18-06 Segment 2: The High Health Cost of Sugar

 

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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.

Guests:

  • 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

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18-05 Segment 2: Fiber and the Gut

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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.

Guests:

  • Dr. Hannah Holscher, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
  • Dr. Andrew Gewirtz, Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia Sate University

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17-28 Segment 1: Our Obesity Obsession: Does Science Support It?

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The cultural bias against obesity is often justified on health grounds. But recent studies show that people classified in the “overweight” BMI category actually have less mortality than normal weight people. Experts discuss how culture drives our obsession with weight and what science really has to say about it.

Read the entire transcript here:

Guests:

  • Harriet Brown, Associate Professor of Magazine Journalism, Newhouse School of Public Communication, Syracuse University and author, Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession With Weight and What We Can Do About It
  • Dr. Carl Lavie, Medical Director of Preventive Cardiology, John Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute, New Orleans and author, The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier

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16-47 Segment 1: Restoring Doctors’ Compassion

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Doctors have often been advised to avoid emotions regarding patients in order to keep their decisions objective. However, this has led many patients to believe doctors don’t care about them. A new movement in medicine seeks to reverse the trend and put compassion back in medicine, led by a “Healer’s Art” class in many medical schools. Experts who teach the class explain.

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16-47 Segment 2: PBC: Liver Autoimmune Disease

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A variety of liver diseases may cause test results that mimic alcohol-related cirrhosis. One, known as PBC, is the second largest reason for liver transplants in women. A patient and an expert discuss.

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16-38 Segment 1: Epi-Pen Price Hikes

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Synopsis: The Epi-Pen brand has become synonymous with epinephrine injectors, which can save the life of a person suffering a severe allergic reaction. Recently there’s been outcry over large price hikes for the devices, which have forced some people to seek other alternatives or go without. Experts discuss the economics involved and what patients can do to be protected without going broke.

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16-38 Segment 2: Homesickness

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Synopsis: What we now call “homesickness” used to be a medical diagnosis called “nostalgia,” and it was considered life-threatening. Today many people consider homesickness to be a childish emotion, but an expert says it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all suffer from it sometime and need to know how to cope.

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