It’s now fairly common knowledge that for optimal health it makes sense to reduce the consumption of sugar. The idea that dietary sugars increase the risk for such things as hypertension and the development of health-threatening changes in lipid profiles is not new. But a commonly held perception seems to be that these health risks represent a direct consequence of the fact that increased dietary sugar consumption causes weight gain, and that the weight gain is specifically related to all the other health issues.
But in a new publication, researchers in New Zealand reviewed 39 studies that looked at diets in which sugar consumption was increased. Thirty-seven assessed lipid outcomes while 12 evaluated blood pressure.
Their results revealed that higher sugar consumption raised triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, low and high-density lipoprotein as well as both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
The authors of the study also reported that these findings applied even when there was no change in body weight, stating:
Dietary sugars influence blood pressure and serum lipids. The relation is independent of effects of sugars on body weight.
The message in this study is important in that clearly there are some people (we all know someone like this) who manage to consume excess sugar without gaining weight. But the results of this interesting would indicate that despite their lack of weight gain, their dietary habits which include excess sugar consumption, are still quite likely to be increasing their risk for important health issues.
There are a number of explanations as to why this may be happening. First, we know that dietary sugar has a direct effect on the gut microbiome – the collection of more than 100 trillion bacteria living within the intestines of each and every one of us. The changes to these bacteria brought on by a diet higher in sugar can actually affect the expression of our DNA and lead to the expression of genes that increase inflammation, a key mechanism in such issues as coronary artery disease, elevated blood pressure, detrimental changes in blood lipids, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and even cancer.
Second, more sugar in the diet translates to higher blood sugar levels, and elevated blood sugar can modify various proteins in the body through a process called glycation. When proteins are glycated, meaning that they are bound to this excess sugar, it compromises how proteins work in the body. Not a favorable situation for sure.
So even though you might not be gaining weight despite eating a higher sugar diet, please know that this type of diet will threaten health.
More and more, female patients ask me about the long-term impact of The Pill on the gut bacteria within their body. Beyond that, what does it mean when these women decide they want to become pregnant?
The science is still unclear, and we don’t have all the answers yet, but you can still act proactively about your health.
Alzheimer’s disease, far and away the most common form of dementia, now affects some 5.4 million Americans, representing the third leading cause of death in our country. Even more troubling is the fact that this number is predicted to double in just the next 15 years. Moreover, women are disproportionately at risk, representing 65% of Alzheimer’s cases. In fact, a woman’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease now exceeds her risk of developing breast cancer. The annual cost for caring for Alzheimer’s patients exceeds $200 billion. All this for a disease for which we currently have no meaningful treatment.
This is sobering information that should cause us to take a step back and wonder why this is happening in the first place. Continue reading
Antibiotics can be an absolute lifesaver and they are, easily, one of the most important scientific advancements of the 20th century. However, as with all scientific advancements, there have been some recent developments that take this important discovery too far.
In drugs like Cipro and Levaquin, scientists have developed a group of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. The liberal use of this extremely potent, wide spectrum antibiotics poses a major threat to our microbiome.
Without a doubt one of the most important decisions we make on a daily basis is what we choose to eat. Nowadays, those decisions are made all the more complex by the vast panorama of recommendations in the form of books, social media, television, and even advertisements at the point-of-sale.
The broad strokes favoring one recommendation over another involve the various ratios of macronutrients, including fat, carbohydrate, and protein, while the notion of consuming foods rich in the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) seems to be a commonality shared amongst most popular diets.
But we now understand that focusing on macronutrient ratios and content of micronutrients represents significant myopia. The foods we choose to consume are far more then simply metabolic chemicals. Food is information. Continue reading
Sleep disorders in the pediatric population are common, occurring in as much as 30-40% of children. When children don’t sleep well, it sets the stage for a variety of other problems including poor general health, fatigue, declining school performance, depression, behavioral issues and weight gain.
A new study reveals an intriguing finding that explains not only what causes some children to struggle with sleep, but more importantly, what might well provide a safe remedy for the problem.
British researchers publishing in the Journal of Sleep Research evaluated the sleep patterns of 395 children aged 7-9 years. In addition, they performed a blood analysis on these children to measure their levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid. Continue reading
We’re regularly fielding questions on the issue of gluten-free grains. What about rice? What about quinoa?
Certainly, there are several types of gluten-free grains out there, rice and quinoa seemingly the most popular of the bunch. However, the question remains: just because they are gluten-free, are they compatible with a Grain Brain or Brain Maker lifestyle? Find out in today’s video.