bears_microbiome

Bears and the Human Microbiome

As many of you know,  I have written extensively over the past several years about the important role of the microbiome. Those 100 trillion organisms that live within the gut, as well as their genetic material, are essential to the body’s regulation and metabolization of food. Notably, this has specific relevance as it relates to obesity.

Previously, I have described how researchers have taken the fecal microbiome from overweight humans, and transplanted it into laboratory mice that specifically lack any gut bacteria (germ-free mice). When germ-free mice are inoculated with the gut bacteria from overweight humans, they begin to gain weight quite dramatically, without any changes to their diet.

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sugar_health

If I Don’t Gain Weight Is It OK To Eat Sugar?

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.

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Sugar Risks Go Beyond Weight Gain

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 has been that these health risks represented a direct consequence of the fact that increased dietary sugar consumption caused weight gain, and it was the weight gain that then was the cause of the rise in blood pressure, etc.

But in a new study, 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. Continue reading

Dietary Epigenetics: New Frontiers

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

While we may be familiar with the dangers of eating too much sugar, the actual effects of this indulgence may be far more frightening than previously imagined. Certainly, science supports the idea that excess sugar consumption leads to weight gain, increases our chances of diabetes and heart disease, and portends worse health outcomes. But now, new data shows that sugar can harm us in a place we didn’t expect, by actually attacking our DNA.

To properly explain this fascinating research, let’s quickly review some biology basics. The human body is made up of roughly 37 trillion cells, our structural building blocks. The “brain” of the cell is called the nucleus, and the nucleus contains our DNA. For years, we’ve assumed that DNA was a product of our heritage, handed down from mother and father, a rigid pre-determinant of everything from our height to our mathematical skills. However, the revolutionary new field of epigenetics has lead to the discovery that what we do actually changes the way our DNA is used, that the choices we make can forever transform our genetic code

Allison C. Before and After

Allison C.

Allison’s story reflects something I’ve seen more and more of lately: people having success by adopting a Grain Brain lifestyle and, in doing so, inspiring those around them. – Dr. Perlmutter

I have been reading lots of books on nutrition this past summer as I am lactose- and gluten-intolerant, have thyroid problems and was gaining weight on a diet of starchy carbohydrates. I finally read Why We Get Fat And What We Can Do About It, Wheat Belly and now Grain Brain…and have given up sugar and starchy carbohydrates for the past 11 weeks.  I feel better, moods are more even, my energy is up, and my blood pressure is down to an optimal/ideal level.

Just this weekend, I started to fold exercise into my regular routine. I walked in a 5K and it felt great. I never could have done this before. I’m so, so happy.

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