Tag: obesity

Nutrition in crisis: healing the harm from bad science

By Marika Sboros

Crisis, you say. What crisis? If you’re talking nutrition science, it’s not just one crisis. Take your pick from related crises around nutrition in the US, the UK and South Africa – and most of the rest of the globe.

That’s more good reason to read Nutrition in Crisis, Flawed Studies, Misleading Advice and the Real Science of Metabolism.

It’s not new – it was published in 2019. The author is US biochemistry professor Richard David Feinman of the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He enjoys a reputation as a teacher with “a gift for making accessible the intricacies of the body’s biochemistry”.

The book’s content remains relevant today.  It is primarily about biochemistry and food metabolism. It is about why nutrition science is in such bad shape, scientifically and ethically – and a source of harm. It’s also about one crisis in particular. Google misinformation, disinformation, fraud, nutrition science and carbohydrates and you’ll come across all the evidence you could want to red-flag crisis.



Cancer: Fung sees the future, cracks the code

Picture: Arthur Ogleznev, Unsplash

By Marika Sboros

Are you or is anyone you love battling cancer? If so, you need Canadian nephrologist (kidney specialist) Dr Jason Fung on your side. Failing Fung’s physical presence, your next best weapon is his new book, The Cancer Code (Thorsons). He delivers on the subtitle’s promise: A Revolutionary New Understanding of a Medical Mystery.

His book is up there with two of my all-time bests on cancer. One is The Emperor Of All Maladies, A Biography of Cancer (Scribner 2011) by Dr Siddartha Mukherjee, a US physician, cancer researcher and an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University. The other is Tripping Over The Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine’s Most Entrenched Paradigms (Chelsea Green 2017) by US science writer Travis Christofferson.

The Cancer Code is the logical extension of Fung’s earlier, landmark best-sellers: The Obesity Code, Unlocking The Secrets of Weight Loss (Greystone 2016) and The Diabetes Code: Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally (Greystone 2018). It is a riveting read, as realistic as it is well-researched, well-referenced and revolutionary. Among its strengths are its panoramic scope and future vision of treatment.



Dr David Unwin: how he can ‘stop people dying from COVID-19’

Photo: Nick Bolton on Unsplash

By Marika Sboros

UK GP Dr David Unwin is receiving high praise globally from medical colleagues and other experts for his new low-carb study. It shows efficacy of low-carb diets as first-line treatment for type-2 diabetes. It builds on research showing benefits of these diets as possible prevention against the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.

Published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) Nutrition, Prevention & Health, the study is open-access. Among plaudits, US professor of medicine Mark Cucuzella calls it “an amazing work of faith, perseverance, and the desire to heal”.

On Twitter, Czech medical lawyer attorney and global health management consultant Jan Vyjidak declares its results “astonishing”. No other real-world, primary-care evidence has comparable results, he says – as far as he knows. Scottish GP Malcolm Kendrick goes further in a provocative blog (scroll down for a full version). It proves that “Dr David Unwin can stop people dying of COVID-19 – by helping them lose weight”, Kendrick says.



Naiman weighs in on low-carb versus low-fat wars

Dr Ted Naiman

By Marika Sboros

Among the plethora of diet books weighing down virtual shelves, I came across a quirky one: The P:E Diet by US physician Ted Naiman.

It puts protein back on a pedestal as the prince, if not the king, of foods for health in body and mind.  It elevates high-intensity exercise to brave new heights. And it weighs in on low-carbohydrate versus low-fat diet wars.

He and co-author William Shewfelt come down on both sides of those wars. They also hammer solid nails into the coffin of perennial fear-mongering around high-protein diets. Still, many experts see potential harm in an “unnaturally high intake of protein” long-term.

The P:E in the title stands for an intriguing protein-to-energy ratio in foods. The book’s subtitle is Leverage Your Biology To Achieve Optimal Health. Naiman and Shewfelt might have added: Buffest Body And Optimum Sports Performance Safely, Effectively, Sustainably.



Bikman on the hidden epidemic, why we get sick, how we heal

Photo: Jamie Matociños, Unsplash

By Marika Sboros

Every now and then comes a book that all physicians, scientists, researchers and lesser mortals should read. Why We Get Sick is one.

Many books out there have the same title but don’t let that distract you, even for a second, from this one. Its sub-title sets it apart from the rest: The Hidden Epidemic At The Root Of Most Chronic Disease – And How To Fight It.

The author is Dr Benjamin Bikman, a biomedical scientist, an associate professor of physiology and developmental biology at Brigham Young University in the US and director of its Diabetes Research Lab. The hidden epidemic Bikman writes about is insulin resistance. He believes that insulin resistance is “the most common health disorder worldwide” in adults and children, that you’ve probably never heard of.



Muecke eyes sugar and type 2 diabetes: the ‘real pandemic’?

Dr James Muecke. Picture: Matt Turner

By Marika Sboros

Australian ophthalmologist Dr James Muecke has clear vision. He wakes each day and sees in graphic, gory detail a threat hanging over the lives of fellow Australians.

It is not the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is that each day, 250 people will develop type 2 diabetes. They do so “unnecessarily”, Muecke says, because type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. It also makes people “more susceptible to pandemics”, he says. That claim is controversial but evidence-based and many MDs and researchers internationally endorse it.

Muecke is more than halfway through his time as 2020 Australian of the Year. He won the award for three decades preventing and treating blindness in some of the world’s poorest countries. His focus now is fighting a leading cause of adult blindness worldwide: type 2 diabetes.



COVID-19: diet best weapon for protection, survival?

Photo: Adam Nieścioruk, Unsplash

Revised*

By Marika Sboros

You could wait around hoping for a vaccine to fight COVID-19 or you could use a weapon already here, close at hand, in your kitchen.

It is diet – but not just any diet. It is a low-carbohydrate diet.

Compelling research shows that low-carb diets treat and prevent the serious underlying conditions that significantly up your risk of dying from the virus. (*Editor’s note: It has been pointed out that it is more accurate to say that the evidence suggests improved outcomes from rather than prevention of infection. Noted.) Chief among these: obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), in particular, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attack and stroke that fall under the medical umbrella of metabolic syndrome.

Doctors call them “diseases of lifestyle”. They define lifestyle disease as a “medical condition or disorder resulting from lifestyle habits”. Diet is a major habit contributing to lifestyle disease.

Globally, expert voices for low-carb diets for protection (from the worst effects of the virus) have grown louder since the pandemic began. So loud, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a no-brainer by now. You would be wrong. The claim remains extraordinarily controversial.

The latest authoritative voice raised in support of low-carb is Australian researcher Dr Maryanne Demasi in an editorial in the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.



COVID-19 SPAWNS ANCIENT PATH TO BEAT NEW VIRAL PANDEMICS?

Photo:  visuals on Unsplash

By Marika Sboros

Is there a simple, scientific way to protect us all from the latest coronavirus pandemic and similar viral pandemics in future? Are governments around the world ignoring it?

Yes on both counts, says US nutrition science researcher and author Nina Teicholz.

In an editorial in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently, Teicholz gives the first step on that way. And it has nothing to do with social distancing. Or washing hands. Or face masks – important though all those elements are in these troubled times.

“We need to talk about not only the masks that go over our mouths but the food that goes into them,” says Teicholz.



FASTING: LIFE IN THE LONG AND SHORT LANE

By Marika Sboros

Life In The Fasting Lane (Harper Wave) is a brave, new book on one of the oldest, traditional healing modalities. The three authors – a doctor, a researcher and a layperson – promise the “absolute, unfiltered truth” about fasting.

That’s a big, brave promise. In this case, Dr Jason Fung, Eve Mayer and Megan Ramos are uniquely placed to deliver on it.

But their book is about more than just the “F” word – “Fasting”. The word still strikes fear into hearts and minds of MDs and dietitians who equate it, wrongly, with hunger, starvation, deprivation, even premature death.

The book’s subtitle speaks volumes: How to Make Intermittent Fasting a Lifestyle —and Reap the Benefits of Weight Loss and Better Health.



Infertility: ‘miracle’ foods beat drugs to fight PCOS?

Picture: Luma Pimentel on Unsplash

By Marika Sboros

Canadian naturopathic physician Nadia Pateguana has an enviable reputation for getting people pregnant. How did Pateguana acquire that unusual reputation? It’s in a remarkable new book that she has written.

Her co-author is Canadian physician, nephrologist (kidney specialist) and fasting expert Dr Jason Fung.

It is The PCOS Plan (Greystone), a ground-breaking book covering polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS, for short) and infertility from all angles. Never was it more needed as PCOS is growing. It’s the single most common endocrine disorder globally affecting women of reproductive age. Estimates are that it affects between 8-20% of women.



Harcombe v Harvard: top holiday health, weightloss tips

By Marika Sboros

For many people, end-of-year holiday season is a time of excess, indulgence and expanding waistlines and waste. Not forgetting unscientific tips on how best to keep all those in check.

Fortunately for many, it is also a time of mindful, healthy eating and top tips based on robust scientific evidence. Which side of the weighty fence you’ll be on this holiday season depends on your favourite sources of diet and nutrition advice.

Take, for example, top tips from Harvard researchers in the US on one hand and British public health researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe on the other.

Scientific chalk and cheese doesn’t even begin to describe their different approaches.



ISRAEL WAKES UP TO LOW-CARB AND KETO!

By Marika Sboros

Dr Mariela Glandt is the brains behind Israel’s first keto, low-carb, high-healthy-fat (LCHF) conference. The event draws leading LCHF and nutrition experts from around the world.

It takes place at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv on November 7 and 8, 2019. There’s still time to book a place.

Glandt hopes it will bring LCHF and keto into the medical mainstream. She is founder and director of the Glandt Center for Diabetes Care in Tel Aviv. The clinic specializes in optimization of diabetes care through very low-carb (ketogenic) diets.

Glandt trained as an internist at Harvard and an endocrinologist at Columbia University. She has more than two decades of experience in treating diabetes. She also has clinical experience in the many related conditions that significantly increase the risk of life-threatening diseases.



Heikkilä: Finland’s Noakes, Fettke, Baker, Dahlqvist or Bourdua-Roy?

By Marika Sboros

Is it most correct to call Dr Antti Heikkilä Finland’s Tim Noakes, Gary Fettke, Shawn Baker, Annika Dahlqvist or Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy?

You’d be most correct to say he’s a mix of all five medical doctors from around the globe. Or even a precursor of most of them.

He has much in common with Noakes in South Africa, Fettke in Australia, Baker in the US, Dahlqvist in Sweden and Bourdua-Roy in Canada. Like them all, Heikkilä has incurred establishment wrath. And for the same “crime”:  for daring to challenge medical and dietary orthodoxy for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.



Shawn Baker: heavyweight medicine man in praise of meat

BakerVITAL SIGNS

By Marika Sboros

US physician and orthopaedic surgeon Dr Shawn Baker once dreamt of owning a cheesecake factory. He also dreamt of being able to eat all the cheese and sweets he wanted.

He has come a long way since his birth in Hof, a small West German town on the Czech border to an American father in the US Air Force and a South African mother. Ironically, given Baker’s vigorously anti-sugar stance these days, his mother hailed from a family with links to Hullett’s. The company remains dominant in South Africa’s powerful sugar industry.

In a Q&A Vital Signs profile, Baker tells how he conquered his chronically sweet tooth on his medical journey. He also tells how fought off establishment attacks after he advised his obese, diabetic patients to change their diets – and eat more meat – to reduce the needs for drugs and invasive surgery.



Facebook: real reason for take-down of top low-carb group?

By Marika Sboros

What’s really behind Facebook’s deletion of one of its biggest low-carb groups, the Banting 7 Day Meal Plans? The social media titan’s responses leave more questions than answers.

Did interests opposed to low-carb therapies sabotage the group? Did Facebook assist that agenda without checking for conflicts of interest?

Facebook claims that a “user” hacked and deleted the group. That made the deletion “voluntary” from within, it says. If so, what does that mean for the personal data of the group’s more than 1,6million users?

There are 1.1 million South African “Banters” – as supporters of low-carb, high-healthy-fat (LCHF) therapies are known in that country. The rest are scattered across the planet. Could the hack have compromised their data? Could the user have hacked Facebook as well?

Facebook has gone to great lengths to suggest otherwise. It reinstated the group on May 17 but not before its sudden removal on May 14 went viral. That precipitated a tsunami of protest from users and supporters around the world on Facebook and Twitter.



Why won’t UCT just say sorry to Noakes for academic ‘mobbing’?

UPDATED with UCT response received after publication today. Scroll down below.

By Marika Sboros

Extensive, uncontested evidence on public record shows that staff of the University of Cape Town and its Faculty of Health Science participated in what many see as the academic bullying of Prof Tim Noakes.

Will UCT and the Faculty ever apologise for that academic bullying – or “mobbing” as it is now popularly known? The signs are not auspicious, says Noakes.

Academic mobbing is a global phenomenon. In South Africa, the uncontested evidence suggests that it’s a scourge. It has affected not just UCT but also other top universities: Stellenbosch, North-West (formerly Potchefstroom) and my alma mater, the University of the Witwatersrand.

Don’t mistake academic mobbing for academic politics.



Fasting: quick ways to get rid of unwanted side effects

By Marika Sboros

Fasting really is as old as the hills of ancient Greece. It’s a bedrock that sages created for ancient traditional healing systems across the globe. Those sages intuitively saw fasting as a natural way to boost and protect health.

Yet many doctors and dietitians dismiss fasting as “dangerous”. They call it “trendy” and a “fad”, even in its “intermittent fasting” (IF) incarnation. Fortunately, growing numbers of doctors and dietitians disagree. Even formerly diehard foes of fasting now see it in a new and positive light. But even staunch supporters of fasting don’t promote it as a panacea for all ills. They also acknowledge that fasts may cause unwanted, short-term side effects.

Canadian clinical nutrition researcher Megan Ramos says it’s easy enough to resolve these side effects.

Ramos is a specialist in therapeutic fasting and co-founder of the Intensive Dietary Management (IDM) program with nephrologist Dr Jason Fung. Fung is author of, among others, The Complete Guide to Fasting. Ramos has worked alongside Fung since 2003. She helped to co-found IDM in 2012 after doctors diagnosed her with type 2 diabetes. She was the program’s first guinea pig.



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.



STATINS REVIVAL: PACT WITH DEVIL OR DRUG INDUSTRY?

By Marika Sboros

If you think robust evidence of serious health risks has dealt a terminal blow to the billion-dollar statin industry’s heart, think again. Statins are still the world’s most prescribed drug and the drug industry’s most profitable medicine ever.

In a new meta-analysis in The Lancet, UK scientists attempt CPR on the drug’s ailing reputation. They want doctors to prescribe statins to more people over 75. They say that doing so will save 8000 lives annually. (That’s after some experts calling for doctors to put just about everyone, including children, on the drugs.) The authors also claim that statins produce “significant reductions in vascular events (heart attack and stroke) irrespective of age”.

Independent researchers say those are false claims and the study is riddled with terminal errors. They also say the authors remain hopelessly conflicted with long-term links with drug companies.