Category: Living well

Is this proof evidence-based medicine is terminally ill?

Doctors money

Doctors and dietitians love to say the advice they dish out on diet is ‘evidence-based’. The evidence for that leaves a very bad taste in some researchers’ mouths. They say that in its current state, evidence-based medicine props up official dietary guidelines. These guidelines have contributed to the unnecessary suffering and premature deaths of millions worldwide. They say that in nutrition, evidence-based medicine (EBM) has done an excellent job – mostly of improving some scientists, doctors, dietitians and pharmaceutical and food companies’ bottom lines. 

US biochemistry professor Dr Richard Feinman is a vociferous critic of the current state of EBM and the influential US dietary guidelines that draw on it. Feinman is professor at SUNY (State University of New York) Medical School’s department of cell biology. He agrees that EBM is little more than ‘the position of experts on one lucrative side of a scientific conflict’. Here, he dissects EBM with surgical, scientific precision, to expose its inability to save lives from the growing pandemics of obesity and diabetes. – Marika Sboros.



Why is microbiome so important? Gut instinct tells you

gut health microbiomeThe ancient Greeks believed all disease begins and ends in the gut. South African Jessica le Roux is on board with that thinking. She is doing a masters degree in nutrition. A focus the role of the bugs in our bodies  that promote health and are vital for proper physiological function.

In an introduction to a series on gut health, Le Roux says in our fervour to purify our environment of all microbial creatures, we are in danger of throwing the baby bugs out with the bath water. – Marika Sboros

 

By Jessica le Roux*

If your ear is anywhere close to the ground in the health world, you’ll have heard an unusual word. Some might say it seems more fitting of an Avatar homestead in a Spielberg movie than your general health news fodder.

But the research is showing it’s a word worth knowing about: 



Sugar addiction: how to beat ‘elephant in the kitchen’

By Marika Sboros

elephantIs there really such a thing as sugar addiction? What about carb addiction? Some scientists say it’s hype and marketing. Others say it’s real.

US paediatrics professor Dr Robert Lustig is a specialist in childhood obesity and neuroendocrinology and childhood obesity. He calls sugar addiction “the elephant in the kitchen”.

UK consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra says sugar is “the single most important dietary factor contributing to a worldwide epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes”. Malhotra has written a foreword to the  revised UK edition of the best-selling Sugar Free – 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction (Robinson). The author is recovered sugar addict Karen Thomson. It’s a riveting read. If you still harbour any doubt that sugar addiction is real, this book dispels it: 



Physician, heal thyself, learn nutrition!

Photo credit: clevercupcakes via Foter.com / CC BY

Here’s a brilliant blog everyone should read – doctors, patients, perfectly healthy people. It’s why doctors need to be frogmarched back to school if necessary to learn nutrition. I’ve always been puzzled (shocked really) that doctors aren’t taught nutrition in medical school. That they don’t routinely ask patients what they are eating that is keeping them fat and sick. It’s as if the medical powers that be (who are wedded to the pharmaceutical model) don’t want doctors to know food can be the most powerful, safest medicine or slowest poison (as Lithuanian–American holistic health practitioner Ann Wigmore once said). My ancient forebear Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, must be gyrating in his grave at how doctors defer to dietitians – and both defer to food and drug industries. Below is a shortened version of the blog by British health journalist and author Jerome Burne. Scroll to the end for a link to the full version. – Marika Sboros

By Jerome Burne*

Here’s a really bad idea. Send a dozen nutritionists to work alongside regular doctors in a Medecins Sans Frontières team providing emergency treatment to the wounded in a war zone:



Foodloose! Low-carb, high-fat debate heats up in Iceland

IcelandBy Marika Sboros

If  you’re passing by, drop in. If you aren’t, I advise you to drop everything and get to  Foodloose, an innovative seminar on health an nutrition in Reykjavik, Iceland on May 26. (Scroll down to see a short video clip on why you really do need to be there.)

On the stellar list of speakers are: American science writer Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad CaloriesBritish consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra;  South African University of Cape Town emeritus professor and low-carb, high-fat pioneer in the country Dr Tim Noakes;  Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson,  of  Landspitali University Hospital; and British physician Dr Tommy Wood. Wood studied biochemistry at Cambridge University before graduating with a medical degree from Oxford. He is Chief Scientific Officer of the Physicians and Ancestral Health Society and a PhD Fellow at the University of Oslo. The focus of his research is neonatal brain metabolism and …



Think you can outrun a bad diet? Fat chance!

MAN RUN EXERCISEBy Marika Sboros

Many doctors and dietitians still want you to believe that obesity is from gluttony and sloth. In other words, all you have to do to lose weight is eat less and move more.

Canadian nephrologist Dr Jason Fung says that’s a recipe for starvation. Fung joins growing numbers of doctors and scientists who say you really can’t outrun a bad diet. They aren’t saying exercise isn’t important. It is – for stamina, toning and cardiac fitness. It just isn’t an effective weight loss tool.

Here’s what three world authorities say on the topic.  It starts with their message about exercise and weight loss in an editorial in the BJSM  (British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) in 2015. It has become a little lost in translation …



Ikaria – island diet secrets of people who ‘live forever’

Picutre: FACEBOOK

Idyllic Ikaria vista. Picture: FACEBOOK

WANT to live longer, healthier days on this earth? Drink Greek coffee every day on the island of Ikaria. Better still, drink a ‘bulletproof coffee’ daily, one with a dollop of butter and some MCT oil in it on Ikaria, the island whose people ‘forget to die’.  Ikarians are not fat-phobic. They’d consider low-fat yoghurt an oxymoron. And these days their diets fit into the spectrum of low-carb, high-fat lifestyles that are shown to promote longevity. Here’s how and why:

By Marika Sboros

Ikaria is a tiny little island nestling off the Greek mainland in the Aegean Sea close to Turkey. Just 48km long and less than 10km wide, Ikaria is known as “the ancient healing island”, “the island of old age”,  a “hotspot of exceptional human …



You need 5-a-day fruit and veg? No you don’t! – Zoë Harcombe

fruit.veg

5-A-DAY fruit and veg servings – it’s a mantra doctors and dietitians repeat to patients as if it’s written in stone somewhere. They even say you can drink most of those servings, and that fruit and veg juices are instant boosts for your health. Yet 5-a-day has no science behind it whatsoever, says British obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe. It’s a number plucked out of thin air, a memorable number, she says, the same  as the digits on one hand. (Presumably, those who came up with it think that makes it easier for people to count servings?) The campaign is a different number-a-day across more than 25 countries, she says. Some say three, others four, five or more.  Harcombe’s not saying you shouldn’t eat fruit and veg. Just don’t believe the magical health benefits doctors and dietitians promise you because there isn’t any science to show there will be. During my last visit to London, the British government told its citizens that fruit juice should no longer be part of 5-a-day servings – because of the high sugar content. Harcombe says’s she’ll only drink a toast to that advice when …



WHY SO MANY DIETITIANS HAVE ‘HITS’ SYNDROME

Picture: YINGYING ZHANG https://www.instagram.com/yingyingzux

Picture: YINGYING ZHANG https://www.instagram.com/yingyingzux

UPDATE: HITS (Head In The Sand ) syndrome is infecting dietitians. It’s a global problem, say nutrition researchers. It’s the basis for the belief these dietitians have that low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets are dangerous, despite evidence to the contrary. In particular, it feeds their fear of dietary saturated fat. The experts say that fat phobia is simply from a lack of understanding of the difference between correlation and causation in science.

Another sign of HITS syndrome is the latest anonymous statement from the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) and the Nutrition Society of SA. It went out to doctors and dietitians in South Africa in March 2016. It is premised on conventional nutrition low-fat, high-carb “wisdom”. Here, Eategrity consumer activist Sonia Mountford looks at why ADSA risks becoming increasingly irrelevant based on the advice it dishes out.  – Marika Sboros 

By Sonia Mountford

Dieticians wedded to old nutrition paradigms still like to tell people all they have to do to lose weight is …



DEATH BY MEDICINE: DOCTORS WHO HARM MORE THAN HEAL

deadly medicine

I HAVE the greatest respect for the marvels of modern medicine and doctors who practise it as a calling. I’m not much of a fan of the ones who are in it for the money, who expect us to treat them as if they were omnipotent, omniscient creatures. Doctors are only human and fallible like the rest of us lesser mortals. The big difference between us and them is mostly that when they make mistakes, they can kill. That’s why I like doctors with open minds. Not so open that their brains fall out, as one wag put it; just enough to know orthodox medicine doesn’t have all the answers, and doctors would do a lot less harm if they prescribed real food instead of drugs. Here’s a look at doctors who say doctors should be a little more mindful about the medicine they practise. 

By Marika Sboros

Doctors have always had a name for it – iatrogenic disease – and for good reason. It comes …



Salt – should you take advice with hefty pinch?

Salt

What’s all the fuss about salt in the diet?

IT’S a perennial debate: do you really need to eat less salt or is this just advice doctors and dietitians dish up because they’ve always done so. Should you heed it or take it  with a hefty pinch of salt? Here’s what experts say on both sides of a controversial scientific fence. 

By Marika Sboros

Are you eating too much salt? Heart foundations and dietitians’ associations globally say you are. It’s practically hardwired into society that this is what you should do if you are concerned about your heart.

Other experts – including scientists at Harvard Medical School and the World Health Organisation – say the same thing: you should eat less salt for your heart’s sake. They say a low-sodium diet protects your heart and blood vessels and ..



Why does Big Food love dietitians quite so much?

Big Food

Photo credit: eltpics via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Here is the second in a two-part series on a global public health danger: dietitians who help food companies ‘health wash’ their products. In it, Sonia Mountford looked at conflicts of interest between the food industry and the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA).   She continues  to unravel the dynamics behind ties that bind many dietitians to Big Food in SA through their associations, and make them its proxies.

What she has to say has global relevance. Her focus is on Kellogg’s, as the company is particularly active in building relationships with dietitians, but it is not the only one. Coca Cola is another. Clearly though, conventional dietitians aren’t Big Food’s only proxies. Many doctors buy into the food  industries’ spin. At heart, there’s no big secret behind Big Food’s love affair with dietitians. As a Fortune Special Report: The War on Big Food makes clear: it’s all about the money – Marika Sboros



Can you trust dietitians who are in bed with Big Food?

Weight Loss Signpost Showing Fiber Exercise Fruit And CaloriesShould you follow advice from dietitians who are bed partners with the food industry? Even when they say it’s just for the sponsorship money, and food companies have no influence on their advice whatsoever? 

The spotlight falls often on the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA), but it’s  a global concern. Food companies exert influence subtly through orthodox-trained dietitians who act as proxies whether by default or design. British investigative health journalist Jerome Burne has written a scathing blog on it: Cuddly dietitians in cosy embrace of industry fat cats.

In the first of a two-part series, Eategrity consumer activist  Sonia Mountford looks at ADSA’s links with Big Food and what effect this may be having on the advice it gives. But do you really need independent dietary advice? As an ancient Ayurvedic sage once said: When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is right, medicine is of no need. – Marika Sboros

By Sonia Mountford*

Like many consumers, you are likely to be more aware these days than you were in the past, of what certain foods or food components may be doing to promote your health, and reduce your



HIGH TIMES FOR MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE

Marijuana, cannabis, dagga

Picture: FACEBOOK

MARIJUANA is unfairly demonised, say experts. It is no more a gateway drug than tobacco and alcohol are. It is a common plant with compounds that make it useful for pain control, and to treat illnesses ranging from cancer to neurological disease, eye disease (glaucoma), asthma and epilepsy. Here’s a look at the medical marijuana debate worldwide.

By Marika Sboros

In South Africa, it is known as “dagga”, “grass”, “dope” or pot” and grows widely – and wildly – like the weed it is. In other parts of the world it is commonly called marijuana or cannabis.

Whatever you like to call it, marijuana is medicine. You can smoke it just to get “high”,  but this



Dr Jason Fung on doctors who betray patients’ trust

Doctors moneyYOU don’t expect your doctor or dietitian to collude with food companies in spinning yarns about health benefits of their products. It’s called ‘healthwashing’.  Many doctors and dietitians collude by accepting sponsorship from Big Food for research or to run their voluntary associations.

Dr Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University has said that ‘sponsorship perverts science’.

Here, Canadian nephrologist Dr Jason Fung takes an even bleaker look. He unravels how and why doctors, by default or design, regularly betray patients’ trust. – Marika Sboros