Category: Food for Thought

Nutritional psychiatry: the future of mental health treatment?

By Marika Sboros

Nutritional psychiatry is an idea whose time has come. That raises a question: What took the medical profession so long to embrace it?

Among global leaders of nutritional psychiatry is US psychiatrist Dr Georgia Ede. In a recent article in Psychology Today, Ede explores optimum nutrition for mental health. She looks at why we humans can’t thrive on plants alone and why our brains must have animal fats for optimum functioning.

Dietary fat is not just for insulation and energy storage, Ede writes. It’s also for “nutrient absorption, cell signalling, immune function, and many other critical processes”.



ACADEMIC MOBBING AT UCT: SHOCKING, NEVERENDING STORY?

By Marika Sboros

Academic bullying or mobbing as it has become known is an ugly phenomenon. It’s a scourge, endemic in even the best universities in countries across the globe.

South Africa is no exception, as the extent of academic mobbing at the University of Cape Town (UCT) reveals.

A series of articles in the Cape Doctor magazine covers two egregious examples of academic mobbing at UCT. (Scroll down for a link to the online version.)

In a scorching editorial, editor Dr John Steer hits out at UCT for what many see as an entrenched culture of mobbing.



Vaccines – Kendrick on benefit, risk and moral hazard

By Marika Sboros

Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick wades once more into the murky, stormy waters of vaccines. He targets the drug industry, medical profession and researchers that enthusiastically promote vaccines – without robust evidence on safety.

He opens with a quote from John Locke’s A letter concerning Toleration: “No man can be forced to be healthful, whether he will or not. In a free society, individuals must judge for themselves what information they choose to heed and what they ignore.” 

That sets the tone for a topic not liberally endowed with free-speech options.

This is Kendrick’s second blog on vaccination and he thought just as long and hard about the first as this one. He says that vaccination is the most brutal area for discussion that he has ever seen. He calls it a “reputation shredder”.



Vaccination: Kendrick dares to inject challenge to dogma

By Marika Sboros

Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick is a brave man. He dares not just to write about the great vaccination debate but to be even braver. Or foolhardy, depending on your point of view.

He dares to look at the official history of vaccination with a jaundiced eye. He questions the medical profession’s “unquestioned faith in vaccination”.

Before you read further, Kendrick, like many MDs who share his views, is no “anti-vaxxer”. (Neither am I – my most devoted, relentless MD Twitter troll notwithstanding – but that’s for another time.)

Vaccination remains one of the ugliest, most controversial and illogical of medico-scientific debate. Enter on the supposedly “wrong side” and you will get many (most?) MDs’ knickers in self-righteous knots.



PCRM: FLAGGING VEGANISM, JUNK SCIENCE, ANIMAL RIGHTS?

By Marika Sboros

They call themselves the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Critics say they should call themselves the Physicians Committee for Irresponsible Medicine (PCIM).

They say that the PCRM’s latest study with Czech scientists, published in the journal, Nutrients, is irresponsible. And misleading.

The authors conclude that plant-based, vegan meals may be a “more effective tool” to prevent type 2 diabetes (T2D) than meat-based meals. They say that they’ve used a “randomized crossover design”. And that they’ve compared effects of two different meals on gastrointestinal hormones, and satiety (feeling of fullness) on healthy, obese and diabetic men.

The meals: a processed-meat and cheese meal and a vegan meal with tofu.

US psychiatrist Dr Georgia Ede calls the study misleading. Whoever designed it “has some explaining to do”, she says. US physician Dr Tro Kalayjian is more forthright and calls it “biased bullshit”.



Exercise: you’re never too busy for its magic!

44th US President Barack Obama gets incidental exercise with his dog, Bo.

By Marika Sboros

I’m a big fan of exercise – as we all should be. It makes, or should make, intuitive sense that exercise is good for overall health. Exercise builds endurance and keeps you supple and strong as you age

It also makes, or should make, sense that exercise is not the best weight loss tool. Despite what many MDs and dietitians still say.

They want you to believe that obesity the result of gluttony and sloth. That all you have to do to lose weight is eat less and move more.  That’s just food and drug industry propaganda.

It is not possible to outrun or outexercise bad diet.

And like many of us, you might think you are too busy to exercise. You’ve got that wrong. It’s dead easy to fit regular, incidental exercise. Take a leaf out of 44th US president Barack Obama’s lifestyle book, for starters.



TRUMP: OFFICIALLY OBESE, SHORTER … AND MORE!

By Marika Sboros 

It’s official. US President Donald Trump is obese and shorter than he claims to be.

Trump physician Sean Conley has released his patient’s latest physical exam results. Despite (or perhaps because of) the results, Conley declared Trump to be in rude, good health.

He also predicted that Trump’s “good” health would continue throughout his presidency. And forever after.

Conley is the first psychic physician to serve the White House incumbent. His medical crystal ball, however, is faulty.



Dr Jason Fung’s single best weight loss tip!

 By Marika Sboros

Psst! If your MD or dietitian still subscribes to the CICO (calories-in, calories-out) obesity model, find another one. Quick!

According to the model, obesity is from gluttony and sloth. A calorie is a calorie. And all you have to do to lose weight and keep it off is “eat less and move more”.

The model is not just unscientific, it’s out the dark ages of nutrition science.

Yet many (if not most) MDs and dietitians still believe that CICO rules. Canadian nephrologist Dr Jason Fung is not one. As a kidney specialist, Fung sees many patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes. The two conditions are now so common that doctors refer to them as “diabesity”.

In the article below, Fung gives his top weight loss tip for those struggling with diabesity. Spoiler alert: it’s about as far from CICO as it’s possible to be.



Meat: ‘Giving it up won’t save the planet – or you’

By Marika Sboros

Animal rights activists (and vegans who front them) would have you believe that giving up meat will save the planet from climate change.

If only it were that simple.

They also say a meat-free diet is healthier for you. Some call for a tax on meat to reduce consumption.

Dr Frank Mitloehner is professor of Animal Science and a specialist in Air Quality Extension at the University of California, Davis. He looks at the key claim underlying the argument for eating less meat: that global meat production generates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector.

In the article below, Mitloehner explains why this claim is “demonstrably wrong”. It has become a “bell” that scientists are struggling to “unring”, he says. Its persistence has led to “false assumptions about the linkage between meat and climate change”. And your health.



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