Category: Food for Thought

Gøtzsche sacking: sign that Cochrane is a ‘sinking ship’?

By Marika Sboros

It was once revered as “the world’s most prestigious scientific organisation” devoted to independent, evidence-based medicine. Today, the Cochrane Collaboration is in “moral crisis”, say insiders. They are predicting the beginning of the organisation’s end.

Critics say that the Collaboration has “lost its way”. It has grown too close to the drug industry and too far from delivering “trusted evidence”.

That follows the expulsion of one of its most high-profile members, Dr Peter C Gøtzsche at its annual board meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland recently.

The Board has accused Gøtzsche of bringing the organisation into disrepute. That followed Gøtzsche’s harsh criticism of a Cochrane review of the evidence for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. He and his team called it “incomplete and biased”.

Gøtzsche is unrepentant and says that the Cochrane has “a moral governance crisis”. Four more board members have resigned in protest at Gøtzsche’s shock sacking.



DR DAVID KATZ: MORE WOES AS FORBES DROPS HIM

By Marika Sboros

Dr David L Katz, one of the most outspoken voices in nutrition science in the US, has been terminated as a columnist by Forbes.com following an editorial investigation.

Katz has been a regular online columnist for the publication since 2016. The relationship terminated in June when Forbes deleted his most recent and final column.

Forbes Vice President Corporate Communications Laura Brusca confirmed to me via email that Katz is no longer a contributor.



From hunger to wholeness: ‘road map’ to avoid overeating

By Marika Sboros

Hunger is one driver of overweight, obesity and associated health problems.  Another is the “weight” that many people with obesity carry.

That weight is as much emotional as physical, say the authors of a new book. From Hunger To Wholeness is a “road map” to guide readers back to a healthy weight.

The co-authors are UK-based psychoanalytic psychotherapists, Caroline Taylor-Thomas and Pam Kleinot. I came across it as both are former journalist colleagues of mine back home in South Africa.

The book’s subtitle gives their aim: Strategies To Free Yourself From Overeating. To deliver, they mix extensive investigative reporting skills and clinical experience of patients with eating disorders and other forms of substance abuse.



HARVARD PROF: COCONUT OIL ‘PURE POISON’! WHAT NEXT?

By Marika Sboros

First, they came for low-carb diets. Then they came for coconut oil. What will Harvard scientists come for next?

Harvard epidemiology professor Karen Michels has sent social media into overdrive with her claim that coconut oil is “pure poison”. She also called it “one of the worst foods you can eat”.

Cardiologists and other experts globally called those comments “unscientific” and ignorant. Others have rather rudely dismissed her comments as total ‘BS’. Michels is facing calls to apologise publicly and retract her claims.



UK HOSPITAL IN WORLD-FIRST CALL: DITCH SUGAR!

By Marika Sboros

You know the dietary times really are a-changin’ when a UK hospital calls on a community to stop eating sugar and processed foods.

And when mayors, MPs and celebrities support it. Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester has issued a world-first 70-day challenge to the 250,000 people it serves to go sugar-free.

The DITCH SUGAR! call comes on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the NHS (National Health Service). It highlights soaring levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the UK as linked chronic health conditions – which doctors now call “diabesity”. Tameside is also holding a symposium on Wednesday, July 4. Those who register will receive a free guide to kickstart their sugar-free challenge by email. It is based on UK consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra’s bestseller The Pioppi Diet and includes a freeview of his groundbreaking doccie, The Big Fat Fix, with filmmaker Donal O’Neill. 



Green tea: Fung on how it boosts fasting, weight loss

 In China, a “cuppa” usually means a cup of green tea. Green tea is a staple of traditional Chinese medicine and has been for centuries.

It is popular globally these days as people drink it to treat a wide variety of ailments. These range from mood disorders to digestive complaints, aches and pains and even cancer.

Canadian-Chinese nephrologist (kidney specialist) Dr Jason Fung is a big fan of tea – green and black. He is also a big fan of fasting.

Fung introduced fasting as a therapeutic option for patients about five years ago. That’s part of his Intensive Dietary Management program for weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal.



SUGAR TAX USUAL SUSPECTS SAY: IT WASN’T US! APOLOGIES TO SHAGGY

A sugar tax is a good thing, right? It’s a significant step to resolve obesity and type 2 diabetes pandemics, right? Public-health experts desperately want you to believe that.

It’s a message that leaves a sour taste in mouths of medical nutrition experts globally. Australian GP Dr Joe Kosterich is among them.



BIG FOOD, BIG PHARMA FACE DAY OF RECKONING – KOSTERICH

By Marika Sboros

Of course, Australian physician Dr Joe Kosterich is right about Big Pharma and Big Food. Both have a right to make a living, he says. Just as he has the right and we all have the right.

And just as many of us have, Kosterich also has a healthy scepticism about the way these industries conduct themselves. They don’t have the right to mislead the public with false claims about their products, he says.



BIG FOOD, BIG PHARMA KILLING FOR PROFIT? YES, SAY TOP UK DOCTORS!

By Marika Sboros

 

Are Big Food and Big Pharma really killing people for profit globally? Yes, say some of the biggest names in European medicine. They’re joining forces on a panel discussion at the European Parliament in Brussels on April 12

The doctors say they will “blow the cover” on the dark world of Big Food and Big Pharma lobbying to influence dietary and medical guidelines.

Click here to view the trailer



SUGAR ‘CONSPIRACY’ A SOUR FIGMENT OF YOUR MIND? LUSTIG WEIGHS IN!

By Marika Sboros

Was there ever really a “Big Sugar Conspiracy”? Did the sugar industry (including Coca-Cola) indulge in widespread funding and influencing of nutrition scientists and professionals?

Only in some scientists’ fevered minds, according to an editorial in Science Magazine by two US public health history researchers. They say that the claim of industry “meddling” to demonise fat instead of sugar is just an “alluring tale”.

Researchers dreamt it up based on a “highly selective and profoundly flawed interpretation of the history”, they say.

Their view doesn’t sit well with many distinguished scientists and journalists who have documented that very meddling. One of them is Dr Robert Lustig, a target of the editorial’s authors. Lustig is professor emeritus of paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and author of Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar. His most recent book is The Hacking of the American Mind. The subtitle is The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains.

Lustig doesn’t say so in so many words, but his public response makes his opinion of the editorial’s authors clear: sugar corporates have taken over their bodies and brains.



Vitamins: Kendrick on which ones you really need and why!

Confused about which vitamins to take or if you need to take any at all? You are not alone. Just ask Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick. Kendrick is a heart specialist as well as a GP, author, speaker and sceptic. That doesn’t mean he calls himself a cardiologist.

However, he knows a lot more than most cardiologists know when it comes to the real causes of heart disease. He also knows more than many doctors about the effects of diet on heart and overall health.

In this feature, Kendrick meant to write about stress, mental health and heart health. Instead, he says that people keep asking about vitamin supplements. So he looks at which ones really are likely to make a difference to your health. And he looks at why the pharmaceutical industry is so keen to persuade you not to take vitamins. You may be in for a big surprise. – Marika Sboros



NUTRITION THERAPY – IT’S 21ST CENTURY MEDICINE!

It wasn’t all that long ago in China when patients paid their doctors to keep them healthy. If they ever did get sick, they didn’t have to pay a cent. That was until doctors did their jobs properly and made them well again.

In ancient Greece, no one took physicians seriously if they did not advise patients about diet. They were considered oxymoronic. 

Canadian Dr Jason Fung is a nephrologist (kidney specialist). Thus, he sees the ravages of obesity and diabetes on his patients daily. He has watched in horrified fascination as doctors have mutated from ‘the person who keeps you healthy’ they have become ‘the person who gives you drugs and surgery’.

The Jewish Middle Ages physician Maimonides had it right. He said: ‘No disease caused by diet should be treated by any other means.’ That should be a no-brainer.  Here, Fung calls for a radical paradigm shift back to ancient wisdom. He wants doctors to educate themselves to use therapeutic nutrition as the medicine of the future for diet-related disease. – Marika Sboros



HEALTHY EATING – NOT ALWAYS GOOD FOR YOU?

Healthy eating sounds like it’s a given that it’s good for you. Not always. Healthy eating can stimulate orthorexia nervosa. It’s the psychological term for an ‘unhealthy obsession’ with healthy eating. It literally means ‘ fixation on righteous eating’.

Those who write the ‘Bible’ of psychiatric disorders, DSM-5, don’t recognise orthorexia nervosa as a clinical diagnosis. However, doctors and dietitians say it’s not unusual. It also appears to be more prevalent among vegetarians and vegans.  At heart, it’s about a fixation on food quality and purity. 

Australian cardiologist Dr Ross Walker has a medical practice in Lindfield, on the upper north shore of Sydney.  One of his areas of expertise is preventative cardiology. Walker has published seven best-selling books on preventative cardiology. He also lectures nationally and internationally on the topic.  Here’s what he says about whether healthy eating is really always good for you – Marika Sboros



WHY WE’RE LOSING OBESITY, DIABETES, CANCER WARS

Want to know why we are losing the war on obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer? We don’t admit to problems. And the first step to solving a problem is to admit that one exists, says Canadian nephrologist Dr Jason Fung.

Fung has a special interest in weight management and diabetes. He says that there’s a terminal malaise affecting all of public health. It’s that the “experts” don’t welcome dissenting opinions.

Rather than acknowledge the truth, they pretend that everything is just fine, thank you. No one wants to yell: ‘The emperor has no clothes!’

That’s despite an obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic that dwarfs anything the world has ever seen. And rising cancer death rates. Here’s what Fung believes doctors and researchers should do – starting with changing dietary advice. – Marika Sboros



Fasting without fasting: key to beat diabetes and cancer?

By Marika Sboros

Fasting is as old the hills of ancient Greece. Mention just about any Greek sage you can think of: Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, not forgetting the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates and maths whizzkid Pythagoras. All were dedicated followers of fasting. 

Fasting is not for the faint-hearted. In its classical form of no food or drink – except for water – for an extended period, it takes  commitment and discipline. (I’ve only ever managed to last eight days on water only.)

Below, a University College London neuroscientist looks at the power of intermittent fasting. Dr Nick Lesica says it’s ‘all the rage’ right now. Don’t even think of dismissing it as a fad. Research suggests it can give you the benefits of fasting without really fasting.



Healthwashing: 7 tactics Big Food, Big Soda use to fool you

Healthwashing is a dirty business – a close cousin of whitewashing. Whitewashing is loosely defined as ‘a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context’. Healthwashing is the weapon food and soft-drink companies use to hide unpleasant, soiled facts about their products.

In 2015,  New York Times writer Anahad O’Connor showed that Coke spent billions over decades funding scientists and front organisations to shift the blame from sugar to fat for the global obesity epidemic. Now in the US, two pastors have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association. They say that the company has deliberately deceived customers about health risks through its advertisements. Coca-Cola vigorously disputes all claims. It has deep pockets to protect its profits.



Loneliness – as lethal for body as for mind

Loneliness – the word reeks of sadness and longing. Language created it to express the pain of being alone. So said German-American existentialist philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich.

Tillich distinguished loneliness from “solitude”, which he said expresses “the glory of being alone”.

Research shows that loneliness is not only a psychological issue but a medical one.

Here, Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson explains why loneliness can affect the main organs associated with feelings: hearts and minds. He shows why it really is possible to die from a broken heart. 

In other words, the reality of psychosomatic medicine. He also contextualises the Roseto effectIt’s the term for the phenomenon by which a close-knit community experiences a reduced rate of heart disease. Sigurdsson delves into how and why loneliness really can be lethal. – MARIKA SBOROS



TIME FOR BIG FOOD TO GET TASTE OF OWN MEDICINE?

By Marika Sboros

There’s something deliciously karmic about giving Big Food a taste of its own medicine.

Years ago, I interviewed the head dietitian for that Big Food stalwart, Kellogg’s. She tried hard to persuade me that Fruity Loops really are good breakfast foods for children.

‘Do you feed them to your children for breakfast,’ I asked, looking her straight in the eye. She stared back. To her credit, she hesitated long and hard before saying: ‘Yes.’ It was an awkward moment because she knew that I knew she was lying.

But then, she had a job to do. In the trade, it’s called ‘eating your own dog food’, or ‘dogfooding’ for short. The software industry adopted it years ago for the process of actually using your own product.

Below, one of my favourite nutrition blogger poses an intriguing question. What if, to rise up in the ranks, managers in food and soft drink companies had to make a simple commitment: to ‘dogfood’ from now on. In other words, Big Food executives would have to take daily doses of their own’medicine’.



Why are so many doctors so stupid about nutrition?

By Marika Sboros

Why are doctors so stupid – particularly about nutrition? It’s a question one of my favourite scientist doctors, US physician Michael Eades, has asked.

It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. More so recently after a ‘conversation’ with two paediatrician trolls on Twitter. (It was more like a testy, trivial exchange.)

These doctors live far apart – one in South Africa, the other in Canada. They could be twins when it comes to god complexes and willful ignorance about nutrition.

Of course, not all doctors are stupid when it comes to nutrition. And Eades says that stupid is not quite the right word to describe the dear medical souls who don’t know about nutrition. Ignorance is the word.



Relax: Your meat-eating ‘can beat climate change’!

The next time anyone says that your low-carb meat eating will make climate change worse, quote US physician Michael Eades. Eades is a myth buster. He says that you don’t make a Faustian pact by adopting a low-carb diet.

Here, Eades looks at the science behind the real effect of the removal of animals to help restore the grasslands: It brought about desertification even quicker.

He also shows the cognitive dissonance that overcame many in the wake of the obvious failure in that outcome:

They could not believe that herds of herbivores would actually produce the effect they were removing these same herds to achieve. It was the same kind of thinking that said we should all cut fat and increase carbs to reduce obesity or cure diabetes, Eades says. And it had about the same effect on climate change. 

He explains the seeming paradox of “more animals equals better grasslands equals better climate”. It’s controversial and not everyone is on board. It’s contained in a book called The Grazing Revolution: A Radical Plan to Save the Earth. – Marika Sboros



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