Everything you do and everything you experience affect the fabric of your brain and dictate your brain’s fate. What you eat, what you think, how well you sleep, how you feel emotionally, your level of physical activity, and how well the rest of the systems in your body function all affect your brain’s biology. Brain Weaver, the subject of our podcast today, written by physicians at the forefront of research in brain functioning, invites you to achieve optimal brain health by successfully weaving together a tapestry of your bio-psycho-social-spiritual dimensions. Basically, we’ll learn that there are quite a few other variables that we can bring to bear on our quest to create a better brain. Continue reading
With all the nuances of dietary recommendations from keto to paleo to vegan to who knows what else, one thing is clear: there is absolutely no need for added fructose, or any sugars for that matter, in the human diet. And there is an ever-expanding body of research that clearly points out the incredible threat that fructose poses to human metabolic health. Fortunately, many people are getting this message and doing what they can to almost eliminate, or at least substantially reduce the amount of fructose that they consume.
Among the highest sources of fructose in the human diet are sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit juices. Statistics are clearly demonstrating that consumption of these beverages, at least here in America, is declining, no doubt because of the increasing recognition of the health threat posed by fructose. Continue reading
As we have discussed so often, metabolic function is the central player for the entire body as it relates to health, disease resistance, and longevity. It is absolutely essential that we maintain normal blood glucose levels. Fortunately, we are learning more and more about how food choices and activities influence blood glucose, and this allows us to make important changes that can pave the way for health.
Today, we are going to explore new technology, the continuous glucose monitor (CGM), with our guest Casey Means, MD. She is the founder of Levels, which is an incredibly sophisticated but also user-friendly platform using data from CGM monitoring devices to allow us to fully understand the effects of our lifestyle choices, in terms of how they play out as referenced by our blood sugar levels. This data, provided in real time, basically allows us to modify our lifestyle choices in order to have a significant positive effect on our health destiny. Continue reading
By and large, pediatric COVID patients do really well. On rare occasion however, they can develop something called multisystem inflammatory syndrome of children (MIS-C), which, as the name implies, can involve multiple systems throughout the body. By and large, again, with appropriate care, these children do well.
A small number of children with MIS-C will experience involvement of the nervous system. This can involve not only the central nervous system including the brain and spinal cord, but also the peripheral nervous system which means the nerves. And there are two British researchers who have taken the lead in terms of describing the neurological involvement in the pediatric population as it relates to MIS-C, a consequence of COVID-19. Continue reading
While we accept the notion of the important influences of lifestyle choices as they relate, for example, to the heart, the immune system, lung function, longevity, and even cancer risk, the notion that what we choose to eat and the amount of exercise we get, in terms of influencing the brain, until recently, has been kept off the table. Fortunately, there are dedicated researchers around the country who are part of a vanguard team, making it very clear that we are, in fact, the architects of our brain’s future. Our choices, day in and day out, are exceedingly influential in terms of how our brains will change over time, for better or worse.
Certainly, this has been a central theme in the books I have been writing over the years, as well as other elements of my social outreach. But importantly, and gratefully, I am not alone in this endeavor.
As you may recall, the last time we had the opportunity to interview Dr. Robert Lustig was when he published The Hacking of the American Mind, elucidating how the processed food industry has hacked our bodies and minds to pursue pleasure over happiness, fueling widespread addiction and depression. I’m excited to let everyone know that we again have the opportunity to feature Dr. Robert Lustig on the podcast talking about his new book, METABOLICAL. This new work addresses nutrition, food science, and global health, and explains how by focusing on real food we can reverse chronic disease and promote longevity. For the first time, all strands of this pandemic—the medical, the economic, and the environmental—are pulled together into one clear narrative. And to be sure, the pandemic we are referring to is the pandemic of chronic, noninfectious, preventable diseases, not COVID-19.
Describing the eight pathologies within the cell that belie all chronic disease, Dr. Lustig illustrates how they are not “druggable” but rather “foodable” (i.e. medication can’t cure what nutrition can) by following two basic principles: protect the liver, and feed the gut. He uses this science to chronicle the breakdown in our current healthcare paradigm, which has succumbed to influence from Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Government. In the special chapter “Food in the Time of Corona,” Dr. Lustig addresses the way “pre-existing conditions” (i.e. diet-induced chronic diseases) make us vulnerable to succumbing to acute infectious diseases like COVID-19. He also argues that the nutrition facts label hides information from the consumer by omitting what’s been done to the food, which is more important than what’s in the food. Continue reading
With ever increasing rates of overweight and obesity in America, we see, almost in lockstep, increasing rates of diseases that are linked to weight gain. Likely, mostly for cosmetic reasons, weight loss programs are proliferating at a record pace. And, truth be known, most weight loss programs, with strict adherence, will lead to weight loss, despite how they may vary in the diets that are recommended. While this challenges the notion as to what type of diet should be recommended for weight loss, it begs the question as to what gets people into trouble as it relates to weight gain in the first place.
It seems clear that there is a relationship between high consumption of refined carbohydrates and risk for weight gain. And for sure, other issues that are not specifically related to the types of foods people consume also have an impact on weight gain including things like sleep and exercise. But in this blog, I would like to consider new research that reveals how exposure to cigarette smoking from parent to child sets that child up for weight gain later in life. Continue reading
The United States government recently issued its Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This happens every five years so we are now going to have these guidelines in place until 2025.
Unfortunately, as you will see, these guidelines are profoundly insufficient as they relate to nutrition. They are administered to all Americans and become the backbone of nutrition for schools and the military and the general population of our country. In fact, the diet that is recommended is designed only for healthy people, and ultimately that represents only about 12% of our population. This is a one-size-fits-all diet that does not reflect the diversity of our country in terms of race, culture, and importantly, variations in metabolic health. Continue reading