed (muscle damage)
Unfortunately some people have come to believe that taking a statin somehow protects them from heart disease and because of this, they ignore other advice about looking after their health. One cardiologist even suggested giving out statins with fast food to “neutralize” the cardiovascular risk of unhealthy diet choices.
A very significant influence for me is the lack of transparency of the statin drug test data. Much of the statin drug trials data is locked down under non-disclosure agreements and not available for independent medical review. Even the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has requested this data to be released for independent review. I have to wonder what is being protected by this secrecy. Surely a widely used drug should have its trial data made available for full independent evaluation.
When all of this is digested, if you should decide to proceed with a statin, what is the expected increase in your total days of life. It is estimated that average increase in someone’s life from taking a statin regularly is around a whole 4 days!
Maybe you will now understand why I would never take a statin.
George Elder, Author, “Take back your health”. Ebook and paperback on Amazon
Additional reading: The Great Cholesterol Con, by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick A Statin Free Life, by Dr. Aseem Malhotra The Great Cholesterol Lie, by Dr. Dwight Lundell. (this is a free ebook) The Big Fat Surprise, by Nina Teicholz Know Your Fats, by Mary G. Enig, PhD
It’s a puzzle! Despite extensive research on the dangers of excessive levels of linoleic acid in our diet and the resulting increase in heart disease risk, metabolic disease, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, macular degeneration, joint pain, and skin conditions such as eczema, we still do not have widely publicized advice to carefully control this intake. Linoleic acid is an Omega-6 polyunsaturated oil, sometimes referred to as industrial seed oil, or vegetable oil. Sometimes they are even marketed as “heart-healthy” fats and oils. @*#@*@!
From a chemical perspective, these polyunsaturated fats have molecules with multiple double bonds making them easily broken down and oxidized, creating novel polymers that are hugely unhealthy and a major source of inflammation within your body. The drivers of oxidation (becoming rancid) are higher temperatures, longer time, and light. Conversely saturated fats are very stable and therefore do not readily oxidize to form dangerous chemicals.
Back in the 1950’s through the 1980’s there has been a fear of saturated fat, which has now been shown to be unjustified. However, this fear, which was based on very poor research, encouraged people to move away from healthy animal fats to the “new” industrial seed oils. While this was happening, a very wealthy individual named Phil Sokolof in USA, convinced of health risks associated with fats and particularly coconut oils, created a media campaign to turn people away from this tropical oil towards industrial seed oils instead. A third factor in this diet change was the desire by the USDA (US dept. of agriculture) to support farm incomes during WWII and subsidies were provided for growing wheat and corn, lowering the costs of these ingredients.
Look in the supermarket, at the huge range of Omega-6 industrial seed oils on sale. They are usually labeled as vegetable oils, but you should easily spot the marketing trick. They are not made from vegetables at all. They include soybean oil, cotton seed oil, safflower oil, corn oil (a grain), peanut oil, sunflower seed oil, sesame oil, canola oil, etc. They are often packaged in dark bottles to minimize degradation by light and have added antioxidants to help prevent them going rancid (oxidizing) almost immediately.
The process of extracting them from seeds uses petroleum-based chemicals and high heat which makes it almost impossible for them to remain unoxidized before they reach the supermarket shelf. People buying them often keep them in their pantry for many weeks during which time they gradually become more and more rancid, so that when eaten, you could be putting dangerous compounds directly into your body. Many highly processed foods contain these polyunsaturated oils because they are a cheap way to add fats to the food. Look in the ingredients list of processed foods for vegetable oil, soy oil, corn oil, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, etc.
The Sydney Diet Health Study (1966-1973) of 458 men, was an attempt to compare the consumption of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats and to measure the impact on cardiovascular risk. The polyunsaturated fat group lowered the cholesterol level nicely, compared to the saturated fat group, but despite the lowered cholesterol, the rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality of the polyunsaturated group significantly exceeded the saturated fat group. Here is their recently stated outcome:
“Advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats is a key component of worldwide dietary guidelines for coronary heart disease risk reduction. However, clinical benefits of the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega 6 linoleic acid, have not been established. In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid (omega-6 vegetable oils) in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit. These findings could have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute omega 6 linoleic acid, or polyunsaturated fats in general, for saturated fats.”
A number of researchers including Bill Lands, a renowned veteran lipid researcher have focused on the Omega-6 consumption, particularly in USA. It has been known for some time that Omega-6 oils (linoleic acid) have a pro-inflammatory effect in the human body while Omega-3 oils have an anti-inflammatory effect. If these are kept in reasonable 1:1 balance, your natural antioxidant glutathione can mop up the free radicals created by the inflammation from the oxidizing of these oils. However, if these 2 oil groups get seriously out of balance, then the level of inflammation can drive very poor health outcomes. The modern diets of some younger people in USA can have levels of Omega-6 up to 40 x the Omega-3 level. This is a recipe for major health problems in their future.
In the last 145 years the typical dietary consumption of “vegetable” oils in USA, has gone from near zero to 80 grams per day per person. This growth rate closely matches the growth of metabolic syndrome, macular degeneration, and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
While Omega-6 is an “essential” fat, the essential level required is extremely low at no more than 1% of your calorie intake, while typical western diet levels can now be as high as 6%. A high level of Omega-6, or a high ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 is a clear indicator that the diet is heavy on seed oils which are already oxidized (rancid) before consumption as a result of the manufacturing process. It is the oxidation that is unhealthy about the seed oil consumption and drives up inflammation.
What does the linoleic acid (Omega-6) do in the body? It displaces the saturated fats that human bodies have used over thousands of years. I read that it can take up to 2 years to get the linoleic acid out of tissues and replace it with the healthier traditional fats. Here are some of the health impacts:
– Excess linoleic acid increases inflammation, which is a key driver for heart attack risk, hypertension, cancer, metabolic syndrome, macular degeneration, and many other health problems. – Skin cancers are on the rise and the levels of polyunsaturated fat under the skin have been rising at about the same rate as the rise in skin cancers. This does not prove causality but people converting back to higher saturated fat diets frequently comment on the reduction in sun burn and the ability to stay out there longer without any problems. Our ancestors spent countless hours in the sun and survived to proliferate without cancers, despite having no sun creams, and they had very low levels of Omega-6 fats. – There is strong evidence of a link between migraines and higher linoleic acid consumption. – The cellular uptake of linoleic acid can result in greater production of substances, such as NHE, implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Cancer, Atherosclerosis and Liver diseases.
Where does this high level of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid come from:
1. Industrial seed oils as mentioned, used at home, or used extensively for frying at restaurants or squirted onto hot plates, pans, and woks which the food is cooked in directly. 2. Packaged ultra-processed foods with vegetable oils, such as sauces, spreads, and creams. 3. Canned food with oils such as soybean oil with canned fish. 4. Shortening and margarines made from vegetable oils. 5. Grain fed animals such as Chicken and Pork. These mono gastric animals take up linoleic acid from the grain they eat, then you eat that meat. In USA, corn fed chicken is particularly high in linoleic acid. 6. Feedlot finished beef, the corn fed to these animals pushes up the linoleic acid in meat and the longer the animal stays in the feedlot, the worse the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. 7. Farmed fish are often fed meal, made from grains such as soy and corn, driving up their omega-6 level.
In a report titled “Historical perspectives on the impact of n-3 and n-6 nutrients on health” by Bill Lands, a Standard American Diet was compared with a Mediterranean Diet. Using a USDA derived omega 3:6 balance list of 538 “Key Foods” consumed by Americans during 2007–2008. They identified the top 10 foods with the worst impact in the Omega 3:6 Balance. The simple step of deleting these ten food items with the most negative Scores converted the diet to “almost” the healthy level of a Mediterranean diet.
The removed items in order from worst to best, were: 1. soybean oil, 2. mayonnaise, 3. tub margarine, 4. microwave pop- corn, 5. ‘‘Italian’’ salad dressing, 6. potato chips, 7. stick margarine, 8. vegetable shortening, 9. peanut butter, 10. tortilla chip snacks.
Deleting these foods not traditionally present in Mediterranean meals changed the American ‘‘Key Foods’’ list to one that fits closer to a ‘‘Mediterranean diet’’. Conversely, adding these items to a Mediterranean diet would ‘‘Westernize’’ it in a way that has been happening gradually in Mediterranean regions. Maybe you need to look at how you can avoid these foods.
It is not only humans that become less healthy with excess linoleic acid in the diet. Animal feed researchers learned that when corn oil or soybean oil was used as a butterfat replacer in veal calf rations, the animals generally got sick and died. They eventually recognized the need to include an antioxidant (vitamin E) in veal calf rations containing oils rich in linoleic acid.
I read that manufacturers of these Omega-6 oils are apparently aware of these problems and are quietly trying to breed crops which produce a higher level of oleic acid oils (as found in olive oils) and a lower level of Omega-6 from which to manufacture their seed oils in the future.
What ways can you reduce the high-risk outcomes of consuming high levels of linoleic acid now? 1. Switch from using the above-mentioned seed oils to using olive oils, coconut oil, tallow, lard, avocado oil, butter, or ghee. Any fat that is solid at room temperature is much better. 2. Avoid food in restaurants which is fried as it will almost certainly be fried in vegetable oils. 3. For baking use coconut oil, butter, and Ghee. 4. Take care not to burn oils and fats by keeping temperatures below the smoke point, as this increases the oxidation risk. 5. Dispose if any old polyunsaturated oils as they will be somewhat rancid already. 6. Keep nuts in sealed containers in the refrigerator as they can also contain these oils and will go rancid readily. Buy small quantities so that you do not store them at home for long. 7. If you can, choose to grind nuts at home as once ground, the oxidation process is accelerated. 8. Eat foods with high omega-3 levels such as cold-water fish, like Salmon and Sardines.
In August 2020, the USA college of Cardiologists released a paper in which the following conclusion was stated:
“Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, and dark chocolate are Saturated Fat-rich foods with a complex matrix that are not associated with increased risk of heart disease. The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods”
A clever move would be to reduce your health risk, by minimizing consumption of Omega-6 seed oils and instead, return to the traditional animal fats that have been the staple dietary fats of our ancestors for thousands of years.
For more information on taking back your health and using food as medicine, look at my blog at: http://www.takebackyrhealth.com, where there is also a link to my book. Good Health, George Elder
Perhaps you are being controlled more than you realize. Ed Yong wrote a fascinating book called “I contain multitudes” in which he highlights the recent research linking your microbiome to many health conditions. Apparently, we are made up of a huge number of organisms that work for us or against us depending on how we treat them. Scientists are focusing heavily on the organisms in your gut (your microbiome), but they are in many other parts of the body as well. I have heard it suggested that your microbiome makes up more than 60% of you.
Mary Ruddick a well-respected nutritionist, says that if you have cravings, this is really the craving of your microbiome that is demanding the type of food it wants. If you have sugar cravings, then your microbiome has a higher level of the bad guys.
Your microbiome is much more important than you may realize. It makes your feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, it makes vitamins, it breaks down food and much of the goodness we get from food is a result of it being consumed first by the bacteria in your microbiome. It produces B vitamins for us and can affect whether some of our genes are activated (expressed) or not. 70% of your nervous system is based in your gut lining.
There is a belief that the microbiome must be diverse to be healthy, however testing of some very healthy traditional native groups has shown that you can have low diversity and still be very healthy. Apparently, it is the quality of bacteria in your microbiome and the integrity of your gut lining that matters, whether it is diverse or not, not so much.
How do you know if your microbiome is healthy or not? One clue is whether you are craving sugars and starches. The bad bacteria in your gut including those that can cause overgrowth, thrive on sugars and starches and they will influence your brain to crave them, to ensure that they get the food they want. Your good bacteria can also eat sugars and starches but prefer fats and protein. This suits your body perfectly because your cells also thrive on fats and protein.
If you need to clean up your microbiome, you can use food to do this by starving out the bad bacteria. So, a diet with no sugars or starches is required. However, these bacteria can live for quite a long time, some for over 3 months. If you starve them out for many weeks, but then have a cheat day before they have died off, you will refresh them and you will have to start the whole process all over again. So that slice of pizza or spoonful of dessert at the girl’s night out might be enough to derail your whole campaign. Only 100% adherence to the program will work. This makes it very hard for people to do. In the GAPS diet book, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride suggests that 16 months was the minimum required time for full effective treatment.
How will you know that you have eliminated the bad bacteria? Amongst other benefits, the cravings will be gone, you will wake up refreshed in the morning raring to go and you will feel very calm.
Unfortunately, antibiotics can and usually will damage your microbiome, so if you have taken a dose of these in recent months, you may be having to rebuild your good bacteria as well. Some ways to help with this are:
– Minimize plant foods with oxalate toxins and lectins such as beans and spinach.
– Don’t overdo the fiber and limit grains. Fiber is less important than is commonly believed.
– Eat more animal fats and limit omega-6 seed oils (vegetable oils)
– Get your proteins from a range of animal foods and minimize plant proteins. –
– Remember that vitamins A, E, D and K2 come from animal fats.
– Avoid soy-based food and tofu- Get outside in the mornings to get more vitamin D and to assist with melatonin production.
– Get the sugars and starches out of your diet to stop feeding overgrowth.
Intermittent fasting with a non-eating window of at least 18 hours can help with microbiome and gut lining repair as it provides an opportunity for your gut to rest and rehabilitate between the sequences of food arriving. It also promotes autophagy where the body can replace proteins, replace damaged cells and run a general maintenance program. An easy way to do this is to finish dinner by about 6pm and then only consume water, coffee, or tea until noon the next day.
For more information about the suggested lifestyle changes and “Taking back your health” with diet as medicine, take a look at my blog page, www.takebackyrhealth.com There you will find a link to my book on Amazon.
Hi everyone. I just finished listening to the amazing Mary Ruddick talking about how to protect yourself from the more serious impacts of viruses including COVID19. What an amazing person she is. She is my new health idol and I have now listened, almost spellbound, to about 5 of her videos and podcasts.
So about viruses. I have always wondered why they would kill their host as this seems to limit their options to proliferate. But what if they preferred to remain a mild chronic nuisance to the host, but if the host is not very strong, they end up killing them. A living host would help them survive for a long time and to spread to many people. This model seems to fit past epidemics where many people had limited symptoms, but some small numbers were killed.
With this in mind, maybe the best thing you can do to minimize COVID19 risk, is to make your body as inhospitable to a virus as possible, which will mean it will struggle to survive and your risk is hugely reduced. The most important element seems to be your overall metabolic health.
Those who are less metabolically healthy with underlying diseases such as Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, etc are an easier target for a virus. This is because these conditions can drive up the whole body inflammation level, which if left untreated can mask the signals telling the immune system that a virus has arrived. This unfortunately gives the virus more time to proliferate within you, before your body begins to fight back and therefore severely weakens your immune system response.
A way to tell if this applies to you is to measure your waist circumference. Then compare it to your height. If your waist measurement is more than 1/2 your height measurement, then there is a high chance you are metabolically unhealthy.
Can you change this? Surprisingly YES you can. A diet that dramatically reduces carbohydrates, and removes sugars and seed oils can begin to improve your metabolic health in as little as three weeks. A Keto or Paleo diet can help with this as can getting enough vitamin D through daily sunshine exposure. I have read of people on supplementary insulin getting off this treatment within days of such a diet change.
You can also help reduce chronic inflammation by reducing your underlying stress level and therefore your level of cortisol. Perhaps the easiest way is to improve your sleep by getting more sleep prior to midnight, and waking, after at least 8 hours, at a set time every day and getting out into the sunshine. Harder in winter of course.
Another thing that may help is to focus on reducing the food that a virus can use to nourish itself. A high level of the amino acid, arginine in your body can stimulate a virus and accelerate its growth. Foods high in arginine generally come from plants and include beans, wheat grains, nuts, peanuts, chocolate, tofu, garlic, peanut butter and ginseng.
Within your body there is an arginine / lysine balance which you can influence by increasing the level of lysine containing foods. Foods high in lysine mostly come from animal sources and can suppress viruses, so include lots of red meat, pork, eggs, chicken, sardines, lamb, brewers yeast, mung bean sprouts and spirulina. Dairy products can be good source of lysine. If you are using lots of nut flours for baking, then maybe you need to eat these items with lots of dairy such as cheese or cream without sugar to keep the lysine balance high.
Mary has suggested that there is some food that will suppress viruses by blocking the ability for a virus to attach to a cell in your body. She suggests that for this you can eat shiitake mushrooms which are relatively low cost and loaded with beta-glucans, very capable of this blocking. Finally make sure you are getting enough zinc in your diet. This can come from oysters, beef, egg yolks, liver, dairy, lamb, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and shiitake mushrooms. Apparently zinc will attract viruses and transport them out of your body.
For more information about my own health journey, plus advice for living Keto, go to www.takebackyrhealth.com, or buy my book which is linked there.