Monday, August 6, 2012

Obesity Epidemic, Diabetes, Sugar, Fat and "Obamacare"

The other day I was astonished to hear TV health promoters declare it has recently been discovered that sugar is a toxic poison, and we should avoid it as much as possible.  Dr. Robert Lustig, Dr. Oz and others have worked hard to bring to our attention the dangers of the typical American diet.  However, any suggestion that the dangers of sugar is a new and amazing discovery completely ignores the long history of this controversy.  There is now strong additional scientific proof of what has been known and/or suspected for more than half a century.  Anyone wishing to learn more should Google their disease of choice--diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. and sugar effects on that disease.

[11-10-15]  Scientists are finally getting serious and plan to urge world leaders at their upcoming G-20 meetings to take concrete action against the seriously bad health effects of eating too much sugar.  Sugar would far better be used to produce ethanol, and keep all but bad corn to be used for food instead of ethanol.

[1-7-16]  A recent study suggests that obese fathers may have poor sperm quality and also predispose their offspring to problems related to diabetes.  This study was done on mice and will be followed up with humans.  Forty-six year ago when we contemplated reproducing, both my husband and I went into "training" 6 months before trying for a pregnancy.  We ate the best food we knew, stopped any drinking, etc.  Both sons are strong and healthy, and neither has had more than one cavity.

[5/30/16]  Unfortunately there has been an increase in the cost of "Obamacare" for several reasons in a number of states.  This article and map provide more details.

[6/1/16]  Another important health factor that if corrected can save billions of dollars is smoking.  This article emphasizes $63billion in potential savings by achieving a 10% reduction in number of smokers plus a 10% reduction in amount of smoking.   This site also has an informative map showing heavy smoking or light smoking states.

Whereas some of the diseases in the first paragraph can be influenced by our behavior, others are the result of exposure to unidentified toxins decades ago.  A mesothelioma law firm or asbestos lawyers can provide some financial help for the people with asbestos lung cancer developed by working in boiler factories or ship yards.  It is less certain that mere exposure to asbestos in homes has caused much disease in home owners.  On the other hand new dangers are appearing or being identified even with  foods commonly considered healthy.  An important issue is that of GMO foods.  The long term medical effects of these genetically modified foods on human health and fertility have not been adequately studied. Already some disturbing effects have been reported.

On the environmental front, a spill of Canadian tar sands oil from an Enbridge pipeline in the Kalamazoo River is costing over $1billion in clean up costs.  I was recently told that people in the area of the spill are now dying from toxic effects.  Then there is the Lake Megantic oil tank car crash and explosion which has cost 47 lives.  This oil seems to have been western ND Bakken Shale oil which can have high levels of flammable, corrosive, poisonous and explosive hydrogen sulfide vapor.  Once burned Enbridge has now requested permission to refuse transport of some shale oils.  If the asbestos lawyers run out of clients, the Keystone XL Pipeline, fracking and toxic oil accidents should provide much future business.

During the 1930s, exciting pioneering research was being done.  Dr. Francis Pottinger studied the effects of various proportions of raw and/or cooked meat and milk fed to cats.  The conclusion was that at least for cats, a diet of 1/2 raw food or more was needed for successful health and long term reproduction.  Pottinger style long term studies are needed on GMO foods.  Dr. Weston Price traveled the world and studied and photographed primitive people both in their original state, and after they had been exposed to western diets for a number of years.  He determined that before the introduction of refined western foods, these people were generally healthy (regarding degenerative disease) and had excellent teeth and bone structure.

Other researchers have concluded that it takes about 20 year for the western diet to begin causing degenerative diseases in primitive peoples. Personally, I try to eat at least one half my food raw and avoid sugar and refined grains.  I am currently experimenting with a raw food diet. Here is a link for preparing raw vegie and fruit smoothies.  Recently a family of 4 decided to experiment with totally eliminating all added sugars to their diet by only buying products without them.  Here is their experience and the benefits it brought.

After WWII, the rise of corporate food companies and their influence in government and on academia began to be felt.  Dr. Frederick Stare, Harvard nutritionist, became notorious in some circles for his promotion of sugar and sugar containing products like cereal.  His nutrition department received large contributions from industry.  Fighting these trends were people such as Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Frances Moore Lappe whose well received Diet for a Small Planet (1975) showed how to reduce consumption of meat by mixing grains and legumes with complementary proteins.

CSPI is still making the good fight for the peoples' interest, and Anna Lappe the author's daughter has continued to write to alert the world to our need to eat more wisely.  For those who don't know, the amount of land/food needed to raise beef, chicken, and hogs can be from 5 to 10 times the land needed to grow wheat, corn, rice, beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc which when unrefined and properly mixed supply a complete amino acid complement.

Now, however, we have a new problem.  Dueling diets have proposed severe reductions of fats, carbohydrates, or calories, or eating patterns like "The Mediterranean Diet".  As early as 1972, Dr. Robert Atkins had proposed a diet based on reduction of carbohydrates.  The most intensive phase of his diet, The Induction Phase, requires eating no more than 20 grams of carbohydrate a day.  Then as one approaches one's target weight, you gradually add small amounts of carbs until you find how much you can actually eat without regaining weight.  There is much information through Google on all phases of his diet, as well as newer editions of his books with more recent data and recipes.  Significant amounts of research have confirmed his initial conclusions about the excellent health benefits of his diet approach.

Here is a link to an extensive YouTube video on the science of sugar/carbohydrate metabolism and general health.  It is titled:  Sugar: The Bitter Truth.  Below it are extensive comments by people who are not convinced, and people who really believe that limiting carbs has helped their health and weight.  There are also other interesting experiences and insights offered.

A recent report of a new experiment shows that weight reduction can significantly reduce the need for surgery like knee replacement.  They first experimented with a 5% weight loss and were so encouraged by the results that they continued the experiment with a 10% weight loss target.  Here is the complete story.

I have tried Atkins' diet on two occasions and found the weight did come off quite nicely, and I did NOT feel very hungry or deprived.  I have also found that under stress the craving for carbs has increased and weight has crept back on.  Here is an interesting link about diabetes with many comments on personal experience with diet, diabetes and other health issues.

After studies by others comparing the low fat, low carb, and mixed diets, it was determined that the greatest weight loss was with the low carb diet.  There is only one problem.  If you agree with the Lappes that animal protein production is hard on the earth, then following the Atkins diet for a lifetime will not help.  Also, so far as sugar consumption is concerned, we would be far wiser to use sugar cane for ethanol production, and use most of our corn to help feed the hungry of the world at reasonable prices.  Many people rev up their energy every day with coffee.  However, while one or two cups a day may be OK, three and more can have a negative influence.  Here are a number of ways to start your metabolic motor in the morning while avoiding excess caffiene and sugar.

Unfortunately, the foods that the Lappes recommend have a significant carb content. Having thought about this problem from a "Green" perspective, I am going to try the following:  do the Atkins diet until I reach my weight goal, then gradually switch over to predominantly vegetable protein sources with plenty of fresh and mostly low carb vegetables, a little bit of fruit and almost no sugar.  The above link lists carb counts of veggies, fruit and berries.  Strive to eat no more than 20 grams of carb a day for several weeks, then gradually add about 5 grams a week until you reach a level that maintains your desired weight.  Hopefully, along with more exercise, this will do the trick.  I will also experiment with a mostly or all raw food diet for a while and report back.

Another significant concern is the implementation of the new Obama Health Care initiative.  Unless we all do our part to stop poisoning ourselves with the diet the food industry spends so many dollars trying to persuade us to buy, the suggested savings from preventive care, will not happen.  Our economy will suffer, and so will we and our pocketbooks, because we are too lazy, or greedy to make the dietary changes that will save us, our country and our planet.

We must all help fight the Medical/Pharmaceutical/Charitable Industrial Complex.  Many of us are aware that big Pharma is a major lobbyist for drug use.  However, medical societies and illness charities for Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease and others also work to promote medical interventions rather than use common sense and the good things the earth has always produced for us.

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