This week, we summarize the top five news articles and studies in the low-carb realm, plus the wall of shame. A first ever sweep of the top 5 goes to one subject — diabetes:
- Very good news. The American Diabetes Association and European Association for the Study of Diabetes added a new therapeutic option for patients with diabetes: a low-carb diet. This change serves as an official acknowledgement of the strong evidence in the literature for the effectiveness of low-carb and ketogenic regimens in the fight against diabetes.
- Another new, pro dairy fat review hits, this one out of Tufts. It shows an association between higher rates of dairy fat consumption and lower rates of type 2 diabetes. Senior author Dariush Mozaffarian states, “Our findings, measuring biomarkers of fatty acids consumed in dairy fat, suggest a need to re-examine the potential metabolic benefits of dairy fat or foods rich in dairy fat, such as cheese.” Note that this study was a large, observational analysis (a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies), so causation is not shown. A smaller analysis that linked more dairy fat with less CVD and stroke made headlines in July.
- Doctors in Canada publish a case report documenting how three men with type 2 diabetes used intermittent fasting to eliminate insulin and most other medications, while also improving their blood sugar control. The subjects fasted for 24 hours 3-4 times per week. On other days, they practiced time-restricted feeding, eating only lunch and dinner. Patients were monitored and medications were withdrawn under close medical supervision. This is another example of the power of diet, not drugs, to reverse type 2 diabetes.
- A study out of Japan shows that patients who go on to develop diabetes show signs of metabolic dysregulation 10 years before diagnosis. A gradual rise in blood glucose levels and decline in insulin sensitivity are the telltale signs.
- A study presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes showed that risk of cancer is elevated among patients with diabetes. Men with diabetes were 22% more likely to die from cancer than matched controls; women with diabetes were 31% more likely to die from cancer than matched controls. Of note was the finding that risk was elevated in most types of cancer; the elevation was more dramatic in cancers associated with obesity, but still evident in cancers that are not associated with obesity.
Wall of shame
- Eye roll, please… “Candy and chocolate companies made a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to promote portion guidance, transparency and more consumer education.” This PR initiative is called “Always a treat.”
- The Department of Veterans Affairs is is outed for the terrible example it sets in its hospital vending machines. A new study shows poor choices such as soda, candy, chips, and other junky snacks dominate.
- A staggering number of US troops weigh too much, according to a new RAND report. Rates vary by service, with the Army weighing in with the highest obesity and overweight rates — 69%, and the Marines with the lowest rate — 61%. The Coast Guard (68%), Navy (65%), and Air Force (63%) fall between these bookends.
- As insulin prices rise, some with diabetes and limited resources resort to the black market for cheaper drugs.
- Excuses, excuses. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Food is losing patience with picky consumers who want real ingredients, not chemicals. “Anyone for Diglycerides? Anyone?”
- The US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services discard many of the recommendations offered by the official report, mandated by Congress, designed to increase transparency and reduce member bias in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee.
- Hostess (maker of vintage but awful products like Twinkies) wants a bigger share of your breakfast dollar, so packs of individually wrapped Honey Buns, Danish and Cinnamon Rolls (aka ultra processed garbage) will hit grocers’ shelves soon.
- A judge supports labeling of fruit juice with “no added sugar,” contributing to confused consumers and obfuscation of a truth: juice often has more sugar than soda. It just isn’t added.
- Beer for breakfast? IHOPS has “Pumpkin Pancake” (made with real pancake batter) and Dunkin’ has teamed up to launch “Harpoon Dunkin’ Coffee Porter.”
- The science of shimmer… all about those pearlescent pigments added to food.
Will foodie millennials cause the death of processed American cheese? Ready for another Teicholz op-ed, this time in The Los Angeles Times? What kind of food deserves a spot in Sweden’s new Disgusting Food Museum? On that note, do you want to know more about crushed bugs in brown sugar, calf brains in milk, and other not-so-wholesome staples of the past? Looking ahead, what food innovations might we look forward to — printed meals, edible bar codes and facial-recognition technology for cows? Do vegans and vegetarians live longer than meat eaters? What happens when people simply switch to a low-carb breakfastthin always mean healthy? Will healthier junk food fix our obesity crisis?
Tune in next week!