Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco, President of Institute for Responsible Nutrition, and author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease explains that generally people believe that obesity is a calorie problem: people eat too much and exercise too little. But, he states that there is something else at play here–the enormous increase in the consumption of dietary sugar across the country.
However, it is hard to place the blame on a lack of self-responsibility. Dr. Lustig explains that evidence shows sugar is addictive and it is capable of exciting the brain in a similar way that other substances of abuse do, too. Dr. Lustig believes there are two reasons sugar has become so prevalent in the human diet: first, sugar became cheaper, and second, the food industry put an emphasis on “low-fat”and “fat-free” diets that encouraged people to eat these foods that are higher in sugar.
The negative effects of sugar are not only seen through the increase in obesity, but also in the rise of diabetes which is increasing at a far quicker pace. Dr. Lustig states that this growth in diabetes is not just affecting those who are obese, it is affecting all people who consume sugar at a high rate. He further explains that diabetes is not about obesity, but that it’s about how our bodies metabolize what enters it and the damages that these bad foods cause in the process. In order to decrease the number of people being affected by diabetes and obesity, sugar consumption must go down.
Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco, President of Institute for Responsible Nutrition, and author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease
Fiber is an important part of a daily diet, but many people do not know what fiber does for the body. Dr. Hannah Holscher, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, explains that fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that is found in plants which human enzymes cannot break down, so the body relies on microbes.
But why is fiber so important for the human body? According to Dr. Andrew Gewirtz, Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, fiber helps nourish beneficial bacteria in the intestine that is needed to aid digestion, keep the immune system strong, and block potential pathogens. Without fiber in your diet, this bacteria becomes malnourished, decreasing the number of them present. Dr. Gewirtz explains that discoveries from experiments on mice show that this decrease in bacteria can lead to a number of health issues.
It is important to maintain a high fiber diet in order to ensure proper nourishment of these beneficial bacteria. However, many people stick to one type of fiber rather than trying a few. People should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other high-fiber foods to give their bodies more than one kind of fiber. While it can be difficult to consume the suggested amount of fiber everyday, the positive health benefits are worth it.
Dr. Hannah Holscher, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Andrew Gewirtz, Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia Sate University
The ozone layer is coming back. After many decades of depletion, NASA scientists say the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere is recovering and a hole in the ozone over Antarctica is filling in. Phasing out of chlorofluorocarbon chemicals is getting the credit, according to the study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The ozone layer absorbs more than 97 percent of the dangerous ultraviolet radiation reaching earth.
Eating a diet high in fresh tomatoes and apples may help slow the natural aging of your lungs, and may even restore some of the lung damage caused by smoking. The study in the European Respiratory Journal shows that lung function is strikingly better in ex-smokers who follow such a diet. However, tomato sauce and processed foods containing fruits and vegetables did not contribute a protective effect. Researchers say the lungs start to decline in most people around age 30.
And finally whether a person is a spendthrift or a tightwad may be set by age five. A study in the Journal of Behavioral Decision-Making shows that children form emotional reactions to spending and saving money between age five and 10, and they translate into the child’s eventual spending behaviors. Researchers say tightwads experience emotional pain connected to spending but spendthrifts don’t have those emotional brakes. Rhose attitudes develop independently of their parents’ spending habits.
This flu season is officially “moderately severe,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and it’s likely to get worse. It’s a result of this year’s predominant flu strain—an H2N3 virus that’s much stronger than the virus that dominated last year. Vaccines are also less effective against H2N3 viruses. Some experts estimate that this year’s vaccine is about 30 percent effective at best. That’s still markedly better than the vaccine did in Australia during winter there six months ago when officials said it was only 10 percent effective.
If you want to cut down on sugar and carbs get more sleep. A study in the “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” shows that when people increase their sleep time they don’t have as much of a sweet tooth. A group of study subjects received advice on how to sleep better and increased their sleep time by as much as 90 minutes a night. They ended up making better nutritional choices–cutting down the sugar in their diets by as much as 10 grams a day and also ate fewer carbs.
And finally, to increase strength and power in your workout, swear out loud. A study in the “Journal of Psychology of Sports and Exercise” finds that cursing increases power while riding a stationary bike by nearly five percent and increases hand grip strength by more than eight percent. Researchers can only speculate why it occurs, but they know that swearing is handled by brain regions that don’t normally process language.
Most Americans consume far too much salt even if they add none to their foods. Experts discuss why salt is such a health problem and what the federal government is doing to push food processors toward reducing salt content in our diets.
Gluten free diets have taken the world by storm and some experts say for people who do not have celiac disease, the diets can do much more harm than good. One such expert explains which kinds of people would find the diet appropriate and the pitfalls to avoid.
Synopsis: Vitamins are essential to our health, and most of those we need we can get through our diets. Many foods are fortified today. Standards for dietary minimums help prevent deficiency diseases, but little is known about whether it’s possible to consume too many vitamins.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Catherine Price, author, Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection; Dr. Valerie Tarasuck, Professor of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto; Dr. Mara Vitolins, Professor of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Links for more information: